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The Best And Worst NBA One-Year Deals In This Free Agency (So Far)

Grading each minor offseason acquisition in terms of overall impact
by Miggy Dumlao | Jul 7, 2018
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Every team, no matter how well or poorly they did in the season, comes into the offseason with needs on their rosters and finite resources to utilize. This free agency period only contained a few teams with enough cap space to burn and so a lot are left bargain hunting and hoping to strike gold with their signings.

A good way to spend money for teams is to sign players to one-year deals. One-year deals by nature have lesser risk compared to multi-year contracts as it only saddles a team in the short term. So even if the player signed performs poorly or gets injured then the team can cut ties after just one year.

From a player’s perspective, a one-year deal usually means that he is trying to build up his value to cash in for a more lucrative contract the next year. Another reason could be a verbal agreement from the team to the player that the money saved would be used for other players and such.

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A lot of players have now signed one-year deals for teams this season. Contenders, rebuilders, and every team in between have signed players and we’re grading them based on roster fit, money shelled out, and player quality.

Trevor Ariza, Phoenix Suns, 15M: B+

Even if 15 million is a bit too much, Trevor Ariza has been one of the premier 3 and D players in the league. He’s a former champion and has been part of numerous playoff teams. Ariza is a steady veteran presence that would surely benefit the young Suns team that needs help in both offense and defense.

Ariza would space the floor, as he hit 36.8% of his threes last season on almost seven attempts per game, and he will increase the defensive intensity while also taking on the primary defensive assignment on the perimeter. Devin Booker and incoming rookie DeAndre Ayton would benefit from Ariza’s presence.

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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Los Angeles Lakers, 12M: A-

Caldwell-Pope was signed for almost 18 million last season and even if that was more than his game suggests he’s worth, he was a great defensive piece and floor spacer for the Lakers.

Now signed to only 12 million, KCP will be an integral part of the Lakers rise to power. The Lake Show now has LeBron and KCP will provide him with the 3 and D player he did not have last season. This contract from the management is a step to making the King happy. That counts as a win.

Michael Carter-Williams, Houston Rockets, LM: B

Michael Carter-Williams may have fallen off the cliff since he was the rookie of the year for the Philadelphia 76ers, and he can’t shoot anything to save his life, but he’s still a serviceable defender who will help the Rockets.

The Rockets are probably expecting him to replace Trevor Ariza’s defense and if he’s able to do just that, the league minimum would be worth it. Anything more from MCW will just be gravy.

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Ed Davis, Brooklyn Nets, 4.4M: B-

Davis is an unspectacular player, which is a good thing. He plays hard, does the dirty work, and is as solid as they come. The Nets don’t actually need him though.

Timofey Mozgov, Jarrett Allen, and Jahlil Okafor are the centers of the team while Quincy Acy, DeMarre Carroll, Dante Cunningham, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Rodions Kurucs are those that play at both the 3 and 4 spots.

Davis is signed on the cheap and will provide a veteran presence, but you wonder if the money could have been spent on a higher need.

Tyreke Evans, Indiana Pacers, 12M: A

Evans is a former rookie of the year who is currently enjoying somewhat of a renaissance in his career. He was the only consistent source of offense last season for the disgruntled Memphis Grizzlies and he parlayed his small contract last year to another one-year deal this offseason with the Indiana Pacers.

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Evans can play alongside star Victor Oladipo or as a primary ball handler, and he’ll be able to do both equally well. Evans will also serve as a veteran leader on a team looking to stake their claim as a dark horse contender for new kings of the East.

Rudy Gay, San Antonio Spurs, 10M: B

If Kawhi Leonard leaves then at least the Spurs have Rudy Gay (we're kidding). Gay is no longer the offensive talent he was earlier in his career, but he did well in the system of the Spurs.

A rangy defender when engaged and a veteran of the game, Gay won’t carry a team like he used to back in his prime, but he will provide quality minutes at the 3 or 4 spot for any team he plays for.

Jeff Green, Washington Wizards, 2.5M: B+

While Jeff Green certainly can be considered a bust, he isn’t really a bad player. Sure, he may never live up to his draft spot as a fifth overall pick but he’s still a serviceable player.

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A rangy combo forward who can play off the ball while providing solid man defense, he can be an asset. With John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards don’t need Green to do much except be ready for the passes that come from the two high usage guards.

Mario Hezonja, New York Knicks, 6.5M: A-

With Kristaps Porzingis potentially missing next season and the Knicks almost sure to miss the playoffs even in a weakened Eastern Conference, the team took a chance on Mario Hezonja, and why not?

Hezonja is a former fifth overall pick and played for an inept Orlando Magic franchise. Granted, the Knicks aren’t that much better but at least Hezonja has a clearer path to being a rotation stalwart.

The Croatian was considered a super athlete with one smooth three-point stroke, maybe he’ll unleash his game in the big apple.

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Javale McGee, Los Angeles Lakers, LM: A

Getting a two-time champion on a veteran’s minimum is generally a good deal. Getting McGee, a dangerous above the rim threat that played significant minutes on the Golden State Warriors is a steal.

He will now catch passes from the greatest player of this generation in LeBron James and along with the other veterans on the team, will try and guide the young guns of the Lakers toward making the Lake Show relevant again in the NBA.

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks, 5M: A+

He was ranked 6th in all-time career points, MVP, 13 -time All-Star, 12-time All-NBA Team, 20th year with the Mavs, and quite possibly the greatest European ever to play in the NBA.

Enough said.

Elfrid Payton, New Orleans Pelicans, 2.7M: B-

What role will Payton play? He’s a good defender, but he can’t space the floor well enough to play off the ball from Jrue Holiday, who is by far the superior point guard. If Payton does handle the ball more then that takes the ball away from Jrue, which is a waste.

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If Payton comes off the bench then this will make much more sense, but because the bench of New Orleans is weak, he will still be in the same situation as he was in with Orlando, surrounded by inferior talent.

JJ Redick, Philadelphia 76ers, 12 million – A+

The Sixers had a lot of cap space to burn but they get Redick on a cheap enough deal. The sharpshooter from Duke will provide quality team defense and shoot all the open threes that the stars of the Sixers will provide him.

With LeBron out of the East, the Sixers are primed to challenge the Celtics and the Raptors as the official new kings of the weaker conference.

Rajon Rondo, Los Angeles Lakers, 9M: B-

Lonzo Ball and all his baggage are already on the Lakers. Why would you get another ball dominant bricklayer on the team? Ball, James, Rondo—those are three ball dominant players who aren't known for their shooting. Why would you add Rondo to the mix?

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The only possible reason is that the Lakers are thinking of the playoffs and playoff Rondo. Well, let’s just see.

Lance Stephenson, Los Angeles Lakers, 4.4M: B+

LeBron said that he wanted to play with high IQ players so he left JR Smith to play with... McGee and Lance Stephenson. A real wild card player, let’s hope LeBron can rein him in.

Stephenson will most likely come off the bench as a hardnosed defender and an off-threat as well as a secondary playmaker. He certainly has the skills to be a good player, it’s always just been a matter of focus.


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