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2018 NBA Free Agency: Grading Every Deal

How did your favorite team do in NBA free agency? With the offseason officially underway, The Crossover is grading every new free-agent deal and analyzing the details.

With NBA free agency under way, the new deals are coming in fast and furious. The Crossover is here to analyze every move and grade the deal.

NBA free agency officially began on July 1, but deals can't become official until July 6. To follow every move from the NBA offseason, check out The Crossover's Free Agent Tracker. Also be sure to read our list of the top 50 free agents and our FA matchmaker.

Below is a running list of all our free agent grades. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back throughout free agency for all of The Crossover's coverage.


2018 NBA Free Agency: Grading Every Deal

• Chris Paul to the Rockets (4 years, $160M).  The Rockets were in a tough spot with Paul. When he played last season, he was one of the best players in the league. The issue was availability. In addition to missing the two most important games of the postseason, Paul missed 24 contests during the regular season. CP3 will turn 34 next May—does it really make sense to sign him for four more seasons with his injury history? MORE | Grade: B-

• LeBron James to the Lakers (4 years, $154M). LeBron is going to Hollywood and it was probably a waste of time to ever think he was going somewhere else. With the bevy of new players the Lakers are likely to bring in, LeBron now has the option to build a championship team to his liking. Can this new Lakers team compete with the Warriors? We'll find out.MORE. | Grade: A+

• Paul George to the Thunder (4 years, $137M). The Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to sign free agent star Paul George to a four-year, $137 million contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Or, more accurately: George, after years of mutual flirtation with the Lakers, has chosen to re-sign in Oklahoma City on a long-term deal without so much as meeting with Los Angeles. MORE | Grade: A+

• DeMarcus Cousins to the Warriors (2 years, $18M). What were the concerns for Cousins? Attitude? He’ll have to fall in line playing alongside four (likely) Hall-of-Famers who’ve built a culture of unselfishness. His injury? Cousins can take his time getting healthy because there will be absolutely no pressure on him to be an All-Star when his role was previously filled by the likes of Kevon Looney, Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee. MORE | Grade: A+

• Isaiah Thomas to the Nuggets (1 year, $2.2M). One year ago, Isaiah Thomas was regularly mentioned in the same breath as Kyrie Irving and John Wall. Today, the two-time All-Star guard more closely resembles Enron and Lehman Brothers. The Nuggets reportedly agreed on Thursday to sign the 29-year-old Thomas to a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum, a deal that represents the fourth stage of a precipitous decline that saw his max-contract dreams evaporate in just 12 months. MORE | Grade: B

• Marcus Smart to the Celtics (4 years, $52M). One of the biggest remaining off-season pieces fell into place on Thursday, as restricted free agent guard Marcus Smart reportedly agreed to a four-year, $52 million contract to remain a member of the Boston Celtics. From Smart’s point of view, this is a coup of a contract in a market dry on teams with substantial cap space. Now, the Celtics are dipping into the luxury tax, at least for the time being, to foot the bill. MORE | Grade: B

• DeAndre Jordan to the Mavericks (1 year, $24M). Three years after one of the strangest free agent sagas of all time, DeAndre Jordan will join the Dallas Mavericks. With no faux-hostage situation, Jordan’s signing with the Mavs feels a little anticlimactic this time. MORE | Grade: B

• Jabari Parker to the Bulls (2 years, $40M). Chicago’s pursuit of Jabari Parker was both predictable and exasperating: How could the Bulls, fresh off Derrick Rose’s rapid decline and Dwyane Wade’s expensive misadventure, possibly resist a hometown star with surgically-repaired knees and significant fit issues? Indeed, signing Parker to a two-year, $40 million contract with a team option on Saturday might qualify as peak Bulls. MORE | Grade: C

• Trevor Ariza to the Suns (1 year, $15M). In a surprising twist as free agency opened early Sunday, the young, rebuilding Phoenix Suns chose to pay up for veteran stability, signing reliable wing Trevor Ariza away from the Houston Rockets. MORE | Grade: B

• Will Barton to the Nuggets (4 years, $54M). Barton was an integral piece for Denver last season. Amid stretches of injuries to Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap and Gary Harris, Barton provided much needed doses of offense, and his game was consistent whether he was in the starting lineup or coming off the bench.  MORE | Grade: B+

• Doug McDermott to the Pacers (3 years, $22M). The Pacers seemingly pivoted to McDermott once Barton committed to Denver. The player the Pacers signed is not your older brother’s Doug McDermott, however. The same guy who was a defensive liability for the Thunder and Bulls was actually a slight positive on that end for the Knicks and Mavs last season. MORE | Grade: C+

