Re-Grading Every NBA Team's 2021 Free-Agent Signings

Greg Swartz@@GregSwartzBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterDecember 8, 2021

Re-Grading Every NBA Team's 2021 Free-Agent Signings

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    Jim McIsaac/Associated Press

    Now over a quarter of the way into the 2021-22 NBA season, it's time to see how those summer free-agent signings are panning out.

    Teams have been given an overall grade based on their notable free-agent additions, whether they were outside signings or just new deals for their own players. Extensions that don't kick in until next year won't be included. Grades are based on the player's contracts vs. their production and impact on both ends of the court.

    Here's how all 30 teams fared in their 2021 free-agency activity.

Atlanta Hawks: B+

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Gorgui Dieng (one year, $4 million)

    Notable Re-signings: John Collins (five years, $125 million), Lou Williams (one year, $5 million)

    Getting Collins back on a deal that stayed below max value seemed like a win for the Hawks at the time, and the 24-year-old has remained steady with his production even after getting paid.

    Even though his scoring has dipped a tad (down to 17.0 points per game), it's more so because of a drop in usage rather than a slip in shooting. Collins' true shooting mark of 64.5 percent is above his career average, and his plus-14.4 swing rating is easily the best of his five seasons, ranking in the 91st percent of all players according to Cleaning the Glass.

    Collins' big deal has been well worth it, even if the smaller contracts handed out to Williams and Dieng have been minor disappointments.

    Williams' poor defense can no longer be overlooked due to his offense, as his 6.3 points per game is the lowest he's registered since 2006-07. This will likely be his last season, as he told Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks in November. Dieng hasn't played much (8.4 minutes per game) even with Onyeka Okongwu recovering from shoulder surgery, but he is a capable defender who provides little offensively.

    Most of Atlanta's free-agent spending was done last offseason, with Collins' big contract looking like money well spent to this point.

Boston Celtics: A

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Dennis Schroder (one year, $5.9 million) Enes Freedom (one year, $2.6 million)

    Notable Re-signings: N/A

    Aside from the Nerdlucks zapping his talent, there was likely no way Schroder wasn't going to become one of the NBA's best value signings of this offseason.

    The 28-year-old point guard has been a reliable third scorer for the Celtics (17.9 points per game) whose real-time contract ($25.5 million) is nearly $20 million higher than his actual one, per ProFitX.com. He's also second on the team in assists (4.9) and is shooting better than his career average from three (35.8 percent to 33.8 percent).

    Freedom is receiving the fewest number of minutes of his career (12.7) but is still rebounding at a high rate (17.5 per 36 minutes). The Celtics have also outscored their opponents by a whopping 71 total points in Freedom's 165 minutes on the court this season.

    For the price of a tax-payer mid-level exception and a minimum contract, Schroder and Freedom have been excellent signings.

Brooklyn Nets: B

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Patty Mills (two years, $12 million), Paul Millsap (one year, $2.6 million), James Johnson (one year, $2.6 million), De'Andre Bembry (one year, $1.9 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Bruce Brown Jr. (one year, $4.7 million), LaMarcus Aldridge (one year, $2.6 million), Blake Griffin (one year, $2.6 million)

    Brooklyn was busy this offseason, handing out a number of minimum deals to veterans in hopes that at least a few would turn out to be useful rotation players.

    Aldridge has become the Nets' third-leading scorer (13.8 points per game) in his return from a brief retirement, and Patty Mills has been moved between starter and sixth man with Kyrie Irving away from the team. The 33-year-old point guard's 12.7 points per game are a career high, and his 47.4 percent mark from three is the second-highest in the NBA.

    Bembry and Brown are versatile defenders who can knock down open shots and have been important parts of Brooklyn's rotation, even if their contributions don't always show up in the box score.

    While Mills, Aldridge, Brown and Bembry have been good signings, Griffin and Millsap look cooked.

