NBA Free Agent Signing Grades



David Kay's Free Agent Signing Grades


Recent NBA Free Agent Signing Grades
By Mike Elworth. Follow Mike @MikeElworth24 . For site updates follow @walterfootball .

Keep up with  2016 NBA Trade Deadline Trades as they come in


Clippers will sign Jamal Crawford to a 3-season, $42 million contract

Jamal Crawford didn't have his best season, but was still the best sixth man in the NBA. Although he is 36, he has aged very well and should continue to. The Clippers had to keep him, as they needed his scoring off the bench. For just $14 million per season, I don't have too much of a problem with this contract.

Grade: A



Knicks will sign Brandon Jennings to a 1-season, $5 million contract

The Knicks have had a weird offseason, and I have no idea if the pieces will fit, but they have added another semi-big-name player in Jennings. Once considered one of the best young guards in the league, Jennings is now a sixth man with injury problems, which is why he signed one of Walt's famous "prove it" deals. For $5 million, this is a ridiculous steal for the Knicks, as Jennings could be one of the best bench players in the league this season. He is a excellent scorer and can run the Knicks' second unit as well. I love this.

Grade: A-



Nuggets re-sign Darrell Arthur to a 3-season, $23 million contract

Arthur is a very solid big man for the bench as he can shoot and rebound, and he gets more than a block and steal per 36 minutes. There have been so many ridiculous contracts this offseason, and although I don't love this deal, it's solid.

Grade: B





Warriors sign Zaza Pachulia to a 1-season, $2.9 million contract

I thought that Pachulia would get a contract like Timofey Mozgov in the 4-season, $60 million range, and I would have given that a C+, as Pachulia is a very solid starting center who just played well for the Mavericks. He almost averaged a double-double as a starter last season, and he's a tough, excellent defender. This is one of the best contracts of free agency, as the Warriors were able to sign him for a fraction of what he should have gotten this offseason. With the Warriors losing Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli by getting Kevin Durant, they had to find a starting five, and they got one for less than $3 million. Pachulia must want a ring.

Grade: A



Mavericks re-sign Dwight Powell to a 4-season, $37 million contract

I really like this contract. I thought Powell could have signed for another $10-$15 million, as he looks like an excellent third big man and could likely start. He just averaged 14.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and about one block and steal per 36 minutes off the bench, and although he's not a shooter, this contract is quite the bargain.

Grade: A-

Hornets sign Ramon Sessions to a 2-season, $12.5 million contract

Losing Jeremy Lin, the Hornets had to find another excellent second-unit point guard so that Kemba Walker can be a scorer and not have to run the offense at times. Mission accomplished. Sessions is as solid as it gets, as he he can give you big scoring or assist numbers and can start if needed. The contract is a steal, too, as he got about half of what Austin Rivers received and it took me a minute to think of which I player I would rather have. Charlotte is nailing free agency.

Grade: A-



Kings sign Matt Barnes to a 2-season, $12 million contract

Matt Barnes is known for being a physical defender and a solid shooter, and although he is in his mid-30s, he has proved to the league that he still has a lot to give a team. He could start for the Kings if they trade Rudy Gay and this is a very fair contract, although you'd think he would sign with a contender. The Kings are looking like one of the three-four weakest teams in the league, so he probably went for the money.

Grade: B-

Clippers re-sign Wesley Johnson to a 3-season, $18 million contract

Wesley Johnson shouldn't have been the fourth pick in his draft, but he has become a reliable role player for the Clippers. He is a mediocre "three-and-d" small forward, but with so many average players getting big money, I like this contract, as Johnson will probably start for the Clippers.

Grade: B

Mavericks will re-sign Dirk Nowitzki to a 2-year, $40 million deal

Dirk was playing for about $7 million last season so they could sign free agents one year ago, but he is getting paid now that the Mavs have so much money to spend; so that's nice for his family. Regardless, Dirk's value is still basically $20 million and he is still the best player on the Mavericks, so not much needs to be said. Easy "A."

Grade: A

Magic will sign Jeff Green to a 1-year, $15 million contract

Jeff Green can score and play two positions, but meh. He's really just an athletic scorer who didn't become the player he was expected to become. Green can help you offensively, but he really shouldn't be going to a nonplayoff team on a one-season contract. This is just him chasing money and trying to improve his value for more money next offseason. I have hated Orlando's offseason, but as it is a tradeable contract, it won't get the first Isiah.

Grade: D

Pistons will sign Jon Leuer to a 4-season, $42 million contract

This is actually one of my favorite contract so far. I didn't know it during the season, but Jon Leuer had truly ridiculous per-minute numbers and is one of the few elite big man shooters who is also a big-time rebounder. Leuer fits the Pistons very well and is getting less than he could have made with all the money teams are spending. He could start for Detroit as well.

Grade: A-

Clippers will sign Austin Rivers to a 3-season, $35 million contract

Doc Rivers, who is the coach and GM, just gave his son another $35 million. The contract last offseason? He didn't earn it. This one? Same. His value is that of a solid sixth man, as he is a versatile player who really helps his team, but that is $6-7 million a season. Math tells me that this is a $4-5 million difference a season, but third guards have gotten a lot of money this offseason, so I will say undisputedly that I am 100 percent indifferent. It's too much, but he's a strong role player.

Grade: C

Magic will sign Bismack Biyombo to a 4-season, $70 million contract

Biyombo's value is about this amount; I have no problem with this, but the Magic already have one of the NBA's best big men in Nikola Vucevic, just traded for Serge Ibaka and already have Aaron Gordon. The latter two are known for defense, while offensively, Vucevic and the former Raptor don't exactly fit together. Really, Orlando doesn't need Biyombo and has spent a fortune for a luxury, when the team has little at the one, two or three. If I didn't like Biyombo, this would be the first Isiah of the offseason. I hate the Magic's offseason more than almost any I have seen in the seven years I've been in the business.

Grade: D-

Bulls has signed Rajon Rondo to a 2-season, $28 million deal - second year not guaranteed

The Bulls took a bold approach to finding a point guard, their biggest need, but they signed a player who has a bit of an attitude. Rondo is a winner and could work perfectly with Jimmy Butler, but there could be problems, as we have two big egos in one guard duo sharing one basketball. Regardless, Chicago got the NBA's best distributor and a daily triple-double threat for cheap. I can't not like it as a Bulls fan, but I don't love it.

Grade: B+

Bulls sign Dwyane Wade to a 2-year, $54 million contract

Umm, I have to not be in Chicago for something incredible to happen? I guess so, as I am in Nashville. Yes, this is a ton of money, and Wade's not the player he was, but this signing gives the Bulls a chance to contend in the East for the next two seasons - more if he re-signs. If Wade, Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler can learn to share the ball and the offense can do well despite the best shooter in the likely starting five being a power forward, the Bulls will be excellent next season. This signing makes Chicago a real player in the Eastern Conference.

Grade: A-

Heat will re-sign Hassan Whiteside to a 4-season, max contract ($98 million)

This is the hardest grade of the offseason. Why? Whiteside is the most random star in the NBA. He was a second-round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft and became something in the league for the first time in 2014. What happened in those four years? He played ball - only some in the NBA - but the change from what he was to max player is ridiculous. His rebounding and shot-blocking numbers are elite, and he can score, but he has issues with fouling and maturity. I cannot trust a guy with issues who has been making NBA peanuts with $100 million.

Grade: C

Pelicans will sign E'Twaun Moore to a 4-season, $34 million contract

Moore was excellent for the Bulls as a sixth man and a starter when Derrick Rose or Jimmy Butler was injured. Moore is a versatile player who can guard at least two positons, can play the point or two, is a strong shooter and scorer, and just helps teams win. However, one nice season shouldn't give you $34 million. I do like the fit as the Pelicans needed a versatile guard off the bench - assuming Jrue Holiday and Buddy Hield start - but the team os giving Moore elite second-unit money, when he isn't elite.

Grade: B-

Mavericks will sign Harrison Barnes to a 4-season, $94 million contract

I freaking love this. The Thunder losing Durant has made the Mavericks winners of free agency, as the Mavericks are collecting the pieces the Warriors had to lose and Barnes is a truly elite talent who has been used as a role player. Dallas was facing the prospect of another lost offseason, but by signing Barnes, the team gets a player with all-star potential who can become a franchise player when Dirk Nowitzki retires. Yes, the money is a little much, but I think Barnes becomes a max player.

Grade: A-

Lakers will sign Luol Deng to a 4-season, $72 million contract

I love Luol Deng's game as a Chicagoan, as he was their first star after Michael Jordan retired, but this is ridiculous. He isn't the big-time scorer or all-star he once was, and although he is still a very solid starter, the money is just too much. The Lakers just drafted Brandon Ingram, who is also a small forward and their next franchise player, so is Deng going to be making almost $20 million per season to come off the bench? Will one of them move to the four? Ingram is too thin, while Deng is only 6-9. I don't get the money or fit, but he is a perfect veteran for a young team and can help them on the court defensively and score 15 points a game. I don't like this deal though financially, as Deng is aging and his value is much less.

Grade: C

Spurs will sign Pau Gasol to a 2-season, $30 million contract

It looks like Tim Duncan will retire, so the Spurs are signing all-star Pau Gasol for two seasons to keep them elite when it comes to their bigs. Still one of the three best teams in the NBA, getting another elite scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker keeps them a title contender and the one team in the West that can beat the Warriors. If Duncan stays, Gasol will come off the bench, which is best because I do not love the fit of him and LaMarcus Aldridge on defense, as they are mediocre in that respect, and the Spurs' NBA-best defense will struggle as a result. Regardless, the Spurs obtained Gasol for a steal, as he will help them win a lot of games and potentially another title.

Grade: A

Nets will sign Justin Hamilton to a 2-season, $6 million contract

Hamilton has played internationally and in the NBA since being drafted in the 2012 NBA Draft, but he is a solid scorer who can shoot and is a strong defender. His rebounding numbers are mediocre, but he's a solid fourth or fifth big man. I don't mind this.

Grade: C+

Kings will sign Arron Afflalo to a 2-season, $25 million contract

The Kings needed some help at guard, and I like the signing of the veteran Afflalo, who is a very nice three-and-D shooting guard. He is the type of player who can help the Kings win games, but they need a lot more if they want to be in the playoffs. I can see him starting though, and he signed a pretty solid contract.

Grade: B+

Suns will sign forward Jared Dudley to a 3-year, $30 million contract

This is one of my favorite signings of the offseason. The Suns needed help at the three, as they only have T.J. Warren and are so young at the four, which Dudley can play to, so they really needed a veteran forward. Well, the Suns have signed one who is a solid defender and gives them another elite shooter; a perfect fit. He should start for Phoenix, and as he is just 31 - in a few days - and is aging well, this contract is more than fair.

Grade: A-

Magic will sign shooting guard Evan Fournier to a 5-season, $85 million contract

This is a lot of money for Fournier, but he is Orlando's best perimeter player with Victor Oladipo in Oklahoma City and Tobias Harris in Detroit. Fournier is an elite shooter and a strong scorer, and the Magic had to keep him, but this is too much money. I have no clue why Orlando traded Oladipo, who to me is far more talented and gave Fournier this much money, but the team sees a big role for him in its very different roster, which now has a core of Nikola Vucevic, Fournier, Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Aaron Gordon. Also, what the hell are the Magic doing with all these big men? Are they trading Vucevic, their best player? Sorry for rambling, but I don't mind this contract, as Fournier could have a big season as the No. 2 scorer. Seriously though, Orlando's offseason is pathetic.

Grade: B-

Warriors will sign Kevin Durant to a 2-season, $54 million contract

Well, the NBA's best roster is now ridiculous. Signing Kevin Durant, the Warriors now have the two best scorers in the game (Stephen Curry) and four legitimate superstars (Draymond Green and Klay Thompson), meaning they could easily win 75 games next season. They are now the title favorites for at least two years. The Warriors would have liked to get him for more than two seasons, but obtaining the third-best player in the NBA will earn an A+.

That said, I do not like how Durant has now ruined Oklahoma City. He should have re-signed with the Thunder; they were one game from winning the West, so it's not like he was in a bad place. Where is the loyalty?

Grade: A+

Jazz will sign Joe Johnson to a 2-year, $22 million contract

I really like how the Jazz are finding veterans to go with their elite young core. First, point guard George Hill, and now, small forward Joe Johnson, who should come off the bench and give the team strong scoring, shooting and play-making. Mostly, he gives Utah a guy who the young players can go to for advice, as he's elderly, but he can still play ball. I don't love the money, but I like this signing.

Grade: B-

Pelicans will sign Solomon Hill to a 4-season, $50 million contract

A friend of mine is a Pacer fan who wanted them to re-sign Hill, but laughed when he saw the numbers; I did, too. Hill is getting strong starter money, but his numbers are average, his per-36 numbers are average, his advanced stats are average, and he is average. Yes, Hill can defend, but you do not give a non-shooter this much money at the three. This rivals Evan Turner as the most ridiculous contract, so far.

Grade: D

Bucks will sign Matthew Dellavedova to a 4-year, $38.4 million contract

I am a big fan of Matthew Dellavedova, one of the dirtiest players in the game. I don't like when he punches guys in the nuts, but I love how hard he plays for his team. I said in the free agent rankings that Dellavedova deserved elite sixth man money, and although that's what he is getting, I thought it would be $7-$8 million, not almost $10.

Still, Dellavedova fits the Bucks, as they lost Jerryd Bayless, can't get Michael Carter-Williams to play consistent and are playing forward Giannis Antetokounmpo a lot at the one. Antetokounmpo is the Bucks' best player, but they need a point guard and Dellavedova could start for them, as he gives them defense, toughness and shooting. He will play harder than any player I have graded to prove he deserves this contract, which is why this is a "B" and not the "C" I had at first.

Grade: B

Hawks will sign Dwight Howard to a 3-year, $71 million contract

You know, I expected to give an Isiah to the team that signed Howard, as he is hard to work with and gets coaches fired, but I love the fit. The Hawks knew they were likely losing Al Horford - to the Celtics - and had to make a move to stay relevant in the East, so they did. I have no problem with giving a big 3-year contract to Howard, who is only 30, as he will still give Atlanta an elite defender at center, but also help improve the team's rebounding. If Howard wants to, he could give the Hawks another big-time scorer too, but he has been lacking in that area for a few seasons.

Regardless, the best part is Atlanta's coach runs the team, so he can't get fired. Also, him and Paul Millsap are a perfect fit in the frontcourt. An interesting move, but I like it, as the Hawks could improve next season.

Grade: B+

Celtics will sign Al Horford to a 4-season, $113 million contract

Well, meet the third-best team in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics with Al Horford. Horford is an elite defender, an excellent rebounder and scorer and can shoot from three. The Celtics have been trying to find a big star for years and they have with Horford. They are now a contender in the East because they now have a second all-star to go with Isaiah Thomas in the four time all-star. My first A+ of the offseason, ladies and gentlemen.

