The NBA really is Jordan Belfort. The Wolf of Fantasy Sports! It’s tantric and never slows down, from the Finals ending less than two weeks before the draft, free agency hitting a week later and we’re already starting summer ball. And the NBA will soon revel in the excess that is the 16-17 salary cap boost with a TV deal that put Seinfeld reruns to shame. I need my ludes to get me through!
Even the Spurs couldn’t avoid the world of excess and massive free agency signings, bringing in LaMarcus Aldridge for a cool $80 million. Loosening up the purse strings! My first thought was, “dammit, Kawhi is never gonna be the guy!” Then again, he got over $90 mil with his extension, so there’s that! But Kawhi Leonard sometimes struggles with the mid-range and long-distance shooting, so L.A. should help Kawhi by opening up some lanes and keeping him in his game. This is going to be a crazy offense, with Tim Duncan moving to center and likely being his solid old self. Which leaves us with what to expect from Aldridge… And, me no likey for fantasy. After being really durable early in his career, he’s had a few bumps and bruises (I know, I know, playing through a torn thumb tendon gets mad props) and the Spurs – as we all know – love to limit the minutes. I also don’t think he quite gets to 20 shots a game like we’ve seen the past few years. I had him 20 in my way too early rankings, but the move drops him a few spots at the least. L.A. in S.A. is not OK! Here’s what else has gone on through the first few days of free agency and rookie ball:
Anthony Davis – Got the max 5 year $145 million deal a few seconds after free agency opened. Rough few seconds of negotiating right there! Then the next morning he’s flashing 3-point shots at a workout. I might be flashing Brow sooner than later at this point…
Omer Asik – Whoa, the Pelicans got money crazy after giving Brow the most wad they could! It’s like throwing a ton of money at the prize stripper and getting mad drunk, then throwing way too much at like a 3 or 4 at best… I’m just off my bachelor party, I source my comparisons with real life! 5 years at $58 mil seems an overspend, but I do like Brow locked in at the 4 so he doesn’t get pummeled by opposing bigs.
Monta Ellis – So in comparison to that Asik deal, Monta gets 4 years $44 mil. Something doesn’t add up! Then again, Ellis turned down bigger money from the Kings, who have become the ultimate “never gonna do it!” franchise. Pairs PG13 with some much needed O and gives the re-tooling Pacers a much higher tempo look. Daddy likey in real life, but a shruggy “meh” in fantasy value. Doesn’t change too much.
Wesley Matthews – Man, as we run through these contracts, that Monta deal is looking more and more like a steal! The Mavs lose Monta and replace him for $20 more million bucks. 4 years, $64 mil to play for the Dallas Cubans, and I don’t think it’s a great upgrade, if at all. He’s only a year younger and off a major injury. Maybe everyone just needed a change of scenery, and Matthews being more a spot shooter should help, but it seems like the Mavs could’ve done better. I expect a ton of 3s in the normal Matthewsian stat line.
Greg Monroe – Got offered max money from everywhere! But said, F that, I’m going to… the Bucks? Geez, who woulda thought that would ever make sense!? But says he wants to win now and the Bucks are… well, in the East so there’s that! Monroe can move to a traditional 5, and I think his rebounding output is going to be preposterous. I love he has the post to himself now, and he’s going to be really close to 50ish overall for me with the move. Great fit.
Khris Middleton – Well, good thing the Bucks re-signed The Duchess – they need some shooters out there! Unreal he got 5 years $70 million. He was in DNP purgatory early last year, then Kidd finally came to his senses and The Duchess unleashed top-30 value when the calendar hit 2015. This is starter’s money for K-Midd, so Jabari Parker should play the pure 4 with Giannis Antetokounmpo slotting in at the opposite wing.
Al-Farouq Aminu – The Blazers paid $30 mil over 4 years for a defender with a terrible jumper. Tanking season! The Blazers have nothing else at the 3 anymore, so despite some awful FG% games we might get a really rainbowish season. He just has to hold onto the job through the rest of free agency and then through a tanking year.
