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Roundup: 2015 NBA free agent grades

Can't keep up with NBA free agency? We've got you covered. is grading every deal.

With the NBA's free-agent frenzy officially underway,'s Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney dive into the madness and grade every deal.

The NBA's free-agent period began at 12:01 a.m. on July 1, but players and teams can't officially sign deals until July 9. For a complete list of free agents, click here.

• MORE NBA: Free agent tracker | Top 25 FAs | Storylines | Position rankings

Tim Duncan, Spurs

Contract: 2 years, $10.4 million | Grade: A++

Tim Duncan is so old that his late-career sacrifice contract now has a sequel. San Antonio has signed Duncan to a two-year, $10.4 million contract, according to and Yahoo Sports. The deal, which will pay Duncan $5 million in 2015-16, includes a player option for the 2016-17 season. To say that Duncan's deal represents a significant sacrifice would be putting it mildly. If Duncan, a lifelong member of the Spurs, had actually entered the open market this summer, a four-year max contract offer wouldn't necessarily been out of the question, even at his age. At worst, a contender would have been willing to give him Greg Monroe money: $49.4 million over three years. — B.G. READ MORE

LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs

Contract: 4 years, $80 million | Grade: A+

This summer, as should now be obvious, was quite different. The Spurs spent the opening days of free agency wooing All-NBA forward LaMarcus Aldridge, a player deserving of the kind of cap space San Antonio has rarely had available. On Saturday the agreement between the two teams was announced by Aldridge himself on Twitter and then reported in detail: Aldridge would join the Spurs on a four-year max deal worth $80 million.​ — R.M. READ MORE

LeBron James, Cavaliers

Contract: 2 years, $47 million | Grade: A+

No letter this time, just a signature. LeBron James has agreed to re-sign with the Cavaliers on a two-year, $47 million contract, according to and The deal, which will pay him $23 million in 2015-16, includes a $24 million player option for 2016-17. The pomp and circumstance that accompanied James's 2014 return to Cleveland after four years in Miami didn't exist this time around. dubbed James's 2015 decision "The Formality" because the four-time MVP never indicated a desire to expand his free-agent options outside the Cavaliers, and that's exactly how it wound up playing out.​ — B.G. READ MORE

Anthony Davis, Pelicans

Contract: 5 years, $145 million | Grade: A+

This was an open-and-shut negotiation because Davis is a once-in-a-decade talent and the Pelicans are one of 30 NBA teams that would sacrifice anything to get their hands on the 2012 No. 1 overall pick. There wasn't much to discuss: Davis could have anything he wanted and New Orleans would gladly give it to him as soon as possible. — B.G. READ MORE

Kawhi Leonard, Spurs

Contract: 5 years, $95 million | Grade: A+

As it stands, Leonard is already arguably the league's third-best small forward behind James and Kevin Durant, thanks to excellent size/strength/quickness combination and his incredible defensive instincts and timing. Finding such a talent midway through the first round of the 2011 draft amounted to a steal. Securing Leonard's A-list talent through his 29th birthday is a major step for San Antonio's long-term planning, as one of the league's steadiest ships is headed for major roster turnover whenever Duncan calls it quits. — B.G. READ MORE

DeAndre Jordan, Mavericks

[Editor's note: Jordan reneged on his commitment to sign with the Mavericks and re-signed with the Clippers early Thursday morning.]

Contract: 4 years, $80 million | Grade: A+

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban should be overjoyed by this acquisition. DeAndre Jordan was arguably the second-best attainable talent on this summer's market, aside from LaMarcus Aldridge, and he makes for a better fit than the Blazers forward in Dallas. Like Tyson Chandler before him, Jordan will be asked to cover up Dirk Nowitzki's defensive mistakes while feasting on alley-oops created by a spread approach. Upgrading from Chandler to Jordan at center saves Dallas six years in age, and it removes any lingering injury concerns. Rather than a trusted, familiar hand who is headed for decline fairly soon, the Mavericks now have a legit All-Star candidate who is entering his prime and has enjoyed pristine health. — B.G. READ MORE

Danny Green, Spurs

Contract: 4 years, $45 million | Grade: A+

No team in the NBA takes care of its internal business quite like the Spurs. San Antonio had a chance to carve out max cap room and retain most of its key pieces provided that team officials convinced Kawhi Leonard to wait before signing any offer sheet and secured the trust of Danny Green to either sit out or wait out the market. Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford did themselves one better in both cases by agreeing with Leonard to the terms of a secure, five-year deal and committing to bring back Green at a relative bargain. 

Make no mistake: Four years and $45 million is an outstanding value for Green, who ranks as both one of the best three-point shooters and best perimeter defenders in the game. Too often 3-and-D types are a stretch in one of those two crucial departments. Green is exemplary in both regards, and yet he’ll be paid significantly less over the life of his next deal than other free agents of comparable roles. To get Green back at this rate at all is a coup for San Antonio. That the specifics of Green’s return—in conjunction with the Spurs’ other deals—might ultimately help land LaMarcus Aldridge is just gravy. — R.M. READ MORE

Brandan Wright, Grizzlies

Contract: 3 years, $18 million | Grade: A+

On the first day of NBA free agency, teams on the whole committed to an astounding $1.4 billion in future player salary. Factored into that sum was a modest three-year, $18 million deal that, in the context of the day’s splurging, seemed as if it were a relic of another era. It was earmarked for Brandan Wright from the Memphis Grizzlies—a quiet, mid-level arrangement that already looks to be one of the best values of the off-season. — R.M. READ MORE

David West, Spurs

Contract: 1 year, $1.4 million | Grade: A+

For the Spurs, this is yet another coup. David West, who was the top name included on's "Best remaining free agents" list published Monday, plugs in as the fourth big man in the rotation behind Tim Duncan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Boris Diaw, even though he's still fully capable of playing starting minutes on a good team. His addition helps soften the blow from the departures of Tiago Splitter and Aron Baynes, and it provides another very capable player to help keep the minutes off of Duncan, who carried a heavy load early in the 2014-15 season due to injuries to his teammates. How much he plays once the postseason rolls around remains an open question, given the other available options and Leonard's ability to slide up to the four in smaller lineups, but there's absolutely no question he will be ready when called upon. 

The NBA just doesn't see this type of decision-making very often. Yes, mid-30s free agents often take less to play on winners. The key difference here is that West chose to become a free agent, rejecting guaranteed money and a bigger role on a likely playoff team to improve his chances at a real run. — B.G. READ MORE

Damian Lillard, Blazers

Contract: 5 years, $125 million | Grade: A

With one starter already traded and three others drawing significant outside interest in free agency, the Blazers nailed down one foundational piece for as long as possible.