    Despite starting all 17 games, Griffin is averaging a career-low 5.5 points on 31.8 percent shooting in his 21.7 minutes. While he offers a little playmaking, Griffin has otherwise been a non-factor on offense (16.1 percent shooting from three) and has no business being in Brooklyn's opening lineup.

    This could be Millsap's final season in the NBA, with averages of just 3.4 points on 36.7 percent shooting as a reserve. Thankfully, both Griffin and Millsap are on minimum deals.

    Overall, the play of Mills and Aldridge has been good enough to give these Nets a solid free-agent mark.

Charlotte Hornets: A-

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Kelly Oubre Jr. (two years, $24.6 million), Ish Smith (two years, $9.2 million)

    Notable Re-signings: N/A

    Oubre's deal looked like good value when he signed it, and a strong start to his Hornets career has only confirmed as much.

    After his true shooting mark shrunk to 52.9 percent with the Golden State Warriors last season, Oubre's now up to 58.7 percent overall, including a career-high 39.4 percent from three. While he's being paid $12 million, Oubre's real-time contract value has come in at $20.1 million this season, per ProFitX.com.

    The 25-year-old has primarily come off the bench for Charlotte but is averaging 18.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and shooting 39.7 percent from three in his seven starts.

    Smith is filling the backup point guard role previously held by Devonte' Graham and has also been a solid value for the Hornets behind LaMelo Ball with 4.8 points and 2.4 assists in his 13.6 minutes.

Chicago Bulls: A+

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: DeMar DeRozan (three years, $81.9 million), Lonzo Ball (four years, $80 million), Alex Caruso (four years, $37 million), Tony Bradley (two years, $3.8 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Javonte Green (two years, $3.5 million)

    It's almost impossible to have a perfect offseason, but these Bulls look damn close.

    The last time DeRozan (26.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists) averaged this many points, he was an All-Star starter with the Toronto Raptors in 2017-18. It's the second-highest scoring average of his career, putting to bed any questions of his fit alongside Zach LaVine. What's more impressive is his swing rating of plus-12.1, which is somehow only the second time he's been in the positive in 13 seasons.

    Ball looks more comfortable than ever as a scorer, playmaker and defender, and his 42.6 percent mark from three ranks 16th overall in the NBA.

    Caruso has been a godsend for the second unit and is easily one of the league's top defenders at the guard position. He leads the NBA in both steals per game (2.2) and steal percentage (3.8 percent) while keeping the offense humming.

    Chicago's free-agent acquisitions always looked good. Following a 17-8 start to the season, they couldn't possibly look better.

Cleveland Cavaliers: A-

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Lauri Markkanen (four years, $67.5 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Jarrett Allen (five years, $100 million)

    Giving a non-shooting center $100 million seemed a bit hefty in today's NBA, but Allen has been worth every penny as Cleveland's best overall player this season.

    Averaging a career-high 17.3 points and 11.2 rebounds to go along with 1.8 assists, 1.3 blocks and a 71.0 field-goal percentage, the 23-year-old center is thriving in an everyday starting role once again. He's a nightmare to try to score on in the paint and is holding opponents to 51.7 percent shooting from within six feet, a massive drop of 11.5 percent from their regular averages.

    Markkanen has been a necessary offensive option (14.6 points per game) for the Cavs after they lost Collin Sexton to a torn meniscus, and he's competed well as a 7'0" starting small forward with his effort on defense.

    His shooting marks (40.6 percent overall, 33.3 percent from three) still need to improve to justify his nearly $70 million payday, however, especially since Cleveland had to trade Larry Nance Jr. to acquire him.

Dallas Mavericks: D+

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    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Reggie Bullock (three years, $30 million), Sterling Brown (two years, $6 million), Frank Ntilikina (two years, $3.8 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Tim Hardaway Jr. (four years, $75 million), Boban Marjanovic (two years, $7 million)

    The Mavericks have to be thankful every day that Doncic inked his max extension this past summer because the rest of the money spent during free agency should have the franchise superstar concerned.

