After a frenzied weekend of moves, NBA free agency has kicked into high gear. From the stars who bolted, to the stars who stayed and the teams who couldn’t land a star, here are some of the best and worst moves:
The Spurs brought the band back together. Coach Gregg Popovich is back, the formerly “fat” Patty Mills is as well. Even Matt Bonner has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal. Did they overpay Boris Diaw? Maybe. But after crushing the Heat in the NBA Finals, it’s hard to argue that any NBA city not named Cleveland enjoyed a better summer.
LaLa gets what LaLa wants, and LaLa wanted to stay in New York. Carmelo Anthony’s five-year, $122 million contract with the Knicks does not hurt either. It’s all about winning, man.
The “second city” may have lived up to its name, after Anthony snubbed the Bulls for the Knicks, but Pau Gasol is one heck of a consolation prize. The Bulls finally brought over their mysterious Serbian draft pick, Nikola Mirotic, and then there’s the sequel to the Derrick Rose return. Another encouraging sign: Rose is slated to attend USA Basketball’s minicamp later this month.
Duh. Especially those crafty T-shirt makers. Not counting everyone who has to shell out for new, ash-free, jerseys.
After parting ways with Tyson Chandler, it’s “Phil and ‘Melo against the world in LeBron James’ new East,” as ESPN’s Ian O’Connor wrote. The Knicks whiffed on their first coaching choice, Steve Kerr, after reportedly balking at his salary demands, only to wind up paying Derek Fisher the same salary that the Golden State Warriors are paying Kerr.
While San Antonio kept its championship team intact, the teams that live in the Eastern part of the state have struggled. Dallas signed Chandler Parsons to a three-year, $46 million deal, after failing to land Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James. Houston declined to match the offer sheet on Parsons, then traded away a first round pick to get rid of Jeremy Lin and clear space for Chris Bosh, only for Bosh to stay in Miami.
Another depressing summer for Kobe Bryant. After making a “strong impression” on Anthony, the Lakers wound up with Jeremy Lin and will pay Jordan Hill $9 million next season after losing Gasol. At least their owner isn’t Donald Sterling.
Phil Jackson and Pat Riley
Legacies only matter so much. Riley’s post-Finals rant reportedly irked James and even after making a last-minute Vegas pitch to the four-time MVP, Riley lost the best basketball player in Heat history to Dan Gilbert. Jackson whiffed on his top coaching candidate and was unable to recruit Gasol to the Knicks.