Finally, I have gotten around to doing my free agent grades. I will only cover transactions that have been certified on Wikipedia’s “List of 2012-13 NBA Season Transactions” page. (I know that Wikipedia is not the most trustworthy website, but it serves my purposes.) I am using ESPN to give me details on the monetary value, and of course I will be using www.thenbageek.com for my stats. First, I will cover free agents, then trades (including sign-and-trades), both in alphabetical order by team. I accidentally pushed “Publish” rather than “Save Draft,” so I will update this every time I finish a team (if I remember). I apologize that the formatting is weird and inconsistent. Here we go:
PG Lou Williams multi-year deal worth the mid-level exception. Lou Williams is an average player who will receive an average salary. His main strength is that he will kill you with mistakes (i.e. fouls, turnovers, and poor scoring efficiency). His main weaknesses are low rebounding and assist levels. This is not terrible, but Atlanta could probably signed a better player, especially since they already have Jeff Teague, who is younger and better! B-
Bosnian F Mirza Teletovic, who played for Caja Laboral in Spain, signed a three-year, $15.675 million deal. Checking his Win Score numbers at www.draftexpress.com, Teletovic is a solid, but not great, power forward in the Spanish ACB. However, the competition is better here than it is in Spain. Furthermore, Teletovic is 26, so he is unlikely to improve. The jury’s still out on him, but I am not overly optimistic. $15.675 million is a whole pile of money after all. D
PG Deron Williams re-signs for 5 years, $98 million. From a numbers perspective at first glance, this looks like a terrible deal since Williams has not been an average player since arriving in the New York Metropolitan Area. However, one has to account for the fact that Williams’s field goal attempts and turnovers went way up this year, while his assists went down. This is probably caused, at least to a degree, by the fact that he has had worse teammates. At his best, Deron Williams was a borderline star, but just that-a borderline star. Plus, there is the fact that Williams may have genuinely declined I still cannot justify the max money, but he still is worth a sizable sum since the Nets have been upgrading. B-
SF Gerald Wallace re-signs for 4 years, $40 million. I think that every Nets fan should have breathed a sigh of relief when the team re-signed Wallace. Nowadays, he does nothing too spectacular but everything well, yet he used to be an outstanding rebounder. He already is a solid player, and $10 million a year is a fair, if slightly bloated, price for him. Unlike Williams and Joe Johnson, Wallace is known to produce, yet he is also over thirty like Johnson but unlike Williams. Even if he does decline though, I don’t think he will become a below-average player next year. B+
C Brook Lopez re-signs for 4 years, $60 million. Holy guacamole, Mr. Prokhorov, you just got taken to the cleaners. Is it just me, or has Lopez forgotten how to rebound over the past three years? Even at his rebounding highs he was slightly below-average; now, he is roaming in Andrea Bargnani rebounding disease territory! In the fact, the only things he does well are avoid turnovers and fouls. He also had two long-term injuries last year which limited him to five games, and he is a sub-zero player. Ouch! F
PF Luke Harangody re-signs for 1 year, $1.1 million. Another player who avoids the fouls and turnovers as well as the good stuff. His Points Per Shot level has been below 1 for the past two years-terrible. He can grab offensive boards decently well, but he really is only a depth player. For that, $1.1 million is far from outrageous, but I would rather take a chance on a rookie who is making the minimum. C+
PG Jamal Crawford signs a contract for which terms are disputed. It is for 3 or 4 years and between $15 and $25 million. The Clippers need someone to play shooting guard, not someone who pretends to play shooting guard. Crawford is a volume scorer who can no longer offer average efficiency, his only above-average attributes are assists and (not) fouling, his Wins Produced Per 48 Minutes last year was .021, he has been in steep decline the past three years, and he is 32. How is this a good idea, especially a $5-6 million annually good idea? F
- SG Ray Allen signs a 3-year deal for the mini mid-level exception. Ray Allen is a very good player-a borderline star, in fact. His scoring efficiency is absolutely amazing, steals the ball at an average rate, and he doesn’t foul or turn the ball over. But in other areas, he is sub par, and his rebounding is terrible. He’ll turn 37 next week, so it’s safe to say that he is old, at least in basketball terms, and that he has a job in South Beach until he’s almost 40. Besides, Miami already has Dwyane Wade, James Jones, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, and LeBron on the wing. Miller and Jones may retire, and LeBron can play practically any position on the floor, but Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen are going to be taking minutes from each other regardless, and Wade’s just better. They should have made a run for Marcus Camby, who is amazing and would have filled a need. Of course, Ray Allen is really good, and he hasn’t declined. Yet. C+
- PF Rashard Lewis signs a 2-year deal for the veteran’s minimum. Bleh. Lewis is another player whose skills amount to not turning the ball over or fouling. He declined from an above-average player to a scrub two years ago, and his WP48 was .028 last year. There were a lot of better players available for the veteran’s minimum (like Reggie Evans), and to borrow a quote for someone-I forget who-at the Wages of Wins, “Why keep corpses on the end of the bench?” D
Here, I will break for the night. See you tomorrow.