Grade: A+

Rockets will sign Ryan Anderson to a 4-season, $80 million contract

This contract looks big, but Ryan Anderson is the best shooting big in the game. He is more than just a shooter though, as he is a talented scorer who can with minutes give you 20 points a game. As a starter, I expect him to average 20 points, giving them an excellent second option to James Harden. Although this is a lot of money, the Rockets needed to sign a big-time player, and he fits perfectly with Harden and the recently hired Mike D'Antoni.

Grade: B

Bucks will sign Mirza Teletovic to a 3-season, $30 million contract

Mirza Teletovic has one talent, but he happens to be one of the best shooting big men in the NBA. He's just 30, so this is a more than a fair contract. I know they are trying to trade Greg Monroe who isn't a fit, but they have a lot of guys who can play power forward, and although he is the best shooter of the bunch, $10 million is a lot for a player with one skill at a stacked position. He is very tradeable though, which is nice, but I don't love this move.

Grade: C+

Hawks will sign Kent Bazemore to a 4-season, $70 million contract

Yeah, I get that Kent Bazmore had a very nice season for the Hawks, but he is a one-year wonder, and I do not trust him as a $17.5 million player. I don't see it. Yes, he is athletic, defends, rebounds and shoots well, but he's just a solid starter. Teams have money and just want to spend it, but giving a guy who had one solid season (11.6 points a game!!!!) almost $20 million is insane to me. DeMarre Carroll was the stronger player, and they let him go for $15 million. He actually took a few million less to be with the Hawks; what the hell is going on NBA?

Grade: D

Grizzlies will sign forward Chandler Parsons to a 4-season, $94.8 million max contract

I love what the Grizzlies did by signing Parsons and Mike Conley. Parsons has injury problems, but he is a perfect fit and gives them what they have lacked for years - a scorer and pla-ymaker, as well as a defender at small forward. They have tried with a number of players, and although it's a lot of money, they are now serious players in the Western Conference. I want to give this a "C" because of price and injuries, however I just love the fit too much. Parsons is so versatile and still in his 20s and fits with Conley and Marc Gasol to perfection, so I'll give it a B-.

Grade: B-

Grizzlies will re-sign Mike Conley Jr. for 5 seasons, $153 million

Although Mike Conley is coming off injury and his value is a lot closer to $20 million than $30, the Grizzlies would have lost him if they didn't pay this amount. He has been one of the best players most didn't talk about for years because his numbers aren't elite, but his intangibles and defense are, and he is an excellent scorer and play-maker. With Marc Gasol, chandler Parsons and Conley signed long-term, the Grizzlies now have a 4-year opportunity to be strong contenders in the Western Conference; they just need one more big talent.

Grade: B

Trail Blazers will sign Evan Turner to a 4-season, $75 million contract

Wow, do I hate this signing. Turner is a specialty player, as he is a unique sixth man who can run the second unit and helps if a point guard is a poor distributor. But the Blazers are fine with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Yes, Turner can run the second unit, but I just don't think he will fit like he did with Brad Stevens as a Celtic, and I don't care what you say, $19 million dollars for Evan Turner is ridiculous. You don't pay a sixth man who cannot shoot this much money. This is the worst signing of the offseason so far.

Grade: D-

76ers will sign guard Jerryd Bayless to a 3-season, $27 million dollar contract

I didn't like this contract at first, but Bayless is a heck of a second-unit guard with starter potential. They are likely starting No. 1 pick Ben Simmons, who is a four, at point guard, so Bayless could start, giving the 76ers a secondary distributor, a scorer at guard and an elite shooter. If he is a sixth man, this is a little much, but I don't mind this at all. I actually like it.

Grade: B

Magic will sign D.J. Augustin to a 4-season, $29 million dollar contract

I like D.J. Augustin; he is one of the best second-unit point guards and is an excellent scorer who can run an offense. However, he is being paid like an elite reserve, and I just think it's a little too much. The Magic needs another point guard, as its starter is mediocre offensively, so he fits, but Orlando is winning this season or next, and I don't see the need to pay Augustin this money. I hate Orlando's offseason.

Grade: C-

Knicks sign center Joakim Noah for 4 seasons, $72 million

As a Chicagoan, I have loved watching Noah for the nine seasons he was with the Bulls, but it was time for him to go and play somewhere else, and it's nice he gets to play for New York, where he's from, and with one of his best friends (Derrick Rose). The money is a little much, and he has injury problems, but he is perfect for the Knicks on the court and is an incredible locker room guy to have. Playing with Kristaps Porzingis, he can give the Latvian stud the paint or let him play with his face to the basket, as Noah can just play at the charity stripe and distribute or shoot. He gives them an excellent secondary distributor as well. This will take some playing time at the four from Carmelo Anthony, but I love the fit. However, he is 31 and constantly injured, and this is a big contract for him considering those two factors. Regardless, they are betting big and I like that, as the Knicks now have a playoff roster.

Grade: B

Pistons will re-sign center Andre Drummond to a 5-season, max contract (about $130 million)

A lot of people don't agree with me, but I think Drummond is the best center in the NBA. He was my third-ranked free agent this offseason. There was no doubt that he was going to re-sign, and although the dollars are ridiculous, he deserves it all. At 22, he is already one of the NBA's best rebounders, and he is an excellent defender and scorer. He should continue to improve yearly, and Drummond will keep the Pistons a winner for the next half decade. This is my favorite signing of free agency, just because it took no thinking and it was obvious, so no games were played.

Grade: A

Lakers will re-sign Jordan Clarkson to a 4-season, $50 million dollar contract

The Lakers got a steal. Starting shooting guard (also a point guard) Jordan Clarkson has signed for a lot less than I expected, but an odd random rule helped them, as he was a second-round pick. Regardless, $12.5 million per season for a proven NBA scorer at 24 who can shoot and play two positions is a steal. He is a perfect fit with starting point guard D'Angelo Russell as well, who likes to shoot, while Clarkson can easily get to the basket. They can share ball-handling and scoring duties at guard. This is one of my favorite deals of the day and I like how they are keeping their Russell-Clarkson-Julius Randle-Brandon Ingram core together, as they can become a contender with time.

Grade: A-

Pistons will sign point guard Ish Smith to 3-season, $18 million contract

I love this deal. I thought Smith would get at least $8-10 million per season because he is a solid starting point guard and a Sixth Man of the Year Candidate if used right, which is what he will be with Detroit. He isn't efficient, but can score and happens to be an excellent distributor. He is small, but he deserved more than this. Stan Van Gundy is one of the best coaches in the league, but he's proving himself as one of the best general managers, too. He is building something in Detroit.

Grade: A-

Nets will sign point guard Jeremy Lin to a 3-season, $36 million dollar contract

I am a fan of Jeremy Lin, but he has proven that he is best as a sixth man and shouldn't be a starting point guard; he is likely starting for the Nets. He gives them a big name, but he still won't help them win games, and again, they won't have their own lottery pick (Boston can switch), so I don't see how he helps Brooklyn. They need to get younger, and Lin is almost 28. Yes, they have a lot of money to spend, but they should use that cash for players who can be part of their foundation; not a point guard who will probably be traded next offseason. A contract worth $12 million per year is just too much for Lin to play on what is now the NBA's most pathetic team. If a playoff squad gave him $12 million to be their sixth man, it would have gotten a C, but I don't like this signing.

Grade: D

Nicolas Batum will re-sign with Hornets for 5 seasons and $120 million

To me, Batum was the best player for Charlotte in his first season there and he deserves a near-max contract; I actually thought he would get one. This is still a lot of freaking money for somebody who would be the third option on most contenders, but he is so versatile and allows Kemba Walker (their most recognized player) to be more of a scorer, where he's best. Batum is the perfect fit. as he is an excellent defender, shooter, rebounder and playmaker, and is still just 27. He can play three positions for Charlotte, and as their most important player, I have little problem with this contract; they had to keep him.

Grade: B

Al Jefferson will sign with Pacers for 3 seasons and $30 million

This is a nice match. Al Jefferson is one of the best offensive big men in the NBA. He may have had a poor season where he was injured, benched and suspended, but he can still give a team 20-10 any game, and the Pacers had to find themselves a true big man. The price is excellent, and although he cannot defend, he should really help them, whether as a starter or on the bench, where he should be for them.

Grade: B+

Raptors will re-sign shooting guard DeMar DeRozan to a 5-year, max contract

This is the second deal I thought I would see tonight, along with Bradley Beal. DeRozan had already said that he was going to re-sign with the Raptors, and so their franchise player will spend his prime in Canada. He loves the city and fellow Olympian teammate Kyle Lowry, meaning the Eastern Conference's best guard duo will remain together. DeRozan is one of the NBA's best pure scorers and has improved as a play-maker. At just 27 when the season starts, DeRozan just had his best season, averaging 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4 assists per game. and we can expect similar numbers for the next five years. It's about $140 million dollars, which is one of the biggest contracts in history, but Toronto had to re-sign him. Nice job, Raptors.

Grade: A

Lakers agree to sign center Timofey Mozgov to four seasons for $64 million

A year ago, this would have gotten a D or an Isiah, but people are getting big contracts this offseason and Mozgov is a strong starting center, which means this is the price. He just won a title with the Cavaliers, but didn't play much; however, it's not his fault, they just liked playing small. Mozgov is a legitimate starting five, and center was a need for the Lakers, but there are so many big men to sign I think they could have signed a similar player for half of this in four weeks. Regardless, he is just 30 - in two weeks-, has few miles on his legs and averaged basically 13 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per 36 minutes for Cleveland. Mozgov is an excellent role player, and yes, $16 million per year for him is a little rich for my blood and I really like the center the Lakers drafted 32nd - Bosnian Ivica Zubac -, but Zubac is just a teenager. If Zubac wins the starting job though, this is a tradeable contract. I don't love this, but the Lakers needed to find a center and Mozgov is a fine five.

Grade: C+

Wizards (will) re-sign shooting guard Bradley Beal to a five-season, $128 million max deal

Our first deal of free agency is no surprise as it was well known Beal would re-sign for the maximum. He is an incredible talent, with excellent scoring ability and elite shooting talent. Beal is a play-maker, and he and franchise player John Wall are one of the best guard combos in the Eastern Conference, so the Wizards had to re-sign him. They couldn't afford to lose a young guard who will be an All-star and trust me, there are a dozen franchises that would have given him the max, so I cannot grade Washington too harshly. He does get hurt a lot though, so I have to lower the grade at least by a letter.

Grade: B

Milwaukee Bucks extend GM John Hammond

John Hammond made a big mistake paying Greg Monroe as he wasn't a fit, but Hammond has made a number of nice moves for Milwaukee. He has proven himself as a strong drafter and trader, has re-signed his own players to excellent contracts and hired Jason Kidd, one of the NBA's best young coaches. The Bucks are building something in Milwaukee, and Hammond deserves to see where this goes, and he will now be there for at least two more years.

Grade: A-


Pistons Get: 2019 Second-Round Pick
Magic Get: SG Jodie Meeks
Well, we have the first after draft move and it's a doozy. The Pistons were able to shed the two seasons and $12.5 million of Jodie Meeks' contract and, for that, get a second-round choice in the 2019 NBA Draft; how nice for them.

I like this for the Pistons as they have a lot to do this offseason - starting with re-signing franchise player Andre Drummond - to try to move from No. 8 to the No. 4-6 range of the East. I love that the Pistons are getting more money to do so, trading a player they do not need, so it's a win for them.

Meeks has about a league-average salary and is an excellent shooter, but I don't know what the Magic are doing this offseason to be honest with you. First, there was the pathetic Serge Ibaka trade, which was one of the most one-sided trades of the decade, and now, Orlando is taking on salary and only giving up a second-round pick. The Magic don't actually need Meeks, like Detroit, so I am confused, as they seem to be trying to build their team with trades.

Grade For Pistons: A-
Grade For Magic: D


Indiana Pacers Get: F Thaddeus Young
Brooklyn Nets Get: Pick No. 20 and a second-round pick
The Pacers make another trade today, and they continue to build the small and fast team that Larry Bird has wanted. They have a small guard duo in Jeff Teague and Monta Ellis which is one of the strongest offensive combos in the league, and they can now pair Thaddeus Young with franchise player Paul George at forward. Just as important is that they can keep George at the three, which is where he's at his best. They are now one of the fastest and most athletic teams in the Eastern Conference, and with stud second year forward/center Myles Turner, they have a really nice foundation. Young gives them an excellent fourth option offensively, and someone who is a versatile, athletic and an elite role player. I love this trade for the Pacers, who on paper now have arguably the fourth-best team in the East.

The Nets have few assets and wanted a first-round pick, so they have traded their second best player Thaddeus Young to the Pacers for their first-round pick and a second-rounder (not this draft). I get why the Nets are doing this, as they are re-building and really only have All-Star center Brook Lopez and two young prospects in Chris McCullough and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who look like keepers. I really like this trade for them because they aren't going to be in the playoffs in the next few seasons, and they were able to shed Thaddeus Young's big salary, meaning they have as much money to spend in the next few offseasons as any NBA team and they will get another prospect. I have no problem with a team that needs to rebuild doing what they can to improve, and as Young is a veteran who really wasn't needed in their rebuild, they did well to get valuable assets for him now.

Grade For Pacers: A+
Grade For Nets: A-


Utah Jazz Get: PG George Hill
Indiana Pacers Get: PG Jeff Teague
Atlanta Hawks Get: 12th Pick in the 2016 NBA Draft

This is an interesting trade. I really like this deal for two franchises and hate it for one, but I will start with my favorite; Utah getting George Hill. George Hill isn't as talented as Jeff Teague, but the Jazz were one piece from a playoff team and two from being real players in the Western Conference, and they got that first needed player. Their biggest problem was at point guard, and although Hill isn't a true point guard, he can score, run an offense and is an excellent defender. Hill fits because the Jazz use multiple players to run their offense, so they don't need a true point guard. Utah can get him in the starting five and improve offensively, and he will make the team's excellent defense stronger.

I also like what the Pacers did; they got an all-star point guard who is just 27 and the best player in this trade, which is nice. The problem with this trade to me is that although the Pacers are a stronger team on paper, like Utah, Indiana doesn't use a true point guard, at least with Frank Vogel, but that may change with him gone. However, with Monta Ellis being the Pacers' second-best player, having a big point guard who could play off the ball and guard twos was necessary. Indiana now has more offense and speed, but the defense loses something with this trade. Yes, the Pacers now have three all-star talents with Teague, Ellis and Paul George, but again, I like this team more with Hill than Teague, as he is too similar to Ellis. The Pacers won on paper though, so I cannot grade them too harsh for that.

