NBA Free Agency 2012: Ray Allen and FA Additions That Won't Live Up to Hype

Ben Shapiro@benshapironyc1 Analyst IIIJuly 16, 2012

NBA Free Agency 2012: Ray Allen and FA Additions That Won't Live Up to Hype

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    Ray Allen announced his decision to leave the Boston Celtics and sign with the Miami Heat on Friday, July 6, 2012.

    The announcement sure did cause a stir.

    It's only July 16, 2012. The NBA season won't start for almost three-and-a-half months.

    Over that time, there are sure to be many predictions about how good the Heat will be with Ray Allen, how terrible the Boston Celtics will be without Ray Allen and everything in between.

    The Ray Allen signing could easily end up as a great summer story, without a lot of length to it.

    That's how free agency works sometimes. Big-name additions don't pan out; other transactions float under the radar and end up having a tremendous impact.

    There are no guarantees.

    There have been a lot of free agents who have signed big deals, either in financial size or potential impact on the teams they've joined or left.

    Some will definitely make an impact, but others won't live up to the hype that surrounds the summer free-agent news.

Brook Lopez: Brooklyn Nets

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    Brook Lopez is not Dwight Howard, but he is still getting a max contract from the Brooklyn Nets to play center for the next four years.

    The deal is rumored to be four years, $60 million. That's a lofty sum for a seven-foot player who only appeared in five games last year and averaged less than four rebounds a game.

    Lopez will be one of the key players in the new incarnation of the team formerly known as the New Jersey Nets. They're the Brooklyn Nets now, and Lopez is going to be the man in the middle.

    To be fair, Lopez is a very good offensive player. He has career averages of 17.4 points on 50.4 percent shooting over the course of his four-year career.

    His defense and rebounding aren't great, though. Last year in the five games that Lopez did appear in, his rebounding numbers were so weak they're almost hard to believe.

    Lopez is seven feet tall, so the fact that he averaged a mere 3.6 rebounds per game is really stunning. It was only five games, but Lopez's career rebounding numbers of 7.5 per game aren't anything to get too excited about either.

    Lopez and the Nets will bring plenty of excitement to Brooklyn next fall, but it remains to be seen whether Lopez with his new $60 million contract will be worth all the excitement.

Eric Gordon: New Orleans Hornets

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    There's a lot to like about Eric Gordon.

    At 23 years old, he's quite young.

    In spite of his youth, Gordon has played four seasons in the NBA, and he's produced as well.

    Gordon is a gifted scorer.

    Over his career he's averaged 18.2 points per game and shot 45.2 percent from the field.

    The problem is that he doesn't do much more than score.

    Gordon averages only 2.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He's not a great defender, and he's also somewhat fragile. In four seasons Gordon has had a chance to appear in 312 NBA games, but he's only played in 205.

    Gordon has never played in more than 78 games in a single season, and that 78-game mark was attained in his rookie year.

    If all of this sounds like a player who is unworthy of a contract so lavish, well, you'd be correct, but that's not what has happened. What has happened is that the New Orleans Hornets have matched an absurd offer sheet that Gordon signed with the Phoenix Suns.

    The offer is for four years and $58 million, and when one looks at the whole package that Eric Gordon brings to the table, it is hard to see how he'll live up to the expectations a deal like this will bring.

Jeremy Lin: Houston Rockets or New York Knicks

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    The Knicks made a Saturday evening sign-and-trade deal to bring Raymond Felton to New York, which may ultimately lead to the end of Lin's time in a Knicks uniform. Even before that, Lin was heading toward signing a contract that would be hard to live up to.

    The three-year, $25 million deal was a switch from the original four-year $28.2 million deal. Either one would have raised expectations exponentially on the unproven star who took the league by storm last February.

    Initially it was expected that Lin would be re-signed by the Knicks, but the Felton deal has made that seem like only a remote possibility.

    Either way, it doesn't matter. Lin will get paid around $5 million for each of the next two seasons and then an eye-popping $14.8 million in the third and final season of the deal.

    Big money brings big expectations. Can Lin live up to them? That remains to be seen.

Ray Allen: Miami Heat

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    The mission for Ray Allen is clear. All he has to do is go to Miami, possibly help replace a few key departing players from the defending world champs and then help the team repeat.

    No problem, right?

    After all, it's not as if Allen is 36 years old or coming off an injury-plagued season or offseason surgery.

    It's not like Allen had one of the worst years of his lengthy NBA career last season.

    Wait, yes he did. It was a brutal year for Allen. He battled ankle injuries, lost his starting job and was only able to make spotty contributions to his now-former team, the Boston Celtics, once the playoffs began.

    In other words, there are some legitimate factors that could lead one to believe that Allen's career has started its decline.

    Repeating as NBA champs is not easy. Allen could have a very nice season in Miami, but unfortunately he's entering a situation where the only acceptable conclusion to next season is confetti falling from the rafters and champagne being sprayed in the locker room.

    Can Allen live up to the hype? It will be extremely difficult.

Steve Nash: Los Angeles Lakers

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    Adding Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers makes them a lot better. The deal was one the Lakers had to make, and it certainly gives the team something they really lacked last season.

    Will it be enough, though?

    Here's the thing about Nash.

    He's one of the greatest-shooting point guards ever. There aren't too many players who have shot over 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line in a single season.

    Nash has done it four times. He practically averages those lofty percentages for his stellar career. In 16 NBA seasons, Nash has a 49.1 field-goal percentage, boasts 42.8 percent three-point accuracy and hits 90.4 percent of his free throws.

    Those are amazing numbers.

    None of that will matter in Los Angeles if the Lakers don't win a ring. Plus, as great as Nash has been, he has never even played in the NBA Finals before.

    Now, at the age of 38, Nash is expected to come to Los Angeles and get four distinct, talented and somewhat tough to manage players named Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum to all blend together into a championship-winning squad.

    As great a shooter as Nash is, the degree of difficulty on swishing this assignment seems daunting.