Welcome back. It’s Friday, and I will continue my Free Agency and Trade Grades. I would like to announce that I will separate sign-and-trades and trades, with the former going first.
- PF Ersan Ilyasova re-signs for 5 years, $45 million. Ersan’s WP48 for last year was .251, and he has been above-average in all of his three seasons since he returned from his sabbatical in his homeland of Turkey. He is an outstanding rebounder and shooter, and his defense statistics are average. Although his assists are a little low, his turnovers are too, and he’s such a great shooter that this really doesn’t matter. I can’t believe the Bucks are getting him for only $9 million a year. If only their other moves were this smart…. A+
- New York
- SG James White, formerly of Pesaro in Italy, signs a 1-year contract for the veteran’s minimum. White has played in the NBA before, but he only participated in 148 minutes in parts of two seasons. In Italy, his Win Score Per 40 Minutes rank him third in the Italian league, behind Timmy Bowers and Drake Diener. Unfortunately, White is a sizable margin behind those two, but being third-best at your position in a high-level league is nothing to sneeze at. I’m sure that he will be a solid player near the end of the rotation. C+
- SG J.R. Smith resigns for two years and $2.8 million. In the end, the value of this signing will depend on whether or not New York acquires a better shooting guard. If they do, Smith is well suited for a sixth man, as he is a very average volume scorer who does everything well…except rebound, score efficiently, and block shots. His personality can be volatile, but it’s not terrible. Besides, if a guy didn’t want to play for a team, why would he go there for so little money (in basketball terms). (Note. For the 2010-11 season, his stats on www.thenbageek.com list him as J.r. Smith.) A (if bench)/ B (if starter)
- PF Steve Novak re-signs on a 4-year, $15 million contract. Novak has only had two years in which he played at least 1,000 minutes: last year and 2008-09. In the earlier year, he was an end-of-the-bench level player (WP48 .030); this year, he was a solid player with a WP48 of .143. Even though this means that he is better than Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, he won’t get more playing time, but if last year is any indicator, he will get his minutes. His reputation as a shooter is well-deserved, but the only other things he does well are not make mistakes (i.e. fouls and turnovers). His rebounding, block, steal, and assists are abysmal for a power forward, especially the rebounding. However, his job is as a shooter, and that’s fine by me. Just make sure Tyson Chandler and/or Marcus Camby (see later) is on the floor with him. C+
- PG Jason Kidd signs a contract for 3 years and $9 million. How often is it that you can get a borderline star who does everything at least average except for one category-for $3 million each year. Well, when the guy is 38, and that one sub par area is scoring (both efficiency and per-minute), I guess. We all know that the Knicks are going to match the offer sheet for Jeremy Lin, so I can see the two of them platooning. (Hopefully, Kidd can tell Lin how he stopped turning the ball over four years ago.) Furthermore, I’m sure that one of them can help fill the semi-hole there is at the 2. Awesome pick-up. His age is definitely a concern-and he has been on the decline-but I don’t think it will be so drastic that Kidd is a veritable scrub by the end of his contract. It’s too bad that I’m not a Knicks fan. A
- New Orleans
- Undrafted free agent SF Hollis Thompson signs a deal reportedly for three years. All I know about this guy is that Arturo’s models write him off as being a sub-zero player. His Georgetown teammate Jason Clark has a higher projection than he does. D
- C Hasheem Thabeet signs a contract. I am not sure how much he is getting paid. The jury’s still out on him because he hasn’t played that much; the most minutes he received was 883 in his rookie year. In those 883 minutes, he produced 2.5 wins with a WP48 of .135. The next year, he played 378 minutes and was below 0. I just don’t know; now, I’m going to give the Hornets the benefit of the doubt. C+
- PF Lavoy Allen re-signs with a 2-year, $6 million contract. I had to check the Philadelphia Inquirer’s website to find the terms of the deal. Allen’s magnificent rebounding carried him to a well above-average (.163 WP48) season. However, besides that, only his turnovers and blocks were above-average, and his shooting efficiency was abysmal. At only 23 though, he has a little bit of time to grow. B+
- SF Nick Young signs for 1 year at a $6 million salary. The only thing this guy does at an even slightly above-average rate is not commit turnovers. For a scorer, his efficiency of 1.12 Points Per Shot is terrible. He rebounds only about half as well as the average small forward, as are his assists. He cost his teams over 2 wins last year in 1,729 minutes-which is ridiculous for a guy with a WP48 of -.060. And you’re going to pay him $6 million! Philadelphia’s management needs to reevaluate their priorities. F
This is my third day of updates. I’m sorry this is taking so long; I’m having a little trouble forcing myself to continue the article at times.
