Jul. 18, 2015
NBA Free Agency Awards
All the big free agent dominoes have fallen in the NBA, and now it's time to hand out some made up awards to the teams and players who made their mark during free agency this summer. If you're an NBA player reading this (seems rather unlikely) and you're the winner of one of these awards, just send me a pair of autographed shoes, jerseys, basketballs, season tickets, and then tweet out a link to my blog and I'll send you a small trophy made out of a toilet paper roll and construction paper (it 100% will not look like the picture above) for you to display proudly in your house. Let's get to it!
Best Signing: San Antonio Spurs signing LaMarcus Aldridge
Duh. Aldridge was the best free agent that was actually available (Andrea Bargnani was a close second) and the Spurs got him. San Antonio now looks set to contend for titles even after Tim Duncan retires. It was pretty much the perfect off-season for the Spurs.
Best Value (tie): San Antonio Spurs signing David West and New York Knicks (wait, the Knicks? That can't be right...) signing Arron Afflalo
David West signed for one year for the veteran's minimum with the Spurs after with the Pacers. West is still a good player and high character guy who should fit in nicely down in San Antonio. The Knicks signed Afflalo to a two year, $16 million deal over the summer. Afflalo is a great defender and three point shooter and is worth more than the 8 million he's getting each year from New York.
Best Dwight Howard Impersonation: DeAndre Jordan
This award goes to Jordan for flip-flopping on his decision to sign with the Mavericks after agreeing to sign with the Mavericks. He clearly took a page right out of the Dwight Howard handbook on how to alienate your fan base. A few years ago, Howard decided not to opt out of his contract with the Magic, despite not wanting to be on the Magic, leading fans to think he was going to stay in Orlando. Howard then informed the team that he wanted to be traded (again, he JUST chose to stay on the team instead of becoming a free agent). In related news, Orlando Magic fans aren't very fond of Dwight Howard. Jordan took a slightly different route on his quest to anger a city; Jordan verbally agreed to sign with Dallas during the NBA's moratorium period, but then had a change of heart before he was actually allowed to sign. Instead of telling the Mavs about his change of heart, he decided to hide in his house and ignore all calls from Mark Cuban and the Mavericks, but at least Jordan's mom called Cuban (that's not a joke). One good thing about Jordan's immature handling of this situation? .
Worst value: Detroit Pistons signing Reggie Jackson
Detroit decided to give Reggie Jackson a five-year, $80 million deal after he played 27 games for them. I broke down what I thought about this during a piece I wrote on the Pistons. You can check that out if you're interested in my Reggie Jackson thoughts. Spoiler alert: I just gave him the worst value award.
Signee Most Likely to be Traded this Season: Rajon Rondo
Rondo signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Sacramento Kings this off-season. I've chosen him as the most likely to be traded for a few reasons. First, he was pretty good at basketball not all that long ago, and if he regains that form he'll certainly have value. Second, even if he doesn't regain his all-star form, he's on a one year deal which will make him valuable to teams who want additional cap space next summer. Finally, it's the Kings (who . Shameless plug, I know, sorry), so anything can happen. I'd only be mildly surprised if we found out in January that Rondo was traded for a bag of Vivek Ranadive's favorite potato chips.
Free Agent Who's Name Sounds the Most Like a Body Part: Enes Kanter
It's pronounced ENN-ess, like anus. That is all. There were no runners-up for this award, and unless there's an up-and-comer somewhere named Sprotum, this award will be Kanter's for years to come. Congratulations, Enes.
Deal That Made Me Do a Double Take when it was Announced: Toronto Raptors signing Cory Joseph to a 4-year, $30 million deal
Uh. What? Joseph must have some seriously embarassing information about the Raptors in order to blackmail them into giving him this big of a deal. Let's start with the fact that the Spurs typically get the best out of their players, and last season Joseph averaged 6.8 points and 2.4 assists. Secondly, why make such a big offer? I can't imagine that there were multiple teams offering such huge sums of cash for Joseph's services. I'm going to borrow a joke from the great Bill Simmons here, because I think it's appropriate: Are we sure this isn't a typo, and this is actually supposed to be a 30-year, $4 million dollar deal? Because that seems more reasonable to me.
Our final award is the Mr. Letdown award, given to a player who was signed for at least $10 million a year (indicating that the team thinks he will be an important piece), but ultimately underperforms.
Mr. Letdown: Amir Johnson
The Celtics signed Johnson to a two-year, $24 million deal, and while Johnson is a good player, he doesn't warrant this type of "buckage" in my opinion. Johnson is a good athlete and defender, and he has a pretty decent shooting touch for a big man, but he could only play 26 minutes a game last season on a Toronto team that had much less big man talent than these Celtics. Boston has Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller, and David Lee to take minutes away from Johnson, they drafted Jordan Mickey, who may or may not get playing time. Danny Ainge may make some moves to clear up the logjam in the frontcourt, but even if he does, Amir Johnson just isn't a $12 million a year player.