#22 Chris Andersen re-signs with the Denver Nuggets (5-yrs, $26m)
Birdman is a nice hustle player. He can play some sticky D and dunk to your heart’s content. Sure he averaged 2.5 blocks but do you really want him to play more than 20 mins a game? Do you really want the Birdman to be your starting center? No, you do not. Hence, you do not give him a ridiculously bloated contract. You are saying the former junkie won’t take 10 mil over 3 years?
Grade: D+ (Denver Nuggets)
#21 Antonio McDyess signs with the San Antonio Spurs (3-yrs, $16m)
I think McDyess will be able to provide Duncan enough inside help. TD has not played with a capable offensive center since the Admiral. The contract does seem pretty high but maybe the Spurs will be able to parlay the expiring contract into something else come the 3rd year. As long as McDyess avoids major injury the first two years, the Spurs will be very happy with him.
Grade: B+ (San Antonio Spurs)
#20 Marcin Gortat re-signs with the Orlando Magic (5-yrs, $34m)
The polish hammer got a nice pay day as the Dallas Mavericks tried to sign him away from the Magic. Not really sure why the Magic would want to pay a backup center so much money when they already have superman. This is a lot of money for someone that is only going to be playing 15 mins a game. The Magic will have enough can space and money to sign a star player during the next offseason. Without Grotat’s contract, they could make an even bigger splash.
Grade: F (Orlando Magic)
#19 Los Angeles Clippers traded Zach Randolph to the Memphis Grizzlies for Quentin Richardson
On the court, Randolph will be a good inside force in addition to Mayo and Gay. I don’t know where the passing is going to come from but it sure as hell isn’t coming from Mayo or Zbo. Randolph also comes with a hefty price tag that the Grizzles really don’t need. Not really sure how the Clippers convinced the Grizzles to take Zbo off their hand, but it is certainly a major accomplishment. This also allows the Clippers to start rookie Blake Griffin and give him major minutes.
Grade: A (Los Angeles Clippers), C- (Memphis Grizzlies)
#18 Brandon Bass signs with the Orlando Magic (4-yrs, $16m)
This is a great move for the Magic. It seems like Bass is slotted to start at PF with Lewis moving to SF. This allows them to play a more tradition lineup with more rebounding from the 4. Bass came with a very cheap price tag and should serve well under Coach Van Gundy. He is also a stellar mid range shooter who can bang inside. The problem here is that Orlando resigned Grotat and gave him a huge contract.
Grade: A- (Orlando Magic)
17 Anderson Varejao re-signs with the Cleveland Cavaliers (6-yrs, $50m)
I love the energy and defense that Varejao provide, but I just don’t see worth 50 million dollars. Varejao whined and cried his way into an absurd contract. I do think it is necessary for the Cavs to keep Varejao but I am sure he would have settled for less. Imagine if Lebron leaves Cleveland. Now they are stuck paying a PF who can’t score for another 5 years. I do rather have Varejao than Gortat since he can play more minutes during crunch time.
Grade: D+ (Cleveland Cavaliers)
16 Charlotte Bobcats traded Emeka Okafor to the New Orleans Hornets for Tyson Chandler
Saving money is currently in style in the NBA, so the Hornets and Bobcats want in. On the court, I think Okafor and Chandler are very similar players. Okafor is a little smaller and might have trouble with tradition big centers (Shaq, D.ho, Perkins). I believe Chandler’s stats will never approach that of 2007-08 simply because he will never play with Chris Paul again. Both are good defensive center that can rebound and finish around the basket.
Grade: B- (Charlotte Bobcats), B- (New Orleans Hornets)
15 Trevor Ariza signs with the Houston Rockets (5-yrs, $34m)
Here is Ariza’s number from last season, by far his best: 24 mins, 46% shooting, 32% from 3pt, 4.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.7 steals, 8.9 points. So over 5 seasons, his highest scoring average is still less than 10. From this, I am having a hard time seeing how Ariza can make much of a difference. This is not to mention that he is a terrible three point shooter. He went on a ridiculous hot streak during last season’s playoff so people forget that he is a career 30% 3pt shooter. I know the Lakers were really high on him and some even designate him as the Kobe successor, but I really don’t see him as much of a scoring threat. Sure he can play defense, but he also plays the same position as Shane Battier. And Battier can shoot the 3. Ariza is nothing more than a complementary player and no where near the level of Ron Artest. He cannot be a franchise player type. I do think the contract is fairly valued, but what are they going to do with Battier’s contract? So now the Rockets are back to where they were 2 seasons ago, but with Yao and Tmac both two years older.