Damian Lillard – At least one person is staying! The Blazers sole remaining starter from last year gets nearly $130 mil for 5 years to be the face of the franchise. His usage this year is going to be BANANAS! But imagine saying “bananas” in a creepy 5-year-old Omen voice. It’s going to be a fun year. For Lillard owners, not Blazers fans… Or bananas…
Mason Plumlee – Traded to Portland for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and some other scrap thrown in there. Nice deal by the Blazers. Plumlee thinks he could start, Stotts said not so fast, but then followed it with, “JFC, I just hope I’m not fired in February!” Plumlee has been an enigma showing flashes then some utter unusability, so even if he’s the starter I don’t know if I’d be pumping in a huge investment.
Ed Davis – Solid filler contract from the Blazers for $20 mil over 3 years. Every iota of my existence hopes he starts at the 4 or at center over Prof Plum. If he’s looking at a starting role, he’s going to be “WELLLL-COME TO THE, SLEEPER ZONE!”
Danny Green – Likely turned down more money elsewhere to stay with the 15-16 NBA Champ Spurs. I mean, have you looked at this lineup?! 4 years, $45 million to stay in Pop’s rotation system that really makes Green frustrating at times. And this year there will have him struggling even more for consistent shots.
David West – Signs to the Spurs to be the backup PF/C on a veteran’s minimum. Talk about wanting to win! I bet the Kings would throw EVEN HIM a max deal at this point! Geez, that front line that had some really rough defensive efforts last year is now so much better. But West is probably undraftable now.
Brook Lopez – Wow, the Nets really like the status quo so… I’d be scratching my head as a Brooklyn fan. Brolo gets 3 years for $60 mil, which seems mighty hefty given the injury history. But man did the Lopez family get rich! I’m not drafting either – definitely not this one.
Robin Lopez – Ya know, for all the Rolo bashing I do, I kinda think this is a solid spot and could make him a late round value. 4 years $54 million ($10 mil more than Monta though, yeesh!) to clog up the Knicks paint. But he should board, fall into some ugly dunks and a lucky block here and there.
Thaddeus Young – Sticking with NY teams, Brooklyn’s status quo continues with Young staying in Brooklyn for $50 mil on 4 years. The Pacers must’ve included some real nice incentives for Ellis to go $6 mil cheaper! Thad was “OK” on the Nets, but saw that FT% drop to 60% while losing numbers in most cats with the minutes decrease. Remember when he was coming off the bench?! And he wanted to stay there?! Yikes.
Jimmy Butler – Gets the max the Bulls could throw at him at 5 years $95 mil. I’m sure Bulls fans are ecstatic, but the fantasy question looms how many minutes he’ll play with Tibby Tibs gone.
Patrick Beverley – Semi-surprised P-Bev stayed with the Rox after all the PG trade talk last year, but indeed they retain him for a pretty friendly 4 year, $25 million. Makes him easily tradable and/or replaceable by a deadline trade too. Murky waters.
Goran Dragic – Monster 5 year $90 mil deal to keep his talents in South Beach. But Dwyane Wade has resigned on a one-year deal which will keep Dragic’s usage down in South Beach. I loved the Drago last year, but now, very meh in South Beach. I had Dragic 39 a few months ago, and re-thinking it I might go a tad lower. In South Beach.
DeAndre Jordan – Mark Cuban says he’s the new Shaq. Ummmmm… Anyway, 4 years $80 mil, and it’s hard to believe he’s still only 26. With Dirk Nowitzki camping outside (and pitching a tent!), DJ is going to continue some massive boarding and blocking for years to come. Cuban needs a Shark Tank invention to get DJ to make FT though. Imagine if DJ suddenly was 60% from the line! Would be nuts if he could make it happen.
Paul Millsap – Stays with the Hawks. Which means he stays in the second round. Which means we’ll be the highest on Millsap yet again.
Marc Gasol – Another boring stayer, sticking with the Grizz for a monster $100 mil, 5-year deal. He deserved it! Not much of a change here.
