NBA Free Agency 2012: The Most Shocking Offseason Signings Thus Far
The NBA offseason has been predictable on some occasions, but there have also been a few surprises.
The very nature of free agency ensures that there will be major surprises each year. GMs across the league work tirelessly to improve their team in any way possible. In the process, they pull off some deals that the fans never saw coming.
While point guards Deron Williams and Jameer Nelson decided to re-sign with their previous teams, Jason Kidd shocked most when he spurned the Dallas Mavericks for the New York Knicks.
Starting on July 11th, players will be free to sign contracts, so there's certainly plenty of surprising signings to follow. In this slideshow, we'll recap a few of the biggest thus far.
The Toronto Raptors kicked off the new league year with a bang when they offered New York Knicks restricted free agent Landry Fields a three-year, $20 million contract.
During his two-year career, Landry has averaged 9.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. That type of production doesn't exactly warrant an annual salary of almost $7 million per year. Last season, as a member of the Knicks, Fields posted an efficiency rating of just 12.07, which was below the league average.
Fields has great size for a shooting guard, as he's 6'7" and an excellent rebounder. If he can improve his jump shot and conversion ability from the charity stripe, then he will have a long NBA career.
For Fields, this was an absolute no-brainer. By accepting the Raptors' offer, he guaranteed himself a major pay raise over his rookie contract.
The Raptors signed Fields because they were desperate to land Steve Nash, and they hoped that putting the Knicks—thought to be their main competition for Nash—in a financial bind would bolster their chances. Ultimately, Toronto failed to bring in Nash and may be stuck paying Fields over the next few years, if the Knicks decide not to match the offer.
In time, Fields may prove that he's worthy of the contract that he just signed. But at the moment, it was surprising to see a team offer him so much money after just two seasons.
When Jason Kidd retires, he will walk away from the game as one of the best players of his generation.
Kidd is a shell of his former self these days, but his love of the game and willingness to adapt as he has aged has kept him productive late in his career.
As he's gotten older, Kidd has worked on his jump shot and become lethal from the field. When he lost a step on defense, he became a smarter defender to help make up for his body's limitations.
During this year's free agency, ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher (h/t SI.com) reported on rumors that Kidd would sign with whatever team Deron Williams chose. So most assumed that Kidd would either return to Dallas or help the Nets usher in their new era in Brooklyn.
As it turned out, Kidd shocked everyone when he chose to join the New York Knicks over the Mavericks.
For Kidd, joining the Knicks means a chance to mentor Jeremy Lin while playing in the media capital of the world. He will give the Knicks something that they didn't have last season: a capable backup point guard.
How much that will help the Knicks remains to be seen, but the addition of Kidd certainly makes them a better team.
Brandon Roy's and his bad knees was one of the sadder stories in the NBA when he was forced into early retirement in December 2011.
Over the span of his five-year career, Roy averaged 19 points, 4.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. If not for knee concerns, Roy would still be one of the best shooting guards in the NBA, and the Portland Trail Blazers would have been in contention for a playoff berth last season.
Since retiring, Roy has had treatment on his knees, and he feels that he's ready for the rigors of the NBA once again.
According to Ben Golliver of CBSSports.com, Roy said the following about the treatments for his knees:
It's something where they draw my blood, they spin it, they pull some different things out of it [and] they inject it right back into the joint. It was five shots. It was on each of my knees. Ever since then, it feels great. I was smiling going in there to get the next one and I don't really like getting shots. I was so excited about how I was feeling, it was like the first day of school for me.
Roy clearly has a strong desire to play in the NBA again, and the Minnesota Timberwolves have given him another opportunity. He will soon sign a two-year, $10 million deal with them, in hopes that he can aid in Kevin Love's chase to make the playoffs.
Considering the fact that Roy's knees forced him to retire, it's surprising to see him back in the NBA. Whether or not his comeback is successful remains to be seen. If he plays anywhere near the level he did in his first four seasons in Portland, then the Timberwolves will get great value by signing him.