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NBA free agency: Grading deals for Carlos Boozer, Chris Andersen, more

Power forward Carlos Boozer is headed to the Lakers after spending the last four seasons with the Bulls. Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Power forward Carlos Boozer is headed to the Lakers after spending the last four seasons with the Bulls.

Evaluating some of the free-agent moves and waiver-wire activity over the last few days (this list excludes Evan Turner, whose terms on his new Celtics deal have not been reported):

Carlos Boozer was claimed off amnesty waivers by the Lakers. Boozer, 32, an All-Star in 2007 and '08, is far removed from his prime. His offensive game has declined steadily over the past few seasons -- his shooting dipped to a career-low 45.6 percent in '13-14 -- while his defense remains both noncommittal and generally dreadful. But he's a quality rebounder and helpful passer who can make a 15-footer, and on those grounds alone he has a place in a rotation. Paying $3.3 million for a longtime starter whose role should be reduced isn't bad, and the fact that Boozer is under contract for only one year makes this about as neutral as an offseason acquisition could be. Boozer will show up, play some minutes, cash some checks, grab some rebounds, miss a whole lot of rotational assignments and then be on his way. Grade: C

Chris Andersen has agreed to a two-year, $10.4 million deal with the Heat (via ESPN.com). This is an overpay for a limited 36-year-old big man, but also a play for one of the best center options available to the Heat. To find size or rim protection elsewhere in free agency, Miami would have needed to sacrifice significant cap space tagged for other players. Andersen, though, was brought back via his Bird rights – a mechanism that allowed the Heat to spend up to and over the $63.1 million salary cap in their offseason reboot. There was room for Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger in part because of how Andersen was re-signed. Miami, then, gets its man while keeping competitive and financially flexible. Grade: B-

DeJuan Blair has agreed to a three-year, $6 million deal with the Wizards. Because the final season is not guaranteed, this is essentially a three-year deal with a team option. That's a nice setup for the Wizards, who will receive solid, productive backup minutes from the 25-year-old Blair over the next two seasons without any financial risk beyond 2016. That timing is no coincidence: Washington, like many teams, has structured its commitments to maximize flexibility for when Kevin Durant and a host of other stars hit free agency that summer. Grade: B-

Kevin Seraphin has accepted a $3.9 million qualifying offer from the Wizards (via Yahoo Sports). Washington extended a qualifying offer to the 24-year-old power forward last month, presumably out of concern for its frontcourt depth. As it turns out, the Wizards won't have much use for Seraphin. Blair and Kris Humphries have been acquired to play reserve minutes behind Nene and re-signed center Marcin Gortat, power forward Drew Gooden is back at the veteran minimum and the recently signed Paul Pierce might see time as a small-ball power forward. Seraphin, then, will eat up a roster spot and earn an above-market salary while filling the same type of marginal role as last season, when he averaged only 10.9 minutes in 53 games. That's not of great consequence in the grand scheme of things, but the needless price of keeping Seraphin is almost solely a product of Washington's caution. Grade: D

Aaron Brooks has agreed to a one-year veteran-minimum deal with the Bulls. Chicago wisely operates under the assumption that a decent reserve guard can be affordably replaced with another. C.J. Watson and John Lucas III gave way to Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli, who gave way to D.J. Augustin, who gives way to Brooks. None of the above were overpaid, a trail of moves showing a keen understanding of a market surplus. Augustin, who was quite useful to Chicago last season, joined the Pistons for an average of $3 million per season. Brooks, 29, who averaged 14.9 points per 36 minutes and shot 38.7 percent from three-point range last season, will earn about a third of that despite being a comparable player. Grade: B

Kendall Marshall was claimed off waivers by the Bucks (via ESPN.com). It's not often that playmakers of Marshall's caliber come available at this price. Marshall will make $915,000 this season with no guarantee date, according to Sham Sports, meaning that the Bucks can release him anytime before the January deadline at no future cost. If the 22-year-old point guard continues to develop, Milwaukee could keep him through the season and potentially longer via restricted free agency next summer. But even if Marshall pans out as a zero-sum player who gives up equally on defense what he creates on offense, he's well worth the pickup for a Milwaukee team light on backcourt assets. Grade: B

Ryan Kelly has agreed to a two-year, $3.4 million deal with the Lakers. Kelly's re-signing makes him the fifth big man to strike a deal with the Lakers this summer, following Boozer, Jordan Hill, Ed Davis and No. 7 pick Julius Randle. His approach sets him apart: The 2013 second-round pick lacks the interior game (and rebounding ability) of those other rotation candidates but stands out as the only remotely credible long-range shooter of the bunch after hitting 48-of-142 (33.8 percent) from beyond the arc in his rookie season. Kelly, 23, is a prospect who is worth a closer look for both a stylistic changeup this season and hopeful growth into a more well-rounded player. Grade: C+

Wesley Johnson has agreed to a one-year, veteran-minimum deal with the Lakers (via ESPN.com). Johnson, 27, was just fine for L.A. last season and in all likelihood will be just fine again -- albeit in a more appropriate role. Any team playing Johnson nearly 30 minutes a game isn't in a particularly good place. Assuming the Lakers have a healthier wing rotation in 2014-15, however, Johnson is a perfectly acceptable use of a roster spot and minimum salary to help fill spot minutes: Grade: C

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