Free agency is slowing to a crawl with all of the top players having been signed by teams across the league, with much of the signing taking place in the Eastern Conference. Yet, there are still players on the block, both restricted and unrestricted, who can make a significant contribution to many NBA teams. Since our last report on free agency, some of these players have changed scenery. As usual, keep up to date, or at least as up to date as possible, on all the movement in free agency by following the Kobe Beef on Twitter.
This summer the Toronto Raptors cannot seem to catch a break. Every trade they have entered into has completely collapsed on them. The first was the three-team trade between the Raptors, Phoenix Suns, and Charlotte Bobcats. Essentially this trade was an attempt to dump Hedo Turkoglu, who had soured, to say the least, on the idea of feigning any interest in the city of Toronto (except for its nightlife, allegedly) and the Raptors organization. Toronto was able to work out a deal with the Suns for Turkoglu, eventually, after the Bobcats backed out (as per Larry Brown’s wishes). The Raptors then saw the Bobcats turn around and work out a deal with the Dallas Mavericks centering on Tyson Chandler, who would have landed on the Raptors if the three-team deal had developed. At least they do not have to pay Turkoglu anymore.
Now, Toronto finds itself in another trade debacle. After various sources and members of the basketball world (including us) reported that Matt Barnes was headed to America’s hat’s favorite dinosaur themed team, the deal has hit a serious snag. (As recently as Monday morning it was reported that Barnes was in talks with the Cavaliers. Free agency moves quick.) The deal was originally worth a reported $9 million over two years. Yet, the Raptors are out of cap room having used their midlevel exception on Linas Kleiza and therefore Toronto does not have $4.5 million to pay Barnes. (Why any team would pay a player with a well chronicled history of back trouble is another story all together). To skirt this minor problem the Raptors looked into a sign-and-trade with the Orlando Magic so they could acquire Barnes. This idea seemed reasonable on paper; however, there was another minor issue that both teams had to face. Orlando also does not have a spare $4.5 million lying around to pay Barnes either. Oops. Toronto, its GM, and all of the number crunchers that the organization employs really dropped the ball on this one. If Banes is going to land in Toronto, he and the Raptors, will have to come to terms on a deal worth significantly less.
The team that kept the Raptors from making the playoffs last season (it can be said that the Raptors were their own worst enemy down the stretch), the Chicago Bulls, have continued to make solid moves and acquisitions. Chicago has added the talents of Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson. Brewer’s addition continues Chicago’s trend of becoming the new home of Utah Jazz expatriates so much so that some have jokingly referred to the Bulls as the Chicago Jazz. However, the talent that the Bulls have added to their roster this summer is no joking matter. Brewer will take over Kirk Hinrich’s roll on the team. Watson will fill the role of backup point guard, a further step to filling the void left by Hinrich’s departure to the Washington Wizards.
Although Brewer is not known for being able to run an offense to spell Derrick Rose at times, as Hinrich did even while on the court with Rose, he is more than capable as he ran the offense at Arkansas in college. What Brewer also brings the Bulls is his strong and versatile defensive presence on the wing with the ability to guard multiple positions due to his size (6’7”). Other than the addition of Carlos Boozer, this is the best move the Bulls have made this summer.
Staying in the same division, the Milwaukee Bucks continue to be active this summer. The team has added Keyon Dooling to its roster as a backup to Brandon Jennings. To get Dooling, the Bucks used their bi-annual exception which allows for a two year deal worth about $2 million a year. It was thought by some, including one here at the Beef, that the Bucks may pursue Ramon Sessions to fill the role of back-up point guard but the acquisition of Dooling seems to have filled that role. Despite all the additions that the Bucks have made this offseason, the team still has seven players under the age of twenty-seven. Milwaukee was also involved in a sign-and-trade with the Sacramento Kings for Jon Brockman. In return the Kings will receive Darnell Jackson and a future second-round draft pick. Brockman was selected 38th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers but his rights were traded to the Kings. He averaged 5.4 points and 9.2 rebounds in last year’s Las Vegas Summer League.
Summers are hot and humid in Houston, Texas. They are so unpleasant that most people prefer to stay indoors at all costs. This may explain the Rockets somewhat quiet summer. However, the Rockets have made a few tiny ripples in free agency. Most recently they signed Brad Miller to a three-year deal worth roughly $15 million. Miller’s role on the Rockets will likely be a very limited one due to his age and the return of Yao Ming. Earlier this summer, Houston resigned Luis Scola to a five-year deal worth $47 million. The team also matched the Cleveland Cavaliers’ offer sheet to Kyle Lowry worth $24 million over three years.
In what equates to an egregious omission on our part in prior articles covering free agency earlier this summer, the Memphis Grizzlies signed Tony Allen. His deal is worth $10 million over three years. This is a huge loss for the Celtics and a great gain for the Grizzlies. Allen’s defensive abilities will help Memphis continue to grow and get better in the tough Western Conference.
The Miami Heat were not interested in the services of Penny Hardaway who was attempting to return to the league. They were, however, interested in signing James Jones to a one-year $1 million dollar deal and resigning Jamaal Magloire. Miami’s roster is now up to ten players.
Other Movement and Signings:
The Celtics resigned Nate Robinson to a two-year deal. At some point this summer, Randy Foye landed on the Clippers. Tracy McGrady wants to join the Clippers roster. Richard Jefferson looks close to reuniting with the Spurs.