NBA Free Agency 2012: Predicting Which Free Agents Will Fail with New Teams
Well, the 2012 NBA offseason is officially underway, and players are changing teams left and right. Some teams are welcoming their new additions with open arms, and others are bemoaning their loss.
Still, as with any offseason, players are going to get overpaid. It is just the nature of the sport. Certain teams have needs that they feel have to be fulfilled, and they go out and give mediocre players substantial amounts of money that they will never live up to.
This offseason, though, might be one of the craziest yet. I know we say this every summer, but it seems like general managers are going out of their way to hand out ludicrous contracts this year. Some of these deals are so ridiculous that you immediately know that the recipients of such deals are never going to end up being worth what they are being paid.
Here are some of the players that I feel are going to end up haunting their franchises.
Omer Asik, Houston Rockets
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Based on the picture in the title slide, I'm sure you saw this one coming.
The Rockets signed the former Chicago Bulls' center to a three-year, $25 million offer sheet. As one would expect, the popular opinion (as evidenced here with Steve Kerr) is that the Bulls will not match, so although nothing is official, it's looking like Asik is taking his talents to Texas.
Here's the kicker: Asik will be making $15 million of that $25 million in the final year of his contract. What?
Is Asik a very good defender? Absolutely. Is he worth $15 million for one season? Absolutely not.
This is a guy who averaged 3.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in 2012. Yes, it was only in 14.7 minutes per game, so his rebounding rate is actually rather impressive, but who is to say that Asik can even play big minutes?
I think Houston is putting an awful lot of stock into a very unproven commodity. For a team that is attempting to rebuild, I don't think this was a very wise decision.
Asik is not a bad player by any stretch of the imagination, but if he ends up fulfilling that contract, I'll be waiting for him to suddenly become a reliable free throw shooter.
Nick Young, Philadelphia 76ers
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I honestly do not understand the 76ers. At all.
I thought by drafting Moe Harkless, they would end up dealing Andre Iguodala to make room for the rookie, as Philadelphia already has a logjam at the wing spots. Instead, they go out and sign Young to a one-year, $6 million deal (while amnestying Elton Brand in the process, a move that I have no problem with).
Now it would probably be a bit silly of me to say the Sixers overpaid for Young, as it is only a one-year contract, but that's not what my gripe is about. My gripe is just, well...why?
The funniest thing about all of this? The 76ers have been gauging interest for Iguodala a bit, but the main rumor that has surfaced? Trading him to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, a player who is essentially Iguodala's clone offensively. The difference? He isn't a very good defender. Well, according to general manager Rod Thorn, there is nothing to this rumor, and boy do I hope he is telling the truth.
Philly fans were already frustrated enough when the team decided to re-sign Spencer Hawes to a two-year, $13 million deal (more on that later). Now that the Sixers have gone out and awarded the wildly inconsistent Young with a contract, I would imagine that Philadelphia fans are ready to stage a coup against their front office.
And to make things even more comical, the 76ers are letting Lou Williams walk. Um, do they not realize that Young is basically a taller version of Williams? Many Philly fans became fed up with Williams' shot selection. Well, then brace yourselves for Young, a player who shot 40.3 percent from the floor in 2012.
I just don't get it.
Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers
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The good news? The Clippers didn't break the bank to re-sign the aforementioned Young.
The bad news? They did for Jamal Crawford, signing him to a four-year, $25 million deal.
It's not that Crawford is a bad player. It's just that he is 32 years old and is coming off a fairly wretched season in terms of shooting the ball (he shot only 38.4 percent from the floor in 2012) and is a notoriously high-volume shooter. Is that really something Los Angeles should be investing four years at that amount of cash into?
To be perfectly honest, the Clippers would have been better off bringing back Young, as he is younger and would have been much cheaper. Yes, Crawford brings some experience to the team, but more important is the fact that his production has dipped tremendously over the course of the past three seasons.
During the 2009-10 campaign with the Atlanta Hawks, Crawford averaged 18 points per game on 45 percent shooting in 31.1 minutes a night. This past season? He put up 13.9 points on that 38.4 percent clip in 26.9 minutes per contest.
To make it short, sweet, and to the point, L.A. is putting an awful lot of trust into a clearly declining volume shooter.
Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Hornets
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I fully understand that Anderson won the Most Improved Player of the Year award in 2012, but four years and $36 million for his services (the deal was a sign-and-trade, with center Gustavo Ayon going to the Orlando Magic)? Really?
I'm guessing what the Hornets are trying to do is appease Eric Gordon, who has voiced his displeasure with the organization about not providing him with enough help (particularly up front). Still, throwing all of this money at a big man who spends a fairly significant amount of time behind the three-point line is not the way to go.
Anderson was able to thrive in the Magic's offense because it relied so heavily on the three-point shot, and the team was always able to get good looks from three because of Dwight Howard's presence. Don't believe me? Check out Anderson's statistics in the playoffs without Howard: 9.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game as opposed to 16.1 and 7.7 during the regular season with Dwight. New Orleans doesn't have Dwight, so I imagine that his role will be quite different in his new uniform. Will he be able to do enough elsewhere on the floor to merit that contract?
I don't think so. Anderson isn't a very good defender, and outside of three-point shot, he doesn't provide that much else offensively. He shot only 43.9 percent from the floor this past season, and that has a lot to do with the fact that he struggles mightily to create his own shot. He is a decent rebounder, as he was able to haul in over seven boards a game in 2012, but, again, four years and $36 million for that?
I just don't get it, especially considering that the Hornets plan on matching the four-year, $58 million offer sheet that Gordon signed with the Phoenix Suns. Talk about strapping yourself financially.
Spencer Hawes, Philadelphia 76ers
Okay; so it isn't exactly a new team for Hawes, but I just had to mention him in this article.
Earlier, I questioned the 76ers' signing of Young. Now, I am going to question their choice to re-sign Hawes to a two-year, $13 million deal. I mean, why?
We all saw what happened to Hawes in the playoffs against Kevin Garnett. He got absolutely eaten alive, and while there is no shame in getting beaten by K.G., there is shame in the fact that his backup, Lavoy Allen, did a considerably better job in defending Garnett than he did.
So, why in the world would Philadelphia decide to re-up? Hawes is a decent jump shooter and a good passer, but that's it. He is notoriously soft, refusing to play anywhere near the basket, and his lack of any type of low post game is very alarming. He is also a bad defender, and that is putting it nicely.
I think it's pretty clear that the Sixers don't even think that highly of him, as in two seasons there, he has played 21.2 and 24.9 minutes per game, respectively. You mean to tell me you're going to pay a guy who clearly makes you a worse team defensively $6.5 million a year to play under 25 minutes a night? I just don't understand the thought process, especially given the fact that Philly drafted the 6'10" Arnett Moultrie.
This just makes their trade of Marreese Speights to the Memphis Grizzlies for a bag of chips (essentially) back in January look even worse than it did at the time. Doug Collins never gave him an opportunity, and then he goes to Memphis and does a fine job. The 76ers could certainly use his services right now. That's for sure.