• Joe Harris to the Nets (2 years, $16M). Harris is an extremely reliable three-point shooter who won’t destroy you defensively. Two years is a small commitment, and the money is in line with guys like McDermott and Marco Bellinelli. The best part about this deal is its flexibility. Harris could have some value as part of a larger trade. MORE | Grade: A

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• Rudy Gay to the Spurs (1 year, $10M). Bringing back Gay on a one-year deal allows San Antonio to remain competitive next season if it wants to, while also maintaining flexibility moving forward for a full-on rebuild. Somebody is going to have to soak up minutes at forward for the Spurs next season. MORE | Grade: C+

• Marco Belinelli to the Spurs (2 years, $12M). The Spurs know what they’re getting here—a shooter who can swing some games and play effective minutes during the regular season, but also someone whose value varies wildly during the playoffs. But with shooting at a premium, San Antonio snaring Belinelli for only $6 million a year is a solid deal.MORE | Grade: B

• Fred Van Vleet to the Raptors (2 years, $18M). Retaining Van Vleet, who was a restricted free agent, was of utmost importance to the Raptors, and ultimately there was incentive on both sides to get the deal done. Van Vleet’s toughness and scoring pop will anchor what should remain one of the league’s better bench units, and as it stands the Raptors return all of their key pieces to contend in the Eastern Conference.MORE | Grade: A

• Ed Davis to the Nets (1 year, $4.4M). Brooklyn lands him at a totally fair price while Davis commands nearly double the veteran’s minimum, and there’s no long-term commitment from either side if he decides to join a playoff team in a year’s time. The Nets are working back toward respectability and hoping to keep financial flexibility over the next two summers.MORE | Grade: A-

• Glenn Robinson III to the Pistons (2 years, $8.3M). Robinson gains some financial security with the second year of the deal and can hit free agency again at age 26, while the Pistons get a potential starting-caliber wing on a team-friendly contract. This could be a win-win.MORE | Grade: A-

• Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Lakers (1 year, $12M). This isn't a flashy signing (especially considering the cap figure involved), but Caldwell-Pope could prove useful—if somewhat erratic. The Lakers could probably find glitzier uses for $12 million in cap space, but the circumstances ensure that this is money well spent. MORE | Grade: A, by association

• Aaron Gordon to the Magic (4 years, $84M). Who knows what his free agency was like, and most compelling teams didn’t have cap space, but I wish Gordon gave more thought to signing elsewhere. I just don’t know if he’ll ever reach his ceiling in Orlando, considering a bunch of seven footers are currently in his way.MORE | Grade: C-

• Lance Stephenson to the Lakers (1 year, $4.5M). Okay, let’s appreciate that Lance and LeBron are teammates for one last moment before discussing the basketball fit. This is... an interesting move by the Lakers. Stephenson’s lack of outside shooting touch (30.3% career from three) doesn’t make him a great complement to James. MORE | Grade: C

• JaVale McGee to the Lakers (2 years, $84M). This signing probably makes a little more sense than the Stephenson one. McGee proved in Golden State he could be a serviceable backup big, and even start in spot moments. It certainly helped that Javale was surrounded by generational talent on the Warriors, but he filled his role well, and it’s a role that can translate to another contender. MORE | Grade: C+

• J.J. Redick to the 76ers (1 years, $13M). Sharpshooter J.J. Redick returned to the 76ers on Monday in a significant yet unsurprising move, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal worth somewhere between $12 and $13 million, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. MORE | Grade: A-

• Zach LaVine to the Bulls (4 years, $80M) If the Bulls weren’t in quite such a desperate spot, they would have been wise to let the Kings chase LaVine’s narrowing shot at one-way stardom. Unfortunately, they didn’t have that luxury and they had to cut the check through gritted teeth. MORE | Grade: D+

• Jusuf Nurkic to the Blazers (4 years, $48 million). Portland GM Neil Olshey needed to keep his best big man to placate All-NBA guard Damian Lillard and avoid backsliding following a surprising run to the West’s No. 3 seed. Nurkic needed the first major payday of his career during a summer in which money has been tight and traditional centers have failed to generate much interest. MORE | Grade: D+

• Jerami Grant to the Thunder (3 years, $27M). The grade for Grant probably would have been a little higher if not for the Noel signing, but now part of me is a little skeptical on how OKC plans on using Grant. He probably showed the most potential as a rim-running five last year. MORE | Grade: C

• Nerlens Noel to the Thunder (2 years, $3.5M). Noel is coming in at basically no risk to the Thunder, with a minimal impact on their salary cap. I think it’s a good sign Noel wanted to rebuild his career with a contender instead of seeking a payday with any other club. MORE | Grade: B

