Community Shootaround: 2019 Free Agency Mistakes

The NBA’s 2019 free agent frenzy took place less than eight months ago, and many of the players signed at that time made their regular-season debuts with new teams less than four months ago. However, it’s already clear that some of the signings completed last July were ill-advised.

The Kings, for instance, are almost certainly regretting investing in Dewayne Dedmon on a three-year, $40MM contract with nearly $28MM in guaranteed money. Dedmon was expected to be the club’s starting center this season, but lasted just four games in that role before being supplanted by Richaun Holmes, who signed a far more team-friendly deal around the same time. Sacramento ultimately surrendered a pair of future second-round picks to get out from under Dedmon’s contract at the trade deadline.

While the Kings were at least able to find a taker for Dedmon, that wasn’t the case for the Spurs with DeMarre Carroll — the two sides reached a buyout agreement this week. Most players who are bought out at this time of year are on expiring deals, but Carroll – who signed a three-year, $21MM pact with San Antonio last summer – still had a fully guaranteed 2020/21 salary and partial guarantee for 2021/22.

Carroll gave back a little money when he was cut this week, but it was still a costly mistake for the Spurs — particularly since agreeing to sign both Carroll and Marcus Morris in the offseason resulted in the team trading away Davis Bertans to accommodate both incoming forwards. Morris reneged on his tentative agreement with the Spurs days later, and now Carroll is gone as well.

The Dedmon and Carroll signings are two of the most obvious failed free agency moves from the 2019 offseason, but they won’t be the only ones.

The Bulls, for instance, may want a do-over on their three-year, $40.6MM ($32.4MM guaranteed) deal with Thaddeus Young. The Sixers and Kings might not invest so heavily on their four-year contracts for Al Horford and Harrison Barnes if given a second chance. The Knicks‘ free agent signings won’t hurt them much because they’re all short-term, but besides Morris, it’s not clear that any of those veterans will turn into a long-term keeper or a valuable trade chip.

We want to hear your thoughts. Which of 2019’s free agent signings do you think teams will regret, even if they might not be considered full-fledged mistakes quite yet? Are there any long-term contracts signed in 2019 that will be viewed as albatross deals in a year or two?

Check out our free agent tracker from the 2019 offseason to refresh your memory, and head to the comment section below to weigh in!

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38 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: 2019 Free Agency Mistakes

  1. phillyballers

    Sixers had to sign someone, with all the legitimate guards off the board they zigged whenever everyone else zagged. Well see how off the bench Al does. Realistically their options were limited, next years class is not good, and they couldn’t wait 2 years to sign someone. Their window for signing was this year. They will probably have to attach a 1st to get a better fit. They need a swingman. Idk if they even attempted to get DeMare.

    • rgreen

      They couldn’t sign anyone next year,regardless if anyone was available or not.Between Embiid,Harris,Simmons,and Richardson,their cap would’ve been just about gone.They have around 142 on the books next year,just taking away Horfords 27.5,and their still over this year’s 109.They blew to many picks during the rebuild.

      • phillyballers

        That’s what I said their window for signing was this year. The only saving grace is his salary size to match up for a trade.

      • phillyballers

        They probably thought 5 years of max money would look ugly in years 4 and 5. However, Horford looks ugly in year 1 so… idk. They didn’t add any other legit bench pieces at the start of the season anyway so they probably should have just kept Butler. Run it back isn’t always a bad thing to do. I thought they might have had Kemba in mind to play off Simmons.

  2. Harrison Barnes deal might be a regretful decision from the kings but I think on the right team him on about 24 mil per year is hardly that bad like many people make out.
    For example I’d rather Barnes than Iggy.
    Iggy is getting 15mil (9mil less) but is 9 years older at 36, hasn’t even played more than 5 games this year so you don’t know what your getting, and when he did okay 2 years ago he averaged 23 mins 6 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds shooting just over 30% from deep.
    Whereas Barnes is still 27, is averaging 15/5/2 and shoots 36% from deep.

    Barnes would still be a good piece on a winning team like Dallas. Swap Hardaway and Brunson for Barnes.

    Hardaway puts up nearly identical numbers to Barnes but is a better 3 point shooter but Barnes is a much much better defender.
    A line up of Wright Doncic FinneySmith Barnes and Porzingod would be nice for spacing and not awful on defence.

    • Iggy is old and unproductive and gets 15mil, Barnes is closer to his prime, plays both ends of the floor, is productive as a third option and gets 24m

      Barnes is definitely better and worth more

      • futuremvp

        Man, I am a Serbian and Vlade was my idol growing up, and even I have to admit that was a bad, bad deal.