Grade: B- (Houston Rockets)
14 Charlie Villanueva signs with the Detroit Pistons (5-yrs, $35m)
CV31 had a breakout season in 2008-2009, averaging 16 points and 6.7 rebounds in just 27 minutes of play. He should be expected to at least reproduce his stats from last season since he is only 24 and will be a full time starter this season. I think CV31 will get his stats but not sure how well he can help the team. A starting frontline of Kwame and CV would not really excite me if I was a Pistons fan. I think this is an extremely good deal for Detroit in monetary terms. It is a good addition only if you discount the fact that he is replacing Rasheed Wallace.
Grade: B (Detroit Pistons)
13 Ben Gordon signs with the Detroit Pistons (5-yrs, $55m)
Personally, I have always disliked Ben Gordon. Besides being able to score in bunches, he contributes nothing to the team. BG is a terrible defender and a lazy one at that. He not only turns the ball over a ton but also makes terrible decisions with the ball. The pistons are going to live with his terrible shot selections. Gordon can carry a team when he is hot but whatever he contributes in the offensive end, he gives it back on defense. He was a malcontent in Chicago because he had to come off the bench. He never really embraced the role of coming off the bench, but he will have to live with it now that he signed with the Pistons. I am not sure how long BG will be content as a 6th man. The contract is also quite big for BG. For that kind of money, the Pistons could’ve gotten someone who can actually defend. Add to the fact that the Pistons gave up Chauncey for Iverson who now turns into BG. Joe Dumars is really going down the wrong path.
Grade: D (Detroit Pistons)
12 Paul Millsap re-signs with the Utah Jazz (4-yrs, $32m)
Millsap might be a undersized power forward but he certainly can rebound. He is the only player in NCAA history to win the rebounding title three consecutive years. Just that alone shows that he is a very hardworking player and can provide energy to the team. I really like this deal especially the Jazz allegedly was going to give Millsap five years and $50 million. Experts say that Millsap cannot replace Boozer as the starting forward. I disagree. Although Boozer is an all-star and what not, Millsap is a much better two way player. Certainly Millsap doesn’t have Boozer’s offensive repertoire yet, but the Jazz still has plenty of firepower sans Boozer. Guys like AK and Okur will get a few more touches without Boozer. Boozer averaged 21 points 2 seasons ago when he was healthy. Given the same playing time, I am confident Millsap can reach 17ppg. If you count the room for improvement and his defensive hustle, there is really no drop off. I am not just pulling this out of my ass either. The Jazz went 26-19 last season when Boozer was out.
As I have already mentioned, the Jazz got Millsap for a good price and Boozer is still with the team. Now, if they convert Boozer into a decent guard or good backup big, that will really boost the Jazz’s chances this season and in the future. This is not to mention Carlos Boozer has only played 60% of all the possible games he could’ve played in with the Jazz due to injuries.
I also want to add that Paul Millsap went to Louisiana Tech University. Guess who else went there? Karl Malone.
Grade: A (Utah Jazz)
11 Jason Kidd re-signs with the Dallas Mavericks (3-yrs, $25m)
Not much to say here besides the fact that the Mavs had to resign Kidd. Without Kidd, the Mavs would be utterly horrible. They traded their future away (Devin Harris) to get Jason Kidd. They gambled for the title and it didn’t work out. At this age, Kidd cannot stay in front of anyone on defense, but he can certainly still direct a fast break. Unfortunately, they have Mr. NO-WIN and well… they won’t win with him.
Grade: C+ (Dallas Mavericks)
10 Golden State Warriors traded Jamal Crawford to the Atlanta Hawks for Acie Law, Speedy Claxton
I see both sides of the argument on this trade for Atlanta. Surely Crawford will provide enough fire power off the bench. However, I am not sure Crawford will even be as effective as Flip Murray was last season. If it works out, Crawford/Bibby/Johnson is a scary offensive backcourt combination. The Warriors save a lot of money with this trade and gain a possible valuable young PG in Acie. Whether he plays or not, that’s for Don Nelson to decide.