    Most of their hefty amount of cap space went to re-signing Hardaway, who doesn't look like the same player now under new head coach Jason Kidd. His scoring (14.7 points per game) and efficiency (38.5 percent overall, 35.7 percent from three) are both down, despite a slight increase in minutes and shot attempts.

    Bullock was the other big addition as a three-and-D wing, but he's made minimal impact off the bench (5.5 points, 2.8 rebounds on 34.4 percent shooting) after thriving as a starter for the New York Knicks last year.

    Dallas is a net positive in the minutes that Marjanovic, Brown and Ntilikina each spend on the floor but all have been lightly-used rotation/bench players.

    In the Mavericks' last offseason with money to spend, they misallocated funds.

Denver Nuggets: B

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Jeff Green (two years, $9 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Will Barton (two years, $30 million), JaMychal Green (two years, $16.4 million), Austin Rivers (one year, $2.4 million)

    While Barton once looked like a luxury with all the scorers on this roster, he's become a necessary piece to keeping this team afloat given the number of injuries that continue to pile up.

    Barton is Denver's second-leading scorer behind Nikola Jokic (16.0 points per game) and continues to thrive as a playmaker and rebounder on the wing. He's increased his three-point attempts (a career-high 6.6 per game) without sacrificing efficiency (38.1 percent, the same number as last year).

    Jeff Green has had to fill in for Michael Porter Jr. (back surgery) as a starting forward and is doing an admirable job with 11.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and shooting splits of 50.4 percent overall 39.5 percent from three in 14 games.

    JaMychal Green and Rivers have both struggled with their shots, however, and the Nuggets are getting killed when either has taken the floor (minus-9.1 swing for Rivers, minus-27.1 swing for Green).

Detroit Pistons: C-

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    Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Kelly Olynyk (three years, $37.2 million), Trey Lyles (two years, $5.2 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Hamidou Diallo (two years, $10.4 million), Cory Joseph (two years, $10 million), Frank Jackson (two years, $6.2 million)

    Olynyk, the Pistons' big free-agent acquisition, has been limited to 10 games following a sprained MCL. Even in his brief time on the court, Olynyk was averaging a modest 12.5 points and 5.3 rebounds and shooting 34.1 percent from three despite being brought in to be the team's frontcourt floor-spacer.

    Jackson and Lyles can't buy a shot from the outside (29.8 percent and 29.2 percent from three, respectively), and Diallo (6.1 points in 14.6 minutes per game) has been in and out of Dwane Casey's rotation.

    Joseph has been nice to have around with Cade Cunningham missing the beginning of the season and Killian Hayes inching ever closer to bust status, however.

    With a 4-19 start to the season and Olynyk sidelined for the majority of it, Detroit's free agency has been a bust to this point.

Golden State Warriors: A

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Andre Iguodala (one year, $2.6 million), Otto Porter Jr. (one year, $2.4 million), Nemanja Bjelica (one year, $2 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Gary Payton II (one year, $1.9 million)

    A lot has gone right in Golden State's 20-4 start to the season, with some smart, veteran free-agent signings helping contribute to its success.

    Porter, Iguodala, Bjelica and Payton are combining to earn just $8.9 million this season, yet are all playing valuable rotation roles for a Warriors team that has real depth for the first time in years.

    Payton may be the most surprising, as he was the last to make the 15-man roster yet has the highest swing rating on the team at plus-18.8, ranking in the 96th percentile in the NBA, according to Cleaning the Glass. Whether it's spotting up for three, making timely cuts to the rim or picking the pockets of his opponent, Payton continues to produce positive plays all over the court.

    The Warriors didn't have the cap space to land any stars in free agency, but the vets they did land are starring in their roles.

Houston Rockets: C

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Daniel Theis (four years, $35.6 million)

    Notable Re-signings: David Nwaba (three years, $15 million)

    Signing Theis as a veteran, defensive-minded big to add to a young roster was a good idea in theory, but he hasn't worked out as a fit next to Christian Wood.

