It is currently 12:30 pm EST on Friday, July 1st and free agency has been simultaneously exciting and boring. Many players have already committed to teams, however very few have changed addresses. Well, they might change addresses. They can afford better houses now. But they're not changing teams. Some thoughts on some of the signings so far:
Hassan Whiteside (MIA, 4 years, $98 mil): Probably the best move for him. I liked what Whiteside wrote in The Players Tribune. He's played on eight teams all around the world and wasn't ready for a ninth. Some stability will do Whiteside good. The staff knows what to do with him. His teammates know what to do with him.
Dallas made some initial headway and offered a lot of the same to Whiteside. Dallas has structure and stability, but can't offer the familiarity that apparently was a plus to Whiteside. That's good. Him coming in thinking he's going to be the guy to save the day isn't exactly what what I'd want if I were the Mavericks. The question now becomes does he see himself differently in Miami? If so, that's trouble. If not? Money well spent.
This is exactly why Whiteside terrifies me. I'd be terrified at passing up on a uniquely elite talent, but also be terrified to pay a guy with a head case history. The Heat win, now time to see if they win.
Nicolas Batum (CHA, 5-years, $120 million): This was simple. The Hornets offered Batum a five-year max and no other team could match, so he returned. Other teams would've offered the four year max, but the ability to offer that extra year was all the Hornets needed to keep around a key part of their core. They'll be good again. Smart, solid move for all.
Bradley Beal (WAS, 5-years, $128+ million): A fully guaranteed five year deal is a lot of money for a player who's been injured as often as Beal. That said, he's still only 22 years old and the Wizards training staff knows him better than any other team would and others would've lined up for his services. The hope is that as he gets older and his body matures he'll stay healthy. When healthy, he's an exceptional player. He's a two-way two guard who can do pretty much everything offensively. There's a reason he was a top-3 pick. The Wizards didn't really have a choice because they weren't getting better any other way.
DeMar DeRozan (TOR, 5-year, $145 million): Good for DeRozan and good for the Raptors. He's helped build that team and franchise into a legitimately good team. Are they a championship level team? No, but with DeRozan and Kyle Lowry in place, very good management and a rabid fan base, they're an attractive spot for a player to go if they're okay with playing in Canada and the frigid weather that goes with it.
Andre Drummond (DET, 5-years, $130 million): Drummond's great at what he does (rebound and generally be an enormous human being) and will continue to get better under Stan Van Gundy. He was a restricted free agent, so he was never going anywhere. Good job by the Pistons to just get it done without any funny business. Drummond knows he's appreciated. Not much to see here.
Joakim Noah (NYK, 4-years, $72 million): This is a joke. This is the Knicks being the Knicks in every way possible. They've been signing players who are three years past their primes to long contracts for a decade and a half at this point and no matter who's in charge, they never seem to learn. Noah's intangibles are worth having around. He might even be healthy after shutting it down early last year, but he's a 7-footer who's 30 years old and has logged over 18,000 combined regular season and playoff minutes. A four year deal is absurd. If they paid him for two years? Sure. A four year deal? So Knicks.
Timofey Mozgov (LAL, 4-years, $65 million): Mozgov is one of the strangest players I can think of in the NBA. He's enormous. He's like 7'2". He's mobile. He's athletic. He can even shoot it a little. He protects the rim. He also couldn't get on the floor when the games mattered for the Cavs. His basketball IQ apparently isn't very high and that matters if you want to win. That said, it can only get higher with more playing time, especially under a high-IQ coach like Luke Walton. This is a lot of money. If I was a good team, I wouldn't spend this money on Mozgov. The Lakers aren't good, so what the hell? Why not? Take a swing with a 7'2" bat!
Jordan Clarkson (LAL, 4-years, $50 million): Clarkson and D'Angelo Russell are the Lakers backcourt for the future. Don't screw that up. It's pretty simple. Good job, Lakers!
Jeremy Lin (BKN, 3-years, $36 million): This is a good deal for Brooklyn and I'm not real sure what Lin is doing. I think he could've gotten more and probably gotten it from teams who are going to be spending the entire year of the NBA's basement. While I've never met/talked to/pretended to know Jeremy Lin, it would seem that going back to New York mattered to him. His star still burns there, even if it was from time with the other team in town.
Check back later for volume 2 as the next wave signs. It looks like Al Jefferson is about to sign in Indiana. Chandler Parsons and Dwight Howard are considering reuniting in Portland. Lots more to come!