Grade: C+ (Atlanta Hawks), B+ (Golden State Warriors)
9 Washington Wizards traded Oleksiy Pecherov, Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila, 5th pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Randy Foye, Mike Miller
The wizards traded away their lottery pick and a bunch of bit PFs for Mike Miller and Randy Foye. I believe this is a very good move by Washington. There was really no one the Wizards could draft at No. 5 that would contribute immediate or even in 2 years on a playoff roster. This is important because Jamison is already 33 and will start to decline within the next three years. They received Mike Miller, who is a very solid contributor. Personally I believe Miller performs better on a good team which may explain his struggles last season. An amazing article on bulletsforever.com offers statistics/explanations on Miller’s strange season in Minnesota. This deal helps the wizards tremendously as now they can bring Nick Young off the bench. That means no more DeShawn Stevenson and his stupid hand waving taunts. The wizards may not be very deep but Arenas-Jamison-Butler combo is plenty lethal. Blatche and McGee should continue to improve.
Minnesota drafted Johnny Flynn then Ricky Rubio which didn’t make a whole lot of sense. However, if Rubio turns out to be as good as I think he will be then the Wolves made a great trade. That is a big if and it is not even guaranteed that Rubio will play in the NBA within the next 2 seasons. So for now Minnesota is going to receive a big fat F but I reserve the right to change it as David Kahn might get Rubio to come and/or turn Rubio/Flynn into other assets.
Grades: A (Washington Wizards), F (Minnesota Timberwolves)
8 Rasheed Wallace signs with the Boston Celtics (3-yrs, $20m)
Many people might be surprised that Rasheed never averaged more than 20 points nor 9 rebounds in a season. In fact, he has averaged just 12/7 over the past 3 years. Many people believe that he will be able to spread the floor for the Celtics but ‘sheed has not shot over 45% since 2003 season. He is a good 3pt shooter you say. Well, he is a 35% shooter from long range; that is serviceable… for a PF. He does make a decent backup that is if KG is able to come back from his mysterious knee injury. KG/’sheed combo at power forward is lethal but I don’t think it will make the Celtics better than their competitors. Their goal is to win the championship, not be a second round fodder to Cleveland or Orlando. The Celts better hope Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins get even better. All I am trying to say is ‘sheed aint no fab four. Garnett, Wallace and Davis all like to shoot from the outside. What they really need is some inside play to help out Perkins. Of course, getting Rasheed is better than not getting anyone at all.
3 years also seem to be one year too many for the Celtics’s need. Although it would be an attractive expiring contract in 2012.
Grade: C+ (Boston Celtics)
7 Andre Miller signs with the Portland Trailblazers (3-yrs, $21m)
Rumor is that Miller would be coming off the bench behind Steve Blake. However, I am not sure how long that will last. In any case, Miller will be playing the majority of minutes at PG(32min+). Blake will see some action as he is a much more capable long ranger shooter. There is no reason that Brandon Roy won’t mesh with Miller. Everyone was talking about Derrick Rose last season, but in reality Andre Miller had a better regular season than Rose. Miller is a dependable distributor who can direct a young team like this and advance them post season. I believe Miller makes a much better addition than Turkoglu would have been. The Blazers have youth at SF (Batum, Outlaw, and Fernandez) but Blake or Sergio isn’t going to cut it as a starting PG for an elite team.
Grade: A (Portland TrailBlazers)
6 Ron Artest signs with the Los Angeles Lakers (5-yrs, $34m)
I really believe Artest is a better player than Ariza is at this point and will continue to be for the next 2 years. His toughness will definitely improve the Lakers biggest weakness: softness. The deal does seem long especially given Kobe and Artest’s age and mileage. Playing for Phil Jackson will keep Artest in line. Not too sure how well he will mesh with Kobe but it is only fitting for Hollywood if some sort of drama flares up between them. There is not much to say here except Artest is a very good player and his presence will certainly improve the Lakers.
Grade: B (Los Angeles Lakers)
5 Memphis Grizzlies traded for Jerry Stackhouse, 2016 2nd round pick. Orlando Magic traded for cash, $9m trade exception.
Dallas Mavericks traded for Shawn Marion (5-yrs, $38m), Greg Buckner, Kris Humphries, Nathan Jawai, cash.
Toronto Raptors traded for Hedo Turkoglu (5-yrs, $53m), Devean George, Antoine Wright.
Orlando receives a $9 million trade exception that they can use any time until next summer. If they are one of the top 2 seeds at the trading deadline, they can use it to acquire a big name start. Or if Vince Carter isn’t working out for them, they can use it the next offseason. This allows them a lot of flexibility and ability to exceed the salary cap. Whatever big move Orlando makes will probably bring them even closer to a championship.