This is where it gets odd, because I have no clue what Atlanta was doing. I knew they wanted to deal Teague, but all they could get for a franchise point guard making half his value was the 12th pick in the draft. The funny part is Atlanta doesn't want pick No. 12 or their second first round pick, No. 21. They could combine those picks for one of the first ten picks or so or try and trade them for a veteran starter, but they had all offseason to make this trade and I think they could have gotten a lot more when teams missed on players in free agency. Yes, they love Dennis Schroder who will now be their starting point guard, but I hate this trade.

Grade For Jazz: A
Grade For Pacers: B
Grade For Hawks: Isiah


Bulls Get: Center Robin Lopez and point guards Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant
Knicks Get: Point guard Derrick Rose, shooting guard Justin Holiday and 2017 second round pick

As a Chicagoan and a noted Bulls fan, I love this trade. Although because of Robin Lopez (a starting center with a big contract) the Bulls are going to probably lose Joakim Noah, too, they shed Rose's salary and play, get a younger franchise center and make Jimmy Butler the man, which is what he wanted. They also get Grant, a very talented second-year guard who can become their starting point guard in a year or so and at the least will give them a strong sixth man. As for Jose Calderon, he has a nice expiring contact and can start at the one for them this season. The Bulls are probably a stronger team now because of this trade, but they do lose a lot of money to spend next summer. However, this means the Bulls are 99-percent likely to keep Butler, which they have to, as he is one of the 10-20 best players in the NBA today.

I also love this trade for the Knicks, as they get another marquee name to sell tickets and jerseys. More importantly, they have given themselves another $15 million or so in cap now and $25 million next summer, meaning they have so much money to sign elite players to join Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Also, Holiday is a talented defender who can score. I love this trade for the Bulls, but the Knicks edge them out.

Grade For Bulls: A-
Grade For Knicks: A+

Bairstow-Dinwiddie Trade

Chicago Bulls Get: Guard Spencer Dinwiddie
Detroit Pistons Get: Center Cameron Bairstow

This is our first move of the offseason. Most don't actually know much about these two 12th men, but I actually really like this trade for the Bulls and Pistons. It is odd for division rivals to trade, but it makes sense. The Pistons needed big man depth, and Bairstow is a solid physical center who can shoot, which makes him a fit. Meanwhile, the Bulls, who want to trade Derrick Rose, need depth and versatility at guard, and Dinwiddie can play the one and two. This is a trade of two 2014 second-rounders who can make a difference for cheap. Dinwiddie is the stronger talent, so the edge goes to Chicago.

Grade For Bulls: B+
Grade For Pistons: B
Houston hires Mike D'Antoni as coach

This is a difficult grade. First, the Rockets shouldn't have fired the excellent Kevin McHale, but now they have hired the re-tread coach of all re-tread coaches, who has not been relevant in a half decade, Mike D'Antoni. He was famous for his fast offenses with the Suns, with Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire, and yes, D'Antoni's running and shooting style of offense fits today's NBA and he knows how to coach elite talents and manage all-star personalities, which is needed with James Harden, but there are a number of coaches with potential Houston could have hired. The club settled with D'Antoni, and although it's not a poor hire, I don't love it.

Grade: C

Magic hire Frank Vogel as Head Coach

Scott Skiles resigned, which wasn't expected, but the team has somehow hired one of the five best coaches in the league; incredible. The Magic now have an elite defensive coach who knows how to play small or big, and should get the most of their talent, which they are rich in. There isn't much to say, but one thing is true, Orlando could make the playoffs next season with Vogel as coach.

Grade: A

Grizzlies hire David Fizdale as Head Coach

The Grizzlies will be hiring Heat assistant coach David Fizdale as their third head coach in their owner's few years as the boss. Memphis was smart to fire Lionel Hollins for Dave Joerger, but Joerger looking at the Sacramento job - he was hired - made Memphis have to let him go, as he didn't want to be with the franchise. So, the team was then left with no coach, yet was able to hire one of the two assistant coaches that were talked about all offseason: David Fizdale. The Grizzlies weren't going to be fancy with their hire and considering they could have gone with a number of retreads, I am a fan of this hire, as Fizdale comes from a coaching staff that was excellent at developing talent, still playing big - important because so do the Grizzlies - and playing strong defense - another important factor. I am interested in seeing how he makes Memphis his own, but in theory, I really like the hire. The Grizzlies have some of the smartest basketball people in the NBA, so I trust them.

Grade: B

Knicks hire Jeff Hornacek as Head Coach

The Knicks are hiring former Suns coach Jeff Hornacek as their next head coach. I like it. Actually, I kind of love it, as there was talk that Phil Jackson would keep interim coach Kurt Rambis to run the Triangle. Rambis has proven that he is no NBA head coach and would have gotten an Isiah grade. Regardless, Hornacek knows how to play small ball, which is what is played in today's NBA and he uses it well.

In two and a half seasons with the Suns, Hornacek used a lot of small ball, with two point guards, and so there is no doubt he knows how to play small and use the pieces he is provided with. The problem is the Knicks don't have the ideal small-ball unit with Carmelo Anthony at the three, Kristaps Porzingis at the four and Robin Lopez at the five. But my guess is that the former two will play as much at the four as they can, as those three starters as just too big and slow to get too many minutes together in today's NBA. Really, New York's frontcourt is excellent, but there may not be another team with weaker guards.

At guard, it's really just Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant for now. Calderon is aging and should be dealt, as his expiring contract is valuable, but I do like Grant in small ball at the two. Regardless, the Knicks must find themselves a stud point guard. I can see them making a big run at Mike Conley or trading for one of Jeff Hornacek's former guards in Phoenix; Eric Bledsoe or Brandon Knight.

I like the hire because I like the coach; I like that the Knicks won't be just using the Triangle - at least as their main offense - and that they didn't keep Rambis, but they need a lot of pieces 1-3 for them to best use the talents of coach Hornacek. After all, if they aren't going to give him guards, what's the point of hiring him? Regardless, I like this.

Grade: B

Indiana Pacers hire Nate McMillan as Head Coach

As most adults, I was sleeping Saturday afternoon, so I missed the hiring of Nate McMillan by the Pacers. When I looked at Twitter, I immediately texted a one-word message to a friend who is a Pacer fan: "lol." His response was a meme of an angry sitcom character from the 90s, which says it all: "What are they thinking? They have fired one of the best coaches in the league, to hire one of his assistants, who isn't half the coach that Frank Vogel is."

McMillan coached the Sonics for six years and the Trailblazers for eight, but hasn't been a coach for four years, so this is what most call a retread hire; trying to get the most of a coach who used to do well. However, this is what I like to call a stooge hire, as Larry Bird, who runs the Pacers, wants a stooge who will do what he says, as apparently Vogel didn't qualify as one. Bird wants to play small and adapt to the small-ball and shooting style that the Warriors and Cavaliers use to win. The problem is that we have no idea if McMillan can do this, although they do have the players to do it. Hence, stooge.

McMillan has won as a coach and is a fine veteran, but the Pacers have an excellent core that Vogel coached perfectly, and they are a lesser team now with McMillan. There were coaches like Mark Jackson or George Karl they could have hired, but Vogel is the best on the market, so regardless this was going to be a loss. This doesn't deserve an Isiah grade, but I thought about it.

Grade: D-

Utah Jazz sign coach Quin Snyder though 2021

Quin Synder has proven himself in his few NBA seasons to be an excellent NBA coach, as the Jazz would have made the playoffs if they were healthy this season. He has turned the Jazz into an elite defensive team, and Snyder's job this season was incredible, as he was coaching lacking an actual point guard. His contract was for one more season, but he now has five to mold the Jazz into a contender. If Synder can make Dante Exum into the player his talent says he can be (injured this season, fifth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft), they can be one.

Grade: A

Memphis Grizzlies fire coach Dave Joerger

The Grizzlies have fired an excellent coach in Dave Joerger, and although if he was actually just fired for how the Grizzlies did, it would be a D- or an Isiah, he earned it. He was looking for another job and wanted permission to, and if he doesn't want to be there, then fire him. I have no problem with this at all, but it could be hard for Memphis to find a stronger coach. Rumor has it the club might hire Frank Vogel, which would give this an A.

Grade: B+

Sacramento Kings hire coach Dave Joerger

There must be a problem with the Grizzlies if Joerger wanted to go to Sacramento and its moronic owner. I don't get it, but at four seasons for $16 million with just three seasons guaranteed, I love it. I didn't think that said moronic owner - one, he's a moron, two I don't want to spell his 30-letter name - would get a real coach after firing another so many recently, so this is a big win. I think Joerger will get through to DeMarcus Cousins and get the Kings to actually play defense, which are the two things they needed in a coach. Sacramento has also hired him as assistant general manager, and I love a smart coach getting a voice, so this just makes an A grade an A+. This is a win for a team that really needed a victory. Nice job, Sacramento.

Grade: A+

Los Angeles Lakers hire Luke Walton

This is the best move the Lakers have made in a half decade. Luke Walton was the biggest free agent coach and a former Laker, wanted by a number of teams, and the Lakers, a team that won just 17 games, were able to sign him. The contract is something about five seasons and $24 million with four seasons guaranteed, which is actually less than what some coaches have gotten recently, and although that doesn't matter - I know he could have made more - and that means he wanted to be a Laker again. Really, there isn't anything I don't like about this move.

Yes, Walton had a ridiculous run with the Warriors while Steve Kerr was injured to start the season, but this is the Warriors and a blind monkey with a history of tossing his feces could have coached them to 65 wins, but that doesn't mean Walton isn't an elite coach. The Lakers aren't going to play the Triangle, but he knows it. They may not play the Warriors' system, but he knows it. My point is that Walton knows this game and will make the Lakers into winners.

I think that Luke Walton can help any team win, but why I love this signing so much, is it shows me that the Lakers are going to develop their young roster, as they hired a coach young players can relate to and one which all players love. With an elite young prospect in D'Angelo Russell, a potential All-Star big man in Julius Randle, a number of recent draft picks and likely one of the first three picks in the 2016 NBA Draft, Walton will be able to teach. He will teach his players how to be professionals and men, teach them how to play and coming from Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson, teach them how to play the game right. Yes, it may be a few seasons for the Lakers to make the playoffs, but they are young, talented and will be learning from one of the best young teachers in the NBA, and he can make a talented young roster into a contender. I love this hire. Nice job, L.A.

Grade: A+

Los Angeles Lakers fire Byron Scott

Well, that was smart. As a friend correctly said today, Byron Scott has been living off the success of two seasons more than a decade ago with the Nets, as Scott today is just a poor NBA coach. With the Kobe Show all season, Scott didn't properly develop the elite young talent that his roster had and he really hurt his two best talents - D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle - by benching them. A team as pathetic as the Lakers doesn't need to punish talent that young; such a team needs to give them minutes. For the love of Kobe Bryant, Scott started Lou Williams for half the season and not Russell, an incredibly talented rookie point guard and likely the Lakers' next franchise player.

Scott also had a locker room in pieces, and well, he genuinely did jack. The team didn't care because they wanted to lose for their draft pick - theirs if not Nos. 1-3 - but why it took two weeks to fire him is a mystery; it should have been the minute after Game 82. The Lakers should just hire Mark Jackson and forget the evil that was Byron Scott.

Grade: A+

Brooklyn Nets hire Kenny Atkinson as coach

As I have not heard of Kenny Atkinson, I am ashamed. It's my job to know these things. Or maybe it's the Brooklyn Nets making another mistake, because my friends don't know who he is either. If an NBA writer and his buddies have no clue who a guy is, maybe he shouldn't be a head coach in the NBA, but that is my ego talking. Let me see what the Wikipedia has to say.

Well, he isn't a country singer as his name would suggest - I know I am not as funny as Walter, you can just deal with my Dad Jokes, thank you - and I am now convinced that he should probably not be an NBA coach right now. At 48, Atkinson has just nine years of coaching experience; five with the Knicks and four with the Hawks. Although he is coming from a pretty solid Hawks staff, I don't trust the Nets' owner or management.

It is true that all these questions were asked about Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer in 2014, who we now know is an elite NBA coach, but he was coming from the Spurs and had 20 years of experience. As I doubt this is the rich franchise being cheap, they sincerely think he is a hidden gem, but count me a doubter for now. I would like to be proven incorrect, as it is a ballsy move and I respect it, but I don't get it, sorry Brooklyn.

Grade: D

Washington Wizards hire coach Scott Brooks

First off, no, this doesn't mean the Wizards are signing Kevin Durant, because he is staying with the Thunder - sorry, Wizard fans. Regardless, Washington has hired itself a far more talented coach than Randy Wittman. Brooks was the Thunder coach for years, won the Western Conference once and was loved by his players. If I was running the Thunder he would still be their coach, but now the Wizards have a real coach in Washington.

The Wizards missed the playoffs this season, but that was mostly because of injuries and nobody can say they aren't a very talented young team. Assuming Washington re-sign Bradley Beal, who is a restricted free agent, the franchise will have one of the best backcourts in the league with Beal and franchise player John Wall. The Wizards also have nice pieces in Otto Porter Jr., Kelly Oubre, Marcin Gortat, the 12th pick in the NBA Draft and a lot of money to work with.

Wittman couldn't get the potential from his teams; Brooks will and with a little help from management, the Wizards will not only make the playoffs next season, but they could be one of the strongest teams in the Eastern Conference. People criticize Scott Brooks' X's and O's, but the difficult part of being a coach is managing the locker room, and that is where he is excellent. He is also a winner and easily the best coach on the market. This was $35 million - $7 million a season - well spent by Washington.

Grade: A

Minnesota Timberwolves hire Tom Thibodeau as coach and president of basketball operations

This is a tough grade. My colleague and friend Josh and I spent about an hour talking about it today, as there are so many little things that need to be discussed. First, as a coach, Thibodeau was the best on the market. That makes this a win. He did have trouble with the Bulls' management team, and now being able to run his own team will take care of an issue that could have become a thing in a year or two, which is also nice. I also have no problem with the $50 million they are paying him over five season, but he doesn't have experience running a front office; however, I have faith in him.

As for the coaching aspects of this hire, the former Coach of the Year is arguably the best defensive mind in the NBA not named Gregg Popovich and to me, is one of the five best coaches in the league. He will have the Timberwolves, who have the most talented young roster in the NBA, in the playoff hunt by next season, and he will help them so much stronger defensively. The one issue I didn't think of are the two criticisms of his coaching; he plays his guys a lot of minutes and he's tough on his guys. I think that Minnesota's depth makes the minutes a non-issue, but I don't know how this young team will react to being yelled at constantly, and so this is something that needs to be watched.

Regardless, this is an excellent move that is going to help the Timberwolves make the playoffs in no more than three seasons - I think two. When you hire the best coach available, you get an A, no matter the secondary issues.

