There is so much going on in NBA Free Agency. I could go forever, so in an attempt to stay succinct, I'm going to limit myself to five topics. And, if you were off the grid for fourth of July, Kevin Durant has decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors. So, I have a lot to say about that! Let's go, shall we!
Players age. Have we already forgotten?
I keep seeing Dwyane Wade thrown around like a big name target. And listen, I'm a huge Wade fan. Career wise he's already at Kobe's level, who had twice the time to get there. That said, he's been declining the past several seasons and hasn't been above average since 2014. He's in his 30s, and I wouldn't expect a comeback. So why is he a target? The same goes for Dirk Nowitzki, who likewise is several seasons from being productive and a decade from being a star. I get it; both are former Finals MVPs. Both have remarkably unique skillsets. That said, come on teams, it's time to move on!
I like the Rondo Deal
Chicago signed Rajon Rondo to a two-year deal (only one guaranteed) for a mere $14 million a season! Rondo is fascinating. I think he proves that attitude is a problem ... if you can't score 20 points a game. Rondo led the NBA in assists last season and was the third highest rebounder among point guards (behind Westbrook and Antentokounmpo) I don't understand this belief about his attitude, especially in regards to the Mavericks. Using stats.nba.com for touches per game here's a breakdown:
- 2013-2014 w/ Celtics (30 games): 95.2 touches per game.
- 2014-2015 w/ Celtics (22 games): 93.5 touches per game.
- 2014-2015 w/ Mavericks (46 games): 75.0 touches per game!
- 2015-2016 w/ Kings (72 games): 95.0 touches per game
After injury Rondo was looking healthy in Boston before being traded to Dallas. He struggled in Dallas and was let go in free agency. It's worth noting he got 20% fewer touches and saw his assists drop. When you hire a player for a skill, it's kind of odd not to use the player for said skill. Provided the Bulls let Rondo handle the ball, they could have something good. Also, compared to other contracts his is cheap and only one year is guaranteed. In a Free Agency with so much money being lit on fire, it's odd to see a very affordable "risk" get so much fear. Maybe Rondo does have a bad attitude and clashes with teammates. That does a ton for me right next to the retirement season of Kobe Bryant, who clashed with teammates and management regularly.
What the hell is Dallas doing?
To recap: Dallas is trading the Warriors for Andrew Bogut in exchange for a second round pick and cap space (so Golden State can sign Durant) Zaza Pachulia is not re-signing with the Mavericks and will be heading to the Warriors for a one-year three million dollar deal. Finally, the Mavericks are reportedly going to offer Harrison Barnes a max contract, which the Warriors, of course, won't match.
Now, Dallas grabbing Bogut as a trade exception seems like a smart move, but it's helping the Warriors get Durant. But what's more, they're letting Zaza leave, and he's heading to the Warriors. In short, they're trading Andrew Bogut for Zaza Pachulia. While Bogut was better per-minute last season, Pachulia was healthier. If the Warriors have a healthy Pachulia in the playoffs, they're fine.
Right after being let off the hook for a questionable contract offer to Chandler Parsons, they're picking up another expensive wing, who isn't worth the money. Now, it's possible Barnes snaps back to his old self, but offering a max deal to a player after such a bad year is just bizarre. The Mavs are the biggest losers of the Durant move.
The Warriors are light years ahead!
Maybe not intentionally. If Durant had fallen through and the Warriors had re-signed Barnes, I'd have the ability to say otherwise. Still, the Warriors pulled off two huge moves in getting Durant and signing Zaza Pachulia. That alone wouldn't make them lightyears ahead of the league except that the rest of the NBA is full of teams spinning their wheels. For example:
- The Lakers have committed around half of their cap space to Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov, and Jordan Clarkson for the next three seasons.
- The Raptors signed DeMar DeRozan to a five-year $139 million contract. The kicker? People think he gave them a discount.
- The Wizards signed Brad Beal to a five-year $127.2 million dollar contract.
- The Mavericks have offered Harrison Barnes a max contract
- The Rockets ... just ... the Rockets.
- Just click the link, there are more examples, but I'm going to stop.
In short, almost no teams in the NBA seems to know what they're doing. And I know that seems harsh, but I have been shocked by how poorly teams have spent their money this offseason. So far, the Warriors are the only franchise to both have a strong squad put together and to make a significant move in this offseason to improve themselves. And yes, hyperbole aside, this does qualify as lightyears ahead!
Kevin Durant and Steph Curry will both be 28 next season. They are back-to-back MVPs. They were both top ten players in the NBA last season, with Curry being the best. Durant was the greatest modern scorer until Curry passed him. There is no way not to watch this pairing and be in awe. This has to be the most exceptional combination of in-prime talent in NBA history. I'm shocked this went down and can't wait to see what this team does.
What do you think? We'll be discussing the NBA Free Agency on the Boxscore Geeks show tonight (tune in at twitch.tv/nerdnumbers) to see us live!