Community Shootaround: Best, Worst Free Agent Deals

The rushed nature of this offseason turned free agency, which often plays out over several weeks, into a wild extended weekend. Dozens of players rushed to find new teams ahead of training camps, which will get underway in just a few days.

Although this was billed as a relatively weak free agent class, millions of dollars were quickly committed, with Brandon Ingram (five seasons, $158.25MM from the Pelicans), Gordon Hayward (four years, $120MM from the Hornets), Fred VanVleet (four years, $85MM from the Raptors) and Davis Bertans (five years, $80MM from the Wizards) landing the richest deals. The top contenders for next season may not have changed, but some other teams were extremely active as they try to move up.

John Hollinger of The Athletic cites the Hawks as the team that did the most to improve. Atlanta won’t know until later today if Sacramento will match its four-year, $72MM offer sheet to Bogdan Bogdanovic, but the Hawks already stocked their roster with free agent signings Danilo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo and Kris Dunn. Hollinger sees Atlanta as a legitimate playoff threat and suggests the team could look to trade John Collins for a starting small forward.

On the downside, Hollinger is mystified by the Pistons‘ decision to give up their three best young players in Christian Wood, Bruce Brown and Luke Kennard to hand out sizeable deals to Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee.

He cites the Suns‘ signing of Jae Crowder as the best fit, as Crowder is a tough-minded stretch four who should get plenty of open shots playing alongside Chris Paul and Devin Booker.

The worst fit, according to Hollinger, was the Lakers‘ addition of Montrezl Harrell, because L.A. had success in the playoffs by surrounding Anthony Davis with big men who could shoot from the outside. That’s not part of Harrell’s game, although he will provide a physical presence inside after the loss of Dwight Howard.

Rookie scale extensions were also part of the free spending as Jazz star Donovan Mitchell and Heat big man Bam Adebayo both cashed in.

We want to get your take on the flurry of signings, which we’re chronicling in our Free Agent Tracker. What are the best deals so far, and which teams will end up with buyer’s remorse? Please leave your responses in the comments section.

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32 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Best, Worst Free Agent Deals

    • GoLandCrabs

      Bingo. He is slightly better than his twin who got a league minimum deal. Clippers bent over backwards twice for Marcus Morris which is comical.

      • The Human Rain Delay

        Yea I mean who the hell was going to pay him half that?

        Hes not a fit for a bad team w cap room like the Knicks or Cha so why not just offer him a hair above the MLE which was his cieling prolly this year?? Maybe a 2/28 max?

  1. Knicks of 90s

    How can one morris brother be worth 16 mil a year and the other be worth the vet minimum?? The Lakers got gasol and morris for nothing and those two are worth at least 15 million on the open market. That is a major steal.

    • OrienGreene

      Markeiff isn’t nearly as good as Marcus. He hasn’t had a productive year for a while

  2. imacopyouidiot

    I think Gasol is on empty, KCP, Marcus Morris and Heyward all got overpaid, but the worst was the Heat signing Avery Bradley, who couldn’t contribute anything meaningful on the Lakers. The best free agent signing for value and fit was either Ibaka or Augustin.

    • mcmillankmm

      Have to disagree…..Bradley is definitely better than Augustin….hard to say someone who is on a 2 year $11.6M deal is the worst contract of this free agency

  3. bknowledge

    Without Ibaka and Gasol, I don’t think the Lakers or Clippers would be clear favorites to win the championship. At the prices they signed for, I’m surprised no other contender was able to offer more (but maybe they accepted less to chase rings or some other personal choice). I can’t believe the Pelicans got essentially 4 first round picks for Jrue Holiday…that could go down as the worst trade in history if Giannis isn’t suiting up for Milwaukee a few years from now. Most everything else in the article above feels spot on.

    • Dxit90a

      Gasol unfortunately is on his last legs. He was very close to go back to Spain .

      The worst contract is definitely Hayward.

  4. cwr_12

    Winners : Blazers, Lakers, Suns, and Hornets are the winners in free agency so far

  5. imindless
    imindless

    I think at this point calling harrell a bad deal is a little short sided and unintelligent. Last year the proclaimed winners of the offseason clippers couldn’t even close out a 3-1 lead and guess who won? Although I’m not a lebron fan he has a way of getting the best out of players, I think harrell will fit on bench role and won’t be starting it’s pretty obvious, neither will schroder. There will be some overlap of course but majority is to rest lebron and ad so they are fresh in playoffs and give them more legit options to score. Again all talk heads said lebron had no chance with that roster and they won. This team is improved from last year and I’m sure lebron will enjoy showing you how wrong you were.

    • bowserhound

      I find it comical that people value being a ‘starter’ in the NBA. You start the 1st and 3rd quarters for 5 minutes and then you basically never have the same lineup on the floor together again the rest of the game. Gasol and Matthews aren’t playing heavy minutes.

      • PhillyPhan69

        This is somewhat true I guess? But, even in the regular season that group that starts for 5? Generally also closes for 5 or so together. In the playoffs when rotations get smaller they play even longer. But I would agree I am more concerned with who is closing the game out rather than who starts

      • The Human Rain Delay

        Harrell is going to shine with LBJ-

        Your talking a 12-15 ppg guy on 60+%

        How many easy buckets is he going to get the Lakers without half the team even having to cross the half court line this year-

        Good luck playing any slow 4 or 5 against LAL …. you better start going backwards rather than forward when your team puts up the shot and AD and HArrell are sharing the floor

        • noahrnoahr

          Yeah, slow bigs do terrible against Harrell.

