Night one of NBA free agency is in the books and it didn’t take long for it to start popping. Lets dig into all of the news.
New Orleans Pelicans Sign Anthony Davis to a five-year, $145-million max extension.
People in New Orleans don’t need to hear this from me, but go right ahead and have a drink to this. Elite players almost always sign a second contract with the team they were drafted by yet it’s still nice that the Pelicans can move on from this already. Davis was no-brainer to give whatever he wanted and is worth more than what he got in his contract. He’s only 22 and coming off a season he averaged 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.9 blocks, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals. He shot .535 from the field, including 43.4% in the mid-range. Now it’s on the NO front office to put the right pieces around him.
San Antonio Spurs Re-Sign Kawhi Leonard to a five-year, $90-million max extension.
Another duhhhhhhhh move. The timing of how the Spurs pull this off will be interesting because Leonard’s cap hold is less than the first year of the contract. Yahoo! Sports has San Antonio as the favorites to land unrestricted free agent LaMarcus Aldridge and it’s going to take some expert cap maneuvering to make it happen. Leonard is arguably the best and most versatile defender in league. He’s already won an NBA Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Award and he’s only 24. The Spurs are hoping he, “LMA” and Parker are the future building blocks of the team as Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili eventually move on.
Brooklyn Nets Re-Sign Brook Lopez to a three-year, $60-million contract and Thaddeus Young to a four-year, $50-million deal
This is more than I’d give either player even with the rising cap, but I’m not sure what choice the Nets had. When Joe Johnson comes off the books next summer they will have available cap space even with these deals in the mix. With basically the entire league set to have room to sign players you have to have some players already set on the roster. The Nets hoard of picks going to the Celtics most likely wind up being late lottery instead of early unless the often injured Lopez gets injured again. If Brooklyn is smart they hold onto Johnson for this season instead of starting a horrible of cycle of adding future money. If they get players they believe can be within their core for the future that’s a different story.
Portland Trail Blazers Sign Al-Farouq Aminu to a four-year, $30-million contract
This is the perfect reminder to understand contracts are for what you’re going to do in the future and not in the past. While this is getting criticized in some parts, in my under the radar free agency story I thought Aminu would get between $6-million and $8-million, which is right where the deal fell. He only averaged 5.6 points and 4.6 rebounds last season for the Dallas Mavericks, but it’s important to note he only played 18.5 minutes per game. His per 36 minute averages the past three seasons have been pretty steady and come in at 10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.6 steals and one block. Aminu could develop into something like an extremely poor man Shawn Marion that plays the three and four. He’s still only 24 and was a lottery pick. This is an excellent pick up and potentially good value for the Blazers if Aminu continues to develop his game.