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NBA: Top 10 moves of the summer (ESPN Insider article)

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by Horry33, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. Horry33

    Horry33 Contributing Member

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    By Kevin Pelton | ESPN Insider

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/9468826/top-10-moves-summer

    We're well into the back nine as far as impact free agents go. Of the 37 free agents I ranked at the top of their positions on July 1, just seven remain on the market.


    Add in trades, and the biggest moves that will determine the NBA standings next season and beyond have already been made. So it's not too early to look at some of the best and worst moves of the summer -- looking beyond the obvious, like the Houston Rockets signing Dwight Howard, to find good values. We'll start with the good news today, then bring you the bad news tomorrow. Here are the best signings and other deals so far.

    Andrew Bynum to Cleveland Cavaliers (2 years, $24.5 million)
    First, forget the dollar figure you just read. What really matters is the smart way the Cavaliers structured this deal to provide maximum flexibility for next summer. Bynum's contract includes a 2014-15 team option, so if he's unable to get past his knee injury, the Cavaliers can simply walk away.

    If Bynum is able to come back healthy, Cleveland could still trade center Anderson Varejao, whose reasonable 2014-15 salary will make him attractive to other teams, in order to clear enough space to make a run at a max free agent. (Say, one who used to play for the Cavaliers but now plays in Miami.)

    It's possible the Cavaliers just lit $6 million -- the portion of Bynum's 2013-14 salary that is reportedly guaranteed -- on fire. But that represents a small risk given the amount of money Cleveland had to spend and Bynum's max value if healthy.



    Paul Millsap to Atlanta Hawks (2 years, $19 million)
    Among the top players available in free agency this summer, Millsap has been the best bargain so far. The annual value of his contract isn't bad for Millsap, but the Hawks guaranteed just two years, maintaining their flexibility going forward.


    Millsap is a downgrade from departed Josh Smith, especially at the defensive end, but over the past three years Millsap has contributed better than 85 percent of Smith's total wins above replacement (WARP). That's not bad for two-thirds of the price annually.

    Masai Ujiri to Toronto Raptors (5 years, $15 million)
    Ultimately, Ujiri's move from the Denver Nuggets to Toronto as general manager may prove far more meaningful than most of this summer's player transactions. Already, Ujiri fleeced the New York Knicks out of a first-round pick in the process of shedding Andrea Bargnani's onerous contract.

    Since management doesn't count against the salary cap, there's an argument to be made that GMs are undervalued. Ujiri, who is making about the same per year as a typical eighth man, may prove that point if he can turn the Raptors around.

    Matt Barnes (3 years, $12 million) and Darren Collison (2 years, $2 million) to L.A. Clippers
    Armed with only the midlevel exception to spend more than the minimum after dealing for Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick, the Clippers needed to stretch their dollars. They did just that by splitting the MLE between a new contract for Barnes, who was valuable for them off the bench last season, and bringing in Collison to back up Chris Paul.

    At basically the minimum, Collison was one of the summer's better values, and his most successful NBA season came when he played behind Paul as a rookie in New Orleans.


    Francisco Garcia to Houston Rockets (2 years, minimum)
    The Rockets turned down Garcia's $6.4 million team option as part of the process of clearing room for Howard, then were able to bring him back at the veteran's minimum. At that price, Garcia's contributions look much better. As a capable individual defender and dangerous outside shooter, Garcia is exactly the kind of role player Houston wants to put around Howard.

    Mike Dunleavy to Chicago Bulls (2 years, $6 million)
    Shooters have been heavily valued in free agency, with Redick ($27 million), Kyle Korver ($24M) and Martell Webster ($22M) all getting big deals. Compared to them, Dunleavy came cheap at $3 million a year over the next two seasons.

    Though he is aging and rarely creates his own shot (better than 80 percent of his makes have been assisted each of the past five years, per Hoopdata.com), Dunleavy knocked down 42.8 percent of his 3s last season. Chicago should be thrilled Dunleavy passed up better offers to play for a contender.


    Andray Blatche to Brooklyn Nets (2 years, $3 million)
    The wise move to take a chance on Blatche has been lost in Brooklyn's spending spree the past two summers. After playing for the minimum last season, Blatche agreed to take only a small raise in part because he's still getting paid by the Washington Wizards, who amnestied his contract last summer. Blatche was one of the league's better frontcourt reserves in 2012-13 and could have easily commanded several times his annual salary on the open market.

    Pablo Prigioni to New York Knicks (3 years, $6 million)
    Like the Nets, even the Knicks occasionally land a bargain. Prigioni is the exception that proves the rule. As a 35-year-old NBA rookie, Prigioni made nearly 40 percent of his 3-pointers and New York went 16-2 in his 18 starts. With Jason Kidd now coaching the Nets, Prigioni will be even more important going forward. The only concern is how long Prigioni can keep up this level of play in his 30s. The Knicks hope he'll follow in Kidd's footsteps in that regard.

    Kosta Koufos to Memphis Grizzlies (trade)
    Had he hit free agency, Koufos would easily have commanded midlevel money, if not more, after starting 81 games and posting a solid 17.2 PER last season. Instead, Koufos is signed for $6 million over two years, an excellent value. The Nuggets inexplicably considered Koufos expendable, and the Grizzlies were the beneficiaries, giving up only reserve Darrell Arthur in return.


    Portland Trail Blazers build a bench
    Last year's Blazers reserves were among the worst benches in NBA history. Just one Portland reserve (forward Luke Babbitt, 0.5 WARP) rated as better than replacement level, dragging down a solid starting five.

    After drafting C.J. McCollum and Allen Crabbe to back up guards Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews, the Blazers used their cap space to trade for Thomas Robinson and sign Dorell Wright, who rated as worth 7.0 WARP all by himself last season.
     
  2. Wapzoe

    Wapzoe Member

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    Why not just add DH in the main article... as the writer mentioned he is obviously a top move..

    Bit of a weird move to leave the top acquisition out of the 'top 10 summer moves'
     
  3. Fefo

    Fefo Member

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    I think bellineli to the spurs for 3m a year was also a really good move
     
  4. HOUSTONJS

    HOUSTONJS Member

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    Excellent move
     

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