NBA Free Agency: Grades on Second Day of Free Agency
The biggest free-agent moves and movers have yet to make their decisions, while teams have yet to decide whether or not to match offer sheets on their restricted free agents.
With that being said, the second day of free agency provided maybe the biggest bombshell yet of the 2012 NBA free agency period, with the trade of one All-Star potentially affecting the decisions and destinations of several other marquee players.
The Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets were the teams of the day, and similar to the Rashard Lewis trade between the Wizards and the Hornets a couple weeks ago, both teams involved seem to be going in completely opposite directions in terms of viewing the future.
The day began with one of the top 10 players in the NBA demanding a trade to a specific team, and by the end of the day maybe having to create a new list of teams altogether. A small amount of moves were made today, but they were all very big, so without further ado, here are the grades for the moves on the second day of the 2012 NBA free agency period.
George Hill Stays in Indiana
Because financial terms are not currently available, the grade for today is incomplete, but I will have a grade for the move as soon as financial details are revealed.
Grade for Pacers: Incomplete
Joe Johnson Is Going to Brooklyn
The big move of the day and maybe biggest domino to fall in the first two days free agency could be the nail in the coffin for Dallas' chances to be able to steal Deron Williams away from Brooklyn.
According to ESPN's Chris Broussard and Marc Stein, the Nets have agreed to trade away the expiring contracts of Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow and Jordan Williams along with DeShawn Stevenson (via sign-and-trade), and a future first-round pick (lottery-protected in 2013 via Houston) in exchange for All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson.
The Hawks will get rid of $20 million plus in cap space for next summer, while the Nets will get an All-Star to potentially pair with Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace for a bunch of scrubs and a potential playoff team first-round pick.
The Nets didn't give up second-year shooting guard Marshon Brooks, the rights to rising star Gerald Green or the rights to Brook Lopez, meaning they could have a lineup of Deron Williams, Johnson, Wallace and Brook Lopez, and bring Brooks off the bench as a sixth man.
The power forward position would need to be decided, along with other bench components, but suddenly Brooklyn would compete with Miami to be the underpaid veteran free-agent place to be.
Atlanta puts itself in position to have the next Big Three in the NBA within a year because of another move made today as well, but also may have signed their own death sentence in terms of being a playoff team this season by both devaluing themselves and elevating another contender.
Brooklyn, meanwhile, may be the newest Big Three in basketball, but we will have to wait to Deron Williams' decision.
Grade for Hawks: B+
Grade for Nets: A
"The Indecision" Costs Dwight Super Opportunity in Brooklyn
The day in the NBA began with Dwight telling Yahoo! Sports that he would only re-sign long-term after next season with one team, which league sources have said is the Brooklyn Nets.
Unfortunately, he wasted his best and now maybe only opportunity to join Deron Williams in Brooklyn on the day of the trade deadline, signing an opt-in clause for next season. After a laundry list of shenanigans since that time, Glen "Big Baby" Davis can no longer be considered the biggest baby currently on the Orlando Magic roster.
If that weren't enough, Associated Press opinion writer Michael Ventre wrote a scathing article about Howard maybe no longer being best known as the most dominant big man in the game right now (via nbcsports.com).
Regardless of your personal beliefs about Dwight Howard, he really made possibly the worst move of anybody working in the NBA regarding 2012 free agency, and he has no one to blame for that but himself.
Grade for Dwight Howard: F-
Marvin Williams Goes to Jazz, Devin Harris to Hawks
After trading away two of the most untradeable contracts in the NBA, It would appear to many that Atlanta would be selling off all of its good players at this point, but according to ESPN's Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst, that is not necessarily the case.
Josh Smith, in the last year of his contract, has been vocal in wanting out of Atlanta, but new General Manager Danny Ferry's direction has left a great impression on him, according to the article by Stein and Windhorst. The only contracts on the books for 2013-14 are Al Horford's $12 million a year contract until 2015-16, and John Jenkins' rookie contract.
In other words, the Atlanta Hawks could possibly make a trade for Dwight Howard now if they were interested, or be a possible front-runner for him in next year's free agency. They will have at least $45 million in cap space by then to go along with Al Horford.
Devin Harris is another one-year contract to go along with Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow and Jordan Williams, giving them around $21 million in expiring contracts, not including Josh Smith's $13 million this year.
Marvin Williams was never a fit in Atlanta, as he was picked ahead of All-Star point guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams, and was benched for much of the second half of the season.
That being said, Utah will happily take the chance on him since they have no small forwards currently on the roster, and could put Gordon Hayward on as the starting shooting guard in a lineup with Mo Williams, Hayward, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.
Devin Harris never fit as the starting Point Guard, and Utah was forced at times to have Millsap play Small Forward because of the lack of a small forward on the roster.
While Williams isn't a true Small Forward, he has constantly improved his shooting stroke, and is incredibly skilled for a 6' 8'', 240-pound player in the NBA.
Though Williams will remove some of the cap room Utah could have next summer, the fact is Utah is not a huge free-agent destination for players, but a team with this lineup and Golden State's first-round pick possibly next year could have the resources to compete long-term.
Grade for Atlanta Hawks: A+
Grade for Utah Jazz: B