Tiago Splitter – Dumped to the Hawks to give the Spurs room to sign everyone else. Meh, at least the Hawks have a capable backup now! Cut to Pero Antic signing in Turkey going, “Hey! At least I don’t have to go back to New York anymore…”
DeMarre Carroll – Whoa, 4 years at $60 million! And yet, $16 mil more than Ellis. Crazy town! Anyway, your new Raps starting SF with Terrence Ross still around to syphon minutes. Should have another solid year very similar to the Hawks seasons.
Tobias Harris – I thought it was pretty shocking he stayed in Orlando. One of the many to turn down more money to go to Sacramento, T-Hair gets 4 years at $64 mil. He and new coach Scott Skiles are BFFs, so the 6th man role we saw at times last year should be a thing of the past. I like Harris a lot as a sleeper/psuedo-bounceback.
Jae Crowder – 5 years $35 million for a guy that never really got a shot until traded to the Celtics. After a two game binge right after moving to Boston, everyone was nutso for this guy but it quickly fell apart. He might be OK, but I doubt I’d draft him in 12ers even if assured a starting role.
Kevin Love – As expected, stuck with the Cavs. I think half the contract will be paid by ESPN to ramp up the Love/LeBron drama. No way I’m touching Love.
Brandon Knight – 5 years $70 mil to stay in Phoenix. They think highly of the combo set! Although it’s a pretty good fit with Knight closer to a 2 and Eric Bledsoe closer to a 1. Plus they played Knight backup PG in his short stint, even though he had some rough shooting Knights. See what I did there?! Seems like a 70ish guy again this year.
Tyson Chandler – Mmmmmm, Suns! Booooooo, Alex Len! Chandler comes in at 4 years, $52 mil to bring his up-tempo rim protecting and durability to Phoenix. He’s older, but I love this move and I think Chandler could be a value.
Draymond Green – I would cry a little bit if Golden State didn’t want to stay occupied with #OccupyDraymondGreen! 5 years, $85 mil, and for a guy drafted in the second round. Amazing.
Amir Johnson – Whoa, Celtics going balls out to bring in Amir! Well, not really… 2 years $24 million sounds like a pretty pricey offer, but after looking at everything else, it’s a solid pickup. The Celtics have shown no reliability at playing their big men, which I think is a Napolean complex. Well, Stevens isn’t that short. Maybe it’s Danny Ainge’s fault! Although he’s a shocking 6’5… Whatever, they suck at managing big men!
Paul Pierce – What up, Doc?! Reunites with Doc in LA for a pretty team-friendly 3-year deal that will likely wind down to the end of his career. A last hurrah! But losing DJ and not doing much else save for trade for Lance Stephenson seems to be the wrong direction… Stephenson slam!
The Kings Dumping Everything Even Though No One Will Sign There – In one of the oddest trades in recent memory, the Kings went all out and dumped all their salary giving the Sixers Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, a protected first-round pick, and two more picks the Sixers have the right to trade with the Kings, for… Overseas rights to two dudes I have never heard of and don’t want to look up again. In other words, “There’s a trade rapist, in Phil-a-del-phia, so you better HIDE YO KIDS, HIDE YO WIFE, because they trade rapin’ e’rybody out hurr!”
Arron Afflalo – Two years to play for The Poppycockers. Nope! Their name doesn’t change until the have some semblance of playing basketball this year! I’ve never been a big AA fan, but I think he can come close to the Orlando numbers from a few years ago. Which is still kinda “meh”, but ownable. Melo will suck up some shots though.
Kyle O’Quinn – Wooooo, I can’t wait to see him in NY and just yell “KOQ BLOCK!” every time he swats someone! 4 years $16 mil, making him a pretty solidly paid backup. Plus he’s working on the 3s to round out a really fantasy-friendly game should he fall into any starting time with injuries.
Derrick Williams – Here’s your “Poppycockers move of the offseason”! 2 years, $10 million for one of the bigger draft busts. Maybe he can win an Olowokandi service award or something…
Roy Hibbert – Traded to the Lakers to disappoint even a larger market. But hey, those Parks and Rec cameos can now be for all sorts of Hollywood shows!