Two-time All-Star point guard Damian Lillard has agreed to a five-year, $125 million maximum rookie contract extension, according to USA Today and Yahoo Sports. The deal, which kicks in for the 2016-17 season and runs through 2020-21, reportedly doesn't include any options. This marks the second nine-figure deal of Lillard's career, as he inked an endorsement deal with Adidas worth a reported $100-plus million last year.

"I play the game out of love and it's inspiring to be rewarded for doing things the right way and being a high character person, Lillard said in a statement to Yahoo Sports. "It's also comforting knowing that none of what I've accomplished has been handed to me." — B.G. READ MORE

Marc Gasol, Grizzlies

Contract: 5 years, $110 million | Grade: A

For seven years, Marc Gasol’s versatile game has defined Grizzlies basketball. Memphis’s front office has now seen to it that, barring a culture-quaking trade somewhere down the line, this latest deal will bring Gasol’s stay as the franchise's principal contributor to 12 years. Given Gasol's special relationship with the city, we wouldn't want it any other way. — R.M. READ MORE

Kevin Love, Cavaliers

Contract: 5 years, $110 million | Grade: A

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and his team's fans should be elated by this deal. A Love defection would have been very hard to swallow so soon after trading away Andrew Wiggins, the 2014 No. 1 overall pick and 2015 Rookie of the Year. Had Love left, Cleveland would have been able to fill his minutes with Tristan Thompson and others, but an offense that ranked No. 1 in the league after Jan. 21 would have really missed his firepower. Now, the Cavaliers enter next season ready to put the James/Irving/Love growing pains behind them and take the league by storm. They also bring a frontline rotation of Love, Thompson, Timofey Mozgov, Anderson Varejao that's capable of playing big or small, pound or spread, depending on matchups. Look out. — B.G. READ MORE

Draymond Green, Warriors

Contract: 5 years, $85 million | Grade: A

Without question, taking care of Draymond Green was Golden State's top order of business this off-season. Now, the Warriors are in position to defend their title with their top eight players (by minutes logged) already under contract. What's more, Golden State's core group of Curry, Green, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes is all 26 and younger, meaning that the Warriors could plausibly be in the contention conversation for the full duration of Green's new deal. — B.G. READ MORE

Greg Monroe, Bucks

Contract: 3 years, $50 million | Grade: A

Milwaukee was a pitiful offensive team last season, though within its roster one could see the bones of something interesting. Monroe is a means of accessing that promise; his high-usage utility eases the burden on the Bucks’ overwhelmed creators, even if the roster’s current state doesn’t yet allow Monroe himself to maximize his offensive game. Give it time. First, Milwaukee must find a balance in its operations around Monroe as the team’s other young players come into their own. Then comes the refinement of the roster to contending precision – a next step made possible by moves like this one, coaching like Kidd’s, and a team-wide commitment to organic growth. — R.M. READ MORE

Dwyane Wade, Heat

Contract: 1 year, $20 million | Grade: A

This agreement comes after a month or so of anxiety generated by an impasse between player and team. Wade even fanned the speculative flames by referring to his time in Miami in the past tense during an NBA Finals telecast. Despite rumors loosely linking Wade to the Lakers and LeBron James's Cavaliers, a return to the Heat was always the most plausible option. Miami not only offers the familiarity that comes with a career-long relationship, but also a lineup that's in position to be one of the East's best. 

Wade's return completes a projected starting five that looks stacked on paper: Wade joins Goran Dragic in the backcourt, with Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside in the frontcourt. If you're into counting accolades, that's three former All-Stars (Wade, Bosh, and Deng), three former All-NBA selections (Wade, Dragic, and Bosh), two former All-Defensive selections (Wade and Deng), and one of the top candidates for the 2015 Most Improved Player award (Whiteside). — B.G. READ MORE

Josh Smith, Clippers

Contract: 1 year, Veteran's minimum | Grade: A

The Clippers will inevitably make concessions whenever Blake Griffin steps off the floor. Josh Smith, though, is the closest reasonable facsimile to Griffin that the free agent market could offer—a big who can handle, post up, make plays, defend in space, finish strong, screen, and even dabble on the perimeter, if not exactly in perfect balance. On some nights, Smith will drive Rivers and Chris Paul crazy. On most others, he’ll be a welcome, well-rounded component of a contending rotation. — R.M. READ MORE

Gerald Green, Heat

Contract: 1 year, Veteran's minimum | Grade: A

Miami was in need of a player of Green’s very skill set. At 38% from three-point range over the past two seasons, Green is the kind of range shooter who could space out the midrange games of Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng. His wildfire offense, too, is a bargain at this price. Lou Williams pulled a three-year deal with the Lakers worth $21 million. Green, with a similar package of skills, will make but a fraction of that. His nonexistent defense is the cost of doing business. No team would sign Green without understanding first that he’s a one-way player. The Heat can deal so long as Green’s burst scoring can help to round out their scoring on the second unit.​ — R.M. READ MORE

Omri Casspi, Kings

Contract: 2 years, $6 million | Grade: A

After days of begging various free agents to take their rich contract offers, the Kings quietly agreed to re-sign Casspi at an impressive bargain. Sacramento was lucky to have Casspi last season; his utility game worked as a bridge between the disparate elements of the Kings’ offense, which—as one might expect of a team that went through three head coaches—otherwise lacked rhythm and continuity. No one aspect of Casspi’s game defines his value; he can shoot well, run the floor, make plays, cut intelligently, handle a bit, and defend sufficiently. He doesn’t offer any of the above at an exceptional level, though in total his skills and instincts make him far more valuable than his new contract suggests. — R.M. READ MORE

Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors

Contract: 4 years, $64 million | Grade: A-

Jonas Valanciunas, a 2011 lottery pick who waited one year before entering the NBA in 2012–13, joins 2012 lottery picks Anthony Davis (5 years, $145 million) and Damian Lillard (5 years, $120 million) by signing an early extension. He will make $4.7 million in the final year of his rookie contract this season.

A full-time starter throughout his three-year career, Valanciunas averaged a career-high 12 points and a team-leading 8.7 rebounds last season. Progress has come steadily, rather than in quantum leaps, for one of the NBA’s most promising young big men. — B.G. READ MORE

Kyle O'Quinn, Knicks

Contract: 4 years, $16 million | Grade: A-

There’s just an intelligence to the way that O’Quinn operates that bodes well for the next phase of his career. He can pass, he can shoot from mid-range, and his length alone makes him a tricky defender to work around. To get all that in a big man should have cost the Knicks more than an average annual salary of $4 million over the next four years. That it didn’t is a tremendous break for New York, which now has a bargain big man on the books with interesting developmental potential. Even the slightest stretch or expansion to O’Quinn’s game could make him a vital contributor in time. New York needs as much of that kind of upside as it can reasonably acquire. — R.M. READ MORE

Mike Dunleavy, Bulls

Contract: 3 years, $14.4 million | Grade: A-

The common denominator between Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, and Joakim Noah is the interior focus of their respective scoring games. With that, it’s crucial for the Bulls to have complementary players who take to low-usage perimeter roles with ease. Dunleavy is just that. He’s an accurate three-point shooter and willing ball-mover who plays exactly the way that Chicago should aim to under coach Fred Hoiberg.

