NBA Free Agents 2012: Dumbest Moves of Free Agency

Ben Leibowitz@BenLeboCorrespondent IIIJuly 9, 2012

NBA Free Agents 2012: Dumbest Moves of Free Agency

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    While some signings during the 2012 NBA free agency period can be seen as brilliant, savvy and a way to greatly improve upon a team's roster, other moves have been—well—just plain dumb.

    It would be hard to make a case against the Brooklyn Nets signing Deron Williams on a five-year $98 million deal or the Phoenix Suns signing Michael Beasley for the bargain price of $18 million over three years.

    However, other moves around the league have fans shaking their heads in disappointment.

    Here's a list of the worst signings so far during this summer's free agency.

8. Jeff Green Stays in Boston

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    Jeff Green is a great NBA player, a good locker room presence and he's young. So why would the move of the Boston Celtics bringing Green back be viewed as dumb?

    Well, Green's deal is reportedly worth $36 million over four years, according to Paul Flannery of That's a lot of money to invest in a player who didn't play a single minute last season because he underwent surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.

    As the eventual successor to Paul Pierce in Boston, this move makes a lot of sense. However, Pierce will be under contract in Boston for at least the first two years of Green's new deal.

    Green could be a solid role player for the Celtics right now, but a four-year $36 million deal for a role player at any stage is not a great signing.

    This is a huge roll of the dice for Danny Ainge and the Celtics moving forward, but it could still pay big dividends if Green can return to 100 percent.

7. George Hill Back to Indiana

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    Let me preface this by saying I think George Hill is a very solid NBA player.

    Anyone who Gregg Popovich has ever called his favorite player is more than okay in my book.

    Nevertheless, Hill's deal to remain with the Pacers is reportedly for five years at $40 million, according to Alex Kennedy via Twitter.

    A $40 million deal for a guy who didn't even average double-digit points during the regular season last year is a head-scratching salary in my opinion (Hill averaged 9.6 points per game, lowest since his rookie year).

    Hill stepped up his play in the postseason when he started all 11 of the Pacers games, averaging 13.5 points, 2.9 assists and 2.3 rebounds per contest. But is that enough of a statistical leap to warrant such a huge pay raise?

    Hill's salary last season was just over $1.5 million (according to ShamSports). Now he'll be paid approximately $6 million or more each year moving forward.

    Considering that Darren Collison is still on the roster for another season, Hill will conceivably have to split time with him out of the point guard spot.

    The Pacers need to hope that Hill continues to outplay Collison to secure the starting job. If not, they'll be paying Hill a ton of money to come off the bench.

6. Jamal Crawford to Clippers

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    When Jamal Crawford signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, it was initially reported by Alex Kennedy's Twitter that his deal was for $24 million over four years.

    Thankfully for Clippers fans, that turned out to be incorrect. Crawford's deal is actually worth $15.7 million over three years, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

    That dollar amount will certainly be easier to stomach considering the $24 million deal would have vaulted Crawford much higher on this list had it been true.

    The Clippers needed a shooting guard this offseason, but they already have a fair amount of scoring, so I thought the Clips would opt for a more defensive-minded option.

    When you think "defensive-minded," Crawford certainly isn't a name that comes to mind. He's better defensively than Nick Young, but he has been, and always will be, an offensive shooting guard.

    Crawford has been great in the past and even won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award while a member of the Atlanta Hawks.

    However, Crawford's stats have been on a steady decline for the past five years. His 13.9 points per game last season with the Portland Trail Blazers was the lowest total for Crawford since 2003.

    Crawford is 32 years old and certainly isn't getting any younger. The Clippers need to hope for a bounce-back year from Crawford if he's to live up to his contract, but if the stats are any indication, he'll continue to decline.

    The former Michigan Wolverine never seemed pleased with his situation in Portland, so perhaps he'll put up respectable stats in a better situation.

5. Nick Young to 76ers

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    The one-year, $6 million deal the Philadelphia 76ers inked with Nick Young is totally befuddling in my opinion.

    There's no doubt that Young is a great jump shooter who can spread the floor with this three-point shooting prowess, but he provides teams with little else (especially on defense).

    In essence, he's a taller, older version of Lou Williams who can't play point guard in addition to shooting guard.

    On just a one-year deal, Young is a patch job at best. A $6 million Band-Aid, if you will.

    With Young's evident lack of defensive intensity, it's hard to figure how he fits in with the current Sixers squad.

    According to, Andre Iguodala once called out Williams about his putrid defensive efforts.

    "It makes no sense to me why so many good scorers can't defend," Iguodala said. "Like Lou Williams. He's one of the toughest guys to guard in the league, but he can't guard anybody. I don't get that."

    Iggy's future in a Sixers uniform is far from set in stone at this point, but I wouldn't be surprised if he and his new teammate didn't see eye-to-eye (as was the case with Iguodala and Williams).

    Additionally, under a no-nonsense coach like Doug Collins, who wants every player to buy into the team concept, I'm not sure that Young is a good fit (or even a decent fit).

    Former Sixer Marreese Speights spent all of his time in Philly occupying coach Collins' dog house. The pair didn't get along (to put it lightly) which led to Speights being shipped to Memphis via trade.

    Young is a great shooter, but he's otherwise a bad fit in Philly and could take the spot Speights occupied moving forward.