          Just ask Jokic and his Western Conference semis line of 24/13/6 on with percentages .515/.395/.815. Man Harrell just made him unplayable.

          • The Human Rain Delay

            Im referring to them getting out and running –

            If you watched them last year Lebron made a killing outleting to AD…now he will have another runner in Harrell for easy buckets

            The Lakers will also not have Harrell on Joker for anything other than small stretches (Gasol AD Morris) so they are a lot more equiipped than last years Clips

      • Robert Steinberg

        Hard to believe how uneducated Hollinger is regarding Trezz. It may well have been the single best move of the offseason and gives Vogel yet another fantastic weapon to add to the arsenal.

  6. hill

    WORST
    1. Hayward. WTF is Charlotte doing?!
    2. Jerami Grant. This guy’s game will NOT scale. Brogdon’s efficiency fell off a cliff when he left MKE and was asked to do more in IND. same thing will happen with Grant in that clown car in DET
    3. Mason Plumlee. HOLY *** how many incriminating photos do the Plumlee brothers have?! Insane.
    4. Connaughton 3 years with a player option. He was UNPLAYABLE in the playoffs and MKE decides to lock him in for THREE YEARS to be Giannis’s workout buddy? Langston Galloway coulda been had at the min and fit much better
    5. Rondo. How dumb is ATL? Watch rondo pout and quit and force his way out the instant he feels like it.

    • noahrnoahr

      I thought Rondo would have made sense for ATL if they hadn’t also signed Dunn.

    • mcmillankmm

      Agree with 1-3…haven’t seen enough of Pat to know…but Rondo not even the worst signing the Hawks made…plus no reliable backup PG there

  7. noahrnoahr

    Not a huge Harrell fan, but the Lakers need more bench scoring and he provides that. He’ll have a much-reduced role there and may not like it.

    Leonard’s $10 million seems like a lot, but somebody is going to have to fill Crowder’s minutes and I’m not sure Miami had a lot of better options. Not everyone wants to play for Riley/Spolstra.

    Toronto’s two big moves (VanVleet and Baynes) are huge and keep them competitive in the East.

    The most confusing moves to me are Detroit (for the reasons in this article) and Atlanta. They sign Rondo and Dunn, who are pretty similar players overall. They certainly can’t play together. In theory, they could play with Young. But Bogdanovich is also a part-time lead guard. And they have four other wings they need to accommodate (Reddish, Huerter, Snell and Hunter). They inexplicably don’t like Collins, so they’re apparently going to try to trade him for a starting SF. That’s reasonable at SF because those other guys kind of suck, but it will increase the SF glut, so they’ll probably have to dump Huerter or Hunter. And once they trade Collins, they pretty much ONLY have Gallinari at PF, wihc also seems problematic. When Gallinari gets injured, either Hunter is going to play PF for the first time as a pro, I guess, and Solomon Hill is going to get a frightening amount of minutes. What a disaster.

  8. DeathbyDeathwest

    Bertans is crazy money.

    Harrell was the steal of this off season. It’d be one thing to lose him to Charolette or one of the other teams with cap space this year, but to lose him to the Lakers is just gross.

    Way to be, LAC.

    • DeathbyDeathwest

      At this point, I wouldn’t be shocked if PG13 and Kwhai opt out ASAP.

  9. steve dolan

    “Atlanta may be looking to trade John Collins for a starting small forward. ”
    How about Celtics Jaylen Brown for John Collins, Cam Reddish and the Hawks 2021 1st round pick ?

    • El Don

      JC is way better than JB… in that case BOS would have to add at least a couple assets or even 3 to get him, come on ATL ain’t that dumb ya know!

      • OrienGreene

        Uhh, yeah Collins for Brown and 3 assets, You sure know what you’re talking about for sure.

  10. 1. Bertans
    2. Hayward
    3. Grant

    I only included “optional” signings. Clips had no choice but to sign Morris, particularly after losing Harrell and J.Green for nothing and without preserving their salary slots. Lakers with KCP. Nets with Harris. Minn with Beasley. Overpays, but it was them or nobody.

  11. “ The worst fit, according to Hollinger, was the Lakers‘ addition of Montrezl Harrell, because L.A. had success in the playoffs by surrounding Anthony Davis with big men who could shoot from the outside.”

    Um….what?
    I forgot the Lakers surrounded Davis with sharpshooters like Dwight Howard and Javale.
    Lost all credibility right there. This guy needs to be fired lol. He’s clearly drunk.

  12. Simmons>Russ

    Worse: Hayward

    Way to much salary, way to long and why? They aren’t a contender and he’s not a superstar name, and he’s not going to carry them to the playoffs. Just doesn’t make any sense.

    Best: Montrez Harrell

    Hard to see any amazing deals. Harrell at under 10 mil tho is very solid, he’s a proven hard worker and gives you nice production off the bench.
    Plus he’s going his mate LeBron, doing the Clippers dirty and just joined the reigning champs

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