    The 7-16 Rockets carry a positive net rating when Wood is on the floor without Theis (plus-0.4 points per 100 possessions). When Theis joins Wood, Houston's net rating plummets to minus-20.0.

    Because of this, Theis should be on the trade block from Dec. 15 if the Rockets plan on keeping Wood. At least benching him would be a start.

    Nwaba is a good, versatile defender, but he has struggled to get on the floor (11.7 minutes per game) with so many younger options available and has now become an overpaid backup.

Indiana Pacers: C+

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Torrey Craig (two years, $10 million)

    Notable Re-signings: T.J. McConnell (four years, $33.6 million)

    A juicy new contract for McConnell has yet to pay off, as the 29-year-old point guard hasn't been as effective as he was last season and is now expected to miss multiple months following hand surgery, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

    After leading the NBA in steal percentage in 2020-21 (3.4 percent), his swipe rate has fallen to 2.1 percent, with similar dips in assist percentage (34.3 percent to 29.0 percent) and true shooting percentage (58.3 percent to 53.6 percent).

    McConnell is still an important part of Indiana's rotation, and he'll be under a reasonable remaining three-year, $26.1 million deal even if he can't return until next season.

    Craig is only getting 15.7 minutes worth of run off the Pacers bench, and his defense hasn't been good enough to justify a 28.0 percent shooting mark from three.

Los Angeles Clippers: B-

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Justise Winslow (two years, $8 million), Isaiah Hartenstein (one year, $1.7 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Kawhi Leonard (four years, $176.3 million), Reggie Jackson (two years, $21.6 million), Nic Batum (two years, $6.5 million)

    The Clippers knew Leonard may miss the entire 2021-22 season when they signed him to a four-year max deal this summer, and the play of Kevin Durant after the Brooklyn Nets inked him to a similar deal coming off a major injury should give Los Angeles plenty of hope.

    For now, Jackson has served as the Clippers' second-leading scorer behind Paul George (17.2 points per game), although he's doing it on miserable efficiency. After nailing 43.3 percent of his threes going into a contract year, Jackson is down to 32.9 percent from deep and 39.5 percent overall.

    Batum continues to be a solid starter who defends multiple positions and spaces the floor, and Hartenstein has outplayed Serge Ibaka.

    Winslow was a low-risk, high-reward signing at $4 million per year, but even that looks like a mistake. The 25-year-old's injury history has taken its toll, as Winslow is averaging 2.1 points on 37.5 percent shooting in his 8.1 minutes. This could be his final NBA contract, which is unfortunate for a player who carried so much potential coming out of Duke.

Los Angeles Lakers: B

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Kendrick Nunn (two years, $10.3 million), Carmelo Anthony (one year, $2.6 million), Wayne Ellington (one year, $2.6 million), DeAndre Jordan (one year, $2.6 million), Rajon Rondo (one year, $2.6 million), Dwight Howard (one year, $2.6 million), Trevor Ariza (one year, $2.6 million), Kent Bazemore (one year, $2.4 million), Malik Monk ($1.7 million), Avery Bradley (one year, $2.6 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Talen Horton-Tucker (three years, $30.8 million)

    The Lakers' free-agency period consisted of a number of veterans on minimum deals, so there were a ton of low-risk signings for players who hit their primes roughly a decade ago.

    Anthony has been the best of the minimum deals, largely playing a sixth-man role while averaging 14.3 points on 42.9 percent shooting from three, the highest of his career. Monk, Howard, Rondo and Ellington have all registered positive swing ratings this season as well.

    Why the Lakers have let DeAndre Jordan and Avery Bradley start for a combined 32 games is a mystery, and Ariza (ankle) and Nunn (knee) have yet to play this season because of injuries.

    Horton-Tucker was the "big" offseason signing with his rookie extension, although he's still trying to figure out his best role with so many superstars on the floor.

