Grading the NBA Free Agency

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Tim Duncan and LeMarcus Aldridge

Thought the summer would cool off the NBA season? Think again. Despite the fact that free agents can’t officially sign with new teams until tomorrow, there have been as many fireworks this offseason as there are empty blast spots on the pavement outside of your apartment because man these kids start earlier and earlier with this firework shit.

Although there are a few pieces left straggling, the major moves have been completed and we can take a look at which teams did well and which will soon find their new wares on the clearance rack.

Totally Unfair

San Antonio Spurs


If the Spurs were a private enterprise, they would be investigated for all sorts of fraud because not only are the ageless duo of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli coming back, they solidified their wing duo of Danny Green and former Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, while also getting LaMarcus Aldridge to leave Portland for a reported max deal of four years/$80 million. But that’s not all. The kicker? They also convinced David West to turn down a $12.6 million option in Indiana to sign with San Antonio for one-year at the league minimum. Now the transition can begin from Timmy to LMA, which should keep San Antonio contention for the next four years. Weep for the Western Conference.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Basically if LeBron James likes you, you’re going to get paid this year. Kevin Love with a five-year, $110 million deal, Iman Shumpert with four years, $40 million, Mo Williams for two years, $2.4 million and there is still Tristan Thompson, JR Smith, Matthew Dellevedova and some guy name ‘Bron left to sign. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is about to burst the tax scale in his salary, which seems pretty alright for a guy who owns a payday loan company.

That Was Unexpected

Dallas Mavericks


Battling back and forth between offers from the Clippers or the Dallas Mavericks, DeAndre walked away from Lob City for a reported four years, $80 million to join the Dirk-us Circus in Dallas. Stories have come out that he didn’t get along with Chris Paul, but the Clippers were sort of a disaster last year and didn’t have the capital to change either way. Now in Dallas with Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Wesley Matthews (another FA signing from Portland at a reported four years, $57 million) and JJ Barea at point, the Mavs have something interesting going on.

Portland Trail Blazers

Woof. Not only did they lose out on re-signing Aldridge, but lost Matthews to a Texas team as well, traded Nic Batum to Charlotte for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh (solid get for Hendo, but nobody knows about Vonleh yet), picked up solid role players in Ed Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu and put the max ring on Damian Lillard’s finger. So a rebuild is in, and it’s not terrible, but losing the core of those playoff teams has gotta sting.

New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers

The surprise here is that the two cellar-dweller teams from last year still did OK despite missing out on all of the big name free agents. Phil Jackson got Robin Lopez for a decent price, aging Arron Afflalo to run the point for two years, promising forward Kyle O’Quinn for four years, $16 million and Derrick Williams for even cheaper. They may not get you to the playoffs, but those are actual basketball players, which is more than you can say about last year.

The Lake Show got Roy Hibbert in a trade, which is not an awesome move, but he’ll provide something. They also got the reigning Sixth Man, Lou Williams for three years $21 million, and a solid forward in Brandon Bass. Again,they missed out on all the shiny pieces, but after that first wave of moneymakers, they could have done a lot worse. It also appears they’re looking to dump Nick Young, but the bidders on Swaggy P are few and far between.

Bandwagon Time

Toronto Raptors


After two consecutive disappointing playoff runs, the Drakes got creative and opened up their wallet to score some decent talent to offset the disappointment. DeMarre Carroll will reportedly leave Atlanta for four years, $60 million, Cory Joseph wasn’t going to get much from the Spurs with all their new contracts, so he came to T-dot for four years, $30 million, and even still-a-project Bismack Biyombo joined up to add some defense in the middle. They lost out on Lou Williams, but added much more strength especially on the wings.

Milwaukee Bucks

Last year is proving to be no fluke for the once-maligned Bucks franchise. They locked up shooting expert Khris Middleton on a reported five-year, $70-million contract, grabbed solid backup guard Greivis Vasquez in a pre-draft trade and had possibly the biggest coup of free agency nabbing Greg Monroe for three years, $50 million. Making their big squad even bigger. The Bucks had a lot of changes last year, while losing Jabari Parker for most of the season and still managed to give teams headaches in the playoffs. They look to be even better in 2015.