HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Top 10 Free Agents Still On The Market
By Yannis Koutroupis
Through the first four days of free agency, we have seen plenty of activity around the league. The Boston Celtics started things off early by agreeing to an extension with power forward Kevin Garnett. The next big shoe to drop was the Portland Trail Blazers offering a max deal to restricted free agent center Roy Hibbert. Since then, the Phoenix Suns have also offered a max deal to restricted free agent shooting guard Eric Gordon, agreed to sign-and-trade Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers and brought back Goran Dragic. Despite all the movement around the league, there is still a lot of talent left on the free agent market and with that in mind, we take a look at the top 10 players in need of a new deal:
O.J. Mayo – Shooting Guard, Unrestricted
After averaging a very respectable 18.5 and 17.5 points per game his first two years in the league, Mayo had his minutes reduced and was almost traded twice over the last two years. The Memphis Grizzlies passed on making a qualifying offer, which insured what already appeared to be an inevitable breakup.
Now, Mayo is looking for a new team and is reportedly wanting more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception. That’s put him out of the price range of teams like the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers, who had preliminary interest but have since gone after more affordable targets.
Houston Rockets Trade Frenzy Continues
By Bill Ingram
The Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors have been talking about point guard Kyle Lowry for quite some time, initially revolving around Toronto’s eighth pick in last week’s NBA draft. When the Raptors got the sense that they might be able to land Steve Nash in free agency they decided to keep the pick and hold off on a trade for Lowry.
The news that Steve Nash was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers put the Raptors back in the market for an upgrade at point guard, and it didn’t take long for them to resume talks with Houston, where the Rockets were looking to shed contract dollars.
According to multiple reports, the Rockets have done just that, sending Lowry to the Raptors in a deal that returns a lottery-protected first round pick, and Gary Forbes is also said to be part of the package coming over from the Raptors.
Free Agency Bargains And Busts
By Joel Brigham
Every free agent who’s agreed to sign a deal so far has elicited one of two responses from fans: 1.) “Yeah, okay,” or, 2.) “That’s entirely too much money for that guy.” The following article is pretty simple—it puts all the players that have agreed to sign deals into one camp or the other.
Are teams getting the most bang for their buck in free agency this year? Some are, and others aren’t, as you’ll soon see:
Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets, 5 years, $98.8 million – The best free agent on the market deserves to get the best deal, and D-Will made the financially wise decision by staying in Brooklyn. He would’ve gotten one year and $26 million less to play in Dallas, not to mention whatever kickers he may have on endorsements to stay in Brooklyn, so this probably wasn’t as hard a decision as Williams will pretend it was. Either way, this is a max player who’s already proven he deserves every penny, and nobody’s going to argue with the deal he got from the Nets.
Toronto Raptors’ Final Playoff Piece
By Stephen Brotherston
The long-rumored trade of Rockets starting point guard Kyle Lowry to Toronto for a first round draft pick finally got on track, it just wasn’t for the Raptors’ 2012 first round draft pick. A future first round pick plus combo guard Gary Forbes will be heading back to Houston instead, after all of the necessary paperwork has been filed, of course.
That the Rockets traded Lowry isn’t a surprise. The 26-year-old point guard made the move inevitable after he went public with comments about Head coach Kevin McHale and Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo has been very public about his search for a point guard of the future. This move does however have a significant impact on the Raptors roster heading into next season.
Lowry has two seasons remaining on his current contract at $5.75 million and $6.21 million (team option) and with only Forbes’ salary of $1.5 million heading back; the Raptors will have to make some minor moves to fit both Lowry and the pending offer sheet for Landry Fields under the salary cap.
Ray Allen Chooses The Miami HEAT
By Alex Kennedy
Ray Allen has agreed to sign with the Miami HEAT for the mini mid-level exception worth $3.09 million per season, according to team owner Micky Arison, who tweeted the news on Friday evening. Allen, who spent the last five seasons with the Boston Celtics, met with HEAT brass on Thursday and made his final decision this afternoon.
Allen considered a return to the Celtics, but ultimately decided to join the HEAT because he felt it gave him the best chance to compete for a championship. Boston was offering significantly more money than Miami – $6 million per year versus $3.09 million – as well as a no-trade clause, but that didn’t stop the future Hall of Famer from taking his talents to South Beach.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade had been aggressively recruiting Allen in recent days. James wasn’t subtle in his recruitment, tweeting a picture of Allen in a HEAT jersey alongside the caption, “This looks damn good to me.” Wade also offered support over social media, tweeting that Thursday was a big day for the HEAT since team officials would be meeting with Allen.
NBA Debate: Should They Match The Offers
Although deals cannot officially be signed until after the league moratorium is lifted on July 11, there has been a flurry of activity on the free agency front since the session began on July 1. Understanding the details of the frenzy can be a bit complex, but it is important to note there are two types of free agents – restricted and unrestricted.
An unrestricted free agent is free to sign with any team around the league without restriction, provided the pursuing team can meet the financial obligation within their salary cap.
However, when it comes to restricted free agency, a player’s current franchise has the right to match any offer proposed from an opposing team to retain their restricted free agent’s services. Restricted free agency is where you typically see rebuilding teams with significant cap space looking to pry young and emerging talent away from their current clubs. Pursuing teams routinely tend to overpay slightly during this process banking on the player’s upside, which in turn puts pressure on the current team to either match the deal or let their young talent leave without any compensation.