Grade: A-

Phoenix Suns hire Earl Watson as coach

Earl Watson was the Suns' interim coach after they fired Jeff Hornacek mid-season, and they have given him a three-season contract. I don't like this move, but I don't hate it. They wouldn't have kept him if they didn't like him and they didn't think the players tried hard for him, and I do like how the Suns' injured young team played for him, mostly Devin Booker.

I also want to see what Watson can do with this team healthy for a season. This is mainly because the Suns are so talented at guard and as a former guard himself, he will know how to best play so many talented players who would normally play two positions - Phoenix's three best players are guards. Watson is a coach and former player who knows small-ball, and Suns need to use it; however, there were simply stronger coaches on the market. Mark Jackson, Scottie Brooks, who islikely to become Houston's coach, Lionel Hollins and Kevin McHale would have been stronger picks for Phoenix to me.

Grade: D+

Sacramento Kings fire coach George Karl

The Kings fired George Karl in a move that was expected. He is an excellent NBA coach and a Hall of Famer, but he is just another coach who couldn't work with DeMarcus Cousins, and it's basically Sacramento haveing to choose between its franchise player and its coach. The Kings are a joke and have had numerous coaches since drafting Cousins, but their owner has no clue what he is doing and their GM is Vlade Divac, who doesn't know what a GM is actually expected to do. I wanted to give this an F, but Cousins is one of the best players in the NBA, and we know they are keeping him, so they might as well have a coach he likes.

Grade: C+

Cavaliers sign Dahntay Jones for two seasons

The Cavaliers had a spot on the roster to sign somebody for the team's quest for a title, and they have signed shooting guard Dahntay Jones. He has a team option for next season, but this is about getting a solid shooter and defender who can help them on the court and may actually play as they have injuries at guard. The contract is for $2.3 million if Jones is on the roster next season and although signing him is a very small move, I like the Eastern Conference Title favorites adding another solid role player.

Grade: A

Washington Wizards fire coach Randy Wittman

Randy Wittman had his job a few seasons too long, as it was well-known he wasn't much of an NBA head coach, but the Wizards were doing well, so they kept him. With them missing the playoffs, their one reward was being able to fire Wittman. They did have injury issues this season, but this team should have made it. Regardless, they can now find a coach to get the most from their excellent young roster, and although they won't be signing Kevin Durant - yes, Brandon I am talking to you, man-, they can at least hire a strong coach. If I were Washington, I would go for George Karl or Mark Jackson.

Grade: A

Memphis Grizzlies sign guard Ray McCallum

Ray McCallum is one of the best NBA players you probably haven't heard of. Yes, the Spurs just cut him, but they were signing Kevin Martin, a 20-point scorer to do so, so it wasn't because McCallum wasn't doing his job. McCallum is productive when he actually plays with per-36-minute averages in the NBA of 12 points, four rebounds and four assists, and in his rookie season, he had an incredible run as Sacramento's starting point guard when Isaiah Thomas was injured. The Grizzlies are getting a baller point guard, and they need one as with Mario Chalmers missing the season and starting point guard Mike Conley missing the next month. Memphis has signed one who can start and help the team win games to keep it in the fifth seed. Excellent job by the Grizzlies staff.

Grade: A

Spurs sign guard Kevin Martin

The Timberwolves just agreed to buy Kevin Martin's contract and Martin will join Andre Miller as the second of Minnesota's players who signs with the Spurs this week. San Antonio is one of the two best teams in the NBA, my pick to win the title and has just signed a 20-point scorer off the scrap heap. Normally, this would be an A+, but Martin hasn't had much of a season, missing 20 or so games, and he's played less than mediocre when on the floor. He will help on offense and gives the Spurs more shooting, but Martin is a pathetic NBA defender and the Spurs are the best defensive team in the league, so if I'm Gregg Popovich I see little reason to give him the minutes of any player who has played for him this season. Yes, Martin helps the Spurs on paper, but I don't see why they signed him.

Grade: B-

Thunder sign center Nazr Muhammad

Nazr Muhammad is ancient, and I assumed he had retired as he wasn't on a team all season. However, now he has a chance to win another championship - won with the Spurs -, as he was signed to be the sixth big man on the NBA's fourth-best team - I only see one of four teams winning a title. He provides defense and toughness, but he is mostly there for his character in the locker room, which the Thunder need. I wrote on twitter - click my link; 126 is pathetic - yesterday that what the Thunder are missing is role players, meaning they just don't have what Cleveland, Golden State and San Antonio have on their benches, and although he won't fix Oklahoma City on the court, I like that the team is improving the locker room, which isn't the best in the NBA. The Warriors and Spurs are near perfect in that regard, while the Thunder have to improve there.

Grade: B

Pacers sign guard Ty Lawson

When Ty Lawson was in rehab this offseason, Houston traded for him in what was thought of as a steal as the Nuggets just wanted to get rid of the man who was their franchise player. Well, the Nuggets won that trade as Lawson was cut by the Rockets after basically a half season. The man who was expected to make the Rockets a stronger contender is now with Indiana, but I have one question; why? The Pacers are a solid Eastern Conference Playoff team with excellent chemistry, defense and guards, but they don't need Lawson on the court. At best, he won't hurt them in the locker room. The Pacers aren't contenders and Ty Lawson isn't making them one, they know this, so Larry Bird, what the hell man?

Grade: Isiah - the NBA Millen

Rockets sign guard Andrew Goudelock

This is an interesting move. Goudelock played one season with the Lakers, another in the D-League and has been playing international ball for three years now; however, I like this signing. He is a ridiculously talented shooter and scorer, but he has point guard size and isn't a point guard. Goudelock is kind of just a bigger Jimmer Fredette. I don't know if Goudelock is going to be in the rotation or play a single minute, but I like his potential and he could help them.

Grade: B+

Rockets sign forward Michael Beasley

I don't know what the hell is going on with this team. Less than a year ago, the Rockets were a few games from winning the West, then they signed Ty Lawson in rehab, fired their coach in Week 3 of the season, traded for Josh Smith, tried to deal Dwight Howard, cut Lawson and are now signing Michael freaking Beasley. This team has no chemistry, is a joke, and is now signing a guy, who although he is an elite talent, wasn't in the NBA all year.

Still, Beasley has averaged all-star numbers per minute in the NBA, is just 27 and this team is screwed this season regardless, so although it is an odd move, I kind of like this. I just don't have any clue what Houston is doing this season.

Grade: B-

Hawks sign power forward Kris Humphries

The Atlanta Hawks will sign former Kardashian Kris Humphries for the season. Humphries was traded from the Wizards to the Suns in the Markieff Morris trade and was then cut by Phoenix, so he will be on his third team in a couple of weeks. Humphries is actually a strong NBA player - an elite rebounder and a solid scorer who can shoot - but he doesn't fit this team. This is the Hawks trying to find another big after losing Tiago Splitter for the season, but they will need him to play center, which he can't. They want defense from their fives and he simply cannot defend. Humphries is another shooting big man for Atlanta, but the team has four already, so he isn't needed him. He's solid, but if the Hawks wanted another big, they should have found a true center.

Grade: C

Spurs sign point guard Andre Miller

Andre Miller is 39, but he is still a solid second point guard, and for the Spurs, gives them an excellent fifth guard with size, experience and elite play-making ability. He won't play much, but he will give San Antonio another veteran for its locker room and will help when given minutes. A contender has gotten stronger, and as the Spurs are one of the four NBA contenders, this is an excellent signing. I don't love that they cut Ray McCallum to sign him, as they don't have much young talent on this team, but it makes a contender stronger this season, which is all that matters for this franchise.

Grade: A

Wizards sign power forward J.J. Hickson

The Wizards traded for Markieff Morris, but they still had poor depth in the frontcourt that Hickson will help. Hickson can play the four and five, and with Morris, Marcin Gortat and Nene, Washington has a nice four-man big rotation. Hickson is a solid scorer and a strong rebounding big who really helps the Wizards' rotation, which is now actually pretty solid in. They are in a 10-team fight for the playoffs in the East, and although they are 10th, I think they will make it and Hickson will play a role in that. A number of teams should have gone after Hickson, but I love it for the Wizards, who must make the playoffs.

Grade: A

Nets hire Sean Marks as GM

I don't know much about Sean Marks, but he is a Spurs guy who is now the GM of a rebuilding team, which normally works. The Spurs are the best-run team in professional sports, and Marks will bring the Spurs' style to Brooklyn. As the team has few assets and no picks, the Nets need somebody smart to rebuild with, and I think they hired the right executive for their team. This is the best move the franchise has made since, well, moving.

Grade: A

Knicks will sign Jimmer Fredette to a 10-day contract

The Knicks won't be making the playoffs this season, and although some think this is a move just to give people a guy to talk about, Jimmer Fredette is much more than just a celebrity, he is perfect for the Knicks. Playing the Triangle Offense, you need shooting and ball movement, which are the two parts of the game where he thrives. The best player in the D-League, and one of the best NCAA athletes in history, Fredette fits the Knicks, and he could prove himself to be a player for them going into next season. Fredette won't be elite, but he can be an excellent NBA role player. Smart.

Grade: A+

Warriors sign center Anderson Varejao

The Cavaliers traded Varejao for Channing Frye at the deadline, and the veteran center was cut immediately. However, the Warriors, Spurs and I am guessing most playoff teams wanted to sign Varejao, as he is a veteran rebounder, defender and an excellent teammate, but the champion Warriors have signed him (or will in the next few days) for the season. They have cut Jason Thompson to do so, but with Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli, their elite center duo, struggling with injuries, Varejao is a perfect guy to have on the bench to give them 10 minutes a game and play big minutes if Bogut and Ezeli are hurt. The champions, who have lost just five games, are now stronger, it isn't fair.

Grade: A+

Mavericks sign David Lee

David Lee was cut by the Celtics after they couldn't trade him, and so the former two-time all-star has signed with the Mavericks for the season. It is an interesting choice for him, as the Mavericks aren't contenders, but he wants minutes, and he can help the Mavericks, who will likely be the fifth seed in the West Playoffs. I actually love the fit as Lee is an excellent veteran player who scores, rebounds and distributes; however, he is a pathetic defender, so I don't know how much he can play with Dirk Nowitzki or in small-ball units. Regardless, for 20 minutes a game, he could give the Mavericks nine points and nine rebounds a gamem and he makes them a stronger team. This was a smart signing by one of the smartest franchises.

Grade: A+

Bucks - will - sign forward Steve Novak

Novak was traded to the Nuggets from the Thunder and was cut by Denver this week. Normally, this means a role player - Novak is one of the league's best shooters - will go to a contender or somewhere to find minutes, but he is signing with the Bucks, who don't need him and aren't making the playoffs. Yes, he went Marquette, but for half a season of being close to home (from Chicago area) and his college, why? I don't get it, but I don't hate the move for the Bucks, who are young and only one of their starters - Khris Middleton - is a shooter. However, they do have a lot of shooting on the bench, and if I was running the team, I would use Novak's spot on the team to get somebody from the D-League. There is real talent there right now who could become a part of this team for more than just the next 30 games. Regardless, this is fine for the Bucks.

Grade: B-


Los Angeles gets: Jeff Green
Memphis gets: Lance Stephenson and a 2019 first-round pick

I said the Grizzlies would make more trades, and I was right, as they dealt another veteran for an asset. With their franchise player Marc Gasol injured, they are trying to get assets in a season where they will not win anything in the playoffs, which is smart in theory. However, it's crap. Yes, they got a first-round pick, but that selection (which is in three years) and Lance freaking Stephenson is not fair value for Jeff Green. I would rather have the pick and a hot dog. As for Green, he is an excellent scorer, a solid rebounder, a terrific athlete, plays the three and four and is arguably the best player traded today.

This was the biggest trade of the day, and the Clippers nailed it. I love that they are trying for a title and that they kept Blake Griffin (it would have been a franchise-level mistake to trade one of the league's 10 best players who is just 27). As for the Grizzlies, Lance Stephenson has been one of the most useless players in the league since signing with Charlotte two offseasons ago. He has an attitude and well, he sucks. He is an incredible talent who just doesn't get how to help a team, and as this is his fourth squad in three seasons. I know Memphis wanted a first for Green, but if I were them, I would have kept him and tried my hardest to make the playoffs. Their chances went 90-10 to 50-50. I love this trade for the Clippers and hate it for the Grizzlies.

Grade For Clippers: A
Grade For Grizzlies: F

Trail Blazers get: Brian Roberts and second-round pick
Heat Get: Money

With this trade, the Blazers took a contract, as they had cap room and needed to hit the minimum salary. They also got a pick and a solid reserve guard in return. A nice trade. The Heat were able to get themselves into the green and won't be a tax team, which is big for them, as it took three deals for them to get there. A simple trade, but these two franchises did well.

Grade For Trail Blazers: A
Grade For Heat: A

Pelicans get: Jarnell Stokes and cash
Heat get: Second-round pick

I am a big fan of Stokes. He was a monster in college as a scorer and rebounder, and I thought he was one of the 20 best prospects in the 2014 NBA Draft. He has been traded twice already though, from the Grizzlies, to the Heat and now to the Pelicans. However, the 35th pick in said draft may have found a home. He has only played about 60 minutes in his 1.5 NBA seasons, but with a lot of playing time in the D-League, he has been the same monster he was in college. He just needs minutes, and the Pelicans can give them to him. This is a smart trade by the Pelicans, basically getting a first-round talent rookie. As for the Heat, it cuts the luxury tax more (they actually don't have any after their third deal), but I really think they should have kept Stokes. They don't have much youth, and cheap talent with potential has a lot of value.

Grade For Pelicans: A
Grade For Heat: C

76ers get: Second-round pick and Joel Anthony
Rockets get: Nothing

This is the 76ers again taking on salary (about $4 million this season and next season) for a second-round pick. Philly is basically the third franchise in the Detroit-Houston Donatas Motiejunas-Marcus Thornton trade. I like it for the Rockets, as they want to be spenders in free agency and get $2.5 million more to spend next offseason. However, I am sick of Philly doing this; it doesn't hurt them, but it's just boring and shows they really aren't changing, which is sickening. They are like that friend who has a hot girl come to him as a shoulder to cry although he is in love with her and has to hear about all her guy problems. That's what Philly is. They are the shoulder for teams to cry on.

Grade For 76ers: F
Grade For Rockets: A

Suns get: First round pick, Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair
Wizards get: Markieff Morris

I love this trade for the Suns, basically because Markieff Morris is a douchebag who just went at his own teammate, has wanted a trade for a year, and has acted like an idiot. Yet, the Suns still got value for him! A first-round pick and two role-player big men with small, fair contracts is excellent value. I didn't think they could get half that. They are also now a lesser team, which will help them get a stronger pick, as they are one of the 3-4 weakest NBA teams.