Even at 34 years old, athletic decline isn’t a glaring concern; Dunleavy is protected defensively by the help of players like Butler, Gibson, and Noah and limited on offense to playing only in the ways he’s most comfortable. Besides, this kind of deal – which isn’t fully guaranteed in its third season, according to initial reports – is a terrific value for a support player relative to the market. Dunleavy is one of the steadiest shooters available. That he could be re-signed on such a team-friendly deal is a quiet triumph for Chicago. — R.M. READ MORE

Jeremy Lin, Hornets

Contract: 2 years, $4.3 million | Grade: B+

A terrific contract for one of the better pick-and-roll creators on the market. The fit, admittedly, is a bit awkward; Lin won’t have an opportunity for big minutes in Charlotte and, so long as Al Jefferson is central to the offense, the Hornets’ game plan will always have an interior focus. The value is good enough that those concerns are quieted. Lin can initiate offense as a member of the second unit and get to the rim when surrounded by some of Charlotte’s newly acquired perimeter threats (rookie Frank Kaminsky included). At worst, the Hornets have a quality player out of sync with their chosen style signed to a terrific, surprising contract. — R.M. READ MORE

Paul Millsap, Hawks

Contract: 3 years, $48 million | Grade: B+

The days of Millsap being one of the NBA's biggest bargains are now over. This contract moves him into the realm of the properly compensated, as his new $19.6 million average annual salary is right in line with repeat All-Stars in their primes with demonstrated postseason success. For comparison's sake, Millsap ranked No. 11 overall on's "Top 25 Free Agents of 2015" list, placing fourth at his position. — B.G. READ MORE

Brandon Knight, Suns

Contract: 5 years, $70 million | Grade: B+

In a best-case scenario, Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe show that they can coexist and blossom together, eventually giving Phoenix one of the most dynamic backcourts in the league. In a worst-case scenario, the two can't quite mesh and Knight winds up somewhere in the vicinity of a top 20 starting point guard. Either way, a $14 million average annual value shouldn't ever prove to be damaging, particularly for a Suns squad lacking deadweight salaries on its books. — B.G. READ MORE

C.J. Watson, Magic

Contract: 3 years, $15 million | Grade: B+

Watson is a prescription for Orlando’s most obvious need (perimeter shooting) and should work well in conjunction with its young, developing core. That the eight-year veteran has ample experience on and off the ball will serve him well with the Magic. Manning the backcourt with any combination of Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton, or Mario Hezonja will come with its own unique responsibilities, most of which Watson’s flexible game should be able to accommodate. This is a substantial upgrade over Luke Ridnour, to say the least, and a prudent addition for a team that already has plenty of talent to work with. Let the prospects grow and blend in veterans like Watson to help them along. — R.M. READ MORE

Marcus Thornton, Rockets

Contract: 1 year, veteran minimum | Grade: B+

Between Trevor Ariza, Patrick Beverley, Corey Brewer, Sam Dekker, and Jason Terry (should he return, as seems likely), the Rockets are heavy with perimeter players who can only score under particular conditions. Thornton is a wing of a different kind—a legitimate candidate to generate instant offense when James Harden isn’t on the floor. Houston can make use of his talents with the ball to tide over its offense in rough spots or complement the post work of Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas with his perimeter shooting. Those skills typically cost teams far more than the minimum, even for players as scoring-centric as Thornton. — R.M. READ MORE

Amir Johnson, Celtics

Contract: 2 years, $24 million | Grade: B+

Johnson, in a sense, works as a placeholder. This deal will likely take him over the cusp of his playing prime, lasting until his 30th birthday if not sooner. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reported that the second year of Johnson’s contract would be unguaranteed, leaving the Celtics with the flexibility to bail after next season should Johnson’s health or play become any kind of problem. In its entirety, this contract is a good value for its short, adaptable term in a world where Tristan Thompson commands five years at $80 million. — R.M. READ MORE

Thomas Robinson, Nets

Contract: 2 years, $3 million | Grade:  B+

Despite having their hands tied by other salary commitments, the Nets scrounged up a great value for the minimum in Robinson. Any player signed at this amount will come with caveats. Robinson is no exception. Yet most minimum-salary players aren’t nearly so productive (Robinson averaged 13.9 points and 13.7 rebounds per 36 minutes last season) or so athletic, particularly when they’re still so young. Don’t think of Robinson as a former lottery pick. Consider him an able big for a team that needs one and a young player with the potential to easily outperform this contract. — R.M.

Gary Neal, Wizards

Contract: 1 year, $2.1 million | Grade: B+

What makes the Neal signing especially palatable for the Wizards is that they’ve already added a positionally versatile forward to fill the Paul Pierce void with their trade for Jared Dudley and will maintain their full mid-level exception (worth $5.4 million) to use in further improving their roster this summer. Neal, then, gives Washington another shooter and part-time ball handler without much in the way of opportunity cost. How he’s used will go a long way in deciding Neal’s value, though his activity off the ball and quick-fire shooting should make him a welcome accessory to John Wall’s playmaking. — R.M. READ MORE

Wayne Ellington, Nets

Contract: 1 year, $1.5 million | Grade: B

Another low-budget move made to better a team under salary gridlock. Brooklyn is doing what it can. With no cap space and limited exceptions, the Nets picked up Thomas Robinson, Shane Larkin, and now Ellington—a balanced haul of rebounding, ball handling, and shooting. Ellington isn’t much more than a spot-up option, though the Nets could use just that kind of player in the wake of Alan Anderson’s departure. — R.M. READ MORE

Alan Anderson, Wizards

Contract: 1 year, $4 million | Grade:  B

Washington still has needs to fill in the frontcourt, but Anderson makes sense as a competent shooter and wing defender. That he has the size to credibly play small forward gives the Wizards a positional freedom that Gary Neal would not and some security on Otto Porter’s shakier nights. Predictably, Anderson’s new deal also won’t stand in the way of Washington’s cap room plays next summer. High marks all around to get a nice player on an economical deal. — R.M. READ MORE

Goran Dragic, Heat

Contract: 5 years, $90 million | Grade: B

When the Heat dealt two first-round picks in a package for Goran Dragic at the trade deadline, they acquired the Bird rights to a valuable player, but lost all leverage in doing so. Dragic and his agent, Rade Filipovich, are aware of Miami’s situation. The Heat have nearly $60 million in committed salary without accounting for the cap holds of Dragic and Dwyane Wade, meaning that Miami would not have adequate means to replace either should they leave. — R.M. READ MORE

