Updated 2012 NBA Free-Agency Report Cards
The NBA free-agency period is slowing down to a crawl, and it's safe to begin looking back on the entire summer's worth of signings without expecting any more big additions.
How did your team do this summer in free agency?
With all due respect to Kyrylo Fesenko and Derrick Caracter, their signings aren't going to shake up the NBA landscape. All the big additions have been made, and there aren't any free agents left who would change the team grades.
Let's check out the free-agency report cards for every NBA team.
Note: These grades are only for free-agent signings or free agents acquired in sign-and-trades. They do not include grades/reflections on non-free-agent trades or on drafted players signing their contracts.
After trading Joe Johnson (and his big contract) to Brooklyn, the Hawks picked up Louis Williams in a nice replacement deal. Atlanta will maintain exceptional cap space for next season, but it will still make some noise this season and get the fifth or sixth seed in the East.
Stevenson came over as a sign-and-trade part of the Joe Johnson deal.
Free agent Tracy McGrady still has yet to sign.
Players Added/Re-signed: Courtney Lee (from Houston), Jason Terry (from Dallas), Kevin Garnett (re-sign), Brandon Bass (re-sign), Keyon Dooling (re-sign), Jason Collins (from Atlanta), Jeff Green (re-sign), Dionte Christmas, Chris Wilcox (re-sign), Jamar Smith
The Celtics lost Ray Allen to their rivals in Miami, but rebounded with gusto and had themselves a nice free agency. They acquired Courtney Lee in a sign-and-trade with Houston and signed Jason Terry away from Dallas, basically negating the loss of Allen.
They re-signed both Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass to solid contracts. The one error in free agency may be Jeff Green, who, according to Sam Amick at SI.com, will get a contract in the range of four years, $40 million. That is an exceptional amount of cash for the inconsistent Green.
Players Added/Re-signed: Deron Williams (re-sign), Brook Lopez (re-sign), Kris Humphries (re-sign), Gerald Wallace (re-sign), Reggie Evans (from Los Angeles Clippers), C.J. Watson (from Chicago), Keith Bogans, Jerry Stackhouse, Mirza Teletovic
The Nets are going all-in this season. Their starting five have a combined salary ($72.21 million, according to Hoopsworld.com) that is bigger than most teams' total salary.
In addition to their big-name starters coming back (Williams, Lopez, Humphries and Wallace, not to mention Joe Johnson), the Nets also signed Mirza Teletovic (who has never played in an NBA game) to a three-year, $15.7 million contract.
I know their owner has deep pockets, but at what point does this become excessive?
Players Lost: D.J. Augustin (to Indiana)
The Bobcats must be preparing for another year of futility. Losing D.J. Augustin and signing Ramon Sessions is a wash and won’t improve Charlotte in the least. Haywood gives them another inconsistent big, even if he’s a cheap one.
Until the Bobcats get a real stud on their roster, it seems they’re OK staying at the bottom of the NBA.
I think the Bulls got worse in free agency (being unable to pay Omer Asik will do that to you), but I also don’t think they had a bad offseason.
They couldn’t afford to keep Asik, and losing Brewer won’t be a huge hit. Meanwhile, snagging Kirk Hinrich from the Hawks was a nice pickup in the absence of Derrick Rose. Nate Robinson will give them a bench scoring punch they really lacked in the past few years.
This team needs to either: A. stay completely healthy; or B. give Rose a real second star to play with. Until then, I don’t think the Bulls will win the championship. They certainly didn’t make any dumb moves in free agency that could have been avoided.
Players Lost: Antawn Jamison (to Los Angeles Lakers)
The Cavaliers' major free-agent moves were to re-sign backup Luke Harangody and to sign-and-trade Jeremy Pargo from Memphis. Why did the Cavaliers front office even bother coming in for the summer months?
The Mavericks missed out on Deron Williams, but other than that, they had a decent free-agency period.
I’m not convinced O.J. Mayo was as excellent a signing as most. Put me in the camp that believes he’ll never be more than “solid."
That said, he was a nice replacement for Jason Terry. The Mavericks also got two good (and cheap) big men in Elton Brand/Chris Kaman and kept Delonte West at a nice price.
The window has closed on Dallas’ title hopes, but it still possesses a pretty decent squad.
Players Lost: N/A
While they didn’t make any huge moves, the Nuggets quietly had a very strong offseason. JaVale McGee was always going to be overpaid (Yahoo! Sports reports his new deal is $44 million over four years), so you can’t really fault Denver for that. They also re-signed veteran Andre Miller and snagged Anthony Randolph for cheap.
The Nuggets waived Chris Andersen, who has yet to find a new team.
Players Added/Re-signed: N/A
Players Lost: N/A
Congrats, Detroit Pistons. You’ve managed to do nothing in free agency. I guess summer vacation doesn’t just apply to school children anymore.
Golden State Warriors
Players Lost: Nate Robinson (to Chicago)
Snagging Brandon Rush and Carl Landry (both for two-year, $8 million contracts) are exceptional bargains. I’m not sure why the Warriors gave up on Nate Robinson, though. Certainly, Jarrett Jack is an above-average backup point, but Robinson was great last season for Golden State and would have given it some needed bench points.
