clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NBA Free Agency Frenzy: Rapid reaction, grades for every major signing

We’re giving you instant analysis for all the free agent signings that should have the biggest impact this offseason and for 2021-22.

Will Lonzo Ball help the Bulls return to glory?

NBA free agency “officially” opened August 2 and 6:00 p.m. ET and the deals started coming in immediately, with Lonzo Ball heading to the Chicago Bulls on a four-year deal as the first agreement of the offseason. We react to all the deals here and grade each signing.

Lonzo Ball to the Bulls

The Bulls need a point guard and reportedly tried to get Ball at the deadline, but the New Orleans Pelicans were not dealing. This was not a well-kept secret around the league and Ball is headed to Chicago in a sign-and-trade. The value is decent at $85 million over four years, especially if Ball keeps shooting from behind the arc the way he did last season. If he and Zach LaVine work well together, watch out for this Bulls team.

Grade: B+

Mike Conley to the Jazz

Conley returned to the franchise on a three-year deal and hopes to be part of a championship team next season. The Jazz were the West’s No. 1 seed this past season, but had some bad injury luck and ultimately got bounced by the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round. Conley was hurt for most of that series and feels he could’ve been the difference for his team. With Donovan Mitchell on the rise, it makes sense for the Jazz to bring Conley back at a fairly reasonable price.

Grade: A

Kyle Lowry to the Heat

Lowry is going to Miami in a three-year deal with a sign-and-trade involved, according to Vincent Goodwill. According to Woj, the deal is around $90 million. Lowry was rumored to be headed to Miami a few days prior to free agency opening, even as other teams were expected to pursue the guard. With Lowry in Miami, the Heat are expected to bring back most of the group that went on an unexpected run to the NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble. Getting a veteran guard with championship experience is always a good thing.

Grade: A-

Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Mavericks

Hardaway Jr. is returning to the Mavs on a four-year deal between $72-$74 million, according to multiple reports. That’s a little steep, but the sharpshooter was a big presence in the playoffs and fits well next to franchise star Luka Doncic. If Hardaway can continue to elevate his game, this contract will be a bargain for Dallas.

Grade: B+

Duncan Robinson to the Heat

Robinson has agreed to a five-year, $90 million deal to remain with the Heat, who have been busy in the opening day of free agency. Miami adds Kyle Lowry to the mix and extends Jimmy Butler, putting a contending tandem in place. Robinson, an elite marksman, comes in at a good price given what his market could’ve been.

Grade: B+

Chris Paul to the Suns

Paul is coming back to Phoenix on a four-year deal worth up to $120 million. This could be ugly on the back end of the deal as Paul will be 40 when it expires, but the Suns just made the NBA Finals after a 10-year playoff drought. There’s no reason they wouldn’t want Paul back and there’s no reason Paul would attempt to find another situation after making the Finals. We’ll see what the structure looks like on this deal, but for now the Suns did well.

Grade: A-

Evan Fournier to the Knicks

Fournier joins the Knicks on a four-year deal with the final year being a player option. This is not a great deal for the Knicks given the reason they created this cap space but Fournier is a solid veteran guard who provides three-point shooting and some playmaking ability. For a young team looking to build on a playoff berth, this type of addition is solid.

Grade: B-

Derrick Rose to the Knicks

Rose comes back to the Knicks on a three-year, $43 million deal. This is not what Knicks fans had in mind for the summer, but the franchise is clearly banking on internal development and pushing the free agency can down the line. Rose is a stellar guard off the bench who can fill in as a starter when needed. He’s a good addition to the team at a reasonable price.

Grade: B+

Norman Powell to the Trail Blazers

Powell declined his player option to test the waters, but ultimately comes back to Portland on a five-year, $90 million deal. Powell was breaking out last season in Toronto but was traded to the Trail Blazers as the team geared up for a playoff push. He’s a valuable, versatile player who can take pressure off Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Grade: A-

Blake Griffin to the Nets

Griffin is signing a one-year deal to stay with the Nets, believing this is his best situation for a championship. He was a strong contributor for the team down the stretch, averaging 12.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in Brooklyn’s series with the Milwaukee Bucks. A full season with the team should serve him well. The Nets are going to pay the luxury tax no matter what, so bringing Griffin back makes sense.

Grade: B+

Richaun Holmes to the Kings

Holmes inked a big deal to return the Kings. He’ll have a four-year contract worth up to $55 million, including a player option and a trade kicker. Holmes has been a productive player for the Kings and this a reasonable price for him, but adding a player option and trade kicker is questionable for a franchise that can only really add stars in the draft or in trades. The Kings are trying to break a long playoff drought, but they’re going to need more than Holmes coming back for that to happen.

Grade: B

DeMar DeRozan to the Bulls

DeRozan is headed to Chicago in a sign-and-trade deal with the Spurs. The guard has a three-year, $85 million deal according to Chris Haynes. DeRozan is a good piece to have to take some scoring pressure off Zach LaVine, but the Bulls have to be careful about giving up future assets for a team that hasn’t shown it can contend yet. Chicago is building something special though and can use DeRozan’s veteran presence.

Grade: B+

Andre Drummond to the 76ers

This is a fine deal because it’s a minimum contract that fills a need with the departure of Dwight Howard. However, there’s some significant tension between Drummond and Joel Embiid that will need to be ironed out before the season begins. Also, Drummond isn’t going to teach Ben Simmons how to shoot the ball. The 76ers filled a need, but didn’t necessarily get better.

Grade: C+

Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard to the Lakers

LeBron James finally gets to play with Anthony, something he’s talked about doing in the past. Unfortunately, the Lakers couldn’t get the full Banana Boat crew but Anthony is on board. Los Angeles also brings back Dwight Howard for a third stint. The first go around was bad, but the second time resulted in a championship with Howard playing a strong role off the bench. Both deals are low-risk, medium-reward propositions for a team concerned primarily with fielding enough players around the superstar trio.

Grade: B-

Andre Iguodala to the Warriors

The forward plans to come back to the franchise he was most successful with on a one-year deal. Iguodala is not the Finals MVP he once was, but can still offer some solid two-way play for a franchise looking to get back to contention status. Klay Thompson should return this season and Stephen Curry is an MVP candidate. Iguodala brings a familiar presence to the team and has the postseason experience to see the floor in big moments. His play may have slipped a bit, but his experience and potential mentorship of Golden State’s young players makes this a great signing.

Grade: A