I think Dallas did great in getting Marion. He is super athletic and is great playing transitional offense. He is still signed for 5 years and he is already 30. I actually believe this is okay because Dirk will start to decline in about the same time period so the Mavs will have lots of flexibility when the time comes. Marion will push the Mavs into the playoff but just how far they go is up in the airs. In acquiring Marion, Josh Howard became expandable. Kidd-Terry-Marion-Dirk-(center). So the Mavs has some trading chip in Howard and could significantly upgrade their frontcourt with a trade. Humphries is capable of playing solid minutes as a backup.
A contract for 5 years at more than $10 million per year is pretty ridiculous for a player who has never been an all-star. Toronto reminds a purely jump shooting team without good defense and that is just not going to make them competitive among the top teams. They want to keep Chris Bosh but I am not really sure if this is going to work. I don’t see them being better than Atlanta to even get home court in the first round. At least they are trying.
Grade: A (Orlando Magic), C (Memphis Grizzlies), B+ (Dallas Mavericks), C+ (Toronto Raptors)
4 Phoenix Suns traded Shaquille O'Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, 2010 2nd round pick, cash
Giving up a crippled Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic for Shaq? Hell yes. Adding Shaq really helps the Cavs at the offensive end. They have true point and 2 good outside shooters to go with Lebron. Add Shaq as the inside force and a scrappy player in Varejao. That is a truly solid lineup with everything you need. However much old age has robbed Shaq, he will still be an effective inside presence and a tremendous offensive player. This will only be a good move if Shaq stays motivated and healthy. I doubt motivation will be a problem as he gets to play with Lebron and get a chance to beat Kobe in the finals. One drawback that is coming up in the news is that Lebron did not really give Shaq a welcoming reception. I believe Shaq knows his role and will delight his teammates with his excellent passing ability.
Grade: B+ (Cleveland Cavaliers)
3 Lamar Odom re-signs with the Los Angeles Lakers (4-yrs, $33m)
Resigning Odom is a very big deal for the Lakers, especially at less than 9 million per year. Odom had the second highest roland rating(see glossary for explanation) on the Lakers behind Kobe. He has led the team in on court +/-. Odom’s presence makes the Lakers super versatile and hard to match up. Los Angeles can play big or small, fast or slow with no problems. I think it would be very interesting to see Odom play some point forward with Kobe, Artest, Gasol, and Bynum against oppositions with slower point guards. Odom can matchup against the opposite 3. I doubt this will ever happen but it would be very intriguing to watch.
Grade: A+ (Los Angeles Lakers)
2 Milwaukee Bucks traded Richard Jefferson to the San Antonio Spurs for Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto, Kurt Thomas
The Spurs made a trade to upgrade their starting lineup in acquiring Richard Jefferson. They really did not give up much. Bruce Bowen is basically a corpse on the court and they signed McDyess in place of Kurt Thomas. Jefferson shot 39% from 3s last season and as long as he can keep it at that range, the Spurs will be hard to defend. Jefferson is a very good defender and an established scorer. He fits into the mold of Popovich’s Spurs. The Spurs gave up 3 old, crippled guys for a former all-star who will buy into Popovich’s system. Although this may or may not bring them back to championship level, it is still a very good acquisition.
Grade: A (San Antonio Spurs)
1 Orlando Magic traded Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston, Tony Battie to the New Jersey Nets for Vince Carter, Ryan Anderson
However much I despise Vince Carter for being the biggest waste of talent ever, he is still a much better player than Turkoglu. If you thought Vince settled for too many 3s(29% of his shot attempts) then consider Turkoglu. A whopping 36% of his shot attempts are 3s. That is a lot for someone who is initiating the offense and someone who only makes 35% of his 3s. Carter shot 38.5%. So the Magic upgraded their SG/SF position while adding Ryan Anderson. They did have to give up Courtney Lee who was really coming into his own at the end of last season. Ryan Anderson should add to their three-point attack and Battie wasn’t going to see any playing time behind D. Ho and Gortat. It is impossible to know if the loss of Turkoglu going to affect their chemistry. If Vince wants to be remembered for something other than his dunks, he would savor this opportunity.
The Nets weren’t really going anywhere with Vince. They dumped his contract for the young Lee and Alston’s expiring contract. Lee should be a solid player along side Devin Harris and Brook Lopez.
Grade: B+ (Orlando Magic), A (New Jersey Nets)