The Second Wave
Things calmed down a bit after the initial signing spree a month ago but it seems like the major holdouts are starting to find the deals they want. So who's come out ahead? Who's strugglied so far?
Winners: Big Men.
I get that Andrew Bogut, Andris Biedrins, and Emeka Okafor are quality big men but they aren't difference makers and don't exactly warrant the deals that they've signed. Bogut especially has done nothing of much interest and I don't think he's exactly earned the tens of millions he has coming his way. Okafor is a monster on the defensive end but he's not exactly the most stable of players and I'm not sure if a 6 year deal was a wise choice. Charlotte should have given him the money or the years, not both. A smaller money deal with a player option in the third year would have been a more reasonable offer. As for Biedrins, he's the toughest call because he's still so young. 10 million a year is probably the best the Warriors could have done but I hope they made it a straight 10 million per or a frontloaded deal because the team would be better off having more space in the future. They are a team on the rebound right now so they can eat the two big dollar years now and then have space to add to the squad in the future. Still, Ellis, Biedrins, and Maggette are nice players but this is still a mix of talent that's going nowhere but the lottery.
Losers: Fans of Mediocre Teams
The Bucks and Bobcats are going anywhere soon and these signings just cemented them in their mediocrity. I just can't see a Michael Redd/Richard Jefferson/Andrew Bogut team making much noise. Ditto for the Gerald Wallace/Jason Richardson/Okafor trio in Charlotte. Even worse, the GM's blew their draft picks, the Bucks adding Joe Alexander and the Bobcats grabbing Alexis Ajinca over Donte Greene and Darrell Arthur (not to mention Kyle Weaver over Chris Douglas-Roberts and Bill Walker. I don't mind DJ Augustin but I'm not sure he's better than Felton and they should have dealt Felton before draft day because his value took a shot when the 'Cats gave him a vote of no confidence by getting Augustin. As for the Warriors, they are rebuilding and I wouldn't be surprised if there was mid-season talk about the Celtics going after Stephen Jackson.
Winners: Both Teams in the Artest deal
Adding Ron Artest is definitely a risk. He's a highly underrated player and a guy who could help the Rockets make a legit run in the second season but he's also a gunner who could clash with Yao and T-Mac. While I don't mind Rafer Alston, Luther Head, and Aaron Brooks, I don't particularly like any of them and I think this team could use the steadying hand of a veteran point guard. All in all though, Daryl Morey turned a #25 pick, Bobby Jackson, and a future first (which will be a late pick) for Ron Artest, Joey Dorsey, and a Grizzlies 2nd rounder (which won't be much worse than the Rox first rounder).
As for Sacramento, they get a talented young player in Greene who should have gone late-lotto, mid-first. In fact, they probably should have taken him instead of Jason Thompson. (In fact, Thompson and Greene kind of duplicate one another.) Still, it was a solid deal, not only because the Kings helped themselves but they stuck it to their arch-rival Lakers as well.
Losers: Lakers and Cavs
Yes, Andrew Bynum is coming back and yes, JJ Hickson had a nice summer league but I just don't think that means much to Kobe and LeBron.
Winners: Gerald Green
If there's one place he might be able to shine, it's Dallas.
Losers: Minnesota Timberwolves
I still hate the Kevin Love for OJ Mayo deal and I really don't understand why Kevin McHale is re-signing all of the players from last year's team. I might be one of the last people to still believe in Bassy but a three year deal for 6 million? Not even a team option in there? They brought Gomes and Craig Smith back in for cheap but with Love and Jefferson in the middle, is there really playing time for both of them? Could you imagine a Bassy, Mike Miller, Gomes, Love, Jefferson lineup? They'd give up 120 on a good night. On the bright side, the Wolves didn't overpay for anyone and give them 5 or 6 year deals so I guess head-scratching moves is a step up from their usual obviously dumb transactions.
Winners: Marcus Williams
The former UConn guard should finally get a chance at legit minutes on the woeful Warriors. Monta Ellis is better off at the 2 so Williams could be starting.
Losers: Sports Reporting
I understand how there are mistakes during the draft but I don't ever remember there being so many rumors and reports that were just plain wrong as this year. It seems like half of the stories that are floated end up being nothing more than gibberish. Unfortunately, in this day and age, sports networks would rather discuss and debate an erroneous report for a day rather than actually do the legwork to dig up some real news.