The Warriors added two nice pieces in free agency. Now, their season rests on their two stars (Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut) staying healthy. Don’t bet on it.
The Rockets had a weird offseason. First, they were going 100 percent for Dwight Howard, then they were leading two top point guards (Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic) out of town…then Jeremy Lin fell in their laps when New York decided not to match their contract offer.
To confuse matters even more, the Bulls did not match the offer on Omer Asik, giving the Rockets two players they may not have fully expected to get.
Lin is a talented player no doubt, but is he better than Lowry or Dragic? Letting Dragic go for nothing was a mistake.
They also used the amnesty clause on Luis Scola, an above-average big man, to gain cap space for their failed Dwight Howard run.
One can only guess what goes on in the Houston front office. Is the addition of Lin/Asik enough to offset the losses of Dragic and Scola? I don’t think so.
Players Lost: A.J. Price (to Washington)
The Pacers front office managed to go all over the place this offseason. They made a good move (D.J. Augustin for cheap), an understandable move (Roy Hibbert and his max contract) and a bad move (giving George Hill, a guy who isn’t a top-15 point guard, a five-year, $40 million deal).
Ian Mahinmi came over from Dallas as a sign-and-trade that sent Darren Collison (in my book, a better player than Hill) to the Mavericks. I’ll chop that up as a loss as well.
Los Angeles Clippers
Players Added/Re-signed: Chauncey Billups (re-sign), Grant Hill (from Phoenix), Ronny Turiaf (from Miami), Jamal Crawford (from Portland), Ryan Hollins (from Boston Celtics), Willie Green (from Philadelphia)
The Clippers had themselves a great GM-less free agency. They managed to re-sign locker-room leader Chauncey Billups and add in another smart veteran in Grant Hill. They also snagged two more sharpshooting guards with Jamal Crawford and Willie Green.
The loss of Nick Young would have been worse if they hadn’t signed Crawford. Foye was an unnecessary casualty and should have been re-signed, but it won’t break the Clippers' season.
Los Angeles Lakers
Players Lost: Ramon Sessions (to Charlotte)
When your only loss is Ramon Sessions and you manage to sign Steve Nash instead, you’ve had a good offseason. Add in a re-signed Jordan Hill and a cheap Antawn Jamison, and you’ve earned yourself a top grade in the class.
If only the Lakers could sign another wing shooter, they’d get an A+.
Players Lost: O.J. Mayo (to Dallas)
The loss of O.J. Mayo won’t be a huge hit to the Grizzlies. Otherwise, they had an excellent free agency. They signed both Darrell Arthur and Marresse Speights to cheap contracts and got themselves an excellent backup point guard in Jerryd Bayless.
With another bench scorer, the Grizzlies could have earned top marks.
Players Lost: Ronny Turiaf (to Los Angeles Clippers)
The Heat lost nothing of value while managing to add an excellent veteran and take a flyer on a probably-past-his-prime Rashard Lewis. Allen will be a fantastic fit alongside the current Heat stars and keeps Miami at the top of the NBA food chain.
If Lewis doesn’t work out, the Heat didn’t lose anything but a veteran’s minimum.
Players Added/Re-signed: Ersan Ilyasova (re-sign)
Players Lost: Kwame Brown (to Philadelphia)
Ersan Ilyasova was expensive to retain, but he’s such a well-rounded player that in the end, he’ll be worth the five-year, $45 million contract. He’s not a star, but much like Nicolas Batum, he’s such a talented player than you need to overpay to keep him.
Losing Kwame Brown was no big deal, but the Bucks needed to add more depth this summer.
If the Timberwolves are fully healthy this season, they are my dark-horse candidate for the Western Conference.
Brandon Roy was an excellent addition and gives Minnesota some much-needed scoring help at the otherwise weak 2 spot. Unless his knees are completely useless, he’ll at least be a solid pickup.
Andei Kirilenko was a nice signing as well, giving the Wolves depth at the wing spot. Greg Stiemsma was a solid (and cheap) backup big who will be far more useful to the Wolves than Darko Miličić ever was.
New Orleans Hornets
The Hornets dragged Eric Gordon back to New Orleans kicking and screaming, but he has nothing to whine about. With the addition of Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez (not to mention Anthony Davis!), the Hornets are posed to greatly improve on last season.
A playoff spot isn’t happening, but they’ll make some noise.
Anderson won’t be as effective as he’s been in the past, at least not until Anthony Davis draws the double-team like Dwight Howard did. He’s an excellent signing regardless and is a great fit next to Davis. Congrats to the New Orleans management for this super quick turnaround.
New York Knicks
Players Added/Re-signed: Raymond Felton (from Portland), Jason Kidd (from Dallas), Marcus Camby (from Houston), Ronnie Brewer (from Chicago), Steve Novak (re-sign), J.R. Smith (re-sign), Chris Smith, Pablo Prigioni, Chris Copeland, James White
New York’s offseason boils down to your faith in Raymond Felton. Can Felton return to his 2010-11 form? Is he as good a player as Jeremy Lin is/will be?
