Report Card Grades for Biggest 2013 NBA Free-Agent Signings Thus Far
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Teams around the NBA will not be able to officially sign players from this summer's free-agent class until after the league's moratorium is lifted on July 10.
In the meantime, though, this list grades the reported free-agent deals that have been agreed to in principle through Sunday.
Each grade measures the individual signing along with the impact each player is projected to make at the price point he was acquired during the life of the contract.
This list does not include evaluations for sign-and-trades, however, like the ones that will reportedly send Tyreke Evans to the New Orleans Pelicans and J.J. Redick to the Los Angeles Clippers, due to the additional pieces involved in each transaction.
The free-agent signings are listed in alphabetical order by the team he will join in 2013-14.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks: A
Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported that Paul Millsap has reached an agreement with the Atlanta Hawks worth $19 million over two seasons.
The free-agent signing is a solid investment for the Hawks, as Millsap can now step into the power forward spot vacated by the departure of Josh Smith.
While Millsap isn't as athletic as Smith, he is a more traditional power forward who will form a solid tandem up front for Atlanta next to Al Horford.
With only a two-year commitment, the Hawks will also maintain long-term flexibility while continuing to pursue a return trip to the playoffs in 2013-14. Millsap averaged 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds next to Al Jefferson with the Utah Jazz last season and projects to be at least that productive next to Horford with the Hawks.
Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks: B+
Kyle Korver agreed to re-up with the Atlanta Hawks on a four-year contract worth $24 million, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
The sharp-shooting Korver was pursued by a number of teams including the Milwaukee Bucks, who reportedly offered three years and $21 million. Korver took slightly less money on an annual basis to stay in Atlanta, and it's a solid move for the Hawks.
Along with Al Horford and fellow free-agent signing Paul Millsap, Korver will help Atlanta make a return bid for a playoff berth next season.
In 2012-13, Korver averaged 10.9 points on 46.1 percent shooting from the floor for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. He also shot 45.7 percent from three-point range, ranking second in the NBA.
Andray Blatche, Brooklyn Nets: A
The Brooklyn Nets acquired the biggest bargain of the summer by reportedly signing free agent Andray Blatche to a below-market contract of $1.4 million for 2013-14.
After being released by the Washington Wizards, Blatche averaged 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Nets last season.
But because Washington used its amnesty clause to release Blatche, he continued to earn approximately $8 million. As a result of being owed that money again from the Wizards next year, Blatche decided to stay with the Nets as opposed to pursing more lucrative options.
The result of this signing, as reported by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, is a backup to Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez for Brooklyn who is more than capable of playing minutes as a starter whenever necessary.
Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats: A-
There is a distinct difference between being financially prudent as an NBA team and depriving young players the opportunity to develop.
Prior to Al Jefferson's arrival in Charlotte, the Bobcats' organization was walking its top draft picks out to a nightly slaughter. No matter how much improvement Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made, they did not have an opportunity to collectively compete based on the talent around them.
By acquiring Al Jefferson to a reported three-year deal worth $41 million, according to ESPN's Marc Stein, Charlotte has provided its young core with the support necessary to grow.
Walker, Kidd-Gilchrist and rookie Cody Zeller will all be substantially more effective with the attention and presence that Jefferson provides.
Though the 20 points and 10 rebounds he's capable of averaging in 2013-14 are still a long way from ensuring Charlotte earns a playoff berth, the arrival of Jefferson is a solid step in that direction.
Mike Dunleavy, Chicago Bulls: B
Mike Dunleavy helped a random collection of parts advance to the postseason in 2012-13 as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Dunleavy will now join the Chicago Bulls on a two-year contract worth $6 million.
Though the signing of Dunleavy has been under the radar for the most part, it's still a solid addition for the Bulls. Since 2010, the 32-year-old small forward has scored in double figures while playing less than 28 minutes per night.
Last season, with the Bucks, Dunleavy shot 42.8 percent from three-point range while averaging 10.5 points and 3.9 rebounds.
He will provide solid depth behind Luol Deng on the wing upon arrival, along with a veteran scoring presence in support of Joakim Noah and a healthy Derrick Rose.
Nazr Mohammed, Chicago Bulls: C
Nazr Mohammed is scheduled to return to the Chicago Bulls in 2013-14 to continue his fight for loose balls and rebounds.
He will also provide depth up front for the Bulls as a situational reserve.
According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Mohammed agreed to a one-year contract to return at the veteran's minimum salary.
He is a solid option to fill out the bottom of an NBA roster, but the signing of Mohammed will not impact Chicago too much in the win column.