Jimmy Butler, Bulls

Contract: 5 years, $90 million | Grade: B

Even though "buy high" isn't an ideal strategy, Butler's play certainly warranted this decisive approach. Chicago has multiple core pieces at risk of decline over the next few years—Rose, the aging Pau Gasol and the oft-injured Joakim Noah—so the time was right to pay up to maintain momentum. There were times last season, especially before the All-Star break, when Butler had a case as the Eastern Conference's second-best all-around player, aside from LeBron James. The 2015-16 returns of Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and others will cloud that pecking order a bit, but Butler's full defensive toolbox and aggressive mentality should keep him in the All-Star discussion for the duration of this deal. — B.G. READ MORE

Tobias Harris, Magic

Contract: 4 years, $64 million | Grade: B

Although he shot a career-best 36.4% from deep and hit multiple game-winners in 2014-15, Tobias Harris is getting paid here on progress and potential rather than results. Harris has steadily improved his per-game and advanced numbers as his playing time has increased, but he's yet to log real minutes on a competitive squad. This deal amounts to an act of faith for the Magic: new coach Scott Skiles was brought in to help the rebuilding Magic turn the corner, and he'll now expect Harris to grow into a leadership role. — B.G. READ MORE

Kosta Koufos, Kings

Contract: 4 years, $33 million | Grade: B

There is much to like and a few things to wonder about with this move. Koufos is a strong, dependable backup with a defense-first reputation. In a reduced role behind starters Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph in Memphis, Koufos posted an excellent 94.8 defensive rating and a +3.3 Defensive Real Plus-Minus that ranked in the top 10 among centers. He's right in that grey area between "overqualified backup" and "less-than-ideal starter," which is pretty good news for the Kings, who need talented, live bodies in an overhauled frontcourt that underwhelmed last season. Did you know that Sacramento, which ranked No. 27 in defensive efficiency last season, hasn't had an above-average defense since 2005-06? Koufos should definitely help. — B.G. READ MORE

​Robin Lopez, Knicks

Contract: 4 years, $54 million | Grade: B

The first eight-figure contract of Phil Jackson's rebuilding effort in New York will go to a supporting actor, rather than a Broadway star. Unrestricted free agent center Robin Lopez has reportedly agreed to a four-year, $54 million contract with the Knicks, according to Yahoo Sports and Bleacher Report. The deal, which kicks in for the 2015-16 season and runs through 2018-19, doesn't include any option years. After spending two seasons in Portland, Lopez heads to New York, where his twin brother Brook is the starting center for the Nets. "Excited to be part of the Knicks legacy," Lopez wrote on Twitter. "It's going to be like 'On the Town' but with way more box outs and dunks." — B.G. READ MORE

Paul Pierce, Clippers

Contract: 3 years, $10.6 million | Grade: B

This was a deal worth doing for the Clippers, who need all the help they can get behind their strong core trio of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan (assuming he re-signs). Paul Pierce arrives at a significant per-year discount, relative to the $5.5 million player option he turned down from Washington, and securing a team option at the end of this deal will likely look very wise as Pierce approaches 40. — B.G. READ MORE

Mo Williams, Cavaliers

Contract: 2 years, $4.3 million | Grade: B

Should Kyrie Irving again miss time to injury, the Cavs’ offense will be better prepared to cope thanks to Williams. Even teams with multiple stars can benefit from shot-creating role players. Williams is effective in that regard so long as is he isn’t left entirely to his own devices; the run of Mo Williams, Starter tends to play out very differently than that of Mo Williams, Reserve. LeBron James and Kevin Love are a perfect counterbalance—versatile forwards who will allow Williams to contribute plenty without overstepping.

That’s a nice luxury to have. Even when spelling Irving for mere minutes at a time, Williams gives the Cavs a more commanding offensive player at the point than they would otherwise have in Dellavedova. Williams’ defense is another matter entirely, though Cleveland has likely solidified enough on that end by this point to account for most of Williams’ deficiencies. — R.M. READ MORE

Wesley Johnson, Clippers

Contract: 2 years, Veteran's minimum | Grade: B

A nice get for a team with limited options. Johnson makes the most sense as a bit player on a team with the flexibility to play small, as is true of the Clippers. The only bigs that L.A. has under contract at present are Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Johnson, like Paul Pierce, can give Clippers coach Doc Rivers a different, stretchier look at power forward or a longer defender on the wing. The core is set. What held the Clippers back last season was an almost unplayable bench. To add even a few marginally useful reserves could go a long way in solidifying their rotation.​ — R.M.

Jeremy Evans, Mavericks

Contract: 1 year, Veteran's minimum | Grade: B

Considering Dallas’s need for spot contributors at the minimum salary, Evans is a good get. Rick Carlisle’s offense has maximized the talents of lean, athletic roll men in the past and will aim to stretch Evans in the same way. His days on the wing are likely done. Evans more clearly fits the vision of an active, mobile big for Dallas, particularly when the engine is already in place to create catch-and-finish for Evans and DeAndre Jordan as it did Tyson Chandler and Brandan Wright. This is a developmental project, though one with the potential for a nice payoff should all go well. — R.M.

Patrick Beverley, Rockets

Contract: 4 years, $25 million | Grade: B

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It wasn’t until the Western Conference finals last season that the Rockets’ patchwork point guard rotation was set ablaze and Beverley’s absence was felt fully. That was, in itself, a testament to the creative talents of James Harden, the versatile defense of Trevor Ariza, and the coaching of Kevin McHale. It was also indicative of life in the West, where it’s only a matter of time before some fellow contender finds and attacks an opposing roster’s biggest weaknesses. 

