The NBA’s free agency period opened at 6 p.m. ET on Friday, and in a weak class of players looking for new contracts, we’ve gotten to a point where most of the big names have agreed to deals. As Sunday approaches noon (ET), when players will be cleared to sign, we’ll take a look at some of the top names that have been reported as deals with respective teams. Let’s hand over the notes for the signatures so far.
Declared contract: four years, $ 85 million
It’s the perfect contract for VanVleet and exactly what was reported ahead of the point guard’s other signing report. We heard that FVV was looking for money from Malcolm Brogdon and that’s exactly what he got. That’s a good deal for the Raptors, who are looking to remain title contenders despite losing Kawhi Leonard after 2019. FVV is helping them secure the PG position for the next three seasons after 2020-21. Kyle Lowry is in the last year of his contract. Depending on how this season unfolds for the Raptors, they might come up with the idea of treating Lowry for some assets knowing that VanVleet is on a long-term contract.
VanVleet truly blossomed into a borderline All-Star last season, helping the Raptors maintain their stock in the East despite losing Kawhi. He averages 17.6 points in 54 regular season starts, well above his previous career record. The FVV also averaged 6.6 assists playing alongside one of the NBA’s top PGs at Lowry. He shot the ball well from the outside to a 39 percent clip and had a 5.8 win share acting as an off-the-ball guard. If FVV were used more, he could really thrive under Nick Nurse.
Declared contract: four years, $ 120 million
The fact that the Hornets don’t need to sign and trade with the Celtics is a victory in itself. Hayward signed an offer sheet with Charlotte in 2014, before returning with Jazz and later signing with the Celtics. It seemed like Hayward wanted to leave Boston for a while and now he lands in the south with the Hornets, looking to become more competitive after landing G LaMelo Ball at No.3 in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Hayward should fit well in the starting lineup of the Hornets. If Ball proves himself during training camp and in the preseason, he should too. It could mean that Ball starts on PG with Terry Rozier or Devonte ‘Graham in the backcourt. Rozier may be better served coming off the bench as the 6th man in this new formation. Miles Bridges is a bit buried on the SF roster with the addition of Hayward. PJ Washington’s role should be good and the Hornets still need a center despite Cody Zeller signing for this season.
All in all, Hayward should have the minutes and the use to thrive in Charlotte. He may not be surrounded by the kind of talent he was in Boston, but he will play more of a role in the offense rather than being the 3rd or 4th option. When in good health, Hayward is a great all-rounder – he can pass, shoot, rebound. FUNDAMENTALS. He will help the Hornets’ attack go away. With Ball and Washington, Charlotte could step out of the territory of the inaccessible and enter the category of semi-exciting.
Declared contract: two years, $ 19 million
Quality: A +
Remember when everyone was freaking out on Friday after the Lakers stole Montrezl Harrell from the Clippers? I bet a lot of those who praise the Lakers look at this signing from the Clippers and say, “Hmmmm, not bad.” Ibaka is actually an upgrade from Harrell! If you can come back to the playoffs when the Clippers failed to shut down the Denver Nuggets, where was Harrell? On the bench! He was responsible for defense and did nothing on offense. Sure, Harrell was the 6th man of the year and performed really well during the regular season, but when the pressure came to push he didn’t show up.
Ibaka is one of the most underrated greats in the NBA and helped the Raptors win a championship in 2019. He was also one of Toronto’s best players in the playoffs last season, when the team appeared. flat in the second round. Ibaka can stretch the floor better than Harrell and can play 4’s and 5’s. Kawhi has known him well from this lone season with the Raptors and maybe Ibaka will help with some chemistry issues. Maybe Harrell was one of those problems, who knows.
All I know is the Clippers can deploy Patrick Beverley, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Marcus Morris and Serge Ibaka in record time. All five players can shoot 3. All five players can play defense. So Ibaka’s signing was a great rebound for the clips after everyone apparently counted them after Harrell left.
Declared contract: three years, $ 61.5 million
Quality: B +
The Hawks had been reported as trying to make a splash this offseason in free agency. We’ve heard that Atlanta is going after a handful of free agents and eventually the Hawks have landed some big names. Gallo was one of them and he’s making the Hawks’ roster very dangerous heading into 2020-21. Over the past two seasons, Gallinari has shot over 40 percent of the 3-point lineup. It’s weird because if you look back, he’s never shot more than 40% downtown in his career (unless you had 28 games as a rookie with the Knicks). So, as Gallo is 32 years old and getting older, it looks like his shooting is only getting better.