Jarrett Jack, Cleveland Cavaliers: A
The Cleveland Cavaliers significantly upgraded their roster and backcourt with the free-agent acquisition of Jarrett Jack.
According to Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group, Jack will sign a four-year, $25 million deal with the Cavaliers after the moratorium is lifted on July 10.
Heading into the 2013-14 campaign, Jack expects to play a substantial role for the rebuilding Cavs while backing up Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters at both guard spots. He will provide Irving with the ability to play off the ball at times while also aiding in Waiters' development during his second NBA season.
Jack will help the Cavs compete now while also assisting in the long-term development of their young backcourt.
Earl Clark, Cleveland Cavaliers: B-
Earl Clark is a reasonable investment with minimal risk for the rebuilding Cleveland Cavaliers.
During the 2012-13 campaign with the Los Angeles Lakers, Clark posted a career-best 7.3 points and 5.5 rebounds. That effort was primarily fueled by his performance during the months of January and February, when Clark averaged just over 10 points and eight rebounds.
During that stretch, however, Clark played the majority of his minutes at power forward in relief of Pau Gasol. As a member of the Cavaliers, he will likely be asked to play, and possibly even start, at small forward.
If Clark becomes a serviceable 3, the year-end grade on this signing will improve. For now, though, it's a roster-filling move with the potential for some upside.
Jose Calderon, Dallas Mavericks: C
According to Chuyler Dixon of the Associated Press, however, it appears they'll be settling for Jose Calderon on a $28 million deal over four years.
Playing for both the Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons in 2012-13, Calderon continued to prove his worth as an above-average point guard. He posted combined totals of 11.3 points and 7.1 assists while knocking down 46.1 percent of his three-point attempts to quietly lead the NBA in three-point field-goal percentage among qualified players.
But investing the next four seasons in a player as old as Calderon, who turns 32 years old before the start of the 2013-14 campaign, is too risky to deserve a solid grade.
Devin Harris, Dallas Mavericks: C
The Dallas Mavericks and guard Devin Harris are expected to reunite on a three-year deal worth just over $9 million, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
Harris is fresh off a 2012-2013 season in which he averaged 9.9 points and 3.4 assists for the Hawks.
While he is a solid backup at 30 years old, this move—on the heels of adding free agent Jose Calderon—seems to be an over-investment for the Mavericks at the point guard position.
They will now enter the 2013-14 campaign with two point guards who are both in their 30s, which is not an ideal situation for a team that may need to start rebuilding sooner rather than later.
J.J. Hickson, Denver Nuggets: B
J.J. Hickson and JaVale McGee, both with a history of giving coaching staffs headaches, might not appear to be the best combination on paper.
First-year coach Brian Shaw, however, will have the challenge of managing the talented tandem in Denver.
The Nuggets reportedly signed Hickson to a three-year, $15 million deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
At that price, based on his on-court production for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2012-13, Hickson could prove to be a valuable commodity for Denver.
The 24-year-old big man averaged 12.4 points and 10.4 rebounds for the Trail Blazers in 2012-13 and appears to have matured since his departure from the Sacramento Kings during the 2011-12 campaign.
Josh Smith, Detroit Pistons: C+
Josh Smith reportedly agreed to a four-year, $56 million deal with the Detroit Pistons, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Despite the salary-cap space that Joe Dumars and the Pistons had available this summer, I didn't expect Detroit to be the landing spot for Smith in free agency.
The 27-year-old averaged 17.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists for the Atlanta Hawks in 2012-13, and the type of money he ultimately received is fair market value for a player of his ability.
But what I'm struggling to project is how Smith fits alongside Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.
Smith has spent the majority of his career as a power forward and doesn't shoot particularly well from the perimeter. According to Hoopdata.com, Smith shot 24 percent on field goals attempted from 10-15 feet last year and 33 percent from 16-23 feet.
While playing next to the interior duo of Drummond and Monroe, Smith will be asked to score from these areas of the floor specifically, which could be a problem for the Pistons.
Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors: A-
The Golden State Warriors were first able to clear salary-cap space by miraculously trading the contracts of Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush to the Utah Jazz.
After the assist from Utah, they promptly inked Andre Iguodala to four-year, $48 million deal, according to Sam Amick of USA Today.
While the move ultimately caused the Warriors to be unable to re-sign Jarrett Jack, who helped spur Golden State's playoff run while backing up both guard positions, Iguodala is an overall upgrade based on his well-rounded ability to impact games in multiple areas.
