NBA Free Agency Grades: Mike Conley, Chris Paul, And Lonzo Ball Kickstart The Frenzy

OK, so you’re a sports fan and you’ve been waiting for the NBA free agency to start, and now it has. What a year this has been for NBA fans! LeBron James took his talents to the West Coast, Paul George said goodbye to the Thunder, Kawhi Leonard joined the Spurs, and Tristan Thompson signed with LeBron.

On July 1st, you officially have to start looking forward to your favorite NBA teams as they enter a period of rebuilding. The dust will settle on the NBA free agent class of 2018 as we have a full year to see who is long-term fixture in their teams, and who is not.

The NBA’s free agency period officially began today, and it was anything but quiet. After a flurry of trades, the free agency frenzy is in full swing. The San Antonio Spurs and Kawhi Leonard traded, while the Boston Celtics and Kyrie Irving finally reached an agreement. The Los Angeles Clippers and Lou Williams, who is headed to a team that’s expected to compete in the postseason almost every season, while the Memphis Grizzlies earned the services of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. The New Orleans Pelicans, meanwhile, are signing former New York Knicks player Kristaps Porzingis in an attempt to compete with the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference.. Read more about nba free agent and let us know what you think.

The 2021 offseason was once thought to be momentous. All of the anticipated free agents, including LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, and Rudy Gobert, signed with their respective clubs. Regardless, an offseason including Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, and DeMar DeRozan was certain to be exciting.

The first day of NBA free agency was a huge success. With a deal inside the first minute, the Chicago Bulls got the ball moving, no pun intended. The remainder of the league was also active. From the first day of the offseason, let’s assign grades to the small, medium, and massive agreements.


Small Business Deals


Indiana Pacers’ Torrey Craig

Torrey Craig

Craig signs a two-year, $10 million contract with the Pacers.

When he was moved from the Bucks to the Suns, Craig set a career best with 7.2 points per game. Craig also made 50 percent of his shots from the field. When you look at the contract Jeff Green signed with the Nuggets, it’s clear that the Pacers went beyond. Craig did a great job of maximizing his value at 30 years old by utilizing a career 2020.

Grade: D+


San Antonio Spurs’ Zach Collins

(via NBC Sports)

(Image courtesy of NBC Sports)

Collins signs a three-year, $22 million contract with the Spurs.

The Spurs might strike gold and get Zach Collins, whom the Trail Blazers coveted, or they could squander $22 million on an injury-prone guy. Collins was out for the whole 2017 season due to injury. He had only played 11 games the previous year. Collins had his finest season in 2018-2019, averaging 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. There is potential at 23 years old.

Grade: C


Dallas Mavericks’ Sterling Brown

Sterling Brown

Brown signs a two-year, $6.2 million contract with the Mavericks.

Brown scored 8.2 points per game on 42 percent shooting from three-point range, a career best. The Mavericks were able to make this trade because of Brown’s relationship with head coach Jason Kidd. Kidd was Brown’s coach when he initially joined the NBA. It’s a low-cost, high-value contract, apart from his career 52 percent shooting from the line.

Grade: B-


Dallas Mavericks’ Reggie Bullock

reggie bullock

via The New York Times

Bullock signs a three-year, $30.5 million contract with the Mavericks.

Bullock had a fantastic year shooting the ball. His outside shooting percentage of 41.0 percent was his highest since 2017. Bullock was inserted into the starting lineup last season, but he is better suited to the bench. Bullock gives the Mavericks a career 39.2 percent three-point shooter. This strengthens the bench and gives Bullock a more prominent position.

Grade: B


New York Knicks’ Alec Burks

alec burks

courtesy of Empire Sports Media

Burks signs a three-year, $30 million contract with the Knicks.

The Knicks could have brought back either Bullock or Burks, but not both. Burks, who had his highest point per game average (12.7) since 2015, was brought back by the club. In the past two seasons, he has shot over 40% from three-point range, and his 4.6 rebounds were a career best. Burks was a low-cost bench player who didn’t eat up too much salary cap money.

Grade: B


New York Knicks’ Nerlens Noel

nerlens noel

Noel signs a three-year, $32 million contract with the Knicks.