    Overall most of these signings are fine, with Anthony serving as the best one to date.

Memphis Grizzlies: C+

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: N/A

    Notable Re-signings: Killian Tillie (one year, two-way contract)

    Most of the Grizzlies' offseason activity came via trades and the draft, with Tillie signed on a two-way deal to provide depth at center.

    The 23-year-old is in his second season at Memphis and is averaging 2.1 points, 0.8 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game in 7.7 minutes. His time on the floor has come during mop-up duty.

    Tillie has shown the ability to grab a rebound and take it coast-to-coast while also being able to shoot from deep (4-of-13 this season, 30.8 percent).

    Memphis hasn't needed him with the amount of frontcourt talent on the roster, which is probably a good thing while he still develops his all-around game.

Miami Heat: B+

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Kyle Lowry (three years, $85 million), P.J. Tucker (two years, $14.4 million), Markieff Morris (one year, $2.6 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Duncan Robinson (five years, $89.9 million), Victor Oladipo (one year, $2.4 million), Max Strus (two years, $3.4 million), Dewayne Dedmon (one year, $2.4 million), Gabe Vincent (two years, $3.5 million)

    Some of the shine has worn off of Miami's sizzling offseason, primarily due to Robinson going ice cold from deep.

    Given a massive new deal to be the team's floor-spacer, Robinson is shooting just 33.2 percent from three following two straight seasons over 40.0 percent. He contributes little else on either end of the court (3.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks), so heating up from deep is a must. Miami can't even trade him until the summer, as he was re-signed using Bird rights with a 20 percent raise in salary.

    Lowry got off to a slow start but has been much better as of late (16.0 points, 8.0 assists, 45.7 percent shooting overall over his last six games). Tucker is hitting a strong 41.7 percent of his threes, while Vincent, Strus and Morris have given Miami good minutes off the bench when healthy.

    Dedmon becomes far more valuable with Bam Adebayo sidelined following thumb surgery and is averaging 7.0 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in seven starts so far.

    Oladipo is the wildcard here, and he is still sidelined as he makes his way back from surgery on his right quadriceps tendon. On a minimum deal, his signing could be huge come playoff time.

Milwaukee Bucks: B+

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: George Hill (two years, $8 million), Rodney Hood (one year, $2.6 million), Semi Ojeleye (one year, $1.8 million), DeMarcus Cousins (one year, $2 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Bobby Portis (two years, $8.9 million), Thanasis Antetokoumpo (two years, $3.6 million)

    Milwaukee's offseason signings were all about adding depth to the defending champs, including the recent free-agent acquisition of Cousins.

    Portis looked like one of the best values of the offseason and has answered the call as a starter with Brook Lopez (back) sidelined. He's averaging a career-high 15.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.0 blocks, all while hitting 40.7 percent of his threes.

    Hill filled in as the starting point guard while Jrue Holiday missed time with an ankle injury early in the season, but he is showing some decline now at age 35. Hood (3.0 points on 28.8 percent shooting in 14.8 minutes) could be on the last legs of his career already, and Ojeleye (3.0 points on 25.5 percent shooting in 19.8 minutes) has been even worse.

    Cousins was signed for center depth with Lopez recovering from back surgery, although he's looked understandably rusty so far.

    Still, getting Portis back on a cheap deal was a huge win for these Bucks, who needed him more than ever with Lopez out.

Minnesota Timberwolves: B

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Notable Free-Agency Additions: N/A

    Notable Re-signings: Jarred Vanderbilt (three years, $13.1 million), Jordan McLaughlin (three years, $6.5 million)

    Aside from turnover in the front office after Gersson Rosas' firing amid allegations of a dysfunctional workplace under his leadership, it was a quiet offseason for the Timberwolves, especially in free agency.

    Vanderbilt has become an important member of a surprisingly good starting five for the Wolves and is averaging 6.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals while shooting 56.3 percent overall in his 16 starts. He's a strong defender and rebounder who is the perfect complement to Karl-Anthony Towns with his ability to do the dirty work and let others shine offensively.