        • Disagree how do you think so?
          I definitely think it’s not great but it’s not awful just a slight overpay. I’d say Barnes is worth about 18 mil

    • oldmanwarrior

      No. We would rather have Hardaway, his shooting and scoring without Luka, than Barnes…much less Brunson too. And the contract? Just no. Besides, Hardaway isnt great on defense, by any means, but he also hasnt been bad either.

      • Hardaway is only a slightly better shooter than Barnes and Barnes is 10 time the defender he is.
        Hardaway 43/40/81
        Barnes 45/36/80

        • oldmanwarrior

          Now post Hardaway’s numbers since Carlisle put him in the starting lineup. In no way is Barnes, and his contract, worth giving up Hardaway and Brunson. That trade, literally, makes no sense at all.

    • Otogar

      Harrison Barnes is worth nowhere near 24M. He will stick with the Kings in the foreseeable future because no team is gonna get him at that price tag. Which does not mean he’s a bad player, just way overpaid.

      • Wouldn’t even say way overpaid. How much do you think he’s worth? I think about 18 mil would be fair

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      Golden State wishes they had Barnes right now. He’s a way better defender than Wiggins. The league needs to drug test Draymond immediately if he seriously thinks that Wiggins will ever be first-team all defense.

      • phillyballers

        Wiggins ceiling is much higher than Barnes at this point in their careers.

  3. Julius Randle was a much worse signing than it looks like, and it looks pretty bad. The rest of the Knicks’ FA signings are just funny at this point.

    • phillyballers

      No it wasn’t. Signing 4 PFs was the worst part. While having Kevin Knox.

      Taj, Randle, Portis, Morris, and Knox all supposed to get minutes?

      • The question is what FA signing will a team regret, going forward. The other 3 FA PFs (besides Randle) aren’t a burden going forward.

        So what did you mean by “No, what wasn’t” ? You think Randle was a good FA signing by the Knicks? Well, you and Steve Mills, and maybe Perry, agree on that. I doubt you’ll find many others. Certainly nobody familiar with how to construct a winning team.

        • phillyballers

          It just says which do you think they will regret and if theres an albatross out there. Randle isn’t an albatross contract. The regret isnt just signing Randle its signing all 4 for no reason. By doing so they’ve made Knox a wasted pick. And by only trading 1 of them they’ve essentially wasted the cap space they used this past year. Randle isn’t great, he is valued by some other exec’s tho. Hornets were interested. Knicks could have attempted to land another lottery pick if they took back Batum and still have cap flex for 21.

  4. mpaoword

    I’m going to go with the Nets signing Kyrie Irving. Objectively the Nets rebuilding process is a win for Sean Marks given their starting point and the addition of signing two marquee free agents; however, whether or not they lead to a championship remains to be seen and even though they knew the first year would be a wash as KD recovered from injury, the early returns haven’t looked promising.

    Kyrie hasn’t meshed well with the established roster as the Nets have posted a better record without him than with him, and once again Kyrie has shown that on his own he can’t carry a team.

    Throw in the fact that he’s now out for the rest of this season and the Nets have arguably wasted about $69 million this season for 20 games between the two players, and all the excitement from last off-season has now turned into hope for a turnaround and fresh start next year.

    A championship down the line makes this a wash, but as it stands there’s not much cause for optimism, especially with Kyrie’s inability to work well or simply co-exist with Caris LeVert ($52.5M/3yrs) and Spencer Dinwiddie ($34M/3yrs), who the Nets signed to extensions but will ultimately have to move one or both for the sake of removing redundancies and either upgrading the 3 or 4 spot depending on where they plan on playing KD. Their current power forward, Taurean Prince, is overpaid ($29M/2yr extension) given his paltry production (9.9 PER, 95 off rtg, 50.4 TS%) and largely playing out of position at the 4 while Joe Harris is set to become a UFA and will likely command an eight figure deal on a 3-4 year term.

    • Definitely agree with having not meshed well. It’s plain and simple the Nets play better without him. Dinwiddie deserves respect he’s a hood baller, LeVert when he’s fit is awesome but he needs to stay healthy, Allen is a nice young centre.

      Obviously I don’t think they regret getting Irving Durant and Jordan but from the outside looking in. It now looks like Irving and Durants team and they don’t deserve that yet.
      Hopefully Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson who have built this team continue to make the right choices.

      I’d look at trading Kyrie Irving for Brandon Ingram (sign and trade), Josh Hart and a future first top 10 protected pick.

