After a mid-day lull, NBA free agency has picked up again. It's roughly 6:15 pm EST on Friday July 1st and more big names have moved. In fact, we've actually had guys move as opposed to the massive re-signing list from this morning. All figures are reported by multiple outlets, so pretend wherever you get your news broke it first and give them credit. No deals are final until signed on or after July 7th. Round 2 of thoughts...here we go!
Chandler Parsons (MEM 4-years, $96 million): I'm astonished at how the Chandler Parsons is story has played out. It's really a tremendous soap opera with a lot of characters and moving parts. None of those are more important than DeAndre Jordan. If Jordan stays committed to the Mavericks last year, who knows how differently this season plays out. It's one of the great NBA what if's of the last few years.
As it happened, Parsons hurried back from knee surgery and slogged through the first part of the season out of shape. First reminder: he tried to play through that injury in the playoffs the year before and probably made things worse. Second reminder: being out of shape is what happens when summer is spent rehabbing, so I'm not putting that on Parsons. He was in as good of shape as he could've been. The team (smartly) kept him on a minutes restriction and Parsons didn't play well until suddenly he did.
When he finally broke through the fitness barrier, he caught fire. From January 6th through his final game on March 18th, Parsons averaged 17.8 ppg on 52% shooting and 45% from three. He also pulled down 5.8 rpg and dished out 3.2 apg. In the middle of that was an even more intense hot streak where he averaged 20.5 ppg and shot 51% from deep over a 20 game stretch. Obviously that kind of shooting isn't going to be sustained over the course of a season, but being safely over 40% is certainly in Parsons repertoire.
The Mavs made it clear that they didn't want to pay him max money. The market made it clear that was what it was going to take. The Mavs focused their efforts elsewhere and that in its own right had to be enough to turn Parsons off. Memphis and Portland were left bidding and in the end the thought of going to Memphis with Mike Conley appealed more than a potential Portland pairing with Dwight Howard.
If Parsons can stay healthy, Memphis gets a hell of a 4th best player if you consider Marc Gasol, Conley and Zach Randolph all better. Parsons and Randolph (at this point in his career) are probably pretty close to the same level. The point is they've got four really good players and Tony Allen as a defensive ace still on the roster and a few younger pieces. Depending on how they're able to fill out the roster and how they gel under new coach David Fizdale, the Grizzlies could be competing for home court next year. They could also get bit by the injury bug again and be battling for the 8 seed. Them's the breaks in the super tight and ever improving western conference.
Mike Conley (MEM, 5-years, $153 million): He's just a really freaking good player. He'd be an all-star if he didn't have to beat out eight other great point guards per year. It's the deal that needed to be done to keep a good core together and now adds in Parsons. Gasol/Parsons/Conley are locked up for the long-term now too, so while they feel like they've been around for a while, they've still got plenty of years ahead to try and add and move from really good to championship level.
Evan Turner (POR, 4-years, $75 million): This is the biggest "whaaaaaaaat?!" deal of the day. Even with the new money, this is a lot of cash for a player who is inconsistent and doesn't really fit in Portland. Turner can be a really effective player in the right role and has been the last two years for Boston. In fact, he was really good last year in Boston and had a knack for making big plays. He needs the ball in his hands to be successful though and Portland already has two guys who fit the same bill. CJ McCollum and Damien Lillard can spot up as shooters, but you'd rather them be making the decisions.
In an ideal role (like if he was on a championship level team), Turner is a big part of a great bench unit. He's reportedly been told he's going to start. The Blazers need help on their front line, so I'm surprised they spent this amount of money on an undersized wing player, but we'll see how it plays out I guess. I like Turner. I don't like him at this price.
Matthew Dellavedova (MIL, 3-years, $38 million): It's a little steep, but overall a pretty reasonable deal in the new market for a very solid backup point guard. Dellevedova is a good defender who doesn't try to do too much offensively (most of the time; he can get a little lob and floater heavy) and shoots it at 40%+ from three. Is it a steal? No. Is it an overpay? Not really. It's very Matthew Dellavedova. Just solid.
Al Jefferson (IND, 3-years, $30 million): This is the biggest head scratcher of the day. There's no way he couldn't have gotten more money. It's not exactly a perfect fit in Indiana considering they want to play uptempo, but at this price it's a total steal for the Pacers. It's always nice to have a safety net and Al Jefferson is an offensive safety net. When all else fails, dump it down to him on the block and let him work. You're going to get a good shot. He's a nightmare defensively, but an old-school coach in Nate McMillan got an old-school player in Jefferson at an old-school price. Like. Did his agent know the cap just went up $20 million or nah?
Solomon Hill (NOP, 4-years, $52 million): He's just entering his prime at 25 and has "grown up" in a well coached system under Frank Vogel in Indiana. Statistics tell you he's an impact defender, but defense can be a fit as much as offense can. Can he still have that impact in a new scheme? Past that, he's gotta become a better shooter. He's shot it around 32% from three the past two years and ESPN reports that the Pelicans are bringing him in to be their new "two-way small forward." You can't be a 3-and-D guy if you can't shoot the three. It's a risk, but one that's probably worth it for the Pelicans, who aren't going to spend their money elsewhere. It's not a massive deal considering the new cap. No strong opinion here. I get it. I don't love it, but I don't hate it. I get it.
Evan Fournier (ORL, 5-years, $85 million): This is a very solid deal in the new market for a young, developing player who becomes even more necessary in Orlando with Victor Oladipo's departure. He's gotten better every year and is still only 23. He's 6'7" and has played both SF and SG for Orlando. Last year he shot 40% on nearly 400 attempts from three. In fact, he's one of 6 players to shoot 40% or better on 390+ attempts. The others? Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, CJ McCollum, JJ Redick and JR Smith. That's pretty elite company as a shooter and Orlando just got him for the same price as the Blazers got Evan Turner. Advantage Orlando.
At this point I don't expect much to happen until Kevin Durant signs. We likely have to wait on Al Horford until then as he might wait to see if pairing with Durant in OKC is an option. Dwight Howard could also sign in the next couple of days. His landing spot is interesting and unpredictable. More to come when there are more signings!