To me, the answer to both those questions is no. The Knicks' decision to replace Lin with Felton/Kidd, no matter the reason, was a mistake.
Ronnie Brewer was a nice signing, and the return of both Steve Novak and J.R. Smith keeps the roster's deep threat intact. Marcus Camby is a solid veteran, but I doubt he’ll make much of an impact.
The rest of New York’s signings (Chris Smith, Pablo Prigioni, Chris Copeland and James White) look like scrubs at best. Are the Knicks simply taking flyers on everyone they can in hopes of finding another Jeremy Lin?
Oklahoma City Thunder
Players Added/Re-signed: Hasheem Thabeet (from Portland)
Players Lost: Nazr Mohammed (to Chicago)
The Thunder kept quiet in free agency, but they took a flyer on 2009 second overall pick Hasheem Thabeet. Oklahoma City could use some inside help, and if Thabeet doesn’t work out, he won’t have been a costly mistake. He’ll at least do as well as the aging Mohammed would have done in his place.
Players Added/Re-signed: Jameer Nelson (re-sign)
Players Lost: Ryan Anderson (to New Orleans)
Unless Orlando believes it’ll be trading away Dwight Howard for a win-now type player (Andrew Bynum, anyone?), I don’t see why it re-signed Jameer Nelson. If Dwight is going to leave, rebuilding the old-fashioned way seems best, and that doesn’t involve keeping around solid non-stars like Nelson. Not that the Nelson deal was bad, I’m just not sure that is the direction they should be going in.
Losing Anderson hurts, of course, but the Magic weren’t going to be able to afford him anyway—not at his fair market value.
The Magic were held back from making real free-agency decisions by the whole Dwight Howard debacle. For them, a C grade is understandable.
With the possible exception of Nick Young, there was nothing but average signings in Philadelphia. Lou Williams never became the consistent deep threat the 76ers needed him to be, but Young is statistically a deeper shooter. He’s not quite the defender that Williams is, though.
The rest of the 76ers' offseason was mediocre at best. Spencer Hawes, Kwame Brown, Lavoy Allen? Yawn.
Phoenix did everything it needed to do to stay as a seventh- or eighth-seed contention in the West. Goran Dragic is an above-average point guard, and they absolutely stole Luis Scola off the amnesty waiver wire.
It’s not all bright in Phoenix. The Suns' future currently rests on Michael Beasley’s shoulders. Can he be a top scoring threat? I doubt it, and without a top scorer, the Suns won’t rise anywhere fast.
That isn’t to say Phoenix did a bad job this season; it just isn’t a contender.
Portland Trail Blazers
Despite the hefty contract Nicolas Batum signed with Minnesota, Portland did the right thing by matching the offer. His ability to do just about anything and play fantastic defense will keep the Blazers in most games, even if he does his job very quietly.
Portland said goodbye to two disappointments from last offseason (Felton to New York, Crawford to Los Angeles), and the loss of Hasheem Thabeet is nothing big either. It’s just a shame that the Blazers couldn’t add anything of value back; neither Pavlovic nor Jeffries are anything but 10th men off the bench.
Players Lost: N/A
Sacramento managed to keep starting big man Jason Thompson for a fair deal and added in a much-needed bench shooter with Aaron Brooks.
With Jimmer Fredette struggling both last season and in the summer camp, the addition of Brooks as a sixth man (he shouldn’t start over Isaiah Thomas) is a fine signing. He’s inexpensive as well (just two years and $6 million), so he’s a cheap risk.
The Kings also renounced the rights to both Donte Greene and Terrence Williams.
San Antonio Spurs
Players Lost: N/A
San Antonio kept together all its free agents, likely hoping to make one final run at the championship. That’s a good thing for basketball loyalists, because it means Tim Duncan will be a Spur for life.
Boris Diaw was an excellent late-season addition, as was guard Patty Mills. Both were great signings for San Antonio. Danny Green, the starting 2-guard last year, also returns for a friendly contract.
San Antonio won’t be able to afford any big contracts until the aged veterans retire, but for now, keeping what it has is the right move.
The only loss is James Anderson, who has not been re-signed by the Spurs or picked up by any other team.
Players Lost: Jerryd Bayless (to Memphis)
Landry Fields is a decent player, but not for three years, $20 million dollars. The Raptors made nice moves elsewhere in the offseason (acquiring Kyle Lowry from Houston and drafting Terrence Ross), but in terms of free agency, they messed up.
The return of Gray and the signing of John Lucas from Chicago are nothing but average moves, and the poor contract to Fields gives the Raptors a failing grade for free agency.
Players Added/Re-signed: Randy Foye (from Los Angeles Clippers)
Players Lost: N/A
Utah managed to swipe up Randy Foye for a solid deal, adding a deep threat to a squad that doesn’t have a ton of long-ball talent. Foye is no long-term fit, but he’s a good addition.
Players Lost: N/A
Washington made its big offseason moves via the draft (Bradley Beal) and trades (Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza), so with free agency, it was quiet. It would've been nice to see them do more for depth, but A.J. Price is a decent veteran backup for John Wall.