The Most Head-Scratching 2012 NBA Free-Agent Signings
It's not that easy being senseless.
Or is it?
The NBA offseason has been laden with movement, but it's also been littered with bewilderment. Not every transaction has made that much sense, or any sense at all, for that matter.
The key behind any signing, whether it entails retaining a familiar face or bringing in a new one, is justification. Teams have to be able to justify and provide clear reasoning their decisions.
But not every team does. Why? Because they can't.
As much as we'd like to believe every organization has a level head on its shoulders, logic doesn't always prevail when spending money and assembling a roster.
Sometimes, in fact, there's seemingly no method to a franchise's madness at all.
Gerald Wallace, Brooklyn Nets
Chris Chambers/Getty Images
Contract Value: Four years, $40 million
I've tried to understand this deal, I really have, but it doesn't make much sense.
Yes, the Nets needed talent to surround Deron Williams with, but that's what Joe Johnson's acquisition was all about. I highly doubt Williams would have balked at Brooklyn's offer if Wallace wasn't in the fold.
It's not that Wallace isn't a sound performer, because he is—one of the most underrated in the league, in fact). But he's now officially overpaid. Had this been a two-year deal, perhaps I could have jumped aboard, but the Nets gave him four years, at about $10 million per year. That's too much for a declining scorer now approaching the wrong side of 30.
And it's also too much for a team that could have spent that money on a younger small forward, who would have perhaps cost less and meshed better within the Johnson-Williams dynamic.
So, while it's difficult to call this contract horrible, I find myself struggling with the terms of the deal.
Simply put, four years and $40 million was about two years too many, and $25 million too much.
George Hill, Indiana Pacers
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Contract Value: Five years, $40 million
I get why the Pacers wanted to retain George Hill, but I don't understand why they felt it necessary to do so at such a boisterous pay grade.
Hill is a sound role player, a combo guard who can make an impact on both ends of the floor, but he's not a superstar. Not even close.
So, why is Indiana paying him a bolstered salary that sets expectations he's not going to meet?
While Hill provides a dash of versatility, his playmaking abilities are subpar to say the least. He's going to be asked to man the point for a majority of his time on the floor, which hardly suits his score-first, pass-later mindset.
Essentially, the Pacers are overpaying an athlete to assume a role he's not fit to play.
And that's a genuine head-scratcher. The kind that serves as a gateway to pulling your hair out, in fact.
Omer Asik, Houston Rockets
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Contract Value: Three years, $25.1 million
To a certain extent, I can understand why the Rockets lined Jeremy Lin's pockets—he's a finance guru's dream—but I'll never accept Omer Asik's deal. Ever.
Not only is the clumsy big man wildly overpaid, but his signing severely handicapped Houston's ability to negotiate a Dwight Howard deal with Orlando.
Now I know that the Magic wound up accepting peanuts for their big man anyway, but had the Rockets had the luxury of even more financial flexibility, perhaps a deal could have been struck.
Regardless, though, you don't mortgage your future and chance to acquire an All-Star—one you've been chasing for quite some time—on a nearly no-dimensional center who hasn't proven he can be part of a stable rotation.
After all the wheeling and dealing Houston did leading up to the draft, I thought for sure the team had something up its sleeve. Or, at the very least some significantly prolific plan in mind.
Needless to say, it was puzzling to watch the Rockets solidify their perennially mediocre stature instead.
Aaron Brooks, Sacramento Kings
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Contract Value: Two years, $6.6 million
Can anyone remember the last time the Kings did something that made sense? Yeah, me neither.
It's not that Aaron Brooks cost too much, because he didn't. And it's not because he's a below-average playmaker, even though he is. It's because Sacramento already has a Tyreke Evans, a Jimmer Fredette and, most importantly, an Isaiah Thomas.
No, Brooks' presence is hardly good news for Fredette, but that's not the point. Not only have the Kings not given Fredette an adequate opportunity to even begin to prove himself, but they're severely risking the progress fueling Thomas' development by bringing Brooks into the fold.
Aaron Brooks is not an especially deft passer, capable defender or supportive teammate by any means. But he can score. And yet, is that enough to facilitate a backcourt logjam and jeopardize a promising young prospect's future?
But that's Sacramento's front office for ya—land of the confusing, home of the senseless.
Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers
Harry How/Getty Images
Contract Value: Four years, $25 million
I love perpetual inefficiency as much as the next hoops junkie—oh wait, I don't.
Jamal Crawford is a fairly decent spark plug off the bench, but he's on the wrong side of 30, presents as much as a defensive liability as DeAndre Jordan presents an offensive one, and is coming off the worst season of his career.
So, why pony up more than $6 million per for a player, who quite frankly, is worth half that?
You got me, especially considering the Clippers already had a carbon copy of Crawford in Mo Williams, except that he was younger, more efficient, and come to think of it, a better fit in Los Angeles overall.
Color me confused with a dash of bewildered here.
Jason Thompson, Sacramento Kings
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Contract Value: Five years, $30 million
Now, I'm not one to pick on the Kings, but...I'm sorry, I couldn't even get through that.
Jason Thompson's latest pact is just another notch under the belt of absurdities for Sacramento. Capable big men are a rarity, but why invest $30 million in a center when you have a low-post tandem in the works consisting of DeMarcus Cousins and Thomas Robinson? Can someone not named Maloof explain that to me?
It doesn't matter that less than half of Thompson's salary is guaranteed in the final year. What matters is the Kings—keeping the addition of Aaron Brooks in mind—are either, A) burying promising young prospects in favor of less than mediocre vets, or B) are embracing the concept of overstocking and overpaying marginal role players.
Either way, Sacramento loses. The Kings would have been much better off letting Thompson walk so they could focus on the All-Star-caliber big men they had locked down.
But then again, that makes far too much sense for this franchise, doesn't it?
Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Contract Value: Three years, $25.2 million
After moving Dwight Howard for odds and ends, the future in Orlando is bleak. And Jameer Nelson's new contract isn't helping.
This is a guy who nearly fell off the face of the NBA last season, jump-stepping his way to a mediocre assists total and a poor shooting percentage. And somehow, the Magic found it in their hearts—and wallets—to give him more than $8 million annually.
Are you kidding me?
Orlando is supposed to have both eyes fixated on the future, but this contract is just going to weigh them down for the next two years, at least.
This was the time for the team to get younger, not remain stagnant and perpetuate the art of overpaying. I mean, isn't Hedo Turkoglu enough?
Apparently not, because the Magic opted to sign an underwhelming floor general, who won't help bring the team out of the doldrums, to a star-esque accord.
So much for progress out in Florida, eh?