5) Jodie Meeks, Detroit Pistons, $19 Million; 3 years ($6.3 Million Per)
The Motor City certainly occupies their need of a consistent perimeter shooting with the addition of Meeks, although an undersized defensive liability for a ball club that is going back to stressing defense as they have during their title runs in the mid-late 2000’s and late 80’s-early 90’s. Opposing teams will look to clog the middle vs. Detroit considering it’s massive frontcourt (Drummond, Monroe, Smith) where opportunities for Jodie to fill it up the scoreboard as a far beyond mediocre (but not sharpshooting) threat could show it’s worthiness. For that price though, only time will tell if it was money well spent in a system he’s expected to fit into nicely under newly named Head Coach Stan Van Gundy.
4) LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, $42 Million; 2 years ( $21 Million Per)
So how does this player known as the best in the league and his deal make this list? I’m glad you asked. A championship contending roster adding 3 other previous #1 draft picks (Irving, Wiggins, Bennett) amongst other notable productive-proven roster players, gives LeBron the best chance to bring a title to the place he calls home(something he didn’t have the first time around during his 7-year tenure in The Buckeye State). All sounds great for now but nothing is guaranteed for the Blue-Collar City who only has LeBron locked into the contract for a single year after agreeing to an opt-out option after the upcoming season. Sure the Cavs are happy to have James home (as any team would), but if they want to keep him there, they have to win and WIN NOW! Could the opting decision backfire on Cavs Owner Dan Gilbert?
3) Danny Granger, Miami Heat, $4.2 Million; 2 years (2.1 Per)
Considering the inexpensive money spent, the World Champion runner-ups had to make a decision and make one fast after losing veteran role player Shane Battier (retirement) and Superstar LeBron James to a homecoming in Cleveland. Pat Riley turns to re-signing Dwyane Wade, Chris Andersen and Chris Bosh after adding Josh McRoberts (another high-motored effortlessly energized Andersen). The biggest Risk vs. Reward is inconsistency and often-injury plagued former All-Star & veteran forward Danny Granger who spent the first 9 seasons as the seemingly franchise player in Indiana before being booted to the Los Angeles Clippers for a season. Granger since, hasn’t been remotely the same player he once was as there’s no guarantee how often you’ll see his name on the IR with blank stats on the box score. I like to think there’s plenty of veteran leadership on this roster with 3x champion Ray Allen, Miami native Udonis Haslem and inconsistent Rashard Lewis & rarely-used Michael Beasley. Have I already mentioned Greg Oden?
2) Sebastian Telfair, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA Veteran Minimum; 1 year ($900,000 roughly)
Is there really a need of explanation for this one? How often and for how much time is ST expected to see the floor? Will he be a practice player only? What kind of production can he bring to this team? What was the point of this pickup besides having someone to hold KD’s warm-ups? Should this be considered as an insult to backup Point Guard Reggie Jackson? What can an NBA journeyman who’s played on 7 different teams in 10 total seasons bring to the table? Is Sebastian Telfair arguably one of the biggest busts in NBA history? All these questions lead to why this is only 1 of 5 (nearly missing #1) worst free agency moves this summer. Thanks to Telfair, I think next year I’ll enter my name into the NBA Free-Agency pool.
1) Los Angeles Lakers Coaching Vacancy
After putting so many of their eggs into a basket during this critical time period, the Lakers have come up empty-handed after missing out on targets LeBron James. At one point, they were known as the front-runners to land Carmelo Anthony. Even Lance Stephenson could have been an option yet, he also slipped through the hands of Hollywood but did receive a stud and possible future franchise player in Julius Randle in the 2014 NBA Draft and Jeremy Lin (for what that’s worth). Losing Pau Gasol just adds fuel to the fire of an aging Kobe Bryant & LA’s organization that seemingly lacks identity and unification. The refusal to hire a coach just makes everything that more complicated. Maybe a longtime veteran coach with a championship contending resume (Seattle, 1996) George Karl can patch things up. Their best bets should likely be to tank (again) and make a strong attempt throughout the season entering next summer to target Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo and/or (guess who) yep…Kevin Durant if affordable. First, let’s just focus on hiring someone to take orders from the “Black Mamba”.