The first day of free agency has started exactly as expected with money flying all over the place. Eric covered the initial signings early this morning but in case you missed something, you can keep track of where every free agent signs this summer here.
My biggest takeaway from the first wave is that I'm happy the Wolves have sat out of matters thus far and how nice it is not to have a current free agent of value on the open market. It's pretty crazy, though certainly not unexpected, how large the new contracts are going to be in the league moving forward. We knew the numbers were going to be eye-opening but seeing DeMar Derozan sign for $139 million, the injury-prone Bradley Beal collect $130 million over five years as well, the Lakers inexplicably throwing $64 million at Timofey Mozgov before I even woke up this morning, and Joakim Noah getting $72 million among a bevy of other major contracts has been a serious reality check.
I can't help but think of the repercussions of such major contracts. How will the new cap affect locker room dynamics when role players are some of the highest paid players on the team? Is the league headed for a lockout down the road? How pissed are the players that signed long-term deals last summer instead of signing one-year deals (of course there's some risk associated with that as well)?
One immediate thought as it pertains to the Wolves: Gorgui Dieng is going to cash in next summer. Anywhere between $80-90 million seems like a reasonable bet at this point, which is something to consider moving forward.
Let's talk about some of the recent signings that have taken place.
Brook— SB Nation (@SBNation) July 1, 2016
Al Jefferson has agreed in principle to a three-year, $30M deal with Indiana, league source tells @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 1, 2016
AP Source: 76ers agree to terms with Jerryd Bayless on 3 year, $27M deal— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) July 1, 2016
Evan Fournier gets a five-year, $85 million contract extension to stay in Orlando, source told @TheUndefeated.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) July 1, 2016
Free agent forward Evan Turner has reached agreement on a four-year, $75M deal with Portland, agent Kevin Bradbury tells @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 1, 2016
ESPN sources say that Bucks have an agreement with Mirza Teletovic on a three-year deal worth $30 million— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 1, 2016
Confirming Matthew Dellavedova four-year, $38.4M deal with Bucks, per source.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 1, 2016
Free agent forward Solomon Hill has agreed to a four-year, $52M deal with New Orleans, league source tells @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 1, 2016
A few thoughts on these contracts:
- I love the Jeremy Lin signing by new GM Sean Marks in Brooklyn. Smart move to bring in Lin on a friendly contract. Three-years, $36 million is great value for a starting caliber point guard.
- It's weird to see Al Jefferson sign with the Indiana Pacers, who allegedly want to play fast, but it's hard to argue with getting a proven low-post scorer that can come off the bench who gives them versatility if they want to play slower halfcourt basketball. $10 million feels like excellent value. The Big Classic has been injured quite a bit over the last few seasons though. Can he play 65-70 games and be a dynamite sixth man? We'll see.
- Mirza Teletovic was one player that would have fit the Wolves needs pretty well. Good move by the Bucks. Can he play any defense? No, not really. He CAN absolutely rip it from deep. Again, under the new salary cap, $10 million feels like a steal for an elite floor spacing forward.
- Chandler Parsons picked Memphis Grizzlies. Money talks! $94 million...wow. Does this mean Mike Conley is going to return as well? This was a major signing for an organization not known for landing major free agents.
- $38 million for Dellavedova. Sure, why not. A backup point guard getting almost $10 million on the open market is the new NBA. What a time to be alive for ballers. In all honestly, this feels like a smart move to lock up a strong defender who can hit the 3. I wonder if Seth Partnow was behind this.
- Philadelphia is desperate for competent point guards. I'm not sure Bayless is going to help that much but it's a fine deal. They still need a starter. $27 million over three years is pretty low risk.
- Both Evan's (Turner and Fournier) cashed in. Portland did excellent work last summer by nabbing guys like Ed Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu. Is signing Evan Turner the latest shrewd move by PDX? I don't think so, though he fits defensively with Lillard and McCollum. I'm not a huge fan of this move. Orlando dealt Victor Oladipo with re-signing Fournier in mind. Again, not in love with this signing. Pro: He's still only 23 years old and is coming off the best season of his career. It's not the worst move.
- Dallas keeps swinging and missing on free agents. If Dwight Howard doesn't end up in Atlanta or Boston, I could see him going to the Mavericks. They might be desperate enough to throw big money his way merely to land a big name.
- $52 million over four years for Solomon Hill feels like an overpay but who even knows. We like Solomon here at Canis Hoopus. New Orleans should offer him a much better opportunity to demonstrate his skills than Indiana did. Role players are getting PAID! Small-ball fours that can shoot/defend are in high demand. This deal further proves that.
On the Wolves front...
It's been pretty quite in Wolvesdom.
Sounds like Luol Deng and Kent Bazemore are the two biggest targets that have been talked about. I doubt Bazemore is going to land with the Wolves, but I do like his fit as a strong wing defender and capable 3-point shooter. I would probably stay away from him unless Thibs and Layden can land him at around $16-18 million per year. Somebody is likely going to go higher than that. I bet he gets over $80 million, which, yeah, count me out on that.
We have talked about Deng quite a bit around here as an excellent fit as a small-ball four next to Towns. He's familiar with Thibs' system and likely makes the Wolves quite a bit better right away. I'm all for going all-in on Deng, who is a known commodity. There is some regression risk with him that shouldn't be ignored, though it's probably worth the risk to land a legitimate forward who can defend.
Lance Thomas, E'Twaun Moore, Brandon Bass, Kris Humphries and Anthony Tolliver have been mentioned as players the Wolves have been talking with today (or at least have reached out to). All of these guys would help the bench, which was terrible if you forgot. I'm most interested in Thomas out of that bunch. Courtney Lee has been another name thrown out there, but his price tag is going to be silly for being an average wing. I wouldn't be upset with him, though better bargains probably exist.
Still, I hope the Wolves eventually reach out to Trevor Booker. His fit with the current core is outstanding; an excellent defender that can switch on screens and clean up the glass. He can even stretch it out to the perimeter a little bit. I would offer 3-years, $30 million and see what he thinks. That seems like a reasonable deal for both parties.
I'm actually completely fine with the Wolves not making any moves right now. I would strike a deal with Deng if he wants to get something done, but otherwise it seems wise to wait while other teams spend tons of money and try to find some bargains on the secondary market in the coming days. Players, and agents, will inevitably get cold feet if the offers aren't rolling in. That's when Thibs and Layden could really make their money stretch. We will keep you up to date on the moves moving forward.