4. Jameer Nelson Back with Magic

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    When Jameer Nelson opted out of the final year of his contract in Orlando, leaving $8 million on the table to test free agency, it seemed highly unlikely that he'd be back with the Magic.

    Well, unlikely or not, Nelson will be back for the foreseeable future to be the Magic's starting point guard.

    According to Alex Kennedy of, Nelson's new deal is worth $19.7 million over three years.

    The outlook is bleak right now for Magic fans. Dwight Howard's soap opera will inevitably lead to a trade; they let restricted free-agent Ryan Anderson leave via a sign-and-trade to the New Orleans Hornets and kept Nelson in town for $19.7 million over three years.

    By keeping Nelson and letting Anderson go, they ditched last year's Most Improved Player award winner and kept a guy who could have been in the running for least improved.

    Nelson's 11.9 points per game, 5.7 assists per game, 42.7 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from three-point range were all statistical dips from the season before.

    Although clearing cap space seemed to be the best option for Orlando moving forward, considering they're not likely to be competitive without Howard or Anderson next year, they decided to invest $19.7 million into a 30-year-old point guard.

    Over the next three NBA seasons, a 30-year old Nelson will make more money than a 23-year-old Michael Beasley. That doesn't compute in my mind.

    Nelson is a great player to have if he's your third or fourth best option. However, if the Magic are going to war next season with Nelson and (possibly) Brook Lopez leading the charge, they'll have a tough time finding their way back to the postseason.

3. Bulls Matching Deal for Asik?

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    The Houston Rockets have reportedly signed Chicago Bulls' backup center Omer Asik to a three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet, but according to Fran Blinebury of, the Bulls are going to match that offer.

    This seems strange for a couple of reasons.

    First, the Asik offer sheet is heavily back-loaded and would pay Asik $15 million in the final year of the new deal (known as the "poison pill" contract in an attempt to force Chicago to back off).

    If the Bulls were to match the offer (as they're apparently planning to do), they'd not only be paying Asik $15 million in the final year of his deal, but they'd also be on the books for more than $17.8 million worth of Derrick Rose, $16.8 million worth of Carlos Boozer and $12.2 million of Joakim Noah.

    That's more than $46.8 million invested in just four players.

    Blinebury wrote that the Bulls would exercise the amnesty clause on Boozer to wipe his contract from the salary cap before then, but even so, this move is head-scratching for the Bulls.

    Boozer has struggled during his stint in Chicago, but he's still a more accomplished player than Asik at this point.

    In addition, Taj Gibson is entering the final year of his current contract. As a Bulls fan, would you rather have cap space available to bring back Gibson? Or would you rather spend $25.1 million on Asik?

    To me, if amnestying Boozer is the popular choice, keeping Gibson makes far more sense.

    Asik is a solid backup and a big body, but $25.1 million for a guy whose career numbers are 2.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 48.4 percent from the charity stripe seems steep.

    There are plenty of free-agent big men who could match the numbers Asik has put up during his first two seasons (and at a much cheaper price).

2. Thabeet to OKC

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    Although financial terms of Hasheem Thabeet's two-year deal to join Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City have not been disclosed, I don't need them to show that Thabeet is a bad fit with OKC.

    Thabeet, to this point in his career, has been the definition of a draft bust.

    Even Darko Milicic has managed to put up some impressive numbers when compared with the 7'3" center out of UConn.

    The Thunder already have two talented, defensive-minded big men on the roster in Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. What the team needed was a player who could provide frontcourt depth while scoring the basketball efficiently.

    Instead, the Thunder decided to roll the dice on the now 25-year-old Thabeet.

    Ideally, Thabeet could learn the ropes from Perkins and Ibaka, but that's ironic when you consider that Ibaka is three years younger and Perkins is just two years older than Thabeet.

    I can't see Thabeet getting much playing time in the future. He simply can't keep up with the fast-paced game we've seen the NBA evolve into. Even Perkins, a well-established defender, looked like he couldn't defend his own shadow in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.

    Quicker, more agile athletes simply blew by him to the basket.

    If that's the case with Perkins, Thabeet is going to have a really tough time adjusting. Heck, even Nick Collison puts Thabeet's current basketball prowess to shame.

    Overall, I just don't see why OKC made this signing, but when you're as good as the Thunder, moves like this can be overlooked.

1. Landry Fields to Toronto

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    This tweet by's Bill Simmons tells you all you need to know about Landry Fields' new deal.

    I mean, $20 million for Landry Fields?

    The guy who regressed in nearly every statistical category from his rookie year to his sophomore year?

    The guy who shot a dreadful 56.2 percent from the free-throw line (as a guard) and 25.6 percent from three-point range?

    The guy who averaged 7.2 points per game in the playoffs, despite playing 23 minutes per game while shooting 20 percent from beyond the arc?

    To be fair, the Toronto Raptors made this move to hinder the New York Knicks' chances of executing a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns to acquire Steve Nash.

    However, this deal did little in that regard and would have actually helped the Suns even more had the Knicks been able to lure Nash.

    According to Sporting News, the Knicks were mulling the idea of sending Iman Shumpert to the Suns as the centerpiece of a trade in order to reel in Nash.

    Shumpert is a vastly superior player to Fields, so the Suns would have received more value in return from the Knicks than they would have without the Raptors' bonehead signing.

    Losing out on Nash this summer was not only a disappointment for Toronto, it's now a mistake that cost the team $20 million.

    Bryan Colangelo will be kicking himself for the next three years while the Fields deal runs its course.