Bringing Beverley back is a sufficient solution. Houston doesn’t need as much from its point guard slot as most teams given Harden’s proficiency as a ball handler. This mitigates Beverley’s limitations; what he can’t do as a shot creator matters less than what he can as a defender and spot shooter. So long as Beverley continues to hold his ground as a go-to defender and hit threes at a rate around the league average (or better), the Rockets make out well in this arrangement. — R.M. READ MORE

Monta Ellis, Pacers

Contract: 4 years, $44 million | Grade: B

The Pacers' uninspiring, No. 23 ranked offense needed a boost, and the unpredictable and often electric Monta Ellis is here to help. Last season, Ellis was the leading scorer on a top-five offense in Dallas, posting averages of 18.9 points and 4.1 assists. Indiana can use all the extra ballhandling and play-making that it can get, and Ellis handles those tasks well. His arrival will allow George Hill to move off the ball while allowing C.J. Miles to fill a complementary role. — B.G. READ MORE

Thaddeus Young, Nets

Contract: 4 years, $50 million | Grade: B

Young turned out to be a nice in-season addition for Brooklyn, a fact reinforced by his retention. He initially cost the Nets only the expiring contract of Kevin Garnett—a player nowhere near as useful as Young in his current form and of little value in re-signing. Instead, Brooklyn acquired and then committed to a quality power forward option who fits nicely into this current roster. Young does his best work without the ball in his hands; by cutting opposite scorers (like Lopez, Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams) and working his way into offensive rebounds, Young manufactures value in as low-maintenance a fashion as is possible. He rounds out that skill set with understated help defense to complete the profile of a quality starter. This is what players as good as Young are paid, and should they ultimately need to trade the 27-year-old forward before his contract runs out, the Nets should have no trouble in doing so. — R.M. READ MORE

Cory Joseph, Raptors

Contract: 4 years, $30 million | Grade: B

This summer's free agency crop saw three big-money point guards—Goran Dragic, Brandon Knight and Reggie Jackson—and Joseph was arguably the most desirable second-tier floor general based on his youth and potential. His per-game and advanced numbers have steadily increased during his four-year career, and he looks more than ready to take on a larger role. In Toronto, he will serve as a third guard behind 2015 All-Star Kyle Lowry and 2014 All-Star DeMar DeRozan, filling minutes vacated by the departures of Lou Williams (signed with the Lakers) and Greivis Vasquez (traded to the Bucks). Joseph's arrival bumps 2015 first-round pick Delon Wright down the depth chart. — B.G. READ MORE

Ed Davis, Blazers

Contract: 3 years, $20 million | Grade: B

The impending loss of star forward LaMarcus Aldridge has pushed the Trail Blazers into a mode of prudent, long-game wagering. After acquiring rising sophomore Noah Vonleh last week, picking up Mason Plumlee on draft night, and committing to Al-Farouq Aminu in the opening hours of free agency, Portland made another move to that end in reportedly agreeing to sign 26-year-old big man Ed Davis to a three-year, $20 million contract.

No team in the Western Conference is going to stumble its way into the playoffs. Those that qualify for the top eight will have done so by amassing top-tier players and considerable supporting talent, the likes of which aren’t realistically in the Blazers’ immediate future. It makes sense, then, for Portland to spend its intervening years by amassing talented players on the come-up. — R.M. READ MORE

Cole Aldrich, Clippers

Contract: 2 years, veteran minimum | Grade: B

Doc Rivers, who works a double-shift as both coach and team vice president, was justifiably criticized for the state and inflexibility of the Clipper bench a season ago. In his second offseason at the head of basketball operations in Los Angeles, Rivers seems to have done a far better job of filling out the rotation on a budget. Aldrich is a part of that. The Clippers needed a playable NBA big man with the size to man the center position and found one on the cheap. What Aldrich lacks as a player is best compensated by playing alongside a point guard like Paul. Otherwise, he can offer a sound return on his signing with rebounding and defense alone. — R.M.

Mirza Teletovic, Suns

Contract: One year, $5.5 million | Grade: B

Phoenix is clear in the style of basketball it prefers and Teletovic fits that style perfectly. He figures to spend time at both forward spots as a means to spread the floor; that Teletovic stands a sturdy 6'8" allows him to credibly guard some power forwards and shoot over the top of closing defenders with a high release point. The rest of Teletovic’s game has rounded out as to allow for some off-the-dribble creativity when the ball swings his way, broadening his value beyond spot-up specialty. Brooklyn’s luxury tax situation made Teletovic (who was initially a restricted free agent before his qualifying offer was rescinded) available. Credit Phoenix, though, for snatching him up off the market on a fair deal with no long-term cap repercussions. — R.M. 

Marco Belinelli, Kings 

Contract: 3 years, $19 million | Grade: B

The post-centric team that ranked 28th in the league in three-point attempts last season made a quick commitment to a willing shooter. Belinelli can be streaky from beyond the arc, though the very fact that he’s willing to bomb away from the perimeter while maintaining a good percentage (39.2% for his career) should help open up the floor for Sacramento. To put his gunning in context: Despite Belinelli playing just 1,388 total minutes for the season, his 230 long-range attempts would have ranked second on the Kings only to Ben McLemore (390). It’s a modest move for a team with deeper issues, but the addition of a role player needn’t solve all of the Kings’ problems.​ — R.M. READ MORE

Luis Scola, Raptors

Contract: 1 year, $3 million | Grade: B

One of the steadiest bigs left on the market will fill an obvious void in Toronto. Given that Jonas Valanciunas and the recently added Bismack Biyombo can’t be expected to play together, Patrick Patterson was the only traditional power forward on the Raptors’ roster. Scola, then, is another option for those occasions when Dwane Casey doesn’t feel comfortable going to DeMarre Carroll or James Johnson at the four. Scola’s post game still holds up. His rebounding is better than you’d think for an athletically limited 35-year-old player. The same defensive concerns that have followed Scola throughout his career still apply, but he’s smart enough on that end to pass as tolerable. Toronto did well here. — R.M.

Will Barton, Nuggets

Contract: Three years, $11 million | Grade: B

As currently constructed, the Nuggets are largely a team of known quantities. Barton is a notable exception. The 24-year-old wing is still figuring out where he fits in the context of an NBA team and which aspects of his wild game should be harnessed more regularly. His partial season in Denver was easily his most promising stretch in the league. There could be something to that; a faster, more frenetic style better suits Barton’s athletic profile than the slow-churning offense in Portland, making this a smart match so long as Denver continues to be aggressive in transition under Mike Malone. If nothing else, Barton could have a future in the Corey Brewer mold—brimming with energy and working with the kind of length and speed that keep him an active presence. — R.M.