      The Pelicans would get Irving who we all know is good occasionally. Him and Jrue Holiday would be a great backcourt duo and Zion Williamson would be given complete freedom and thrive. Would be the ultimate win now move.

      Nets would rid themselves of Irving and his distractions and get back an All star combo forward, a nice young grinder SG and a first.
      Ingram and Durant would be awesome together sharing the forward positions. Off the bench they would have Josh Hart, Joe Harris, T. Prince and either Jordan or Allen. They would be a small hole at back up PG but you might be able to draft a Cole Anthony, Nico Mannion, RJ Hampton if they fall down the draft or you could use free agency to pick up a vet like Teague, Knight or Augustine.

      • hiflew

        I wouldn’t give up that much for Irving. Ingram arguably has more value than Kyrie right now.

        • Ingram is going to free game you tho and is he worth the max? Especially considering Zion is the most important player and as he gets fitter will want more shots and touches taking the balk away from Ingram plus they play basically the same position. Even if he is worth the max, won’t he be able to chose another team if they offer him the same money?

          Irving would give this team a leader with the ball in his hands, he can create and run the offence. Irving and Zion could be the Irving and Bron of the Cavs. Plus Holiday there would make Irving’s life easier on defence.

    • El Don

      Is not that surprising Brooklyn are slightly better without Kyrie than with him in the sense that he is a PG which is not that important a position & there are a dozen a dime in the league.
      Where missing guys really are noticed is when they are bigs, they still have much more value than the little guys.
      You see, Sacramento with De’Aron Fox is 13-24 without is 9-9.
      Utah with Mike Conley is 19-13 without is 17-5.
      So either these 2 guys shouldn’t play in the league or maybe you are just hating Kyrie for no good reason?

  5. amk3510

    No doubt the Kings and Divac made the worst decisions. Wasted over 100 million on bad role players.

  6. oldmanwarrior

    No. We would rather have Hardaway, his shooting and scoring without Luka, than Barnes…much less Brunson too. And the contract? Just no. Besides, Hardaway isnt great on defense, by any means, but he also hasnt been bad either.

  7. x%sure

    Signing Barnes fairly early in the process set a precedent for upcoming overpays.

    Not signing Gay quickly may have led to Carroll, Morris, that thing.

    But nobody will say these things officially.

  8. stevep-4

    Another good game for Young tonight in an otherwise typically dismal Bulls performance. So, no, that was not bad for a bad team.

  9. Buckman

    BRK signed 3 injury prone stars hoping that they will get 1 career or near career year from each at the same time which is there only hope of making a championship run. Their record in the 2nd half of next year will tell the tale of the moves that they have made.

  10. Personally I didn’t like Brooklyn’s offseason from the start.

    Durant was the player that pushed GSW over the top in their 2nd and 3rd Championship wins, but he was surrounded by true professionals with great attitudes. With his own questionable psyche and Kyrie’s personal flaws, these were probably not the two Superstars that should have been brought together to form a super team. Throw in a bloated contract for Prince and a $40M “favour” to KD for DeAndre, all of it suggests that this has as much potential to go sideways as it does straight up.

    Kings signings made no sense either. After the youngsters brought the team close to finally making the playoffs last year, the spend should have either been in a Superstar, or true veteran role players like a Shaun Livingston. Guys would could help with the continuing development of the youngsters while also picking up a few minutes on the court each night.

    Knicks offseason wasn’t as bad as many claim. They should have done more to move 1+1 deals at the deadline, moving Morris alone was not enough. That said, the only player they’re tied to next year is Randle, who becomes effectively an expiring deal as his 3rd year is an option. They struck out on the marquee names, which on the surface makes last summer a disaster, but not overpaying on a long term deal to someone like DeAndre leaves the Knicks with the flexibility to go back to the market again this year and next.

    • phillyballers

      The Prince contract will help them salary match for a trade though when it comes time.

  11. Dave4585

    Should be the Nets but I understand it might be premature to say that but facts are facts and they paid like 80 mil this year to get 20 games out of 1 of 2 players that combine to make that money. Further more of Kyrie continues to be a cancer and KD never performs to the level he did before then this will be looked back on almost as bad as the Celtics trade that hampered the Nets drafts for years. The only difference is this will hamper their salary cap flexibility.

  12. x%sure

    Horford (age), Aminu (no offense), Rozier (shot %) are some major iffy signings for the FOs involved from the getgo.
    Randle needs the right PG play; he could work out.
    D’lo in theory, but– GSW had plans.

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