The sad truth is that most splashy free-agent signings wind up dismaying fans. Tyson Chandler's addition to last year's Knicks squad was actually a pleasant surprise, all the more so because pleasant surprises are so rare given the number of free-agent busts.
Actually, it was all the more shocking because Chandler was a Knicks free-agent catch. James Dolan's team has cornered the overrated-signing market for years, even after Isaiah Thomas (if he ever really did leave).
With New York capped out for years to come within a more restrictive CBA, it looks like the Knicks were forced to cede their bad contract status to some other competitors. There's one team in particular, right across the water, that might take this ignominious throne.
Jeff Green's former team was eager to replace his services with those of one Kendrick Perkins, and they would probably make the trade again even though the flagging Perkins is a Code Red amnesty possibility. Green was out all of last season with a heart ailment. And despite all that, he just got a $36 million contract from the Boston Celtics.
This deal was utterly befuddling, as Jeff Green hasn't proven that he possesses an above-average NBA skill. His "versatility" is touted because his a PF/SF tweener, but he hasn't demonstrated that he can play either position well. If "versatility" means, "doing much in the way of mediocre," Green's got that.
The 26-year-old is a terrible post defender, a lethargic rebounder, a shaky three-point shooter and a non-passer. But hey, $36 million. Why not?
From one overrated combo forward to another. Remember how I cited Jeff Green's bad defense? Antawn Jamison is worse. Jamison might actually be the worst defensive player among guys who regularly log over 25 minutes.
It remains to be seen whether 'Tawn will exceed that minute total with the Lakers, but I reject the notion that this was a "smart" or "savvy" signing. I'm not sure Jamison does enough offensively to outweigh the hideous, hilarious defense. The flip shots are fun, but they don't go in often enough.
Last season, Jamison marked a .403 field-goal percentage and shot a mere .341 from deep. While I realize that the Lakers bench isn't exactly a murderers' row, I fail to see how Jamison helps the situation. At least he comes cheap at less than $2 million next season. That will make plays like this easier to smile through:
Look, I'll read any comic book Brook Lopez pens, but a max contract? Granted, this was part of a series of moves to get Dwight Howard, but that ship has sailed west. In the meantime, Brooklyn fans are working hard to convince themselves that this isn't a disaster.
In all likelihood, this is a disaster. Centers have a disproportionate impact on team defense, and Lopez is among the league's worst defenders. His rebounding has also plummeted in recent years, all the way down to 6.8 per 40 minutes in his last full season. Lopez has also yet to exceed 50 percent from the field since his rookie year.
The 28-year-old West Virginia native is coming off the worst shooting season of his career as he tried to overcompensate for the mediocre surrounding talent. The thinking goes that Joe Johnson should help Deron's game, but I'm not buying that notion completely.
The two both require a fair share of the basketball, and Williams does best when paired with a shooting, pick-and-roll big. The Nets don't really have such a player, unless the aforementioned Lopez improves his range.
Though Williams would command a max contract from many other franchises, I am not certain that he will produce max-quality play for this particular team.