2016 NBA Free Agency Recap: Analyzing the Best and Worst Signings
The 2016 NBA free agency period is just about in the books, as Dwyane Wade was the last big name to sign on the dotted line. Jared Sullinger is the only name remaining with doubt now, while LeBron James just needs to make his return (again) to the Cleveland Cavaliers official.
For the most part, though, everyone is where they need to be and accounted for. With that being the case, we can finally look back and which teams really took advantage of free agency and which made atrocious moves.
Let’s dive into the best and worst of this summer’s NBA free agency period:
Dubs Get KD, Zaza and West
What move could have possibly been better than the Golden State Warriors prying Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The critics can say what they want; the Dubs were already arguably the best team in the league for two straight years and now they just got better.
The Warriors did lose some key role players in the process, but they also added very nice post depth with Zaza Pachulia and David West – two capable veterans that can defend and will want to chase a title.
As long as Golden State can add a solid guard or two for the bench, they’ll be ready to rock again next year.
Grizz Get Parsons & Keep Conley
Memphis endured a rough 2015-16 season that saw numerous players succumb to injury. Then they canned their head coach. For most teams, that’s the beginning of the end, but Memphis dug deep, signed a solid fourth scorer in Chandler Parsons and retained star point guard, Mike Conley.
Conley was the more important piece to that puzzle, but Parsons was equally big. Memphis has forever been a strong defensive team, but their offense has been lacking. With Parsons they now have a solid perimeter scorer that can shoot three’s, attack the rim and even create for others.
Memphis may not be a title contender immediately, but they got better this summer and will remain in the playoff hunt.
Pacers Stay Busy
The Indiana Pacers still might not make it to the 2017 NBA Finals, but no one can say it’s for a lack of trying.
Already boasting Paul George, Monta Ellis and Myles Turner, Indy got better across the board by swinging trades for Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young and then signing big man, Al Jefferson.
Indiana should still work to make one more big move – possibly dealing Ellis – but they got better across the board and still have one of the best perimeter stars in the game in PG-13. On paper, they’re suddenly someone to fear in the Eastern Conference.
Lakers Sign Mozgov
Los Angeles knew they were losing center Roy Hibbert and they needed a quality replacement, but that doesn’t excuse overpaying for Timofey Mozgov.
Mozzy was wasting away on the Cavs’ bench, so it’s tough to argue that he’s suddenly going to be some stellar option after getting handed a massive chunk of money.
It was a move out of necessity, but it also stunk of desperation. Mozzy feels like a poor fit with a young team that is going to want to play fast. On top of that, from a value perspective, there is just no way he lives up to his four-year $64 million deal.
Bucks Pay For Delly
This one is a head-scratcher, too, as another champion Cav player jets Cleveland to get paid some serious cash. It’s true the Bucks get a defender and a guy who can shoot and pass in Matthew Dellavedova, but one can’t help but wonder why they had to pay him nearly $40 million to get him to Wisconsin.
Delly is more of a role player who can defend and shoot in spurts, but if the Bucks paid this much for him, they may have other plans. A starting role would be a mistake and handing Delly 25+ minutes might be risky business, as well.
Bulls Get Older
Chicago seemed like they were on the right track for a second, when they seemed to opt to go young and rebuild by trading Derrick Rose and letting Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah walk.
Then they threw their fan base a curve ball by signing Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade. A trio of Jimmy Butler, Wade and Rondo might have sounded amazing three years ago, but it doesn’t going into the 2016-17 NBA season.
The Bulls perhaps got a little better and more balanced on paper, but this team in reality got older and lost some offensive efficiency.
Knicks Get Shakier
New York is tied to the Bulls in two ways, as they inherited Rose and Noah via trade and free agency this summer. On paper, those are upgrades over the likes of Jose Calderon and Robin Lopez as a pairing.
That’s true, if those guys can stay healthy. That’s a big if, as Rose has struggled with lower leg injuries ever since tearing his ACL and Noah has played in more than 67 games just once in the last seven years.
Both of these guys are no loner in their prime, and then the Knicks also went and paid up for an average shooting guard in Courtney Lee. Throw in an aging and slowly breaking down Carmelo Anthony, and the Knicks have tons of star power, but no actual stability.
New York could survive the odds here and make a playoff run, but the likelihood of all of these additions both staying healthy and producing at a high level is extremely low.
Nets Reach Big Time
One of the worst off-seasons belongs to the Nets, who for a second seemed to be doing the wise thing by dumping an injured Jarrett Jack and trading away an overpaid Thaddeus Young.
Then the Nets did the unthinkable and started spending money like crazy on guys who are a little less than household names. Brooklyn brought in Jeremy Lin to man the point, Tyler Johnson to compete at the two and Trevor Booker for depth at the four.
They did also bring in some interesting young talent via the draft, but the Nets paid a ton of cash to add guys that on paper spell out depth more than star talent. Brooklyn knows they aren’t winning anything anytime soon, but these moves were highly questionable.
Got an NBA move this summer that you loved/hated more than the ones we discussed? Tell us in the comments below!
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