Morris may be a douche, but he is a talented douche who should really help the Wizards. They were desperate for frontcourt help, and he can start for them at the four and give them strong scoring and rebounding. Although the Wizards did trade value, this deal fills their biggest need and will help them make the playoffs. Morris has an excellent contract at just $8 million per season. He needed to be on another team and start fresh, and if he acts like a professional, this will be a steal for this franchise.

Grade For Suns: A
Grade For Wizards: A

Hawks get: Kirk Hinrich
Bulls get: Second-Round Pick

As the Bulls see themselves as contenders in the East by not trading Taj Gibson or Pau Gasol, I don't know why they decided to deal Kirk Hinrich when their depth is poor. However, with E'Twaun Moore becoming a key part of the rotation, they didn't really need Hinrich. They are also helped financially, and they get a pick, so it's a solid trade. As for the Hawks, they traded Shelvin Mack, their third point guard, for a second-round pick this morning, so I don't know why they traded for a lesser point guard for a second-round pick later on. That makes no sense to me.

Grade For Hawks: D+
Grade For Bulls: B

Nuggets get: Steve Novak, D.J. Augustin and two second-round picks
Thunder get: Randy Foye

This is a solid trade for these two franchises. For the Nuggets, they are trading a veteran role player for $6 million in expiring contracts and two second-round picks, which is incredibly wise for a rebuilding franchise. As for the Thunder, they need to win now to keep Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and this makes one of the NBA's five true contenders a stronger team. Foye has had a poor season, but he is a strong scoring and shooting combo guard who will bolster their excellent bench. I have no problem with a contender trading little assets to try and win a title.

Grade For Cavaliers: A+
Grade For Trail Blazers: A+

Cavaliers get: Channing Frye
Trail Blazers get: Anderson Varejao and a 2018 first-round pick
Magic get: Jared Cunningham and a second-round pick

This is a big win for these three franchises. I love it. The Cavaliers stole Channing Frye from the selling Magic for two players who were not in the rotation, and Frye makes the East's best team much stronger. He is an elite stretch four - something they didn't have - and he also rebounds, which is nice for them. He also has an excellent contract, where they will be paying him basically $8 million per year for three seasons. They also get money in this trade, as they cut $10 million from their tax bill.

The Trail Blazers had a ton of cap, so they were able to trade for Anderson Varejeo's contract. When a team takes a big contract as part of a trade, they are rewarded for it. Their reward is a first-round pick. They will cut Varejao, but this was an incredibly wise trade by them.

The Magic are sellers, as they have a lot of cap coming in the offseason. As they have traded Frye and his $8 million contract, they will have about $45 million to spend this summer, making them one of the biggest players in free agency. As an added bonus, they also get another pick. They will cut Cunningham.

Grade For Cavaliers: A+
Grade For Trail Blazers: A+
Grade For Magic: A+


Jazz get: Shelvin Mack
Hawks get: 2nd Round Pick

This is a win-win trade for these two teams. Utah was desperate for a point guard with Dante Exum injured and Trey Burke and Raul Neto mediocre. Although Mack isn't a starting NBA point guard, he might just be the best they have. Per minute, he a strong scorer, although inefficient, but a solid distributor who has played well with big minutes. They were considering trading Burke for Ty Lawson, but I like this trade a lot more, as they are filling a big need for just a 2nd round pick. For the Hawks, they had no need for Mack, who was their third point guard, and they are getting a pick and $2.5 million in cap this offseason. This is a simple grade.

Grade For Jazz: A
Grade For Hawks: A


Pistons get: Marcus Thornton and Donatas Motiejunas
Rockets get: Joel Anthony and a protected 1st Round Pick:

This is a very interesting trade to me. I love that Detroit is trying to improve its mediocre depth, but I didn't expect Houston to be sellers, although it makes sense, as they aren't winning much this season. However, I really like this trade for these two franchises.

The Pistons are losing a pick, but their depth was porous and they now have two solid role players on the bench who fit. Marcus Thornton becomes the scoring guard they needed after their Brandon Jennings trade and Donatas Motiejunas is a stretch four, which is vital to the Detroit offense and as they traded Ersan Ilyasova for Tobias Harris. This also helps replace one of the players they have traded. They wanted to improve, and they did. I won't fault them for that; I actually really like who they got. I don't like how the two players are free agents, as a first-round pick is valuable, but the Pistons want to be a playoff team and this should keep them there.

As for Houston, the team is getting a first-round pick this offseason, which should be in the teens for two role players with expiring contracts, so the value is excellent. I doubt Joel Anthony plays though. Darryl Morey is one of the best general managers in the NBA, and that pick will help them make more deals, so I love this trade for this team.

Grade For Pistons: A-
Grade For Rockets: A



Three-way Trade among Memphis, Charlotte and Miami for Players and Picks

Grizzlies Receive: Chris Andersen, P.J. Hairston and four second-round picks
Hornets Receive: Courtney Lee
Heat Receive: Brian Roberts

There is so much to this deal it hurts my head, but to make it simple, Memphis must know that Marc Gasol will miss the season as this is a classic seller's move that says to the league that they will make more; the Heat wanted to shed luxury tax and find a point guard; and the Hornets wanted to find somebody to replace Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

I will start with the Grizzlies, as it's simplest. The Grizzlies have lost Marc Gasol, and although they can make the playoffs, they are starting to trade veterans for assets as they are now incredibly mediocre. P.J. Hairston is a recent first-round pick, although somewhat of a problem, but talent is talent; regardless, this is all about the four picks. I like Chris Andersen, who brings some size and is a physical-Memphis-like player, but you think the team could have gotten more for Lee, at least a first-rounder.

As the Hornets lost Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for the season, a starter at the three, they traded for three-and-D specialist Courtney Lee, who will help them try for the playoffs. He gives them a lot more shooting than Kidd-Gilchrist, but they will miss his versatility, rebounding, size and defense, but for their third point guard, a young player they didn't want and two second-round picks, it's not a poor trade. However, I don't like it, as the Hornets aren't winning a playoff series if they do make it, which I don't think they will, and it seems a lot to trade for a half-season rental who isn't actually a small forward (Lee is a 6-foot-5 two). I know why Charlotte made it, but I don't like it.

The Heat made this trade for two reasons, to cut their luxury tax, which they did by trading Andersen and for help at guard. Their tax is now almost half, and they were actually improved as a team with Brian Roberts. Having traded Mario Chalmers and Shabazz Napier, Miami was already hurting for depth at guard, and with Tyler Johnson injured, the club had to find a guard, and Roberts is an efficient and strong scorer with some point guard talent, who will help them more than Andersen was. I think the Heat are the winners of this trade.

Grade For Grizzlies: B-
Grade For Hornets: D+

Grade For Heat: A


Tobias Harris To Detroit

Pistons get: Tobias Harris
Magic get: Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings

A lot of people are giving the Pistons a lot of credit for this trade, which they should, but this isn't the steal people are saying. Yes, Detroit won the trade, but this helps Orlando as well.

As for the Pistons, they get the go-to-perimeter scorer they needed in a starting small forward who can also play the four, which is big, as Stan Van Gundy loves to have versatile players. Detroit was starting Marcus Morris and Ersan Ilyasova at the forward spots, but they are actually two stretch fours, so now this team has a much stronger starting five. The Pistons are losing depth, which was already a problem, but they have filled their biggest need.

Harris isn't an excellent shooter, but he makes one a game and is an efficient scorer and an elite rebounding forward. They also have him locked into a four-season contract, and although it is $16 million per season, for a third scoring option, that is fine.

A starting five of Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Harris, Marcus Morris and Andre Drummond is young and excellent, and this also helps Detroit's playoff chances. The club's core of Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson and Harris is young and excellent, and when the front office re-signs Drummond this offseason, they will all be locked into contracts.

As for the Magic, I get why they are making this trade. They just drafted an elite small forard prospect in Mario Hezonja, and with Jennings a free agent and Ersan Ilyasova only having one more season, they will have $7 million more to play with this summer and another $7 million in two summers. Orlando also has so much young talent with Nikola Vucevic, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon and Hezonja, so this is just losing an expendable, although talented, player from the roster with a big contract. It makes sense to me. The Magic just have to make sure they aren't using this money on lesser players this offseason, which would hurt the grade to me.

Grade For Pistons: A
Grade For Magic: B



Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

I thought Derek Fisher was having an excellent season, as the Knicks went from pathetic to fighting for the No. 8 seed, although they are mediocre. I loved his rotations, how he handled Carmelo Anthony, developed Kristaps Porzingis, and how he mixed veteran and young players. I think Fisher was doing a hell of a job.

Regardless, of how well he did for the Knicks this season, a five-game losing streak isn't why he was fired. Phil Jackson isn't that impatient or dumb; Fisher was fired because the coaching market is suddenly incredible with former Jackson player Luke Walton the most prized coaching free agent I can remember and with Tom Thibodeau; he is apparently drooling for this job. This is why New York made the change, to be able to get a coach who is superior to what Derek Fisher is now.

The only problem is that Jackson has a tough choice: Hire Tom Thibdodeau now, or try for Luke Walton after the season, as he is staying on Steve Kerr's staff for the season. I think it's simple: hire Tom Thibodeau now. Yes, I understand how appealing Luke Walton is, but he was coaching with a Warriors team that is so talented it could coach itself.

So why Thibdodeau? He's one of the best coaches in the league, will have the Knicks winning, will have them playing elite defense, knows Carmelo Anthony from being a Team USA assistant coach and knows how to work with superstars and their egos, as he dealt with Derrick Rose and his crap for years. This was odd timing, but it makes perfect sense. The Knicks know they aren't winning a title this season, so they are making a move for tomorrow, and that takes guts. This is a win for Jackson.

Grade: A



Suns fire Jeff Hornacek

The Suns are porous, but they are missing their best player for the season (Eric Bledsoe). Regardless with the roster's talent, Phoenix should still be playing .500 basketball and not looking like one of the weakest teams in the NBA. Therefore, I get why the Suns fired Jeff Hornacek, as they are pathetic right now, but I wouldn't have fired him. We all know this team was built on their two-point guard system of Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, who were averaging about 40 points and 10 assists a game, and the duo worked to perfection with Hornacek. I want to know if the next coach can do the same, because if not, Phoenix will have to trade one of them and retool the roster.

Although the Suns are losing, I have loved the player development of Hornacek, as all of their young players were playing well - some excellently - and I think the Suns should have given him one more season to see if these young players and a heathy Bledsoe can win, which they were with Eric Bledsoe healthy.

Yes, Hornacek was only doing half of his job by making his players stronger, but losing most games, however, I also have to blame management. The Suns' roster is a mess. Their best forward Markieff Morris wants a trade and has acted like a moron since the offseason and is a problem they should have solved in the offseason. If you don't know the story, he lost it when they traded his twin brother Marcus to Detroit, and they should have bought his contract or traded him by now. Also, why did they sign a mid-30s center (Tyson Chandler) to a big contract when one of their best young players (Alex Len) is also a true center, so they can't play together and this team is one of the NBA's youngest rosters? That signing was pointless, and Phoenix should also be trying to trade Chandler; I think management is.

Regardless, this is not an easy grade because I can see why the Suns fired him and why they should have fired him, but he was given an odd roster, he was getting so much from his young players and his best player is hurt. This team is a mess no matter your feelings on the firing. Suns owner Robert Sarver really needs to sell the club to somebody who knows what the hell they should be doing, because he has no clue. Phoenix's fans are excellent and deserve more than this.

Grade: C-



Josh Smith To Houston

Houston Rockets Get: Josh Smith, cash and the rights to Serhiy Lishchuk
Los Angeles Clippers Get: The rights to Maarty Leunen

This seems to be just the Clippers losing a headache in Josh Smith and the Rockets trying to gain a piece who knows the team, is talented and could make them stronger. Houston really wants to try to be one of the best in the West, which it was in 2015.

Smith is talented, but look at the trade, it was the Clippers trading him, money and a guy who isn't going to play in the NBA, for another guy who isn't going to play in the NBA, meaning the Clippers really, really wanted Smith off their team. I would like to say that I gave his minimum signing an F in the offseason and got some comments that said I was an idiot, but look who is smart now ... me!

As for the Rockets, I get that they want to try to improve, and they know they can control him, so it makes sense. It helps that Smith is tight with Dwight Howard and played well for Houston in its recent playoff run. Regardless, Smith isn't going to make the Rockets stronger than the fifth or sixth team in the West, which they already are; they just lack the talent, but he has a cheap one-season contract, and they can cut him if there are problems. It was a smart choice though, and I like it. I like that the Clippers, who are excellent, are trying to improve their chemistry and that the Rockets are trying to become excellent; this was a strong trade for the two franchises. Smart.

Grade For Houston: A
Grade For Los Angeles: A



Cavaliers fire David Blatt

We all knew that LeBron James didn't like Blatt and that this is James' team, so this happened. It sucks for Blatt, but he wasn't going to win against LeBron James. The Cavaliers should have fired him after the season if there were problems, and the timing is ridiculous, as they have the third-best record in the NBA and are first in the East (30-11). The club is making it sound like this isn't James interfering, and although that is probably a lie, Blatt wasn't much of an NBA coach, so I don't mind him being fired; I actually said the Cavaliers should have fired him last season. If you are the coach of a team with LeBron James and four players with near max contracts, you have two jobs as coach: make the players like you and keep them liking you. This is the NBA; players run the league and with Blatt spending most of his career in Europe, he likely didn't get the memo, as he and LeBron just didn't become close in their 1.5 seasons. I hate the timing, but I like the decision and the guy who the team hired, their assistant coach Tyronn Lue.

Grade: B+

Cavaliers hire coach Tyrone Lue

Tryonn Lue has been a respected assistant for years, and the former point guard, who is just 38 years old, is perfect for this team. Why? The players like him and he doesn't have to do anything. LeBron James is basically the coach of this team. Don't laugh it's true; James is the man in Cleveland, but he and Lue should work well together, which is the only thing that matters with this job, so I like it.

Grade: A

Nuggets extend GM Tim Connelly's contract

Uh, why? The Nuggets seem to have no idea what they are doing, and they have showed it again giving somebody who is doing a porous job more seasons to keep doing it. Yes, Connelly has made the right decisions in the draft and was smart when he traded Ty Lawson (although for peanuts), but he has given Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari ridiculous extensions, and he should be re-building, but won't. If that is his boss telling him not to, that isn't his fault, but the Chandler and Gallinari extensions for about $100 million shows me that he has no idea what Connelly is doing. The Nuggets will not be winning anytime soon if this guy is running the team. I don't get this.

Grade: F

Brooklyn Nets reassign (fire) GM Billy King

Well, this was smart. I don't know why King had a job. He traded for Joe Johnson and his contract, gave a ridiculous contract to Deron Williams, traded three first-round picks to the Celtics, which means the Nets cannot rebuild via the draft and has Brooklyn as the weakest franchise for the next three seasons. King was bold, but dumb, and he deserved to lose his job. The Nets have a nice market and money to spend, and somebody, not Billy King, should be the person to spend it.