    In 92 minutes over 10 games, the five-man unit of Vanderbilt, Towns, Anthony Edwards, D'Angelo Russell and Patrick Beverley has a net rating of plus-48.3. No, that's not a typo.

    McLaughlin has made less of an impact to date. He's been a backup guard and has seen his minutes and efficiency slashed across the board from last year. For now, he simply provides some depth behind D'Angelo Russell and Patrick Beverley.

New Orleans Pelicans: C+

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Devonte' Graham (four years, $47.3 million), Garrett Temple (three years, $15.5 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Josh Hart (three years, $37.9 million)

    Seeing Lonzo Ball thrive in Chicago is only more salt in the wound for the 7-19 Pelicans, who simply haven't gotten the same production from their new point guard.

    Graham is putting up 13.7 points, 4.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game and is shooting below 38.3 percent for the fourth straight season. He's a mediocre point guard, which is about what New Orleans is paying him to be.

    Hart has been promoted to a full-time starter and is having his best season, with 11.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 48.8 percent overall. He is also on a friendly salary-matching contract for any future deals the Pelicans may pursue.

    New Orleans is getting killed in Temple's minutes, with his minus-16.1 swing rating ranking in the 6th percentile in the NBA, per Cleaning the Glass. Giving the 35-year-old a three-year deal was a mistake, even if only two seasons are fully guaranteed.

New York Knicks: C+

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    Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Evan Fournier (four years, $73 million), Kemba Walker (two years, $17.9 million),

    Notable Re-signings: Derrick Rose (three years, $43.6 million), Alec Burks (three years, $30 million), Nerlens Noel (three years, $27.7 million), Taj Gibson (two years, $10.1 million)

    What looked to be a promising free-agent period has turned sour quickly with Kemba Walker going from starting point guard to out of the rotation entirely.

    Even though he can still score and was hitting the three-ball at a good clip (41.3 percent), Walker has become a revolving door on defense. The Knicks are getting beat by a whopping 22.5 points per 100 possessions when he's on the floor this season, a figure that ranks in the 2nd percentile among all players, per Cleaning the Glass.

    Fournier (13.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 39.4 percent from three) also looks quite overpaid given his defensive shortcomings.

    Thankfully, New York's bench has kept it in games, led by players such as Rose and Burks. With the Fournier and Walker signings looking like mistakes, however, it's been a disappointing free-agent haul overall.

Oklahoma City Thunder: B

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: N/A

    Notable Re-signings: Mike Muscala (two years, $7 million)

    Muscala was OKC's lone signing this offseason, one that's been a terrific value thus far.

    The 30-year-old center has quietly become one of the better floor-spacing big men in the NBA and is knocking down 43.4 percent of his threes, with 66.3 percent of all his shots coming from the outside.

    His 8.5 points are good for fourth-highest on the Thunder, and Muscala is also pulling down 3.3 rebounds and blocking 0.6 shots in just 14.6 minutes off the bench.

    OKC is beating opponents by 13.0 points per 100 possessions with Muscala on the court, an impressive mark for a team that sits at just 7-16 overall and just got beaten by 73 points by the Memphis Grizzlies.

    Muscala's second year ($3.5 million) is also a team option, meaning he'll likely be in high demand by the trade deadline.

Orlando Magic: B-

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Robin Lopez (one year, $5 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Mo Wagner (two years, $3.6 million)

    Another team who stayed mostly quiet in free agency, the Magic added Lopez for his veteran presence and insurance at the center position. He's long been one of the better backup centers in the NBA and is a good rim protector.

    Lopez hasn't had to play a big role with both Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba having the best seasons of their careers, and that's a good thing for a rebuilding Orlando club.

    Wagner has become a solid floor-spacing big who probably is more valuable to the Magic than to any other franchise, given the family connection with 2021 eighth overall pick Franz Wagner. Mo is hitting 37.1 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes on 62 total attempts.