Khris Middleton, Bucks

Contract: 5 years, $70 million | Grade: B-

Milwaukee wasted little time re-upping with its most important free agent. The price tag on this contract may seem high given Middleton's low profile on a non-contending team, but it's a reasonable figure considering he may have earned a max offer sheet from another team. As the incumbent team, the Bucks had the benefit of offering more gross salary over the full five years, even if the deal is less lucrative on a per-year basis. Middleton offers value as a three-point shooter and wing stopper. The 23-year-old averaged over 13 points and shot more than 40% from deep last season and provides another versatile defensive cog to a roster already featuring plenty of length and athleticism. While it's not surprising Middleton fetched a hefty sum for his 3-and-D skill set, one can argue that the Bucks may have dipped a little too deep into their pockets. At the same time, Milwaukee isn't viewed around the league as a desirable free agent destination, so consider this a sensible overpay a year before other, perhaps lesser players will command more on the open market with a larger salary cap​. — Chris Johnson READ MORE

Tyson Chandler, Suns

Contract: 4 years, $52 million | Grade: B-

Both parties found a smart fit in their opportunism. Phoenix had previously run a patchwork center rotation based on short-term competence and long-term prospecting. Chandler gives the Suns their best option at that position in years—an outstanding pick-and-roll target and master of defensive positioning. His addition brings backbone and basketball intelligence to a team that could use a bit of both, not to mention a clear upgrade in terms of basic defense, rebounding, and finishing ability. — R.M. READ MORE

Bismack Biyombo, Raptors


Contract: 2 years, $6 million | Grade: B-

Centers don’t usually come on contracts this cheap. Biyombo did for good reason. While broad evaluations of Biyombo’s game likely underrate his value as a defender and rebounder, his dead-weight offensive game is a considerable problem. Any NBA big without range who can’t catch, pass or shoot is going to cost his team in all kinds of ways. Fortunately, Biyombo plays a position where quality defense and even bare-minimum offense would be enough to make him a useful player. Toronto is betting that Biyombo, who after four NBA seasons is just 22 years old, might get there in time. It’s a fair gamble given the cost. — R.M. READ MORE

Jae Crowder, Celtics

Contract: 5 years, $35 million | Grade: B-

Boston’s lasting return of the Rajon Rondo trade is this: A protected first-round pick from Dallas that could convey as soon as next season, a collection of (likely) second round picks both from the initial deal and flipping Brandan Wright to Phoenix, and the right to re-sign 24-year-old wing Jae Crowder. They have reportedly made a commitment to secure the latter on a five-year, $35 million contract that will see Crowder paid before really testing his market in restricted free agency. — R.M. READ MORE

Iman Shumpert, Cavaliers

Contract: 4 years, $40 million | Grade: B-

That’s a rich contract, to be sure, but a workable one for a team that very much needs Iman Shumpert’s perimeter defense. The presence of a dedicated stopper positionally situated between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving helps both stars manage more preferable matchups and streamline their responsibilities. — R.M. READ MORE

Corey Brewer, Rockets

Contract: 3 years, $24M | Grade: B-

Part of the value in acquiring Brewer via trade last season was the power (in the form of early Bird rights) that it would give Houston to re-sign him. Here we see it exercised. The Rockets return a role player perfectly suited to their playing style without at all sacrificing their ability to spend. Brewer’s chaotic contributions might not be worth $23.4 million to every team, but in Houston they’re welcome and fairly compensated. Disrupting passing lanes, hard cuts, and fast-break sprints are at the core of Brewer’s game, all fittings within the context of how the Rockets play. Losing those contributions would have proven painful, too, for a team light in the way of wing depth. Keeping Brewer is a solid move for a team in Houston’s contending station. — R.M. READ MORE

Al-Farouq Aminu, Blazers

Contract: 4 years, $30 million | Grade: B-

Some might find a $30 million deal rich for a 24-year-old with a largely one-way game. Their concerns are valid. But this is ultimately only a slight bump above the $5.5 million mid-level exception and should essentially fall on MLE scale as the cap jumps over the next two seasons. Aminu is being paid the wage of a valuable contributor because he is one; flaws and all, Aminu is a starting-caliber forward on the strength of his defense and rebounding. He’s also, at a lanky 6-9, a perfect small-ball countermeasure. Aminu can cover ground quickly enough to neutralize shooting power forwards while still playing a role in protecting the basket. If the way of the future is through the style of the Warriors, Aminu’s value should increase by the day.​ — R.M. READ MORE

Lou Williams, Lakers

​Contract: 3 years, $21 million | Grade: B-

The next Lakers empire won’t be built overnight. It will take patience to mind these transitional years, and smart moves and good luck beyond that. Williams makes for a tiny component in that big picture, though the Lakers agreeing to a tradeable deal for an NBA-caliber scorer makes for an adequate incremental step. — R.M. READ MORE

Rodney Stuckey, Pacers

Contract: 3 years, $21 million | Grade: B-

Regardless of how Indiana goes about completing its frontcourt, Rodney Stuckey’s new deal makes for a perfectly reasonable expenditure. The Pacers obviously don’t have as much of a need for Stuckey’s services with George returned from injury and Monta Ellis in the fold. That they’re familiar with his pliable game, however, strengthens his appeal as a somewhat known quantity. His deal is modest. His play for the Pacers last season warranted a possible return with a raise. There might not be anything especially thrilling about returning a core contributor from a 38-win team, but Stuckey can be a nice piece and doesn’t in any way detract from the Pacers’ broader plans. — R.M. READ MORE

Brook Lopez, Nets

Contract: 3 years, $60 million | Grade: B-

Lopez carries with him the weight of his injury history—a specter that undoubtedly whittled down his suitors and helped push him into the Nets’ needy arms. Yet when he has been healthy enough to play, Lopez has been one of the few traditional centers able to carry an offense to high efficiency. His compound ability to work in the post and produce out of rolls and cuts to the basket give him real, structural value. The fact that an injury could strike at any moment mitigates it, though not so much as to depress customary value for a scoring seven-footer. It helps, too, that while Lopez is neither the quickest nor the savviest defender, he’s learned to apply his size in ways that could support a viable team defense. The risks associated with Lopez’s health shouldn’t overshadow all that he has to offer. — R.M. READ MORE

Jonas Jerebko, Celtics

Contract: 2 years, $10 million | Grade: B-

Boston seems largely content with running back its roster from last season with only modest renovation. That larger approach is sound as the Celtics wait out the trade market, and in the interim Jerebko makes good sense for a team that can be competitive, regardless. His shooting range and hustle made him a quality contributor for Celtics coach Brad Stevens last season. That Jerebko is more mobile than Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, and Tyler Zeller also gives him a point of differentiation within the rotation, perhaps enough to earn another 18 minutes a game or so. Even if not, two years at $10 million—the second of season of which will reportedly be unguaranteed and thus in the team’s control—is entirely reasonable for a player of Jerebko’s talents and doesn’t come with any significant opportunity cost for Boston. — R.M.

Shane Larkin, Nets

Contract: 2 years, $3 million | Grade: B-

A portion of the taxpayer mid-level exception was enough to add a younger, quicker piece to the Nets’ backcourt rotation. Deron Williams, Jarrett Jack, and Steve Blake don’t exactly make for the most dynamic collection of ball handlers. Larkin, if nothing else, is a change of pace—a pick-and-roll guard who has yet to hit his stride as a pro. There may have been more pressing needs for the Nets to fill, though there’s time left for them to sift through this glut of point guards and no need whatsoever to plan around the likes of Jack and Blake if they think highly of Larkin. — R.M.