Grade: A+

Brooklyn Nets fire coach Lionel Hollins

Lionel Hollins is an excellent NBA coach, as he showed with the Grizzlies and the Nets. Hollins made the playoffs with a mediocre roster in his first season and almost beat the No. 1 seed, and his team at least tried this season with the least amount of talent in the NBA. I don't know how a coach like Hollins only gets a little more than one season, it's ridiculous. The Nets are a joke franchise.

Grade: F

Ish Smith To Philadelphia

Philadelphia 76ers Get: Ish Smith
New Orleans Pelicans Get: Two Second-Round Picks

This was a weird trade, as I had to look twice. Usually the 76ers are trading their players for second-round picks, but they have actually made a trade to become a stronger team, which is the first in three years or so. Ish Smith isn't well-known, but Philadelphia fans know him, as he was their starting point guard in 2014, but he was having a solid season for the Pelicans. New Orleans had a lot of injured guards to start the season, so he started and was actually excellent, averaging 14 points and eight assists in his starts. On the other hand, when Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and Norris Cole were all healthy, the Pelicans had three expensive guards they had to play first, so Smith's minutes were cut to about 10-15 a game. New Orleans made the right choice to trade him now for value, as second-round picks are more valuable now with the talent internationally and in college seemingly stronger recently; numerous second-round picks have become rotation players and starters this decade.

As for the 76ers, although I like Smith and that they made a trade to help the team or at least try to, I have no clue what they are doing. The organization already had Kendall Marshall, T.J. McConnell, Isaiah Canaan and Tony Wroten - four similar guards - and was forced to cut Wroten, who might be the best of those to make the trade, so I don't think it helps the team. Smith is a fine second point guard, but he isn't going to become the 76ers' franchise point guard and will take minutes from McConnell and Canaan, who are young, and Marshall, who I like more, and the 76ers traded picks to do make this happen. I'm not a fan, but I like that Philadelphia is trying to become a stronger team. The Pelicans win this one though.

Grade For 76ers: B
Grade For Pelicans: A

76ers give coach Brett Brown a two-season extension

When Jerry Colangelo was hired, the first thing reported was that the 76ers would give their coach two more seasons on his contract. It may seem odd for a coach whose team is 1-23, but the 76ers have the talent of a normal Kentucky college team and Brown's players actually play hard for him. He has developed Philadelphia's young talent and gotten a lot from players who wouldn't play on most teams. With Brown's coaching the 76ers have improved their young foundation, and he deserves job security. I would love to see what Brown can do with a real NBA roster.

Grade: A+

76ers hire Jerry Colangelo as chairman

There are few people who dislike Sixers' GM Sam Hinkie more than I. He has made his team lose for three straight seasons to tank for picks and traded all his talent for, you guessed it, picks. It seems that the owner is as sick of it as the fans (the attendance is pathetic, and the 76ers are historically weak), as he has hired the guy who runs the USA Men's Basketball Team, Jerry Colangelo to be the team's chairman. Colangelo knows all of the NBA's best players and is a basketball genius who will get this team right. It is said that Hinkie will still have the say on basketball decisions (with help from Colangelo), but there is no doubt to me that the most embarrassing team in professional sports has itself another boss; one who is one of the best in the business. This is one of the best moves any franchise has made in years. Nice job, Philadelphia; you won't win 10 games, but this is the biggest in years. As for now? The 76ers might have four first-round picks and Jahlil Okafor is a star, so things are looking solid for this franchise.Grade: A+

Sign Center Ryan Hollins to a likely one-season minimum contract

The Wizards have an aging frontcourt that is also mediocre, and although Ryan Hollins is in his 30s, they had to find depth because they aren't just talented at the four or five. Hollins is a solid second center who will give them rebounding, shot-blocking and points, and gives them another option to DeJuan Blair, Drew Gooden and Kris Humphries. I don't mind this.

Correction: A previous grade for Hollins to the Wizards has been removed.

Grade: B

Charlotte Hornets give coach Steve Clifford a three-season extension

This is difficult. Steve Clifford is the best coach this franchise has had (yes, including Larry Brown) and, right now, has his team playing excellent ball. He has Kemba Walker playing like an all-star and Nicolas Batum, who has fit into his rotation perfectly, also playing like one. However, as well as those two are playing, the Hornets haven't won a playoff game to date, and although they are playing stronger than expected, his player development has been poor to me. I like that Michael Jordan and company want the franchise to be stable, but this team could start losing at any time and they may not like the fact that they re-signed him so willy-nilly (yes, I said that) when they are hot.

I don't hate the move, in fact I like it, but I don't see much potential with Clifford. He can get Charlotte in the playoffs, but can he win when there? Also, will the Hornets' young talent start developing as they should? I will give the organization credit for keeping something that is working, instead of going for something different that could make the team stronger. I could see him fired in two years or so, but this was probably the right choice.

Grade: B

The Houston Rockets fire head coach Kevin McHale

What the hell? This team just won two playoff series and were three games from winning the Western Conference and they just fired their coach. I know they are 4-7 and having trouble, but they are trying to get Ty Lawson going, which is hard as he was in rehab this offseason, and have a much different rotation this season. The effort was questioned constantly, but it's 15 percent into the season and a legitimate contender has fired its coach. For Walt, I am giving this a Millen, I don't care about the sport.

Grade: Millen

Grizzlies Acquire Mario Chalmers as Part of Four-Player Swap

Memphis Grizzlies Receive: Mario Chalmers and James Ennis
Miami Heat Receive: Beno Udrih and Jarnell Stokes

For the Grizzlies, I love this trade as they are desperate for offense and Chalmers gives them a strong sixth man, which they lacked. He is a strong athlete who can run an offense, shoot, score and defend, so he fits the Grizzlies well. They see themselves as title contenders, however, they have no chance if they don't start scoring, which Chalmers will help them with. Losing Stokes I don't love, but he isn't in their frontcourt plans, so it doesn't really matter. I doubt Ennis is on this team in a week; they just don't need him and his contract isn't guaranteed.

For the Heat, this was about trying not to be a tax team, and although they are still a tax team, it cuts the tax for now. However, I don't like a team that considers itself a contender trading its sixth man for money. Beno Udrih gives the Heat a solid second point guard to replace Chalmers, but he won't give them the offense that Chalmers does, but I really like Stokes, who could help this team. The Heat need youth, and Stokes could play a role for them, as he is an excellent rebounder and can score the ball. If given minutes, he can help Miami and is a cheap asset, as he is just 22 and has a second-round pick's salary. The Heat wanted to trade Chalmers, and so they did, and although I don't hate what they got, I just don't like trading him; he did win two titles as a starting point guard for them and played the sixth man role well for them.

Grade For Grizzlies: A-
Grade For Heat: C

Denver Nuggets sign Kostas Papanikolaou to a likely one-season, minimum contract

In an odd signing, the Denver Nuggets have signed Greek small forward Kostas Papanikolaou, who they cut in the offseason. He was given to the Nuggets in the Ty Lawson/Houston trade and was cut because he had a large non-guaranteed contract. But although Papanikolaou didn't play for the Nuggets at all, they must have liked him or they wouldn't have signed him, and that is signified more as they cut second-year guard Erik Green to sign him.

Papanikolaou is just 25 and in his one NBA season showed a versatile, although inefficient, game, and while that is fancy talk for a talented player with poor numbers, he really is versatile and talented. Those factors mean Denver can use him more than Green, as the roster features a lot of talent at guard. He can shoot, score and distribute, and for a small forward, it isn't exactly a common skill set. And since one season probably won't define an NBA career, I think Papanikolaou can help Denver, and I like this signing. He has more potential than the guy whose job he is stealing. The Nuggets need to keep finding young talent like Papanikolaou.

Grade: A-

Toronto Raptors re-sign Terrence Ross to a three-season, $33 million contract

As I have said, the league average will be about $7 million in two years because of the TV deal the NBA signed, so contracts are going to look ridiculous. Basically to judge any contract now, you have to think of it as about 40 percent less to really see the value when compared to current contracts, and looking at this like a $6.5 million contract, I like it. He shouldn't be a starter as he was, but he is playing very well as a sixth man this season and is a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. He isn't versatile, but he is a shooter and scorer who will give you big numbers in limited minutes. His game is made for the bench.

In his fourth season, Ross is averaging 10 fewer minutes than when he was as the starting three for the Raptors a season ago, but per minute, his numbers are at a career best in all statistics. His three-point shooting, which is still a respectable 35 percent, and his 18 points per-36 minutes are excellent for any player. You have to think Ross will only keep improving in his sixth man role and so grading this as pre-TV deal money, it is standard for an excellent sixth man, which is exactly what he is, and he has the potential to improve as well. Nice job, Toronto.

Grade: A+

Charlotte Hornets re-sign SG Jeremy Lamb to a three-season, $21 million contract

How nice of the Charlotte Hornets to decide to keep drinking after Halloween, as this is the only thing I can think of that would make them want to give Jeremy Lamb $21 million.

Yes, in two years a $7 million salary will be league average, and I know they are banking on the potential of the 12th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, who they traded for this offseason, but this is ridiculous. I had no words when I saw this on twitter, and I still don't.

Lamb was a lottery pick, as I said, and is just 23, and he did win a National Title with franchise point guard Kemba Walker at Connecticut, which is nice for familiarity, but in the two seasons Lamb actually played for the Thunder (only six minutes per game for them as a rookie), he averaged 8.5 points with mediocre shooting percentages and 6.3 points with less than mediocre percentages. Per minute, the scoring numbers are strong, but they mean little if his efficiency isn't stronger.

I get that role players with potential are getting paid right now, but why spend this money on somebody who is one of dozens of role players in this league who can score inefficiently and aren't excellent at anything on the court? I don't get it. The only reason this isn't an F is because he has talent and can become something for Charlotte.

Grade: D-

Point Guard Toney Douglas signs a one-season, (likely) minimum contract

With so many injuries at guard - Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Norris Cole are all hurt - the Pelicans have decided to sign Toney Douglas, who was cut by the Pacers a week ago. Although New Orleans have a different coach this season, this team knows Douglas who was just with the Pelicans. Douglas is a defender who can score, and although when the team is healthy he shouldn't play more than 10 minutes per game, this is a nice depth signing as the Pelicans really only have Ish Smith right now at the point.

Grade: A-

Dallas Mavericks give Rick Carlisle a five-season extension

I love this choice by Marc Cuban. Rick Carlisle to me is the second-best coach in the NBA after Gregg Popovich and giving Carlisle, arguably the Mavericks' best long-term asset, a five-season extension means he is going to be the coach into the next decade.

In seven seasons with the Mavericks as their head coach, he has picked up the franchise's only title, won at least 49 games in five of his season seasons - his team was 36-30 in the CBA-shortened season five years ago - and only missed the playoffs once, though the Mavericks were still .500. Basically, he has consistently been excellent, won the most random title I can remember (nobody expected it) and won a lot of games lacking a non-Dirk Nowitzki superstar for seven years. I can see some being concerned, as Dallas hasn't won a playoff series in four seasons, but the team just hasn't had the talent needed. He is an incredible coach who gets the most out of his players and has earned the right to spend the rest of his career with the Mavericks. Nice job, Cuban.

Grade: A+

Cleveland Cavaliers re-sign PF/C Tristan Thompson to a five-season, $82 million contract

I should give this an A just because this annoying drama has been resolved. Tristan Thompson has LeBron James' agent, so the agent tried to get a max contract for a guy who isn't a max player, or a even starter for the team, and thought he would win because he is LeBron's agent and it is LeBron's team. Thompson wanted $95 million, which is what Chicago All-Star and franchise player Jimmy Butler got from the Bulls, but again, Thompson is isn't a starter.This isn't to say I dislike Thompson; he is an elite rebounder, can play the four or five well, can score and defend, was excellent in the playoffs and would start for most teams. But you don't give bench players, no matter how important, $16 million per season, you just don't. However, Thompson is a key player for the franchise, so I don't hate the contract. The Cavaliers also didn't pay him what he wanted and wouldn't let LeBron's agent win, so it's a hard grade. Thompson is versatile, excellent at what he does and incredibly valuable to his team, and Cleveland got him for what it was willing to pay him all summer, so this works out as a B-.

Grade: B-

New Orleans Pelicans sign Nate Robinson to a one-season, veteran's minimum contract

With Jrue Holiday constantly injured and second point guard and sixth man Norris Cole injured this week, this is a smart depth signing for the Pelicans. I don't know how Nate Robinson wasn't signed, as he is one of the best bench scorers in the league and can score 20 points in 10 minutes some games. This is a very smart signing for need and makes a playoff team stronger.

Grade: A

Milwaukee Bucks re-sign C John Henson to a four-season, $45 million contract

Cleveland's Tristan Thompson wants $95 or so million, but I would rather have John Henson, and he signed for half. The Milwaukee big man is one of the NBA's best shot-blockers and a strong rebounder and scorer. Henson isn't a starter for the Bucks, but he plays when it matters and would start on a lot of teams. I really like the signing though because he isn't a free agent, and with a big season could have made another $15 million per season as a restricted free agent. This is another strong move in an excellent offseason.

Grade: A

Denver Nuggets sign Mike Miller to a one-season, minimum contract

Mike Miller was traded to the Trail Blazers in a Cavaliers' salary dump trade, but the re-building Blazers had no need for him and have bought his contract, meaning that Miller is now signing with a contender. Umm, or not. Mike Miller for a minimum contract is more than fair value, as he is an excellent veteran role player, but I have no clue why he isn't with a contender. The Nuggets are likely one of the five weakest teams in the NBA, have no chance at the playoffs and are re-building. They already have mentors on this team, like Jameer Nelson, and Miller will just take minutes from Gary Harris, who is an excellent young talen. I don't get this signing.

Grade: C-

Toronto Raptors re-sign Jonas Valanciunas to a four-season, $64 million contract

If Jonas Valanciunas had a big 2015 season, he could have made as much as $50-70 million more than what he is making on this contract, but for some reason, he decided that he wanted to get his money now. I have no idea why, as he is set to have a big season and is a franchise center, but the Raptors have to love this choice, as they now have their young center signed to a contract that will be far less than his value in the next couple of years. He hasn't had his signature season yet, but he is a big-time performer in international play, and I see this as the season where he will become one of the best centers in the NBA. His numbers are strong, but they can become elite, and this is one of the best contracts of the offseason.