On the perimeter, the former All-Star will provide a veteran presence that will help Mark Jackson's club immensely on the defensive end of the floor. The 29-year-old is also coming off a season with the Denver Nuggets in which he averaged 13 points, 5.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds.
Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets: A+
The addition of Dwight Howard instantly transforms the Houston Rockets into a legitimate contender for an NBA championship.
As first reported by Sam Amick of USA Today, Howard's deal with the Rockets is worth $88 million over four seasons. He could've earned an additional $30 million and the security of a fifth year by remaining with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he chose Houston instead.
Beyond his ability to convert second-chance points around the rim, the potential for Howard and Rockets guard James Harden in the pick-and-roll is limitless.
Defensively, Howard's presence in the paint will also dramatically improve a unit that ranked 28th in the NBA last season by allowing 102.5 points per game.
Howard and Harden will form an All-Star duo capable of leading the Rockets to an NBA title.
Omri Casspi, Houston Rockets: C
In need now of pieces to fill out their roster around the max contracts of James Harden and Dwight Howard, the Houston Rockets reportedly added free agent Omri Casspi from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Casspi struggled to find a fit and role in Cleveland over the last two seasons, but he is still a limited risk on a veteran's minimum deal.
According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Casspi's contract with the Rockets is for two years with a team option in 2014-15 at the veteran's minimum price of $1 million annually.
Whatever production Casspi can provide at that number is essentially a bonus for general manager Daryl Morey and the Rockets.
David West, Indiana Pacers: A
Outside of Paul George, David West was the single biggest reason for the Indiana Pacers' success during the 2012-13 campaign.
While fellow big man Roy Hibbert emerged in the postseason to make a number of critical plays, West was a model of consistency for the Pacers all year long.
He averaged 17.1 points and 7.7 rebounds on 49.8 percent shooting during the regular season before helping Indiana advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Though the $36 million over three years that USA Today's Sam Amick reported may seem high for the 32-year-old power forward with 10 years of NBA service, expect West's production to match the investment.
With West returning, you can also expect Indiana to remain an Eastern Conference contender heading into 2013-14.
Chris Copeland, Indiana Pacers: B
After extending the NBA champion Miami Heat to seven games in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, the Indiana Pacers entered free agency in search of needed support for their second unit.
By acquiring former New York Knick Chris Copeland for two years at $6.12 million, according to Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com, the Pacers believe they improved in that area specifically.
Due to financial restraints, the Knicks are not expected to match the offer for the restricted free agent.
The 29-year-old Copeland will move to Indiana to build on a rookie season in which he averaged 8.7 points on 47.9 percent shooting overall and 42.1 percent from three-point range. Copeland also collected 2.1 rebounds in 15.4 minutes of work off the bench on a nightly basis.
C.J. Watson, Indiana Pacers: C+
As first reported by Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com, C.J. Watson will be joining the Indiana Pacers to begin the 2013-14 campaign.
The Pacers reportedly signed the former Brooklyn Net to a two-year deal worth just over the league minimum.
While Indiana may have needed a starting-caliber point guard to challenge the incumbent George Hill, it lacked the financial resources to acquire such a player in free agency. Instead, by adding Watson, it has solidified the backup role with a point guard who averaged 6.8 points and two assists in 2012-13.
At a reasonable price, Watson will serve as a solid replacement on both ends of the floor for the Pacers in assuming the role previously held by D.J. Augustin.
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers: A+
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor
Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported that Chris Paul will sign a maximum five-year deal worth $107.3 million to remain with the Los Angeles Clippers.
When the moratorium is lifted on July 10, this will become the greatest free-agent signing in the history of the Clippers organization.
Retaining Paul, on the heels of Doc Rivers being announced as head coach, positions the Clippers as a threat to win the Western Conference for the life of CP3's deal.
It will also aid in the development of Blake Griffin, along with any other player who takes the court with the NBA's best point guard moving forward.
Matt Barnes, Los Angeles Clippers: B
Chris Paul isn't the only free agent who will be returning to the Los Angeles Clippers for the 2013-14 campaign.
Free-agent forward Matt Barnes has agreed to a three-year contract worth roughly $11 million, according to USA Today's Sam Amick.
In a reserve role off the bench, Barnes averaged a career-high 10.3 points on 46.2 percent shooting for Los Angeles in 2012-13. He also collected 4.6 rebounds while dishing out 1.5 assists.
At just under $4 million annually, Barnes will continue to add value for the Clippers in a similar role moving forward.