Noel has had to rethink his profession for the last two years. Noel has discovered a castle that he can call his his this year. His 24.2 minutes were the most he’d played since 2015, and his 6.4 rebounds were also the most he’d had since 2016. His 2.2 blocks, a career high, are his finest stat. Noel is a genuine rim protector who fits well into Tom Thibodeau’s scheme.

Grade: A-


Brooklyn Nets’ Blake Griffin

Tyler Johnson On New Teammate Blake Griffin:

Griffin signs a one-year contract with the Nets.

This may be the largest of minor deals in the larger scheme of things. Griffin, a previous All-Star, was at his best in the postseason. Griffin is expected to play a significant amount of minutes off the bench. He may begin if he is in good health. Overall, Griffin returned because the Nets offered him the greatest opportunity in the Eastern Conference to reach the NBA Finals.

Grade: A


Denver Nuggets’ Jeff Green

Jeff Green

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Green signs a two-year, $10 million contract with the Nuggets.

For the Nets, this was a crushing defeat. For the Nets, Green was an important sixth man. For the first time in his career, he shot over 40% from three-point range. Since 2015, Green has averaged the most minutes per game. Green’s value appeared to be extremely low last year, but joining a Western Conference contender for this price was a win-win situation for all sides.

Grade: A+

Deals of a Medium Size


Houston Rockets’ Daniel Theis

daniel theis

Theis signs a four-year, $36 million contract with the Rockets.

Theis had a good season with the Bulls, averaging 10.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 23 games. Is it, however, worth nine million dollars? In addition, the Rockets acquired a backup center to their roster, which already had Christian Wood. That doesn’t make sense since it has a significant problem with scoring and should be more focused on future financial flexibility.

Grade: D-


Kelly Olynyk is a member of the Detroit Pistons.

Kelly Olynyk

The Contract: The Pistons have signed Olynyk to a three-year, $37 million contract.

This was another another dubious transaction. Olynyk averaged 19.0 points and 8.4 rebounds in 27 games with the Rockets. In 2017, Olynyk set a new career best with 11.5 points. Because the Rockets were so bad last season, Olynyk’s statistics were obviously exaggerated. Cade Cunningham, hopefully, is prepared for this rebuild, as decisions like these continue to put Detroit behind.

Grade: D-


San Antonio Spurs’ Doug McDermott

doug mcdermott

McDermott signs a three-year, $42 million contract with the Spurs.

Doug McDermott once shot over 50% from the field, and the Spurs felt it was a good idea to pay him $14 million a year? McDermott had a career-high 13.6 points, although he shot under 40% from three for the sixth time in seven seasons. The Spurs did a poor job of constructing a team around their youthful core.

Grade: D-


Toronto Raptors’ Gary Trent Jr.

Gary Trent Jr.

Trent signs a three-year, $54 million contract with the Raptors.

Trent was acquired by the Raptors in exchange for Norman Powell, who scored 16.2 points per game and shot 35.5 percent from three-point range. Trent was given the same yearly salary as Powell by the Raptors; more on Powell’s statistics later. The squad worried since Powell was the superior player, and they didn’t want to lose him entirely. On a year-by-year basis, this contract seems to be a poor bargain.

Grade: D+


Chicago Bulls’ Alex Caruso

The Alex Caruso Era Could Be Over In L.A.

The Game House is a place where you may play games.

Caruso signs a four-year, $37 million contract with the Bulls.

The Bulls have now committed $122 million to the point guard position over the next four seasons. Caruso was a fan favorite in Los Angeles during the Lakers’ championship season in 2020. For the time being, defense and 6.4 points per game don’t seem to be worth $9 million. Furthermore, this may prevent the Bulls from acquiring a key player like as DeMar DeRozan. For the time being, this decision is fraught with uncertainty.

Grade: C


Denver Nuggets’ Will Barton

(via Will Barton)

(Image courtesy of Will Barton)

Barton signs a two-year, $32 million contract with the Nuggets.

Barton is an excellent addition to the Nuggets. In Denver, he has averaged double digits for the last seven seasons. For the other hand, paying $16 million on a guy who has never shot 40% or better from three-point range is a little excessive. The Nuggets wanted to retain a component that fit, but they also wanted to overpay for it.

Grade: C+


New York Knicks’ Derrick Rose

via Empire Sports Media

courtesy of Empire Sports Media

Rose signs a three-year, $43 million contract with the Knicks.