    Nothing too exciting here for Orlando, which is more focused on collecting young talent instead.

Philadelphia 76ers: A

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Georges Niang (two years, $6.8 million), Andre Drummond (one year, $2.4 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Danny Green (two years, $20 million), Furkan Korkmaz (three years, $15 million)

    As the Ben Simmons saga continues to drag on, we can at least take a moment to appreciate the work Daryl Morey did in free agency for Philly.

    Getting Drummond on a minimum deal is incredible value, as he's been worth $15.5 million this season, per ProFitX.com. Somehow still managing to grab double-digit rebounds per game despite playing primarily as a reserve, Drummond did average 8.6 points, 13.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.5 blocks in 10 games as a starter with Joel Embiid out with COVID-19.

    Green continues to bring spacing to the Sixers, as his 41.9 percent mark from three leads the team. His defense has slipped now at age 34, but his contract could be key to matching money in future deals.

    Niang is averaging a career-high 11.2 points per game, and Korkmaz has once again been an important rotation piece. Getting both for less than $8 million per season is a huge win.

Phoenix Suns: A

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: JaVale McGee (one year, $5 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Chris Paul (four years, $120 million), Cameron Payne (three years, $19 million), Frank Kaminsky (one year, $2 million)

    Paul is somehow leading the NBA in assists even at age 36  with 10.1 per game, a number he hasn't hit since playing for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015-16. His contract isn't even guaranteed for the final year ($30 million in 2024-25), although the future Hall of Famer could still be a bargain at that price if he keeps up this level of play.

    McGee (10.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 0.8 blocks and a 66.7 field goal percentage in 15.5 minutes) has given the Suns a perfect backup for Deandre Ayton, and Kaminsky (10.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 0.8 blocks and a 54.5 field goal percentage in 20.1 minutes) was giving the Suns excellent minutes before being sidelined with a stress reaction in his right knee.

    Payne hasn't been quite as effective as last year but is still a valuable scorer off the bench behind Paul. At just over $6 million per year on average, he's a good value.

Portland Trail Blazers: B-

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    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Cody Zeller (one year, $2.4 million), Ben McLemore (one year, $2.4 million), Dennis Smith Jr. (one year, $1.8 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Norman Powell (five years, $90 million)

    As the Blazers franchise continues to plunge into chaos, Powell has been a bright spot with his play this year after signing a $90 million contract.

    Averaging 17.0 points and shooting a team-high 41.7 percent from three, Powell is a good defender even if he's regularly giving up size when Portland starts its three-guard lineup. His contract should hold its value whether he stays with the Blazers or eventually gets moved in a deal to get Damian Lillard more frontcourt help.

    The rest of Portland's signings have been pretty bland.

    Zeller has been a solid backup at center for Jusuf Nurkic, but McLemore has been in and out of the rotation and Smith (5.7 points, 3.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 31.3 percent shooting from three) is running out of potential, even at age 24.

Sacramento Kings: B

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Alex Len (two years, $7.7 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Richaun Holmes (four years, $46.5 million), Mo Harkless (two years, $9 million), Terence Davis (two years, $8 million)

    A fresh payday didn't lead to any decline in play for Holmes, who is giving the Kings 14.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.0 block a night while hitting 70.7 percent of his shots. While expanding his shooting range would be nice, Holmes is still one of the most underrated centers in the league and is on a fantastic contract.

    Len has given the Kings an unnecessary amount of frontcourt depth, especially with Marvin Bagley III back in the rotation under Alvin Gentry. His contract is still pretty team-friendly, however, and could be moved without much problem.

    Harkless has started 14 of his 16 games for the Kings but isn't giving them much in return (4.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 20.4 minutes), and Davis (29.9 percent shooting from three on a healthy 4.8 attempts per game) needs to be much better from the outside.

