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Grades for the Biggest Deals in Free Agency (Part 1)

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

Via sports-kings.com
Via sports-kings.com

Contract: One year, $20 million

2014 Stats: 21.5 points, 4.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds

From a statistical and historical standpoint, was this the best deal for the Heat? No, of course not.

It was by far the best deal Wade could have gotten, though.

Both parties sat at the table with one goal — to keep Wade in Miami. The partnership has been fruitful for the franchise, as well as the NBA. Wade HAS taken less money for the betterment of the team before. This shows that Miami still believes Wade can be a star and put up worthy numbers.

But it’s risky for Dwyane. He is betting on himself to not miss a huge chunk of games again while putting up those star numbers. Next summer, he can sign a long-term deal for a little less money, but only if he plays like he deserves it under this contract’s bloated salary.

Grade: B-

Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks

Credit: Bloguin
Credit: Bloguin

Contract: Three years, $58 million

2014 Stats: 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists

Millsap is one of the most underrated forwards in basketball, and that makes this a fantastic deal for Atlanta.

Atlanta got him for $8 million per year back in 2012. Looking back, it was one of the biggest bargains of the last decade. Now, the Hawks needed to choose between DeMarre Carroll and Millsap. The latter is the best choice for the money.

The way the Hawks play is the way Millsap plays. He’s a do-everything stat-stuffer. His averages of 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists and 1.5 steals in each of the last two seasons is only matched by DeMarcus Cousins and Russell Westbrook.

In order for Atlanta to follow-up a fantastic season with another, Millsap had to be back. He is irreplaceable with one player. It could be done with multiple contracts to lesser-skilled players, but that would cost more money in the long run and would mess up the rotation.

The Orlando Magic offered Millsap a four-year deal worth $80 million, but Paul chose Atlanta for the player option after the second year. The league salary cap is projected to bloat to $108 Million for the 2017-2018 season — This makes Millsap eligible to make up to $37 million that season, if he declines his option.

Grade: B+

LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs

Via youtube.com
Via youtube.com

Contract: Four years, $80 million

2014 Stats: 23.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists

The timing of this deal is impeccable.

With Tim Duncan ready to walk out the door, in steps Aldridge. Can’t the Spurs let another team be good for once?

This contract all but solidifies another decade of incredible success for the Spurs’ franchise. All signs point to Popovich staying around to see the Aldridge era unfold. Kawhi Leonard is still just 24, and resigned for five years, $90 million. Ginobli and Parker will be around for a couple more years to tutor them, and then a new era will begin.

As for Aldridge? He has averaged at least 21 points and eight rebounds in each of the last five seasons. The guy is incredibly consistent, which fits in well with the Spurs.

It’s well known that Popovich scouts out a potential draft pick or free agent signing on his own. I’ve heard of him taking players out to dinner to discuss hobbies and beliefs. Aldridge was seen taking pages of notes and analyzing each team’s pitch, and It must have resonated well with the Spurs entourage.

It takes a special player to be a part of this franchise, and LaMarcus showed that he was ready.

Grade: A+

DeAndre Jordan, Dallas Mavericks

Via pointnoted.com
Via pointnoted.com

Contract: Four years, $80 million

2014 Stats: 11.5 points, 15.0 rebounds, 2.2 blocks

DeAndre got what he wanted with this deal — to be the big fish.

He was quite loudly unhappy with his situation in LA with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. He didn’t like how the franchise revolved around Paul, and his personal relationship with the All-Star point was ruptured. As was/is Blake Griffin’s.

Now in Dallas with $4 million less per year, Jordan is happy. The Mavericks had waited long enough to make that big catch in free agency, especially after missing out on Dwight Howard last year. Both sides are more than happy.

But Jordan is historically dependent on a good passing point guard, an asset Dallas hasn’t had since Jason Kidd. He struggles to create offense on his own with limited post moves and inconsistent finishing. However, his defense and rebounding doesn’t need any help.

If the Dallas coaching staff, and Jordan, can find a way to solve his offensive issues, this could become the best deal behind Aldridge. But right now? There are too many questions.

Grade: C+

Greg Monroe, Milwaukee Bucks

Via blacksportsonline.com
Via blacksportsonline.com

Contract: Three years, $50 million

2014 Stats: 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists

This was a big victory for Milwaukee.

Many other larger market teams were pursuing the young power forward, and the Bucks got him.

From Monroe’s point of view, it isn’t that surprising. The Bucks were a top five defensive team last year, and Greg’s weakest point is his defense. His offensive repertoire developed nicely in Detroit, and he rebounds worthy of his size (6’11”, 250 pounds).

The Bucks have a nice young shooter in Khris Middleton (who just signed for 5 years, $70 million), exciting guard Giannis Antetokounmpo (locked up until 2017), and a forward with tons of potential in Jabari Parker (there until 2018). His agent, David Falk, said Monroe chose this team because they have the best chance to “make playoffs immediately.”

You better believe it.

Grade: A

Grant Thomas View All

18 year old Washington sports fan and Penn State freshman. I'll cover the MLB, NFL, and NBA.

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