• Derrick Favors to the Jazz (2 years, $36M). The Favors contract really makes sense for both sides. Favors is a talented player, and though the fit between him and Rudy Gobert can be awkward at times, the Jazz had a 7.2 net rating when the duo shared the court. Favors may not be a modern big, but he’s talented, and Utah absolutely cratered when he wasn’t on the floor during the playoffs. MORE | Grade: B+

• Julius Randle to the Pelicans (2 years, $18M). The signing of Randle accomplishes a few things. It prevents a long-term commitment to DeMarcus Cousins. It adds a solid complement to Davis, someone who may not be a shooter but a big who can play with pace, run the fastbreak and bully his way inside for points. MOREGrade: A-

• Rajon Rondo to the Lakers (1 year, $9M). If there were one quality vital to building a successful offense around LeBron, it would be spacing. Yet between Rondo, Stephenson, and Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles now has three ball-dominant guards without the shooting ability to keep defenses honest. MORE | Grade: INC

• Dwight Howard to the Wizards (2 years, $11M). With DeMarcus Cousins settling for the mid-level exception, it makes sense that Howard would follow suit in a market where few teams have interest or are able to sign players into cap space. The Wizards can offer him a starting spot this season after dealing Marcin Gortat for Austin Rivers, and his minutes should be a necessary upgrade on Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith. MORE | Grade: B

• Tony Parker to the Hornets (2 years, $10M). Well, this is going to be weird. Spurs legend Tony Parker’s tenure in San Antonio has come to a close. The point guard reportedly agreed to a two-year, $10 million contract with the Hornets on Friday, according to multiple reports. Parker, 36, played in 55 games for the Spurs last season, mostly playing off the bench for the first time in his career. MORE | Grade: D+

• Jeff Green to the Wizards (1 year, $2.4M). Headed to his sixth team in five seasons, Green is a bankable-if-inconsistent frontcourt option who, to his credit, just enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in the playoffs with the Cavaliers. A native of the DMV area who attended Georgetown, the 31-year-old forward returns home to try and augment the Wizards’ hopes. He will presumably slide into a role left open by Mike Scott’s departure to the Clippers. MORE | Grade: B

• Tyreke Evans to the Pacers (1 year, $12M). This arrangement is emblematic of its time, in that it makes a sensible match without long-term consequence. More than half the deals made this summer have been for just one year. There is a collective want on the player side to take advantage of a bigger free agent market next summer, and a want from the teams to dabble in that market. Contracts like this are the result. MORE | Grade: B

• Dante Exum to the Jazz (3 years, $33M). Exum got paid. This is a surprising deal considering Exum's injury history and the market factors involved, but less so in light of Utah's need for upward mobility. As it stands, the Jazz are a very good team without an obvious path forward. Exum, 22, could help blaze a new trail. MORE | Grade: B-

• Avery Bradley to the Clippers (2 years, $25M). Bradley did well for himself here after a lost season. Most of the teams with an interest in signing him weren't in a position to offer this rich a contract. Functionally speaking, this is more of a one-year deal with an option attached; the second season of Bradley's new agreement will be largely unguaranteed, which works to the benefit of everyone involved. MORE | Grade: B-

• Ersan Ilyasova to the Bucks (3 years, $21M). Milwaukee needs viable bigs and it needs shooters, so why not swing for both? One can imagine Ilyasova filling in for Milwaukee much as he did Philadelphia: stretching smaller lineups as a spot center, slicing through crowds to pick up offensive rebounds, and boosting the defense with his drawn charges. MORE | Grade: B

• Seth Curry to the Trail Blazers (2 years, $5.6M). Before a leg injury took Curry out of sight and out of mind, he had carved out a role in Dallas with his canny scoring out of the pick-and-roll. Curry might not have the speed to blow by defenders, but there's enough shake in his game to make way for a pull-up jumper. Curry, to the surprise of no one, can shoot. MORE | Grade: B+

• Mario Hezonja to the Wizards (1 year, $6.5M). We have yet to see Hezonja pull his game together for more than a few weeks at a time, though those stretches—along with his overall profile—are tantalizing enough for a closer look. The Magic under Scott Skiles and Frank Vogel are the only team Hezonja has ever known. A fresh start could do wonders, particularly if the Knicks can get Hezonja to play the looser, more confident game that coincides with his best performances. MORE | Grade: C+

• Elfrid Payton to the Pelicans (1 year, $2.7M). A budget addition that allows New Orleans to upgrade its roster elsewhere. So many of Payton's limitations melt away when evaluated as a near-minimum-salary player rather than a potential franchise cornerstone. MORE | Grade: B+

• Aron Baynes to the Celtics (2 years, $11M). A specialist of a sort who fills a niche within the Celtics roster. Baynes could see his playing time pinched with the return of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward; even if he doesn't compete for playing time with those two stars directly, their effect on the rotation—and Al Horford's positioning, in particular—could cost Baynes some burn. MORE | Grade: B