Grade: A+

Toronto Raptors sign PF Anthony Bennett to a one-season, minimum contract

Anthony Bennett should not have been the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. We all knew this when it happened, and now, he is on his third team in three seasons. It is a shame what has happened to Bennett. He was traded to Minnesota in the Kevin Love trade, but with so many big men, the Timberwolves had no use for him. In the end, they bought his contract, and he is now signing with the Raptors. It isn't fair that the Cavaliers took him No. 1 overall, as he just wasn't that type of talent, and while that stigma will stay with him for his career, this is the best possible team for him to sign with.

First, Bennett is a Canadian and will get to play close to home, while second, the Raptors have a big need at power forward in the short and long term; he can become a foundation player for Toronto. The Raptors had only veteran Luis Scola and stretch four Patrick Patterson at power forward, but no have signed someone who can be an excellent starter in this league. Still just 20, Bennett played some of his best basketball for Team Canada, and although he is a four, showed the potential to be a solid small-ball five, and I think he will be an NBA starter. I love this signing, and I can see him starting for the Raptors sometime this season with Jonas Valanciunas.

Grade: A

Minnesota Timberwolves sign Tayshaun Prince to a 1-year, minimum contract

The Minnesota Timberwolves have the best young roster in the NBA. They have two likely elite NBA players in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, two more potential all-stars in Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine, and a group of ridiculously talented young role players in Tyus Jones, Gorgui Dieng, Anthony Bennett, Adriean Payne and Shabazz Muhammad. Minnesota also has two talented starting veterans in Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin, who I think should be traded to get more young talent.

I also think the Timberwolves should spend the next three seasons trying to get their young team to become a contender, which they have the talent to be. This is why I don't get why they keep signing veteran players like Tayshaun Prince. They already have Kevin Garnett and Andre Miller, so I really don't know what they are doing with Tayshaun Prince, as they already have excellent mentors in the locker room. Also, if Prince plays, he is just taking minutes from Wiggins, LaVine and Muhammad, who should get as much playing time as they can give them. They really don't need Prince.

Grade: C-

Denver Nuggets re-sign Darrell Arthur to a two-season, $5.82 million contract (player option)

Arthur is likely to be the Denver Nuggets' fourth big man after Kenneth Faried, Jusuf Nurkic and J.J. Hickson, and play 15-20 minuets per game like he has for the Nuggets for two seasons (17.1 and 17), but there are far more productive big men Denver could have signed for the minimum. His numbers may look nice, averaging 12.4 points and 13.9 points per 36 minutes in his two Nugget seasons, and he is a big man whi can shoot threes, but there are few bigs who are as inefficient as him. Arthur is a big man who has shot 39.5 and 40.4 percent from the field during his two seasons in Denver, and he just took four threes per 36 minutes and shot 23.6 percent. He is also a poor rebounder, as he was averaging about eight per 36 when he got into the league and just averaged 6.2. Arthur's defense is solid, as he gets a lot of steals and can block shots, but if he isn't hitting his threes, he has little value on offense. Arthur has value on defense and is making less than $3 million a season, but there was stronger value on the market. He shouldn't have gotten more than the minimum.

Grade: C+

Los Angeles Clippers sign Pablo Prigioni to a 1-year, minimum contract

The Clippers had to find a stronger distributor for their second unit than Austin Rivers, who is a scorer first, and they got an excellent one in Prigioni, who should give them a solid 10-15 minutes a game. He is a sneaky defender, too, but he isn't much of a scorer. However, this was a smart signing by Doc Rivers, who has fixed the Clippers' pathetic bench this offseason, giving them one of the most talented second units in the NBA.

Grade: A+

Denver Nuggets re-sign Will Barton to a three-season, $10.6 million contract

Barton was traded to the Nuggets in the Arron Afflalo deal and was excellent in the 28 games he played for Denver. Barton came into the league as a scorer, and in Portland, he showed the ability to be a strong sixth man, but he wasn't able to get minutes with the Trail Blazers. However, in the 28 games he played for the Nuggets, he was given 24.4 minutes per game in a sixth man role and averaged 11 points on 44.3 percent shooting, 4.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.5 blocks. Per 36 minutes, that is a ridiculous 16.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 steals. The shooting percentage is the most important number to me, because although teams knew he could score the ball, he was rather inefficient and as he is a poor shooter, he has to be efficient if he wants to have a big role. Regardless, Barton is an excellent rebounder, gets a lot of steals, can distribute and he can be an elite sixth man, which is why they are paying him. At the very least, he will be a strong fourth guard.

Grade: A+

Brooklyn Nets sign Donald Sloan to a one-season, minimum contract

Sloan had a really nice 2014 season for Indiana, and I think he earned himself more than the minimum. I have no clue why the Pacers didn't re-sign him, as their depth at point guard is poor and they chose a lesser player in Toney Douglas, but the Nets have benefited from this and made another very smart minimal signing. For once, Brooklyn is actually making smaller signings, which is keeping the team competitive as it brings more talent to its Brook Lopez-Thaddeus Young foundation. Sloan is little more than a solid second point guard, but with no Deron Williams, the Nets' starting point guard, a sixth man (Jarrett Jack), and their second point guard proving little in his first two seasons in the league (Shane Larkin), Brooklyn has another option for its mediocre guard rotation. After playing for five teams in his first two seasons, Sloan found his niche in Indianapolis as a strong, although inefficient scorer and a strong and efficient distributor. The distributing is more important, as the Nets are really lacking play-makers; Joe Johnson may be their best. Regardless, I like this signing.

Grade: A

Celtics Acquire David Lee in a Three-way Trade

Boston Celtics Get: David Lee
Golden State Warriors Get: Jason Thompson, Chris Babb
Philadelphia 76ers Get: Gerald Wallace, draft assets

This was techincally two different trades, but I made it a three-team deal, as it basically is. The Celtics traded the expiring contract of Gerald Wallace for the bigger expiring contract of David Lee, and then Golden State traded Wallace for Jason Thompson. I will start with the Warriors because what they did was incredible. They had to lower their tax bill and were able to shed millions with the first trade and get a rotation big man with the second. The Warriors won this trade, although they did have to cut Babb's guaranteed contract and Thompson has two seasons on his contract, so the team loses some cap next offseason.

However, Thompson is a nice fit. Boston was basically able to trade the big contract of a useless veteran for the big contract of an excellent veteran. Lee is arguably the Celtics' second-best player and should start. Philadelphia did what Philadelphia does best and became a lesser team, but the 76ers have an expiring, instead of a two-season contract, and get some sort of draft asset. These trades (or one big trade) was the right choice for all three franchises.

Grade For Boston: A
Grade For Golden State: A+

Grade For Philadelphia: A

Trail Blazers acquire Brendan Haywood and Mike Miller

Portland Trail Blazers Receive: Brendan Haywood's non-guaranteed Contract, Mike Miller and two second-round picks
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Two trade exceptions

Brendan Haywood had a $10 million non-guranteed contract, so the Trail Blazers was able to just cut him and by taking Mike Miller's small, one-season contract, they were able to get two second-round picks, which is an easy trade to make as they are rebuilding. The Cavaliers were able to cut their luxury tax, but more importantly, two trade expecptions that they are able to use for the next year and absorb contracts in a trade and not lose any assets. Cleveland is a championship contender that can add two rotation pieces from non-playoff teams and not have to trade any players. The Cavaliers won this trade, but this was a smart trade for Portland as well.

Grade For Portland: B
Grade For Cavaliers: A

The Cleveland Cavaliers re-sign Matthew Dellavedova to a one-season, $1.2 million contract

Matthew Dellavedova became a playoff hero for the Cleveland Cavaliers, as he had some nice games off the bench, became a starter with Kyrie Irving injured and had a big, big game in the team's Game 3 win against Golden State, giving the Cavaliers a 2-1 series lead in a series where nobody gave them a shot. He became a famous underdog. Dellavedova went from an undrafted player from Australia who was a fan favorite, but rather unknown, to one of the most popular players in the NBA in a matter of days. Yes, he had his big games for the Cavaliers in the playoffs and had a solid regular season, but he was also exposed against the Warriors.

Matthew Dellavedova isn't made to start in this league, or play 30 minutes per game, and although he played strong defense against Stephen Curry, the league MVP, Curry still got his 25 points a game, and after his excellent game 3, he shot only 5-26 in the next three. As famous as Dellavedova got, we saw who he is in this league: a strong defender, a solid distributor and a hustle guy. What he is in the NBA is a mediocre second point guard. The Cavaliers thought so, too, as they signed Mo Williams in free agency. The free agent market also didn't help him much, as Dellavedova isn't actually signing a contract; he is signing the offer Cleveland gave to him, so he would be a restricted free agent and the franchise could match any contract.

The Matthew Dellaveova saga was nice, it was a much shorter version of Jeremy Lin's run in NYC, but do you have any clue where Lin is now? He signed a two-season contract for a little more than $4 million dollars to play on Charlotte's bench. Like Lin with the Knicks, it was fun, but with the spotlight and minutes, this league will show you for what you are, and Matthew Dellavedova is just solid NBA role player who should play 10-20 minutes per game. I like the guy, but he isn't an All-Star or a starter, and his value isn't too much more than the $1.2 million he will get next season. Dellavedova's value is probably $3-4 million a season, and if he wasn't a restricted free agent, he probably would have signed with a team for that, but being restricted and his team spending ridiculous amounts of money to re-sign its core, we learned that the Cavaliers value their money more than him. It's a bargain of a contract and excellent value, but a reminder of how fickle fame can be.

Grade: A

Utah Jazz sign Tibor Pleiss to a three-season, $9 million contract

The 7-foot-2 center was drafted 5 years ago, but is only 25 and per minute has averaged ridiculous numbers in Spain. He just averaged 15.3 points on 62 percent shooting, 10.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per 36 minutes, and gives the Jazz another freakishly tall, potentially excellent center to go with Rudy Gobert. I can see him getting 10-15 minutes a game with the Jazz and being their second center this season.

Grade: A

Indiana Pacers sign Jordan Hill to a one-season, $4 million contract

This is one of the best contracts of free agency. Jordan Hill is likely to start for the Pacers, he is an excellent defender and scorer, and should be a solid defender with Frank Vogel as his coach. Hill just had his best season, averaging 12 points, 7.9 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in just 26.8 minutes per game - starting most of a season for the first time. He is still just 27, and finding a starting big man was a big need for the Pacers, but $4 million for a starting big man is ridiculous value.

Grade: A

Charlotte Hornets sign Jeremy Lin to a two-season, $4.3 million contract (player option second season)

With the Hornets losing Mo Williams, they had to find a second point guard and managed to sign a solid starting point guard for less than $3 million per season. Jeremy Lin isn't the Jeremy Lin of the Knicks, but he is still a strong distributor and scorer who will make a big difference for the Hornets on the bench. This is easily one of the best values of free agency.

Grade: A+

Milwaukee Bucks sign Chris Copeland to a one-season, $1.1 million contract

The Bucks may have 14 forwards on the roster, but I am a fan of Copeland, who can play the three or four and is just a gifted shooter and scorer. He won't play too much, but when he gets minutes, he will give Milwaukee points. This is a playoff team finding a role player to fill a need; scoring and Copeland's value to me is 4-5 times this.

Grade: A+

Sacramento Kings sign Seth Curry to a two-season, $2 million contract

As I have written, I love seeing less famous brothers make it in this league, and it may have taken a couple years, but the current MVP's brother has a guaranteed multi-season contract in the NBA. Seth Curry isn't, and won't be, his brother, but Seth Curry is ridiculously talented, as he is an elite shooter and scorer, and if he can become a better distributor, he could become one of the best sixth men in the league. If given minutes, Curry will score a lot of points, and as the Kings said they would give him minutes, they have a rotational player with true offensive gifts making just a little more than the minimum. This is my favorite contract of the offseason. Curry scored at Duke, at Liberty, in the D-League and in the Summer League, and now he will score for the Kings. I love Sacramento's offseason.

Grade: A+

Cleveland Cavaliers sign Richard Jefferson to a one-season, minimum contract

Most thought Jefferson would re-sign with the Mavericks, but playing with LeBron James and going to the East's best team is the most likely way for him to win a ring, so with Cleveland, he signs. Jefferson is a veteran, but he is still an effective on-court player, an excellent shooter and a strong scorer who should give the Cavaliers a solid 10-15 minutes per game. For the minimum contract, he's a steal for the Cleveland.

Grade: A+

Houston Rockets re-sign K.J. McDaniels to a three-season, $10 million contract

This is fun. McDaniels refused to sign a multi-season rookie contract, as he was a second-round pick and thought his value was much more than he would be making. Instead, McDaniels took a one-season contract for the minimum, taking less security for a chance at a bigger payday, and he got one. McDaniels has strong defensive talents. and if he can become a better shooter, he can be an excellent Three and D player. There aren't many 6-foot-6 players who average nearly two blocks per 36 minutes. I like McDaniels, and this is a solid contract that could be a bargain if he can find his three-point shot in the next three seasons.

Grade: B+

Denver Nuggets re-sign Danilo Gallinari to a three-season, $45 million contract (player option third season)

Yeah, I don't know what to say. Denver re-signed one veteran perimeter player who wasn't a free agent to a $46 million contract and now a second player to a bigger contract (the first was $11+ million per season). Technically, this is just for two seasons and $31 million, as Gallinari was already signed, but the Nuggets will now give him $14 million this season, which is more than he was signed to make. Yes, Gallinari might be their best scorer, but his value isn't close to $15 million per season, and he hasn't stayed healthy in Denver. This team should be rebuilding, not signing veterans to ridiculous contracts. I actually like the Lawson trade, but this team has no clue what it is doing this offseason.

Grade: D-

Utah Jazz sign Raul Neto to a three-season, $2.8 million contract

Neto is a talented young point guard who is a Brazilian and played in Spain. He is an inconsistent shooter, but the 23-year-old is a solid distributor and scorer who already has four years of professional expereince, so he can play now for the Jazz. If they are keeping Dante Exum at the point, he will likely be their third point guard, but he has the talent to help them and should be a solid NBA role player. For a minimum contract, I like it.

Grade: A

Dallas Mavericks re-sign J.J. Barea to a four-season, $16 million contract

The Mavericks have Deron Williams, Devin Harris and Raymond Felton, and although Barea won a title with the Mavericks and fits with the team, they just don't need him. Additionally, he is already 31, so his numbers are likey to fall a little as he ages. I like Barea and $4 million per season is fine, but again, Dallas just doesn't need him.

Grade: C+

Denver Nuggets re-sign Jameer Nelson to a three-season, $13.5 million contract

The Nuggets want a veteran mentor for Emmanuel Mudiay, who could become an elite NBA point guard and should become their franchise player, but what other team was going to give Nelson $4.5 million per year? Or three seasons? He isn't close to the player he was, and really all I see is the Nuggets paying a veteran mentor too much money.