Insert the incredibly talented young formation of the Hawks and Gallinari looks like one of the best signings of the offseason. That might not mean much in 2020, as the free agency class was low, but the Hawks ran out of their cap and didn’t commit too long. Trae Young will be paid. John Collins will be paid. Atlanta has a bunch of promising young prospects. Really, the Hawks remind me of the Mavericks before Luka Doncic’s escape last season. Young could lead the NBA in scoring and have a supporting cast to reach the playoffs, especially with Gallo in SF.
Declared contract: two years, $ 19 million
The Boston Celtics have had a few weird seasons. The Celtics had a chance to advance to the NBA Finals in 2020, but failed to overtake Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat. If there had ever been a season for the Celtics to surprise anyone and win a title, it was last season. The problem? Not enough shooting in 3 points and lack of depth in the center. The Celtics have had to deal with smaller lineups and they are truly at their best with a legitimate cross. Thompson kind of gives Boston a short-term deal. He’s already won and he’s a solid rebounder. Thompson was kind of left behind on the Cavaliers after LeBron James bolted again, so maybe switching to a competitor will start a fire under him.
The Celtics can now perform a live two cross rotation with Thompson and Daniel Theis. If you ask me, the Celtics would also be better served if Jayson Tatum didn’t play 4, but it’s really tough to keep one of Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Tatum off the ground. So Brown at 3 and Smart at 2 makes sense. Thompson is sized to match (a bit) with the great elites of the East – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bam Adebayo, Joel Embiid, Domantas Sabonis. The Celtics used to try to get by without size. It sucks that Gordon Hayward is gone for nothing, but Thompson is exactly what the Celtics need and he doesn’t really carry a lot of risk. If things don’t work out, you can ship Thompson for assets next season.
Declared contract: five years, $ 80 million
Finally, a bad mark for a contract this offseason! There wasn’t a lot of depth in that free agent class, so a lot of the players are cheap. Also, the salary cap has not increased from last season, so it’s hard to overpay. It looks a bit like an overpayment for Bertans, who was one of the best 3-pointers last season on a really bad team. Much of what the Wizards are basing this contract on is in a season in which Bertans performed well on a terrible Wizards team. Of course, he’s only 28 and is probably in his prime. He could explode. Do I think he will? Probably not.
The Wizards are trying to ship John Wall’s miserable contract. I once thought it was possible, but now I can’t see it anymore. The wall will be blocked in Washington and the Wizards may have to trade double All-Star SG Bradley Beal. Wall wants to get out, so that doesn’t make it any easier. The Wizards may have a decent locked-in short front with Bertans, Thomas Bryant and Rui Hachimura, but without the guard play they won’t be in competition. I mean, it will be tough to compete in the East for the Wiz anyway.
Let us come back to Bertans. Before this last season, Bertans hadn’t sniffed 30 minutes per game. He was off the bench all season, but was playing the first few minutes, mainly because the Wizards had no walls and struggled to stay afloat. Beal basically carried the team and Bertans shot a crazy 3 point clip. He shot 42.4% from a 3-point distance in 2019-20 and shot about the same the previous season with San Antonio. It is encouraging that he has maintained this percentage while increasing his attempts by a large margin. Can he maintain it for the duration of this contract? I am not sure. Paying that much for – at best – a solid 6th man, seems like a bad decision.
Declared contract: three years, $ 41 million
The Rockets are difficult to understand at this point. They want to keep James Harden and Russell Westbrook, and eventually I think that’s what’s going to happen. If it’s not the case? I mean, signing Wood could be the theft of free will. It could also become a moot point. Wood is only on a three-year contract and has essentially been a flash-in-the-pan for the Pistons after Blake Griffin was injured and Andre Drummond was traded. There is no doubt that Wood has advantages. Can he play on a team that competes and plays meaningful games? We do not know.
The point is, the Rockets had to make a move like this. If Harden and Westbrook are forced to play the season in Houston, it’s not like they’re going to send it in the mail. The Rockets don’t have Robert Covington, but PJ Tucker is still playing with Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers. Houston got by with little on the roster other than studs and that led to some playoff spots. As long as Harden and Westbrook are on the roster, the Rockets will be in the playoff race. If Wood can feed off of it, it can work to his advantage.
Wood doesn’t have to be anything more than a solid presence at the bottom. The fact that he went into a situation that might end up being just his own is also appealing, more so for fantasy basketball purposes. But like I said above, I still think Harden and Westbrook will probably stay put. That the reports were more of an overreaction than anything else. If so, Wood places himself at PF or even C on an offense that should be miles better than what he played in Detroit.