• Gerald Green to the Wizards (1 year, $2.4M). Green is about as explosive a scorer as could be found for the minimum, which more than justifies his continued stay in Houston. With the way the Rockets run their offense, it's essential to have shooters. MORE | Grade: C+

• Kevon Looney to the Warriors (1 year, $1.6M). Even Golden State's mistakes seem to turn out fine in the end. Looney advanced enough in his third season to make Warriors GM Bob Myers regret declining Looney's team option. Not only will Looney be back on the roster anyway, but he signed at a lower salary that will save millions in tax penalties. Looney is a safe, unexceptional choice. He also makes good sense for the back-to-back champs in a safe, low-variance role. MORE | Grade: C+

• Omri Casspi to the Grizzlies (1 year, $2.4M). The story with Casspi is the same as it ever was: If he is actually willing to take shots, he can be just the sort of freewheeling, ball-moving catalyst every team needs on the wing. That he so often hesitates or refuses outright helps explain why he was available for the minimum—along with the red flag that came from the curious way he fell out with the Warriors. At this price point, you take Casspi's skill level and court awareness and hope for the best. MORE | Grade: B-


• Derrick Rose to the Timberwolves (1 year, $2.4M). Rose was actually one of the best players on the floor for Minnesota's lone playoff series in 2018, though that says more about the Wolves than it does Rose. The MVP is gone from his game. These days Rose is a fairly standard backup, albeit with more explosive potential—and more baggage—than most. Bringing him back for the minimum is harmless enough, though Tom Thibodeau's steadfast belief in Rose (who isn't even the best reserve point guard on his own team) bears a constant risk of overexposure. MORE | Grade: C

• Raul Neto to the Jazz (2 years, $4.4M). Neto, above all, plays hard. He comes into the game with an energy ideal for a backup point guard—the kind that, on the right night, can change the complexion of a game for a few minutes at a time. Nothing in his game calls for a starting role or suggests the potential for one. That's fine. There's value in reserves, like Neto, who seem to understand exactly who they are—and who leverage their abbreviated minutes to compete at the highest level they can. MORE | Grade: C+

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• Nik Stauskas to the Trail Blazers (1 year, $1.6M). It's hard not to juxtapose the arrival of Stauskas with the departure of Pat Connaughton, an exchange that costs Portland slightly. Stauskas is the better shooter but the less dynamic creator—a concern given the way the Blazer offense stalled in the playoffs when Damian Lillard was trapped out of the pick-and-roll. Assuming he can knock down threes consistently (which isn't a given), Stauskas will be fine. If not, he won't have much traction in a potential playoff rotation. MORE | Grade: C-

• Salah Mejri to the Mavericks (1 year, $1.6M). The addition of DeAndre Jordan, who has missed 13 total games over the past eight years, will leave little opportunity for Mejri this season. Still, it never hurts to have another playable center around in case of emergency—particularly one liable to get under the skin of everyone he plays against. Mejri is limited, but limited sounds about right for center in deep reserve. MORE | Grade: C

• Michael Carter-Williams to the Rockets (1 year, $1.8M). Houston does great work on the margins of its roster, culling value from cast-off veteans and G-League standouts. Then, every so often, they take a heat check. There is nothing in Carter-Williams's recent basketball history to suggest he might be worth a roster spot on a contending team. Dare I say Houston could do better than an injury-prone guard who shot 35% from the field over his past two seasons. Even in the most charitable reflection, this is a truly baffling move. MORE | Grade: D-

• Tony Parker to the Hornets (2 years, $10M). Well, this is going to be weird. Spurs legend Tony Parker’s tenure in San Antonio has come to a close. The point guard reportedly agreed to a two-year, $10 million contract with the Hornets on Friday, according to multiple reports. Parker, 36, played in 55 games for the Spurs last season, mostly playing off the bench for the first time in his career. MORE | Grade: D+

• Zach LaVine to the Bulls (4 years, $78M). Here’s a prime example of why restricted free agency is so often described as Russian Roulette: One wild offer from a suitor with nothing to lose can force an incumbent team into a brutal lose-lose proposition. The Bulls have reportedly matched the Kings’ four-year, $78 million contract offer to restricted free agent guard Zach LaVine. MORE | Grade: D+

• Devin Booker to the Suns (5 years, $158M). Ideally, an early max rookie contract extension should be both a milestone and a formality. It’s not often that an NBA player earns that level of financial commitment after just three seasons, but when he does the deal is usually a path-defining decision that doesn’t require much internal debate or negotiation between the parties. Such is life for the Suns and Devin Booker, who announced a five-year maximum rookie extension worth $158 million. MORE | Grade: B+