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Free Agent Scorecard
Posted By Joel Brigham On July 2, 2012 @ 4:00 pm In All,NBA | No Comments
We’re officially one day into the 2012 free agency period, and plenty has already gone down. Here’s a quick look at, and analysis of, the deals that have already gotten done, with a nod to a few more that could be close:
(All the following numbers are approximate and based mostly on various reporters’ sources’ information. If the dollar amounts end up being a little bit different than listed here, it would be understandable).
Kevin Garnett, 3 years, $34 million, Boston Celtics – We heard about this one getting done before negotiations were even supposed to begin, but there was always a sense that KG would come back to play at least a couple more years in Boston. Right off the bat there was speculation that his $11-12 million annual salary would set the bar for other older (yet capable) free agents like Tim Duncan and Steve Nash. Based on Steve Nash’s standing offer from Toronto (see below), it looks like that was spot on.
This deal makes plenty of sense for Boston since Paul Pierce has two more years on his own deal; no point blowing something up to rebuild when the team is already pretty close to being a championship team as it is. Yes, they’re old, but there’s still a window there. Don’t restructure a roster until you absolutely have to. Next up: getting Ray Allen and Jeff Green to re-up.
Gerald Wallace, 4 years, $40 million, Brooklyn Nets – Wallace was the first player to “officially” agree to terms on a deal this year, so it hopefully is not an ominous sign of things to come that he was also the first to get massively overpaid. Wallace has always been underpaid throughout his career, but now that he’s making $10 million a year it’s hard to envision him earning that. Still, the Nets need to nail down veteran talent to convince Deron Williams to return to Brooklyn. Wallace is admittedly that, and considering it cost them what ended up being the #6 pick in this year’s draft to trade for Crash a few months ago, they obviously didn’t want to have him just walk away. It’s good that they kept him, but they overpaid to do so.
Roy Hibbert, 4 years, $58 million (offer sheet), Portland Trail Blazers – The Indiana Pacers were hoping and praying that Hibbert wouldn’t sign a max offer sheet because they really didn’t want to pay him that much. He averaged only about 14 ppg and 9 rpg last season in Indy, yet he’ll be making almost as much money as Kevin Durant next season. There has always been a premium on size, however, and the Blazers clearly wanted a franchise center to stick next to LaMarcus Aldridge. Hibbert would be it, even if it meant overpaying to get him. Sources say Hibbert is leaning towards Portland right now because of the respect they showed him with the big money (the Pacers never did offer him max dollars), but it’s hard to envision Indiana not matching the offer sheet. They have started looking at other free agent centers, however, just in case.
Nicolas Batum, 4 years, $45-50 million (offer sheet), Minnesota Timberwolves – Like with any restricted free agent, the Timberwolves had to overshoot Batum’s value a little (okay, a lot) to ensure that his former team, the Portland Trail Blazers, would not match the offer sheet. While Batum is undeniably talented and an argument could be made pretty easily that he’s got more to give as a player than what he was able to show in Portland, this is a huge chunk of change. The scary thing for the Blazers is that they’ll have to decide on matching this within the same time frame that they’ll be waiting for Indiana to make a call on Hibbert. They might not be able to splurge on both, so it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with everything.
For Minnesota, though, they’ll have the shooting guard they’ve been wanting for a couple of seasons now, even if it cost a pretty penny to get it done.
Omer Asik, 3 years, $25.1 million (offer sheet), Houston Rockets – For an overly-detailed opinion about where this offer sheet is headed, just read what I wrote yesterday about this back-loaded “poison pill” contract offer. In short, though, Houston structured this thing to make it nearly impossible for Chicago to match it. Asik will make $5 million and $5.2 million the first two years of this contract, then $14.9 million in the final year. For the Bulls, that would mean either huge luxury tax penalties in 2014-2015 or paying Boozer amnesty money to keep a backup center. Chicago GM Gar Forman keeps saying he’ll match, but that might not be financially possible.
Andre Miller, 3 years, $9 million, Denver Nuggets – Miller had a solid year with Denver last season and at $3 million a year, he’ll remain a solid backup to Ty Lawson moving forward. This seems like an appropriate amount for Miller with little risk involved. Solid deal for the Nuggets.
George Hill, 5 years, Indiana Pacers – The financial terms of this deal haven’t been disclosed just yet, so it’s impossible to say how good a deal the Pacers got, but considering how versatile a guard he is, it’s nice to see the Pacers lock him down for the longest contract possible. It’s a safe assumption that the dollar amount isn’t anything outrageous, but we’ll see about that when the numbers leak.
Steve Nash, 2 years, $36 million, Toronto Raptors – Nash also met with the Knicks on the first day of free agency, but it’s the Raptors’ offer that leaked after a day’s worth of meetings. For $12 million a year, the Raptors get the guy for which Canadian basketball fans have been praying for years, instilling civic pride in the Raps and boosting attendance for what really is a great fan base. Nash doesn’t make this team a championship contender, but he helps Toronto in a lot of other ways, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s kind of fun envisioning Nash wrapping up his career in Canada.
The Knicks, however, are quite a bit more interesting. That’s a team Nash could help make a championship contender, and if Jeremy Lin ends up with an impossible Omer-Asik-type deal from some other team, Nash would be a very logical fit with the Knicks, assuming he’d be interested in playing there for quite a bit less than $12 million a year.
Nash will meet with other teams, but these are the two most intriguing. Almost everyone seems to be rooting for him to end up in Toronto.
Ray Allen, 2 years, $12 million, Boston Celtics – Allen wants to play for the Miami HEAT, and the Miami HEAT would love to have Ray Allen join the gang, but the best they can offer is $3 million a year (their mini mid-level exception). Boston has said that they’ll double that, so the question is whether Allen thinks a change of scenery for less money guarantees him another ring, or if a return to familiar environs for double the cash is enough to keep him in Boston.
Memphis, who almost traded for Allen at the deadline last year, still wants Allen, too, so we’ll see what their offer does to this conversation, as well. They feel like the underdog in this race, though. It’s likely going to be Miami or Boston for Ray Allen.
Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets & Dallas Mavericks – D-Will is scheduled to meet with the Nets and Mavericks today, and he reportedly wants to make his decision quickly. There’s no question he’ll get max money from one or the other, but Brooklyn can offer the extra year and is clearly making the kinds of moves they think Williams will love. Dwight Howard isn’t out of the picture in Brooklyn at this point, either. We keep hearing he’s leaning towards the Nets, but by the end of the day we’ll have a better sense of how he’s leaning.
Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks & Others – Just like with Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin likely to get a “poison pill” offer sheet from some team thanks to the Gilbert Arenas provision in the new CBA. He’ll get offered around $5 million for the first two years of the deal, then $14-15 million for the last two years, making it hard for the Knicks to match. They obviously want to keep him, but Toronto, Dallas, and Brooklyn have interest, too, though only Toronto is likely to offer the back-loaded deal, and then only if Nash spurns them.
There’s still plenty of hope for Lin in New York, but he’s good enough for other teams to complicate things for them.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of everything that’s going on in the world of free agency right now, but it is a far scorecard of all the known information currently out there. To keep an eye on what changes throughout the day (and the rest of free agency for that matter) keep refreshing our Free Agency Diary for the latest.
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