Rose’s return to Chicago was anticipated by Bulls supporters. Rose expressed interest, but supporters understood Rose’s pay would be about $14 million per season, which the club couldn’t afford. Rose, after all, is at his best when he’s coached by Thibodeau. He was the team’s second-best offensive player, and in the playoffs, he was the best. Will Rose ever be able to claim a championship? Who knows, but for the time being, both sides are content.

Grade: B+


Indiana Pacers’ TJ McConnell

TJ McConnell

McConnell signs a four-year, $35.2 million contract with the Pacers.

McConnell led the league in thefts at one time. By the conclusion of the season, he was the league’s runner-up (1.9), behind Jimmy Butler’s 2.1. McConnell will once again serve as a backup to MalcolmMalcolm Brogdon, but he adds value both offensively and defensively. His 55.9% shooting percentage has to stand out at a reasonable cost of approximately $9 million each year. The Pacers have struck gold in this game.

Grade: A+


Devonte’ Graham is a player for the New Orleans Pelicans.

devonte graham

The Contract: The Hornets get a lottery-protected first-round selection in 2022 in exchange for signing Graham to a four-year, $47 million deal.

The Pelicans got a great deal. The Pelicans re-signed Garrett Temple, have financial room thanks to Tomas Satoransky, and spent considerably less than Lonzo Ball’s $85 million contract. Graham is also a capable defender, averaging 14.8 points last season and 18.8 the year before. By combining a genuine offensive scorer with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans may have made the greatest steal of the day.

Grade: A+


Deals of the Century


Portland Trail Blazers’ Norman Powell

Norman Powell Re-Signs With Blazers For 5-Years, $90 Million

Powell signs a five-year, $90 million contract with the Trail Blazers.

Powell scored 19.6 points per possession and shot 43.9 percent from beyond the arc. His three-point percentage dropped to 36% in Portland. Powell deserves credit for making the most of his money, but five years is a long time. Concerns about his fit in this offense should be raised. You’re going to lock this up for five years when Portland is also on the verge of a rebuild? Decisions like these are why, even possessing Damian Lillard, Portland can reach the NBA Finals.

Grade: D-

Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul

Suns Owner Robert Sarver Says He Doesn't Know If Chris Paul Will Return Next Season-

The Bleacher Report is a news organization that focuses on sports

Paul signs a four-year, $120 million contract with the Suns.

Let me get this straight: at the age of 41, Paul is going to earn $30 million? He has to be the greatest negotiator in history, which is why he is a player’s union head. The Suns struck gold this year by capitalizing on injuries to reach the NBA Finals. Paul accepted less money and rejected his $44 million player option to save $14 million this season, but the Suns will be cash-strapped in the long term as a result of this agreement. Paul had a fantastic season, but no one in this league should be earning $30 million at the age of 41.

Grade: D+


Cleveland Cavaliers’ Jarrett Allen

NBA Trade Rumors- Cleveland Cavaliers Could Trade Jarrett Allen

The King James Version of the Bible

Allen signs a five-year, $100 million contract with the Cavaliers.

After losing Andre Drummond for nothing and finalizing their trade with the Brooklyn Nets, the Cavaliers needed to make this transaction happen. Allen, who is 23 years old, had a season in which he averaged 13.2 points and 9.9 rebounds. By the end of it, he may be a younger version of Drummond, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be a big issue. It’s a high price to pay a guy who has never advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs and has never been in an All-Star game.

Grade: C-

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a member of the Gilgeous-Alexander family.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

The Contract: The Thunder have agreed to a five-year, $172 million contract with Gilgeous-Alexander.

Like Young, Gilgeous-Alexander was not a free agent, but he was nearing the end of his rookie contract. The Thunder have made a commitment to developing their franchise around Gilgeous-Alexander, who was the coveted component of the Paul George deal two years ago. SGA averaged 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in his first season sans Chris Paul. Because the 23-year-old only appeared in 35 games, the sample size is tiny. It seems to be a gamble for the Thunder to spend almost $30 million on a player who has never made an All-Star appearance.

Grade: C


New York Knicks’ Evan Fournier

Evan Fournier Says It Feels Like He's Had A Concussion Since Returning From COVID-19

The Orlando Sentinel is a newspaper based in Orlando, Florida

Fournier signs a four-year, $78 million contract with the Knicks.

