The NBA free agency is underway; many questions have been answered, but many still remain. Some players have been quick to sign, with a few predictable moves, and few, not so predictable. We are seeing bigger contracts than ever before, as the NBA’s revenue has skyrocketed, and because of a recent $24 billion contract with ESPN/ABC/TNT. DeMar DeRozan, who i rank as the 4th best SG in the league, just signed the second biggest contract in NBA history (5 years/ $139 million)! There is still a lot of signing to be done, but, there have been some clear cut winners, and losers.
Let’s take a look at who has signed, or is nearly signed, as of today:
DeMar DeRozan: Toronto Raptors (5 year/$139 million)
Win or Loss: The Raptors, who feared they would lose their coveted Shooting Guard to the Lakers, were able to hang on to him, but not without spending A LOT of money. While they didn’t have many other options, I think they payed DeRozan far more than he’s worth.
It is fair to note that DeRozan ranked 24th in player efficiency last year, and his shooting percentage, far too often, hovered in the low 40’s. However, DeMar is only 26, and has plenty of room to improve. This is a Win for the Raptors.
Bradley Beal: Washington Wizards (5 year/$128 million)
Win or Loss: Bradley Beal joined DeMar DeRozan with a big pay day of his own, inking a nice 5 year contract. Also, like DeMar, Bradley has a lot of room for improvement. In his 4 years in the league he has averaged 16 ppg, 3.7 rpg, and 3 apg. He is a dynamic scorer who compliments John Wall nicely. Again, like DeRozan, he will need to increase his efficiency as he has shot 43% from the field for his career.
This was a big signing for the Wizards. Beal is only 23 years old and has a lot of upside. This is a contract that will surely pay off for them. Win.
Hassan Whiteside: Miami Heat (4 year/$98 million)
Win or Loss: This is a huge signing for the Heat. Hassan Whiteside has only had two years of high production in the league, spending 2 years in the D-league before ending up on the Heat last season. However, there is no question that Hassan earned his max contract last season. He put up averages of 14.2 ppg, 11.8 rpg, and a league high 3.7 bpg in just 29 minutes per game! Let’s not forget his two triple doubles… with blocks! This was a huge Win for the Heat, as it will surely lead to the Re-signing of Dwayne Wade, and raise their hopes of signing Kevin Durant as well. Win
Jeremy Lin: Brooklyn Nets (3 year/$36 million)
Win Or Loss: Jeremy Lin, even in the post Lin-sanity era, still has plenty of value in this league. He’s shown that he has what it takes to be a starting point guard in this league (2012-13 in Houston) as well as a shooting guard. Last year he was a valuable piece for the Hornets, coming off of the bench as their 6th man.
While Lin struggles with consistency at times, there is no question that he can fill up the basket when he needs to. Lin will surely help the Nets who were in dire need of a point guard after cutting Jarret Jack. They got Lin at a good price to, leaving them with plenty cap space. Win
Nicolas Batum: Charlotte Hornets (five year/$120 million)
Win or Loss: Nicolas Batum is definitely one of the best two-way players in the league, something that is very valuable. Nic, standing at 6’8″ with a 7’1″ wingspan, can shut down just about any wing player in the league; and with a career high of 14.9 ppg last year with the Hornets there is no question that he was worth the contract. Win
Timofey Mozgov: Los Angeles Lakers (4 year/$64 million)
Win or Loss: This is quite possibly the most controversial signing thus far. Timofey stands at 7’1″ weighing 275 lbs. Offering plenty of size to the Lakers. While on Denver and even last year in Cleveland he showed flashes of promise, but the fact stands, he is no Hassan Whiteside.
The Lakers seemed poised to finally make a splash in the free agency with plenty of cap space to do so. However, they failed to bring in DeMar DeRozan, as well as Hassan Whiteside, flopping miserably once again. They were left with no other option than to sign Timofey Mozgov, the guy who played an average of 5 minutes in the NBA Finals. Loss
It is also worth noting that Chandler Parsons and Dwight Howard may join forces with Damian Lillard in Portland. Also, Joakim Noah is said to be a lock for the New York Knicks. Andre Drummond will most likely stay in Detroit as he is close to signing a 5 year/$130 million contract. Al Horford is strongly considering reuniting with his former college coach, Billy Donovan on the Thunder, and the 76ers are making a strong push for Harrison Barnes.
All eyes will be on LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Kevin Durant now, as we wait to see how the rest of the Free Agency plays out. One thing is for certain: this is one of the most thrilling Free Agencies in NBA history.