- PF Jason Thompson re-signs for 5 years and $34 million. I had to visit a Kings fansite to find the terms of this deal. Jason Thompson is an outstanding offensive rebounder and an efficient scorer who does not have a major weakness, although he is slightly below-average in terms of assists and steals. His free-throw shooting, at 60.2%, stands to improve greatly, though. After three mediocre years, he improved to .173 WP48 player because his fouls and turnovers went down while his scoring efficiency went way up. At 26, he may be as good as he will get, but he is nothing to sneeze at, and I would happy to have him as my third or fourth-best starter. Hopefully, he will get his minutes, but he may end up sitting behind DeMarcus Cousins and/or Thomas Robinson. This is a good contract at a great rate for a big. A-
- San Antonio
- PF Tim Duncan signed a 3-year, $36 million contract to return to the Spurs. Tim Duncan is not the player he once was, having declined a solid amount each of the past two years. His blocks, rebounds, and scoring efficiency are all down below the levels of his peak years. At age 36, this trend is likely to continue. However, Duncan is still a very good player, and he hovered around the minimum threshold big for a team to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. His salary is high, but both sides know that Duncan wants to retire a Spur, so it was necessary. B-
- PF Boris Diaw re-signs for 2 years and $9 million. Last year was a tale of two Diaws. As a Bobcat, Boris played terribly, barely producing any positive value. With the Spurs, he played well above-average. His rebounds, while still not great, went up, as did his steals, and his turnovers went down. However, his scoring efficiency his taken a big hit from the almost-average levels of 2010-11 and his career as a whole, and only his assists and (lack of) fouls have been solid for him throughout his career. Furthermore, his foul rate almost doubled during his time with San Antonio. Diaw has not been above-average in six years, and at age 30 he may get even worse than his overall .046 WP48 level. He is not worth any more than $2-3 million. D+
- SF Cartier Martin signs a deal, terms not found. Martin has never played more than 546 minutes in a single season, so evaluating him is a bit tricky. On average in his career, his only above-average attribute is not turning the ball over, and he has not had a season in which he produced more than .7 wins. I wouldn’t mind having him at the end of the bench, especially at the minimum salary, but I would rather take a chance on a promising, overlooked rookie. (Examples from this year would include Jesse Sanders, Ken Horton, and William Mosley.) C
Contracts Signed After July 12
PF Chris Wilcox returns to Boston for the taxpayer’s mid-level exception of $3 million. As a Lakers fan, I wish that Boston would occasionally make dumb moves. Like most teams, sometimes they do. This was not a dumb move. The 30-year old Wilcox seems to have gotten better with age; in somewhat limited play time, Wilcox has put up two of his three above-average seasons in the past two years as his scoring efficiency has skyrocketed. He did have to end the last campaign early with a heart injury, and he is thirty, but they’re only paying him $3 million. Of course, maybe they should have switched Jason Terry’s and this guy’s salaries, but still. B-
C Chris Kaman joins the Mavs for one year with a $8 million salary. Mark Cuban is an enigma, alternating jaw-droppingly amazing moves with absolutely horrendous ones. This is one of those horrendous ones. Rarely has Kaman been even a good player, as his scoring efficiency, field goal shooting, and turnovers are terrible. His talents are largely limited to blocking shots and not fouling, although he has had years in which he rebounded really well. Compounding the issue, the guy is thirty, meaning that he may decline even further. They already had a solid center in Brendan Haywood who wasn’t making much more money-and they amnestied him! I wonder if Mr. Cuban did this so people would not suspect that he is using Wins Produced to moneyball the league. I hope he is because this contract might make good trade bait, but you shouldn’t sign contracts for trade bait. At least not very often. F
I have decided to stop this article because it is too daunting and my readership is extremely low. From this point forward, I will only focus on noteworthy transactions.