Evan Fournier was a viable choice for the New York Knicks this summer. After retaining key free agents Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel and re-signing veteran Derrick Rose, the New Yorkers signed Fournier. Unlike his achievements with France in the 2021 Olympics, Fournier revealed his true colors with the Boston Celtics past season, averaging 13.0 points per game. That’s a significant drop from his previous high of 19.5 in Orlando. Fournier has never been named to an All-Star team and averages 14.5 points per game in his career. It’s uncertain if this move will propel the Knicks to the next level or whether they’ll return to the playoffs just to lose in the first round again. 

Grade: C


Dallas Mavericks’ Tim Hardaway Jr.

Tim Hardaway Jr.

Hardaway Jr. signs a four-year, $72 million contract with the Mavericks.

According to the contracts signed by Gary Trent Jr. and Norman Powell, shooters who average 15.0 points per game and shoot close to 40% from three may make $18 million each year. Hardaway’s sole advantage over the other two is that his three-point shooting has steadily improved over the past two seasons. Hardaway has always been able to make an offensive contribution. Dallas simply wants consistency, and at $18 million a year, they had better have it.

Grade: C+


Chicago Bulls’ Lonzo Ball

NBA Rumors- New York Knicks Could Sign Lonzo Ball In 2021 Free Agency

The The New York Post is a newspaper based in New York is a newspaper based in New York

The Deal: The Bulls sign Ball to a four-year, $85 million contract through a sign-and-trade deal in which New Orleans gets Garrett Temple, Tomas Satoransky, and a future second-round selection in exchange for a future second-round pick.

The Bulls’ point guard has finally been discovered. Ball enjoyed his greatest offensive season to date, shooting a career-high in points (14.6) and three-point percentage (38.6%). (37.8 percent ). Ball is also a good rebounder and playmaker, as well as an excellent on-ball defender. It stings to see the Pelicans acquire Graham at half the price. In addition, Ball now earns more than All-Star Zach LaVine, who will earn $19.5 million in the last year of his contract.

Grade: B-


Duncan Robinson is a member of the Miami Heat.

Duncan Robinson

Robinson signs a five-year, $90 million contract with the Heat.

Duncan Robinson may become the highest-paid undrafted free agent in history. In 2019-2020, Robinson proved his value by shooting 47 percent from three-point range. While his percentage has dropped to 43% this season, he is a natural fit in the Miami rotation. The Heat have developed their core into yearly contenders, with Jimmy Butler possibly locked up for the next five years.

Grade: B+


Utah Jazz’s Mike Conley Jr.

(via 94wip.radio.com)

(Image courtesy of 94wip.radio.com)

Conley signs a three-year, $72.5 million contract with the Jazz.

There were concerns about the Jazz’s ability to retain Conley. Despite being named to an All-Star team for the first time this season, the Jazz understood he was vital to their strategy. Conley, like Jrue Holiday for the Bucks, is the Jazz’s glue guy. Last season, the Jazz were the NBA’s best club. Given what Conley offers as a point guard and on the defensive front, this is a good contract for both sides at about $24 million per season.

Grade: A


Miami Heat’s Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry

The Deal: The Heat sign Lowry to a three-year, $90 million contract as part of a sign-and-trade deal with the Raptors in exchange for Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa.

The Heat may have put two of the league’s toughest workers together. Not to mention that they paired two of the greatest locker room leaders in the league. Lowry has a ring and will provide much-needed support to this squad of young players. The Heat are a dark horse team in the East if Butler can have a season similar to Kawhi Leonard’s in 2019 or anything close to it this year.

Grade: A


Trae Young is a professional basketball player.

Nate McMillan On Trae Young-

New York Post

Young signs a five-year, $207 million contract with the Hawks.

Even though Young was not a free agent, the mega-trade that occurred at 11:03 p.m. deserves to be recognized. Young guided the Hawks to their first Conference Finals victory since Bob Pettit’s era. Young was being compared to Steph Curry because of how well he performed in the playoffs. Given Young’s potential All-Star status, an annual pay average of $41 million per season isn’t too terrible. The Hawks were able to retain their franchise quarterback. Now is the time to keep an eye out for Luka Doncic’s contract.

Grade: A

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • free agent centers 2021
  • what is restricted and unrestricted free agents?
  • lonzo ball salary
  • when did free agency start in the nhl
  • restricted free agent qualifying offers
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