Leandro Barbosa, Warriors

Contract: 1 year, $2.5 million | Grade: B-

The taxpayer mid-level exception was one of the few mechanisms the Warriors had to add to their roster this summer. Most of it went, instead, to retaining a member of their bench. For as spacey as Barbosa can be on defense, his ability to shake free with streak scoring is welcome in the context of Golden State’s bench. Players like Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Festus Ezeli need to play off of a teammate with a mind to score. Barbosa has the programming and the skills to provide, if not the consistency. — R.M.

Wesley Matthews, Mavericks

Contract: 4 years, $70 million | Grade: C+

After the Mavericks' future was shaken by DeAndre Jordan's about-face, Dallas was left with a bittersweet pill. Wesley Matthews, who declined the chance to walk back his agreement according to Mark Cuban, was still in the fold. Matthews would become a Maverick and, with Jordan out of the picture, the team's centerpiece addition this summer. Yet rather than come to Dallas on the four-year, $57 million deal that had been contingent on Jordan's signing, Matthews—ruptured Achilles' tendon and all—was given a four-year, $70 million max deal, per

That is a shocking figure. In the whole of the NBA precedent, an Achilles' tear has generally come with devastating, career-altering implications. Something in Matthews's circumstances—be it his age (28), his work ethic, or confidence in the team's heralded training staff—clearly assuaged the Mavs' concerns. — R.M. READ MORE

Arron Afflalo, Knicks

Contract: 2 years, $16 million | Grade: C+

An $8 million average annual salary is a bargain for a projected starting wing, though it’s not a coincidence that Afflalo was available at this price when other players at his position are agreeing to contracts of more than double the value. The player Afflalo once was would be useful to the Knicks: An effort defender who put work into defensive positioning and a solid shooter who could operate in support of a player like Carmelo Anthony. Unfortunately, though Afflalo’s long-range touch remains, the last few years have seen him regress in almost every other regard. 

Afflalo’s shot selection has taken a turn for the unfavorable and his defense has worsened rather significantly. When given touches in volume, Afflalo can put up points. Whether he’ll do so in the ways and at the efficiency that would best suit a team like the Knicks is a different story, and a big part of the reason he was available at this price point. There’s not much harm in New York signing a serviceable wing to what will likely amount to a one-year deal (the second year is a player option). There just won’t likely be much reward in it, either. — R.M.  READ MORE

Joe Ingles, Jazz

Contract: 2 years, $4.5 million | Grade: C+

Why not? Ingles is a well-liked role player who helps facilitate Utah’s offense with his passing, if little else. His aversion to scoring is downright impressive; were it not for a handful of spot-up opportunities a night, Ingles might not shoot at all. Instead he minds the gaps of the opposing defense to capitalize with functional, fluid ball movement. The Jazz would continue apace with or without Ingles. Keeping him around, though, does no real harm at this cost and serves to extend last season’s organizational momentum.​ — R.M.

Derrick Williams, Knicks

Contract: 2 years, $10 million | Grade: C+

For as much as the Knicks could use youth and athleticism, signing Williams at this price is a bit of a stretch. Keep in mind that this is a four-year player without much in the way of discernible NBA skill. His work on the drive and in face-up situations isn’t at all reliable, despite his quickness. His rebounding is troubling for a big and his range is shaky for a wing. His defense has been among the worst in the league for a rotation frontcourt player. It’s still perfectly understandable that a team like New York would want to see for themselves what Williams can offer. He had his moments in Sacramento. There just isn’t enough on record to suggest him worthy of a $10 million investment over two years. — R.M.  READ MORE

DeMarre Carroll, Raptors

Contract: 4 years, $60 million | Grade: C

In free agency, timing is everything, and Carroll's proved to be excellent. The combination of his career-year production, Atlanta's strong season, the premium being put on "three and D" wings, and the playoff spotlight paid off big time. This deal's $15 million average salary is nearly double Carroll's $7.9 million totalearnings through his six-year career, and he will be making at least five times more money next season than his $2.4 million salary from 2014-15. What's more, Carroll will earn more next season than his former All-Star teammates Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver. Now that's a come up for the forgotten fifth starter known as the junkyard dog. — B.G. READ MORE

Jameer Nelson, Nuggets

Contract: 3 years, $13.5 million | Grade: C

Nelson’s mid-season acquisition worked out well for the Nuggets—surprisingly so given how much the veteran guard had struggled during his short stints in Dallas and Boston. Yet this deal will carry the undersized Nelson through his 36th birthday, committing a hardly insignificant sum to a non-essential player through his athletic decline. The contract’s specifics are likely more a product of a thin point guard market than anything else. Denver needed insurance for Ty Lawson’s seemingly inevitable exit and Emmanuel Mudiay’s eventual growing pains. Nelson fits in that regard, if at a price that doesn’t sit especially well. — R.M. READ MORE

Caron Butler, Kings

Contract: 2 years, veteran’s minimum | Grade: C

Distressing as it might sound, Butler may be one of the better long-range shooting options on Sacramento’s roster. Most conventionally constructed Kings lineups will lack for beyond-the-arc balance; it’s hard enough to find room to operate with DeMarcus Cousins working alongside another traditional big and especially so when the starting point guard is a non-threat at any range. Butler addresses that specific deficit as a catch-and-shoot option in a way that makes his signing at the minimum (and use of a roster spot) fairly defensible, if unspectacular. At worst, it’s nice to have another adult in what looks to be a challenging locker room. — R.M. READ MORE

Andrea Bargnani, Nets

Contract: 2 years, veteran minimum | Grade: C

The jokes will be in no short supply, but what’s the real harm here? Brooklyn took a chance on a bottomed-out player who was once regarded highly. So long as expectations and Bargnani’s minutes remain reasonable—as would be suggested by his minimum salary—then this is a marginal deal with marginal upside. The Nets needed playable bigs as it was, and that need has only been exacerbated by Thomas Robinson’s recent knee surgery. Does Bargnani make for ideal rotation filler? Hardly. Could he be occasionally helpful in a small, low-risk role for a mediocre team? Sure. — R.M. READ MORE

Kyle Singler, Thunder

Contract: 5 years, $25 million | Grade: C

Singler’s salary projects to be about five percent of the lofted 2016-17 salary cap, making his re-signing a minor move relative to both the Thunder’s rotation and finances moving forward. Still, this deal is one of the few this summer to register as a legitimate overpay. Singler can pass and shoot a little. He just hasn’t done enough as of yet—and hasn’t meaningfully separated himself enough from the NBA’s fringe bracket—to warrant this kind of investment. This won’t be more than a blip in the grand scheme of the Thunder’s plans, but it seems slightly generous under the circumstances. — R.M. READ MORE