Rajon Rondo – One year deal to the Kings, where Rondo will be playing for his life. With caps expanding next year, Rondo needs a monster season to get the big bucks. IT ALL STARTS WITH MAKING YOUR FLIPPIN’ FT, YA BUM! No reason to shoot DeAndre Jordan FT as a PG. It also hurts Darren Collison, who yet again loses out on a chance to start after looking solid last year. Even I would turn down Kings money at this point.
Marco Belinelli – At the request of the one-year signed Rondo, the Kings go for 3 years of Belinelli at $19 million. SOMEONE FINALLY TOOK THE MONEY! I’m not sure how much he’ll play behind Ben McLemore and Rudy Gay, but will provide some swing minutes and some treys.
Pistons/Suns Trade – The Suns, pulling a Kings dump, sent Marcus Morris, Reggie Bullock and Danny Granger to the Pistons for a draft pick. Well, thanks a lot Suns for breaking up the twins! Morris is the only real interesting thing here, as he could land some wing minutes in an already crowded wing situation. If only they played in Buffalo… Buffalo Wild Wings!
Rodney Stuckey – Stays in Indiana for 3 years at $21 mil. Should be able to play the backup 1/2 as a nice 6th man, but Monta coming in really hurts any upside.
Corey Joseph – Wooooo, I love my Cojo! Cojo mojo! I’m Cujo for Cojo! Wait, wouldn’t that mean I want to eat him or something? I never saw that one… Anyway, a monster 4 year, $30 million contract for Joseph to go back to his home town, and with Kyle Lowry pissing everybody off, there’s some mad potential here. I’ve loved him the past few years as a dynasty stash, and fraying with Lowry and management plus this deal’s money indicates a starting role could be down the road for Cojo. He wouldn’t set the world on fire, but would be really solid with great %s and low TO.
Lou Williams – 3 years $21 mil to go to the Lakers, giving them not one, BUT TWO Nick Youngs! Sorry Lakers PGs, no assists for you! This also clouds how Jordan Clarkson will fit into minutes as a combo guard. I hate it all around.
Reggie Jackson – 5 year $80 mil extention to stay in DET. Brandon Jennings is still there for now, but a trade for a first round draft pick makes oh so much sense.
Nemanja Bjelica – The Wolves signed last year’s Euroleague MVP to a three year deal, but he’ll really struggle for minutes. He kinda gives me a Danilo Gallinari vibe. But it’ll take time, even though he’s 27 and may never happen.
Myles Turner – Mmmmm, oozing that upside in summer ball! Has hit a trey in both games with 6 blocks his last outing. Ibaka-lite! Although he did have 8 fouls in that last game, as apparently Summer League is code for “hit the shit out of the other team!”
Jahlil Okafor – 20/9 in his Summer League debut, bricking all four of his FT. Sheesh, that FT issue sure is adjusting well the NBA, at least we know that!
Frank Kaminsky – Knocking down treys and getting boards in two Summer League games, but c’mon, it’s early summer ball. I still think he’s going to be overrated on draft day as a lot of people seem to be in on the Kaminsky ROY bandwagon (cough, Slim).
Mario Hezonja – Another early riser with some summer ball swag, including a big dunk that is making everyone think he might be good for fantasy. If only Summer League dunks counted for reg season stats! C’mon, he’s not gonna be that good…
Aaron Gordon – But Gordon might! 22/18/1/0/2 in his Summer League debut with a couple of treys then 21/10/3/3/0 yesterday, with another trey and 8-11 from the field. His range had been a red flag coming into the pros, and if that expands, look out. I really hope he is the starter day one – I’m going to be all in.
Stanley Johnson – Also looking great in summer play, scoring 24 on 10-14 FG in his debut. He’s playing at a Goodspeed! The Rock joke? No? Too dated? Back when Michael Bay was OK?! No?!??!! Fine.
We’ll be doing another Podcast at the end of the week to cover the massive amount of moves across the NBA, as we push into more Summer League action and overrate rookie performances. It’s what we do! Thanks for stopping by, Razzball Nation!