The Biggest Mistakes of the 2013 NBA Offseason Thus Far
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For all of the improvements teams make throughout free agency, there are a number of moves that leave fans scratching their heads.
Whether it's overpaying for a pseudo-star or a team making an addition at a position that already possesses solid depth, mistakes can be made in a multitude of ways.
This offseason has been no exception. Front offices have opened their checkbooks to sign an array of contributors. While it's been fascinating to watch some rosters transform, the remodeling of others has been rather puzzling.
Knicks Deal for Andrea Bargnani
Perhaps the New York Knicks are outside-the-box thinkers who are smarter than the rest of us. Or maybe they're just as crazy as we think they are.
Either way, we're bound to find out this season when Andrea Bargnani takes the floor at Madison Square Garden donning blue and orange.
The Knicks acquired the former No. 1 overall pick in a trade with the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, a 2016 first-round pick (which Denver can swap with their 2016 first-rounder) and two future seconds.
Had the Knicks not dealt a first-round pick, the trade for Bargnani would have been defensible. However, parting with such a highly coveted future asset for a player who shot 39.9 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from three last season is highly questionable to say the least.
One other concerning statistic: According to Basketball-Reference, Bargnani is the only seven-footer in NBA history to average more than 28 minutes and pull down fewer than four rebounds per game for a single season.
Bucks Fall Flat with J.J. Redick, Zaza Pachulia Deals
The Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns both emerged as winners in last week's three-team trade that saw Eric Bledsoe head to the desert and J.J. Redick depart to join Doc Rivers, Chris Paul and Co.
The loser? Redick's former employer, the Milwaukee Bucks.
Not only did the Bucks receive two meager second-round picks as compensation for Redick, but they are now looking at a roster in flux, partly because they decided to trade the promising Tobias Harris in a deal for Redick at February's trade deadline.
Milwaukee has only two second-round picks, Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith to show for those two transactions involving Redick. A puzzling addition at the time, it's now crystal clear that trading for Redick in the first place was a mistake.
Unfortunately, the Bucks' offseason woes don't end there. John Hammond bestowed a three-year, $16 million deal upon Zaza Pachulia, per ESPN's Marc Stein, further crowding Milwaukee's frontcourt.
Not only is $5 million annually a steep price to pay for Pachulia's services (averaging 6.8 points and 5.5 rebounds for his career), but the Bucks possessed immense depth up front prior to inking the Georgian national. Pachulia will join Larry Sanders, Ekpe Udoh, John Henson, Drew Gooden and Ersan Ilyasova up front.
While Pachulia is a quality defensive center, his addition could stunt the growth of Henson and Udoh, each of whom possesses boatloads of promise.
Pelicans Sign Tyreke Evans to 4-Year, $44 Million Deal
Tyreke Evans is a quality scorer who may very well thrive in new surroundings. But considering the New Orleans Pelicans have agreed to shell out $44 million over four years for the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year, it may be very difficult for Evans to live up to his hefty new salary.
Sure, Evans gives New Orleans an added scoring threat, but he thrives with the ball in his hands. That wouldn't ordinarily be a problem, but the Pelicans also added Jrue Holiday in a draft-day trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Holiday is a score-first point guard who's at his best when he can dictate the flow of the offense. Considering the Pelicans parted with significant assets to let him run their offense, he will need the ball in his possession plenty.
Evans could feasibly lead the Pelicans' second unit, but according to John Reid of The Times-Picayune, there remains the possibility that he could start alongside Holiday and Eric Gordon.
The Pelicans also parted with center Robin Lopez, who now calls Portland home. Lopez was hardly an offensive force, but he had developed into a steady defensive presence in his fifth season. His reliability alongside Anthony Davis will be missed.
Bobcats Overpay for Al Jefferson
Perennial lottery teams have a difficult time luring big-name free agents to town for obvious reasons. The one thing that can change their minds, though, is a hefty payday.
This played out in front of our eyes when the Charlotte Bobcats, the league's least successful franchise, were forced to throw $41 million to Al Jefferson over the course of three years (with the option to opt out after Year 2) in order to entice the big man.
While this sort of overpayment is a necessary evil that accompanies consistent disappointment, this deal is an ugly one.
Jefferson is one of the game's premier offensive centers (averaging 16.4 points on 50 percent shooting for his career), but his game leaves plenty to be desired on the defensive end.
According to Basketball-Reference, Jefferson has a career defensive rating of 106. With the Bobcats looking to improve on a league-worst defensive rating of 111.5 in 2012-13, Jefferson is simply a flashy addition who will only moderately improve the Bobcats' unfinished frontcourt.
Kings Rescind Offer to Andre Iguodala
The Sacramento Kings have long needed a strong presence on the perimeter to help buoy their defense. They could have had one in Andre Iguodala had they not rescinded their offer of four years and $56 million.
While Iguodala doesn't knock down outside shots with regularity, he's the sort of team-centric veteran presence that teams—especially young ones—covet. Now, the Kings find themselves with a gaping hole on the perimeter as Tyreke Evans heads to the Big Easy and Iguodala makes his way to the Bay Area.
Ultimately, Iguodala should be happy. While he may have been insulted that the Kings flip-flopped, he now finds himself a member of the Golden State Warriors, who are primed to compete in the Western Conference for years to come.
Detroit Inks Josh Smith to $56 Million Deal
Where to begin with this one? The Detroit Pistons made their biggest offseason splash in years when they agreed to a four-year, $56 million deal with Josh Smith, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
But boy was it a puzzling decision.
While Smith is one of the game's most versatile and athletic defensive presences, his decision-making on the offensive end is questionable at best.
Smith often falls in love with his mid-range jumper, and the Pistons didn't need to shell out $14 million annually over the next four years for a player who shot 33 percent on field goals between 16 and 23 feet last season, per Hoopdata.
And then there's the personnel issue. The Pistons already possess two young studs in Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond in the frontcourt, and the addition of Smith creates a logjam down low.
If Smith is going to be the centerpiece of the Pistons offense moving forward, Joe Dumars may be better served dealing one of his young prospects (Monroe makes the most sense) to validate the trade.
One alternative could be to play Smith at the 3, but that would presumably make for some brutal floor spacing.