Dante Cunningham, Pelicans

Contract: 3 years, $9 million | Grade: C

Cunningham was overstretched as a mid-season-signing-turned-replacement-starter in New Orleans last season, yet he still found the means to contribute positively with his defense at both forward spots. A healthier Pelicans team would usher Cunningham back into the kind of lower-stakes role his game warrants. One shouldn’t expect the veteran forward to log 25 minutes a game on average next season as he did last. This contract reflects that. New Orleans is bringing back a proven insurance policy at a reasonable price to play stopgap minutes when called upon. ​— R.M. READ MORE

Joel Anthony, Pistons

Contract: 2 years, $5 million | Grade: C

Detroit’s cap room won’t spend itself. Anthony can defend in space and block shots, though his vacant offensive game renders him unusable in some matchups and locked into the center position. The Pistons can live with that in a third-string player. It’s hard to see what value Anthony really adds to Detroit given the presence of two other strict centers (Andre Drummond and Aron Baynes) in the rotation, though his signing at this price isn’t all that much of a concern. Not optimal, but not all that damaging, either. — B.G. READ MORE

Enes Kanter, Thunder

Contract: 4 years, $70 million | Grade: C-

The good old days of Sam Presti maximizing his leverage and the Thunder's success to get someone like Serge Ibaka to agree to a bargain early extension are in the past. The Durant clock is ticking ominously, a division rival smelled blood and made a well-timed poker play, and an agent wisely waited out the first week of free agency to maximize his client's new deal. The result? An unsightly contract that Presti had to grin and bear. — B.G. READ MORE

J.J. Barea, Mavericks

Contract: 4 years, $16 million | Grade: C-

Barea knows the Mavericks’ offense and the Mavericks know what Barea can and can’t do. That mutual understanding has made for a productive relationship in the past, yet it also brought Dallas to commit a shocking amount of salary in light of the team’s revised plans. The original reported agreement between Barea and the Mavs rang up at $5.6 million over two years—the value of the room exception. That made sense for what was, at the time, either a backup or third-string point guard.

To double that term and more than double the money even after adding Deron Williams makes this deal a bit more suspect. This amount of money won’t doom the Mavs or their future plans. It’s just a frivolous choice in light of Barea’s limitations, even if he does a fine job of forcing opponents into rotation with his drives and getting Rick Carlisle’s offense in motion. — R.M.​ READ MORE

Jason Smith, Magic

Contract: 1 year, $4.5 million | Grade: C-

Smith is fine and his deal is harmless. But why would Orlando sign-and-trade Kyle O’Quinn to the Knicks only to then bring in Smith? Effectively, they’ve foregone the long-term value of O’Quinn’s deal and will pay more next season to Smith all for the sake of landing a much older player with less defensive value, worse rebounding numbers, and no upside. Not exactly a great move for the Magic in context. — R.M. READ MORE

Reggie Jackson, Pistons

Contract: 5 years, $80 million | Grade: C-

This deal looks like a serious leap of faith from Pistons coach/president Stan Van Gundy, whose busy off-season has seen the additions of Ersan Ilyasova, Marcus Morris, Danny Granger, Reggie Bullock and eighth overall pick Stanley Johnson, as well as the departure ofGreg Monroe. Van Gundy's willingness to invest was surely influenced by Jackson's productive close to the season, his ability to scale his production when given greater minutes, and his comfort in pick-and-roll scenarios. Van Gundy has sought to increase the spacing in Detroit's offense,by parting with Josh Smith and Monroe, and Jackson's strength in the two-man game will set up the collapse-and-kick opportunities that keep spread teams in business. Detroit's offensive efficiency was three points better under Jackson than Jennings, and he projects long-term as the more reliable starting option. 

It certainly didn't hurt Jackson's cause that Van Gundy needs a point guard now. — B.G. READ MORE

Aron Baynes, Pistons

Contract: 3 years, $20 million | Grade: C-

Aron Baynes is a fine basketball player deserving of an NBA contract—just not this contract. While adding size is nice in light of Greg Monroe’s departure, it’s hard to believe that a fringe rotation big like Baynes would demand this kind of market and have the pull to get a third-year player option. This is a small deal in the context of all the money flying around this summer. Even so, the Pistons (who already have plenty of dead money on the books as a result of waiving Josh Smith), could have spent $20 million more wisely than this. — R.M. READ MORE

Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves

Contract: 2 years, $16 million | Grade: D

This summer was the time for the Timberwolves' finances to get less complicated, not messier. If overpaying Garnett to have him around was deemed to be a necessity, why not shift him into a coaching, management or player development role so that he wouldn't eat up a roster spot and count against the cap? Why not explore other options? How many hours of private tutoring from Hakeem Olajuwon would $16 million get you?

If Towns weren't on the roster, this sentimental signing would be indefensible. As is, it still looks like a questionable decision made with the heart rather than the head. — B.G. READ MORE

Omer Asik, Pelicans

Contract: 5 years, $60 million | Grade: D

Because the Pelicans already have eight-figure salaries on the books for Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, they didn't possess the ability to chase a comparable center in free agency as an Asik replacement. Does that fact justify this deal? Not convincingly. Given his one-way game, Asik will need to play at an elite level defensively to justify the total size of this deal, and his lack of speed and polish represent a questionable fit if Gentry does proceed with a faster approach. If the contract was shorter, perhaps it would look like a more liquid trade piece. As is, the safest assumption is that he will remain in New Orleans for at least the first two years of the deal. — B.G. READ MORE

Rajon Rondo, Kings

Contract: 1 year, $10 million | Grade: F

With major downside clearly in play, it's worth asking: What, exactly, is the upside here? In a best-case scenario, a Rajon Rondo-led Kings team wins possibly 42 games on the strength of further progress from Cousins, Karl's coaching ability, and a slightly improved defense. If that does come to pass, Rondo will want to re-up on a longer-term, even bigger-dollar deal or jump ship to a team with more plausible aspirations of postseason success. Is that really a route Sacramento wants to go down? How does Rondo fit into what should be a draft-oriented, youth-driven organic rebuilding effort?

These hypothetical questions don't really have good answers. The easiest response might also be the right answer: Sacramento simply couldn't get anyone else, and it got desperate. Pro-tip to Ranadive: It's a bad sign when the league-wide reaction to your off-season's biggest addition is gleeful anticipation of your upcoming chaos. This wasn't a move worth making for Sacramento at most prices, and certainly not at the $10 million number. — B.G. READ MORE

Shayne Whittington, Pacers

Contract: 1 year, minimum salary | Grade: INC

Whittington logged just 108 minutes last season after playing out his college career in mid-major semi-obscurity. Clearly Indiana saw something it liked in Whittington—at least enough to guarantee his contract for the year—but we just haven’t seen enough of him to fully evaluate his professional prospects. — R.M.