San Antonio Spurs: B

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    Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Doug McDermott (three years, $42 million), Zach Collins (three years, $22.1 million), Bryn Forbes (one year, $4.5 million)

    Notable Re-signings: N/A

    McDermott has been as advertised, a lights-out shooter who spreads the floor but provides little else on either end of the court.

    Still, McDermott's 43.8 percent mark from three is tied for eighth-best in the NBA, and his 11.2 points per game is the second-highest of his career. The Spurs should be satisfied with his production thus far.

    Collins has yet to see the court in his return from a third ankle surgery and isn't expected back until after Christmas. His three-year deal isn't as bad as it appears, as the third season is non-guaranteed. Only half of Year 2 ($3.7 million) is owed as well, should the Spurs need to cut bait if Collins can't stay healthy.

    Forbes is once again knocking down threes in his return to San Antonio, with a 41.7 mark nearly matching his career average (41.3 percent).

    If Collins can return sometime in January and work his way back into a rotation big role, this will have been a relatively successful free-agent class for the Spurs.

Toronto Raptors: B+

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    Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Svi Mykhailiuk (two years, $3.6 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Gary Trent Jr. (three years, $51.8 million), Khem Birch (three years, $20 million)

    The Raptors landed Trent on a good value, as he's been a nice offensive spark as the team's new starting shooting guard. He's averaging 16.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.8 assists, and the 22-year-old's defense has easily been the best of his career as well.

    Birch was Toronto's starting center after signing with the team a year ago, but he has since lost his job to Precious Achiuwa. He's still been a good backup and spot starter, and a contract that pays less than $7 million per year is fine for a reserve.

    Mykhailiuk is averaging 7.1 points off the Raptors' bench but needs to start connecting on more threes (33.3 percent) to be considered a good signing.

Utah Jazz: A

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    Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images

    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Rudy Gay (three years, $18.5 million), Hassan Whiteside (one year, $2.4 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Mike Conley Jr. (three years, $68 million)

    Getting Conley back on such a reasonable deal was huge for Utah, and the 34-year-old has responded by leading the NBA in three-point shooting (47.5 percent) thus far. Averages of 14.2 points and 5.4 assists don't justify how much he means to the Jazz on both ends.

    Whiteside has fit in beautifully as a backup to Rudy Gobert, playing better than Derrick Favors did a year ago at a fraction of the cost. He's grabbing 15.0 rebounds and blocking 3.0 shots per 36 minutes of play while shooting 58.4 percent from the field.

    Gay missed the start of the season with a heel injury but has looked refreshed in his return to the court at age 35. Over nine games, he's scoring 10.8 points and grabbing 5.1 rebounds in 18.8 minutes per game off the bench while hitting a career-high 47.8 percent of his threes.

    This was a fantastic free-agent haul for Utah, keeping it near the top of the West.

Washington Wizards: B

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    Layne Murdoch Jr./Getty Images

    Notable Free-Agency Additions: Spencer Dinwiddie (three years, $54 million)

    Notable Re-signings: Raul Neto (one year, $2.1 million)

    A hot start to the season should have landed these Wizards an "A," although Dinwiddie's recent play has dropped Washington down a letter.

    Over his last nine games, Dinwiddie is averaging just 8.7 points and 4.2 assists on 32.1 percent shooting overall and 29.5 percent from three, with the Wizards going 3-6 over this span. If he can get back to being the Dinwiddie we saw over his first 12 games (17.0 points, 6.0 assists, 42.9 percent shooting overall, 37.7 percent from three), then his deal will be one of the best among point guards in the NBA.

    Neto has been a nice spark off the bench for the Wizards with his 7.5 points and 2.5 assists in 19.6 minutes, and Washington is beating opponents by 4.3 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.

    If Dinwiddie can return to his early-season production, Washington should be a playoff lock.

                               

    All stats provided by Basketball-Reference.com or NBA.com unless otherwise noted and are accurate as of Dec. 6, 2021. All salary info provided by Spotrac.com.

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