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hoopsworld free agents grade.

Grading the 2009 Free Agent Signings – Part 1

By: Tommy Beer Last Updated: 7/24/09 1:38 PM ET | 3870 times read

Adjust font size:The recent financial meltdown has adversely affected pretty much every sector of our global economy. Gone are the days of day-traders making millions in their boxers and CEO's being handed billion-dollar year-end bonuses (unless you work for Goldman Sachs).

And the NBA is no exception. In the National Basketball Association – the new economic reality means no more instances of below-average players getting $30 million handouts from wealthy owners with money to burn. Nowadays, the affordability of a player's contract can be more important than a player's actual production on the court. For that reason, owners have been far more frugal this summer. Last time at this year, it was easy to hand out failing grades to GM's who gave guys DeSagana Diop the full mid-level exception for five long years. (Yes, Diop will be making $7.4 million during the 2012-2013 season!) This offseason, there are more sensible agreements being made.

So, with the ink dry on the first wave of free-agent contracts, HOOPSWORLD begins handing out grades on some of the more noteworthy deals thus far – and we'll be back next week with another installment and more evaluation.

(Note: each player's previous production, projected future performance, and value/length of the contract were all factored into the overall grade).

Hedo Turkoglu: Signed with the Toronto Raptors for $53 million over five years
After coming to a handshake agreement with Kevin Pritchard in Portland, Hedo changed his mind and inked a deal with the Raptors. Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo is paying a lot of money over long period of time for a player on the wrong side of 30; but he is getting a solid, versatile, consistent producer who has posted big numbers over the last few seasons in Orlando. In fact, during Turkoglu's breakout season in '07-'08 (which netted him the league's Most Improved Player award), he was one of only five players in the NBA to average at least 19.5 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. The other four players were Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James. Not bad company to keep… Just as importantly, the Magic have entrusted Turk to take big shots in big games, and Hedo has knocked down some monster jumpers in huge playoff games over the past two postseasons. A few years from now, Turk may have a hard time justifying his paycheck, but the Raptors want to show Chris Bosh they are serious about winning right now, and Hedo is as qualified as any player on the open market. A bit of a gamble by the Raps, but then again, 'scared money don't make money.'
Grade: B

Ben Gordon: Signed with the Detroit Pistons - $55 million over five Years
The Pistons are getting a lethal scorer in his prime. When he is locked in, Gordon is essentially unstoppable with the ball in his hands. Like Turkoglu, Ben has the stones to take and make big shots. And Gordon is also a quality character guy off the floor and in the locker room. However, Gordon's game certainly has its warts. He is a smallish two-guard who can be a liability defensively. And he is a volume shooter that needs plenty of shots to be effective. When his jumper isn't falling, he has a difficult time contributing to a winning effort. That Detroit GM Joe Dumars is giving the summer's richest contract to player that some classify as one-dimensional is obviously cause for concern. Moreover, the signing is curious because the Pistons just gave Rip Hamilton a hefty extension last summer. We shall wait and see how this situation resolves itself…
Grade: B-

{AUTHOR BOX}Trevor Ariza: Signed with the Houston Rockets for $33.5 million over five years
Congrats to Trevor, who parlayed a few months of improved shooting and solid defense into a huge raise. And while Ariza looked like a great complementary piece playing alongside Kobe, Pau, and the rest of World Champion Lakers –Trevor has not proven to be a guy that can be a focal point of a good team at any point in his career. Let's look at the facts: He was a second round pick who has been traded for spare parts on multiple occasions. Ariza has been in the league for five full seasons and possesses career averages of 6.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. For his career, he has shot 29% from three-point land and 66% from the free-throw line. While Ariza showed plenty promise and potential over his last few months in L.A., throwing upwards of $33 million at that potential is a risky proposition.
Grade: C-

Brandon Bass: Signed with the Orlando Magic for $18 million over four years
This is definitely a gamble by Magic GM Otis Smith, as Bass doesn't have a proven track record and has yet to substantiate his worth in the League – but I think it will pay off for Orlando. Bass is a bruiser who will defend and rebound, and has a solid enough offensive game which allows him to contribute on both ends of the floor. (Interestingly, his career per game averages - 6.9 PPG/ 3.9 rebounds - are nearly identical to Ariza's, although Bass has shot 49% from the floor and 83% from the stripe). Also, the addition of Bass will allow Rashard Lewis to shift over to the small forward spot when Bass and Howard are in the lineup together. Again, while Brandon has looked promising in limited minutes, he needs to prove he can do it on a night-in, night-out basis. But if Bass develops into the player the Magic believe he can be, Orlando will have a made shrewd investment.
Grade = B

Rasheed Wallace: Signed with the Boston Celtics for $19 million over three years
Considering the Celtics window of opportunity should be open for a just couple more seasons max; bringing in a grizzled, experienced veteran like Wallace makes a great deal of sense. And while 'Sheed has always had issues with his temper and the subsequent technicals - he has always gotten along well with his teammates and is very good fit in Beantown. He knocks down perimeter jumpers and has always been an underrated defender. However, the C's have to hope that he can still bring it at a relatively advanced age - last season he shot a career-low 42% from the floor. Nonetheless, he'll find a way to contribute with either points, rebounds, blocks, steals and very few turnovers. When the Celtics go with Pierce, KG, and Wallace up front – that is real tough group to deal with on both ends of the floor.
Grade = B

Mike Bibby: Re-signed with the Atlanta Hawks for $18 million over three years
I have to admit, this one left me scratching my head. Atlanta just traded for Jamal Crawford, who is owed $20+ million over the next two seasons. Forward Marvin Williams is a restricted free-agent who will be expensive to bring back. And Joe Johnson becomes an unrestricted free-agent next season, when the whole world has cap space to burn. So most assumed Atlanta would let Bibby walk, especially considering he tied a career-low averaging just 5 assists per game last season. But, despite these facts and a deteriorating economy, the Hawks handed him $6 million per thru 2012. Bibby is certainly a quality NBA PG, but spending that cash may come back to bite Atlanta next summer…
Grade = C


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I agree with all of those

I agree with all of those statements...

1.) Trevor Ariza will be an example of a player that had a good playoffs and gets severely overpaid (ie. Jerome James) and he will not be close to a number 1 option. He should be a 5th option offensively and a lock down defender. You shouldnt pay him like he's a 2nd or 3rd option. He might produce next year because Houston will be bad, but he will at most average 12 ppg. I guarantee it.

2.) Mike Bibby shouldnt have been resigned by ATL. He is a very slow PG, and he is in the twilight of his career. You dont pay a mentor to a young PG for 3 years. Another bad decision for the Hawks, and I agree that it could haunt them in 2010.

3.)Brandon Bass will give the Magic toughness that will make Orlando better. Him, Ryan Anderson, and Rashard Lewis gives them plenty of depth and versatility in the frontcourt. I like them in the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston.

4.)Rasheed gives the Celtics great depth and ridiculous size in their frontcourt. I like this addition and they will be very smart as a team with the addition of Garnett from injury. I like them to represent the East in the Finals.

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