Grade: D-

Ty Lawson To Houston

Denver Nuggets Get: First-round pick, Nick Johnson, Pablo Prigioni, Joey Dorsey and Kostas Papanikolaou
Houston Rockets Get: Ty Lawson and a second-round pick

For the Nuggets, this is about two things: getting rid of Ty Lawson, who is in legal trouble again, and giving the starting job to their first-round pick - and their next franchise player - Emmanuel Mudiay, who should become an All-Star. Although Lawson was Denver's best player, there are issues with him, and that the team was able to trade a guy in rehab for assets, get rid of a headache and give itself franchise to Mudiay is incredible. As for who the Nuggets actually got in the trade, only Nick Johnson and Joey Dorsey have guaranteed contracts, but for just $2 million, and Johnson is a promising young guard himself. Kostas (I'm not spelling his name again) and Prigioni have non-guaranteed contracts for about $6.5 million; it seems that Prigioni is gone, and I doubt the Nuggets will keep Kostas for almost $5 million. This was the right trade for Denver to make, although the franchise traded an elite player for just a couple of assets.

As for Houston, it landed a starting point guard and a second excellent distributor to go with James Harden, and is left is with one of the best guard duos in the league. Lawson is likely to be the Rockets' third offensive option, and they traded very little to get him, plus he will make just about $25 million over the next two seasons, so he has an excellent contract. On the other hand, Houston does have to be a little troubled trading for a guy who just went to rehab and who is going from a first option to a third option. Regardless, this is a smart trade for the Rockets, as they now have a roster that can play with the best of the West. This are a better team and have a better chance at a title because of this trade.

I love this trade for these two franchises.

Grade For Denver: A-
Grade For Houston: A

Los Angeles Lakers sign Brandon Bass to a two-season, $6.1 million contract (player option second season)

I actually thought this was a one-season, $6 million contract, and I would have given that a B+, as Bass just started for a playoff team, but this is ridiculous value for a guy who, well, just started for a playoff team. He also just averaged 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in only 23.5 minutes per game, and as the third big man for the Lakers, he will give them similar numbers. I don't know how the Lakers got Bass for this cheap.

Grade: A

Miami Heat sign Amar'e Stoudemire to a one-season, minimum contract

This is one of those "excellent former all-star who wants to win a title signs for a minimum contract" contracts. Stoudemire is still a very strong big man scorer and rebounder when healthy, as he just averaged a ridiculous 23.5 points and 8 rebounds per 36 minutes while playing 16.5 minutes a game for the Mavericks. He should be the Heat's third big man and give them about 20 minutes per game and somewhat similar per minute numbers if healthy. Health is the question with Stoudemire, but if he is healthy, this might be the best contract of the offseason, as he makes a contender better and is so ridiculously cheap.

Grade: A

Washington Wizards sign Alan Anderson to a one-season, $4 million contract

With no Paul Pierce, the Wizards had to find shooting and scoring on the perimeter. Although Alan Anderson is no Paul Pierce, he shoots and makes a lot of threes and for $4 million, that's about what you buy in this league.

Grade: B-

Los Angeles Clippers sign Josh Smith to a one-season, minimum contract

Josh Smith for the minimum is a bargain of a contract. He is as a strong two-way player who is an elite shot-blocker and a strong distributor. However, his shot-selection and shooting are among the poorest in the NBA and his character is a big question. As the team has a lot of personality, I don't think he is a fit, regardless of his talent. The Clippers can just cut Smith if he isn't working, but they don't actually need him; they need role players and already have too many shooters on the roster. I don't see the fit on the court or in the locker room. This is a guy the Pistons gave about $30 million dollars to just so he wouldn't be on their team, only 6 months ago. I don't like this move by Doc Rivers, however, I don't like most of the choices he makes for his team.

Grade: F

Toronto Raptors sign Luis Scola to a one-season, $3 million contract

The Toronto Raptors already needed a power forward when they had Amir Johnson, but with him in Boston, they simply had to sign one. Fortunately, Toronto just landed a starter or a strong third big man with experience who can give the team a go-to big man scorer for just $3 million. This is one of my favorite contracts of the offseason because Scola is cheap, a fit and helps a playoff team, which makes this contract an easy A+ for Toronto.

Grade: A+

Miami Heat sign Gerald Green to a one-season, minimum contract

Look at Green's numbers per minute; they are ridiculous. What's more ridiculous though is his three-point shooting, which tracked from 30 percent to 39 to 31 to 40 to 35 in five seasons. You just don't know what you will get with him. It's important because half of his shots are threes. Regardless, Green will score, and although he doesn't help much after that, for a minimum contract, does it really matter? Nope.

Grade: A-

Los Angeles Clippers sign Cole Aldrich to a two-season, minimum contract

This is a bargain. Aldrich isn't a starting center, but per minute, he works hard and performs. Aldrich rebounds and blocks shots, plus he can actually score. He just had a nice season for the Knicks, and the Clippers got themselves an excellent second center for the minimum. For 10-15 minutes per game, Aldrich will replace DeAndre Jordan, give them solid play, and they really won't lose much with Jordan on the bench. Aldrich also gives the Clippers much needed depth.

Grade: A+

San Antonio Spurs re-sign Matt Bonner to a one-season, minimum contract Matt Bonner is tall and shoots, that's it. He's just a system player for the Spurs, but fans love him, and Gregg Popovich knows what he will get from him, so having him as your 12th man for $1.4 million isn't a problem.

Grade: B+

Cleveland Cavaliers sign Mo Williams to a two-season, $6.5 million contract

This is one of the best contracts of the offseason. The Cavaliers had little to spend, yet they were able to get one of the best sixth men and second point guards in the NBA - each a big needs - for half of his value. With guards like Cory Joseph, Louis Williams and Rodney Stuckey getting at least $7 million per season, this is a ridiculous bargain. Mo Williams also knows LeBron well, which will make any Cavalier grade better.

Grade: A+

Sacramento Kings sign Caron Butler to a two-season, $3 million contract (player option second season)

The Kings continue to bring players to the roster to fit with DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo, and they have signed Caron Butler, a veteran, for a cheap contract. Butler is aging and just had a porous season, but he is still a strong three-point shooter, and he should be a nice mentor to have on the team, which is nice given the odd group of characters in Sacramento.

Grade: A

Houston Rockets sign Marcus Thornton to a one-season, minimum contract

There really isn't much to say about minimum contracts, but I won't grade them harshly if there are no character issues. Thornton is actually an excellent piece for this franchise as he can come off the bench, shoot threes and score. I have no complaints.

Grade: A

Los Angeles Clippers re-sign Austin Rivers to a two-season, $6.5 million contract (second season player option)

Rivers had a pathetic first 2.5 seasons in the league, but he played really well for his father in L.A. I didn't think it would work, but Austin Rivers had some big-time games, can play the one and two, is a solid scorer, defends and has the potential to get a lot better. He is a pure scorer who has changed his game to be a role player, but I can see him becoming an elite sixth man. It seems Rivers will be the second point guard and fourth guard for the Clippers next season and should play about 20 minutes per game. I really like Austin Rivers, but there are better guards who have signed for less this offseason, and the team didn't have to give him this much.

Grade: B-

Denver Nuggets re-sign Wilson Chandler to a four-season, $46.5 million contract.

This is one of the oddest grades of free agency, mainly because Chandler wasn't a free agent, but the Nuggets re-signed him for some complicated CBA reason. I honestly don't care why, because you simply don't give Wilson Chandler $11.5 million per season. He is a solid starting perimeter player, a strong shooter and rebounder, but $11.5 million per season is too much cash. Aren't the Nuggets re-building? Also, who are they bidding against? The answers are yes and nobody. There were poorer contracts in free agency, but this just doesn't make sense to me.

Grade: C-

Brooklyn Nets sign Andrea Bargnani to a two-season, minimum contract (player option second season)

Andrea Bargnani won't become the player the Raptors thought he might be when he was drafted first, but he has become a solid role player and just had an excellent season for the Knicks. I thought he would get at least $5 million per season, but getting the minimum is a bargain. Bargnani is a very talented stretch four, who knows how to score the ball, and he has also averaged a block a game in the NBA. His scoring is almost all you will get from him, but he is much better than people say. If he wasn't a former No. 1 pick, you would be able to say he's had a nice run in this league.

Grade: A+

Oklahoma City Thunder re-sign Enes Kanter to a four-season, $70 million contract

Oklahoma City re-signing starting center Enes Kanter wasn't a secret; the team just wanted to let the market say how much money it would take to sign him, as the organization could match with him being a restricted free agent. The Trail Blazers said Kanter deserved a max contract, and although I don't necessarily agree, they had to keep him. If the Thunder want to keep Kevin Durant next offseason, they have to show him that they are going to pay to win and won't have another James Harden - losing an elite player by being cheap. Kanter played excellent basketball for the Thunder after being traded from Utah, averaging 18.9 points and 11 rebounds per game, and is a perfect fit with Serge Ibaka. The combination gives Oklahoma City one of the best big man duos in the NBA and an elite offense-defense pair, plus Kanter fits as the third offensive option too. Is his value today $17.5 million per season? No, it isn't, but the Thunder had to keep him; he fits, is still very young and is an excellent, possibly elite offensive big man.

Grade: B+

Roy Hibbert to Lakers

Indiana Pacers Get: Second-round pick and money
Los Angeles Lakers Get: Roy Hibbert

Yes, the Pacers didn't want Hibbert and there weren't too many takers, but he was an all-star less than two years ago, has made it twice, is an elite defender and a solid rebounder and scorer. The Pacers are trying to make the playoffs in a much-better Eastern Conference, but a thin frontcourt got a lot thinner. They are a lesser team for making the trade and got zero value.

The Lakers had no center, but they have one now; one who should make their defense much better and is actually a strong fit with Julius Randle, who should be their starting four. L.A. gave no real assets for Hibbert and now has a solid starting center and a $15 million expiring contract.

Grade For Pacers: D+
Grade For Lakers: A+

Zaza Pachulia to Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks Get: Zaza Pachulia
Milwaukee Bucks Get: Second-round pick

The Mavericks needed a center, and although Pachulia is best as a strong second-unit five, he played very well for the Bucks and should be a solid starter for Dallas this season. All the Mavericks traded away was a second-round pick, and they filled a big need, so this was a nice move for the franchise; although he is no DeAndre Jordan.

As for the Bucks, I don't know why they made this trade. Yes, their cap has $5.5 million less on it next season, but they are a playoff team, and although they have Greg Monroe, they lost veteran big man depth and only got a second-round pick for him.

Grade For Dallas: A
Grade For Milwaukee: D

Tiago Splitter to Hawks

Atlanta Hawks Get: Tiago Splitter
San Antonio Spurs Get: Georgios Printezis (not in NBA) and 2017 second-round pick

Tiago Splitter with a bigger role is something I have wanted to see, because his per-minute numbers are very strong and he is a talented defender. Splitter is likely to be Atlanta's third big man as he can play with Paul Millsap or Al Horford, but he will play when the team goes big or needs defense, so he should have a 25 minute-per-game role. The Hawks needed an actual center, and now they have one.

Although the Spurs got no real value, they were able to use the money they gained from this trade to get all they wanted from free agency, and because of free agency, they have one of the three best rosters in the league. As little was traded from the Hawks to the Spurs, this is a trade where two teams are better for making it.

Grade For Atlanta: A
Grade For San Antonio: A+

Ray McCallum to Spurs

Sacramento Kings Get: Second-round pick
San Antonio Spurs Get: Ray McCallum

Right when you think the Kings might be getting better, they trade a cheap, excellent young second point guard for a random second-round pick just because they had two better. I have no clue why the Kings made this trade; it literally makes no sense to me, but the Spurs are the Spurs, and as normal, the Spurs are just the smarter franchise.

McCallum has started in this league, just averaged 12.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.1 steals per 36 minutes, and is a reliable and strong second point guard. San Antonio needed a point guard losing Cory Joseph and just robbed Sacramento of one.

Grade For Sacramento: F
Grade For San Antonio: A+

San Antonio Spurs re-sign Tim Duncan to a two-season, $10 million contract

Tim Duncan will play at least one more season with the Spurs, and it isn't just about signing their franchise's best player, as he is still one of the best big men in the NBA, and he and LaMarcus Aldridge will be the best big man duo in the NBA next season. On the market, Duncan could have made $15 million per season or more, so $5 million per year is a ridiculous bargain, but that's who Duncan is. The Spurs have had the best free agency I have seen in years; what an incredible job by GM R.C. Buford and coach Gregg Popovich this offseason.

Grade: A+

New York Knicks sign Derrick Williams to a two-season, $10 million contract

Derrick Williams isn't going to become the all-star who many expected him to become as the second pick in his draft, however, he has become a solid role player, is getting better and isn't yet 25. He seems to have found a position in the NBA, an athletic stretch four, but he has stopped rebounding and isn't a shot-blocker, which is odd because he is so athletic. Actually, being tall, athletic and shooting are his only talents, but he can help the Knicks and share the stretch-four job with Kristaps Porzingis. Five million dollars per season is actually a solid contract, Williams still has the ability to become better than he is and should be a nice fit in the triangle, so I don't mind this contract.

Grade: B+

Dallas Mavericks sign Deron Williams to a two-season, $10 million contract

Deron Williams isn't the all-star point guard he was; he got pretty fat and his numbers have fallen, a lot, but I think he could have played better and just didn't like Brooklyn. Regardless, $5 million per season is a bargain for Williams, Texas is his home, he is still only 31 and I expect better play from him. He is still a strong shooter and distributor, and as the starter in Dallas, playing with three excellent offensive players: Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons and Wesley Matthews, he could average 7-9 assists per game. There isn't a single thing I dislike about the Mavericks signing Deron Wiliams.

Grade: A



Go to Mike FA Grades - Page 2


Go to David Kay's 2015 NBA Mock Draft
Go to David Kay's 2016 NBA Mock Draft

Go to Mike Elworth's 2015 NBA Mock Draft




Comment...


LOADING COMMENTS...



2015 NBA Mock Draft

2016 NBA Mock Draft

2014 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings: C | PF | COMBO-F | SF | COMBO-G | SG | PG





NFL Picks - Sept. 21


2018 NFL Mock Draft - Sept. 21


Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 6


2018 NBA Mock Draft - Aug. 23


2019 NFL Mock Draft - June 1


NFL Power Rankings - May 5








 





 

© 1999-2017 Walter Cherepinsky : all rights reserved
Privacy Policy
2 5 9 df
Google

WalterFootball.com is part of the NESN digital network.



 

 
 
 




 
WalterFootball.com Now on Twitter:

WalterFootball.com Twitter

Subscribe to the WalterFootball.com RSS Feed:

Walterfootball.com RSS Feed
 
 
 




 
 
Support Walt's Other Site:

Sales Tips and Sales Advice - Tons of sales tips, sales techniques and sales advice, including a Sales Mock Draft: The 32 Worst Things You Can Do in Sales.