Darren Collison, Los Angeles Clippers: B+
With Eric Bledsoe being sent to the Phoenix Suns via trade, the Los Angeles Clippers addressed a need in free agency by acquiring point guard Darren Collison as a backup to Chris Paul.
Collison, who generated significant interest around the league as a backup, reportedly agreed to terms on a deal worth $1.9 million in 2013-14 that also includes a player option in year two, according to Sam Amick of USA Today.
The move is a solid play for the Clippers, who add a four-year veteran in Collison who's averaged 12.1 points and 5.2 assists for his career.
Though he struggled some as a starter over each of the past two seasons as a member of the Indiana Pacers and later the Dallas Mavericks, expect Collison to thrive as an energy player off the bench for Los Angeles.
While filling a similar role as a rookie for the New Orleans Hornets, Collison previously averaged 12.4 points and 5.7 assists as a teammate of Chris Paul's.
Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies: A-
The Memphis Grizzlies and free-agent guard Tony Allen agreed to terms on a four-year, $20 million contract extension, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
At $5 million, the annual salary number is a reasonable price for Memphis to retain the defensive stopper.
Allen, while earning All-Defensive First Team honors in each of the last two seasons, has embodied the grit and grind spirit of the Grizzlies throughout his time in Memphis.
Beyond doing work on the defensive end, Allen also averaged 8.9 points and 4.6 assists in 2012-13.
His ability to defend multiple positions on the perimeter will continue to be a valuable asset in support of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
O.J. Mayo, Milwaukee Bucks: C-
This below-average grade isn't necessarily an indictment of O.J. Mayo.
As a player, Mayo took a step forward with the Dallas Mavericks in terms of his professionalism and production. While appearing in all 82 games during the 2012-13 campaign, Mayo shot a respectable 44.9 percent from the field while also knocking down 40.7 percent of his attempts from three.
He averaged 15.3 points while collecting 3.5 rebounds and dishing out a career-best 4.4 assists, all of which is solid for an NBA guard.
But by replacing Monta Ellis with Mayo, in a backcourt next to Brandon Jennings, it seems the Bucks are uncertain of how they want to construct their team. Assuming Jennings is retained, they will have two players with similar skill sets who could struggle to share the basketball heading into next season.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, the agreement reached between Mayo and the Bucks is for three years and $24 million.
Kevin Martin, Minnesota Timberwolves: C+
The Kevin Martin era is over in Oklahoma City.
After being acquired by the Thunder as part of the James Harden trade prior to the 2012-13 campaign, Martin averaged 14 points and 2.3 rebounds on 45 percent shooting off the bench.
According to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, Martin will now join the Minnesota Timberwolves on a four-year contract valued at roughly $28 million.
He will add a veteran scoring punch for the T-Wolves while also helping to spread the floor for Ricky Rubio and a healthy Kevin Love.
But despite still being a serviceable scorer, four years at $7 million annually is a bit high for the 30-year-old guard. Especially on a team like the T-Wolves, who are still multiple pieces away from contending for a conference championship.
Chase Budinger, Minnesota Timberwolves: B
After requiring surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, Chase Budinger's season with the Minnesota Timberwolves was limited to just 23 games in 2012-13.
While averaging 9.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 22.1 minutes on a nightly basis, however, Budinger showed coach Rick Adelman and the Timberwolves enough to warrant an extension.
While projecting to be the starter at small forward heading into 2013-14, Budinger inked a three-year, $15 million contract, according to the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda.
It's a reasonable price for a 25-year-old wing player who's averaged over nine points and three rebounds since breaking into the NBA as a second-round pick in 2009.
Al Farouq Aminu, New Orleans Pelicans: B
According to John Reid of The Times Picayune, unrestricted free agent Al Farouq Aminu agreed to a one-year, $3.7 million contract to return to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Aminu averaged 7.3 points and 7.7 rebounds for New Orleans in 2012-13.
The one-year contract provides flexibility for the Pelicans long-term along with the potential for continued improvement in year four of the 22-year-old small forward's NBA career.
The scoring and rebounding numbers for Aminu last season each represented a career high.
J.R. Smith, New York Knicks: B-
As the regular season concluded, it seemed plausible that J.R. Smith could receive contract offers that approached $10 million annually in free agency.
The NBA's Sixth Man of the Year had just averaged career highs of 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds for a New York Knicks team that finished with the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The 27-year-old Smith struggled in the playoffs, however, scoring 14.3 points on 33.1 percent shooting, and his free-agent stock tumbled.
From that perspective, the four-year contract worth a reported $24.5 million, according to Howard Beck of The New York Times, represents a reasonable price considering Smith's body of work.
At the same time, however, a three-year contract with a player option in year four is a lengthy commitment to an up-and-down player like Smith.
Pablo Prigioni, New York Knicks: B
It wouldn't seem right after all the fun we had for the Pablo Prigioni era in New York to end after only one season.
Thanks to the New York Knicks, however, NBA fans around the world can rest easily in knowing that Prigioni's reign of timely shooting, leadership and hustle plays will continue.
According to Al Iannazzone of Newsday, the 36-year-old will receive a three-year deal for just under $6 million in total, with the third year being a partially guaranteed team option.
Prigioni was a priority for the Knicks due to the stabling presence he brings to the floor. Though he only averaged 3.5 points and three assists in 78 games, New York did manage a 16-2 record when he filled in as a starter.
Dorell Wright, Portland Trail Blazers: B
Led by Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Portland Trail Blazers had one of the most dynamic starting units in the NBA last season.
Despite that, however, a lack of production off the bench ultimately cost Portland a spot in the playoffs.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Trail Blazers have addressed that need by reaching a two-year, $6 million agreement with free-agent forward Dorell Wright.
The 27-year-old averaged 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds as a reserve for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2012-13, while also shooting 37.4 percent from three-point range.
If he is able to provide a similar scoring punch while spacing the floor from the perimeter for Portland, Wright will be a sound investment at $3 million annually.
Carl Landry, Sacramento Kings: C+
From 2009-11, Carl Landry spent parts of two seasons as a member of the Sacramento Kings.
According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, the former Golden State Warrior will be rejoining the Kings on a four-year contract worth approximately $27 million.
Landry proved to be a valuable commodity for Golden State during the 2012-13 campaign by averaging 10.8 points and six rebounds in 23.2 minutes per night off the bench. But while he will add a stable, veteran presence to help infuse the Kings organization with a positive enthusiasm, his most productive days may be behind him.
The rugged big man turns 30 years old in September, and at nearly $8 million annually, chances are good his production will not match the investment during the latter half of this deal.
Tiago Splitter, San Antonio Spurs: B
Tiago Splitter helped the San Antonio Spurs advance to the NBA Finals while averaging 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds in 2012-13.
San Antonio is now rewarding that production by reportedly offering a $36 million contract extension, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, over the next four years.
But before you suggest that $9 million annually is too steep for a player like Splitter, it's important to consider just how rare a starting-caliber center is in the NBA these days.
At 6'11" and 240 pounds, Splitter has the size to be specifically that with a game that fits well in support of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs: B-
Manu Ginobili is a 35-year-old future Hall of Famer whose best playing days are long behind him.
His declining game, in a vaccum, is no longer worth $7 million annually over the next two seasons.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, however, that is the free-agent deal he reached to keep him in San Antonio through 2014-15.
Ginobili, who turns 36 later this month, averaged 11.8 points and 4.6 assists last season for the Spurs.
But even though his skills are diminishing, it's important to Spurs fans and the NBA community in general that legendary players like Ginobili finish their careers in the same place they started. As a result of this deal, it seems, Ginobili will do specifically that.
If any other team acquired him at a similar price, however, it would be a regrettable investment.
Marco Belinelli, San Antonio Spurs: B
The San Antonio Spurs agreed to terms with free agent Marco Belinelli on a two-year deal worth $6 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
The move helps strengthen the Spurs' second unit, as the former Chicago Bulls shooting guard averaged 9.6 points and two assists in 2012-13.
Though he shot only 39.5 percent from the floor last season, Belinelli has knocked down 41.8 percent of his field goals since entering the league in 2007. He has made critical shots during the postseason as well while also demonstrating an ability to create for himself and others.
Belinelli is not an elite defender by any stretch of the imagination, but he will improve San Antonio's depth at the wing for a reasonable price.
Martell Webster, Washington Wizards: B-
Martell Webster was originally selected sixth overall out of high school in 2005 by the Portland Trail Blazers.
Though he didn't live up to expectations early on in his career, Webster has since developed a role for himself in the NBA as a solid defender capable of knocking down shots from the perimeter.
To keep him in Washington moving forward, the Wizards offered the eight-year veteran the full mid-level exception worth four years, $22 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
In 2012-13, Webster averaged a career high of 11.4 points to go along with 3.9 rebounds for the Wizards.
He is a solid rotational piece who will provide depth at the wing along with rookie Otto Porter, but the Wizards may have overextended themselves by investing as much as they reportedly have in Webster.