The second day of free agency might not have as many star-studded deals, but it brought plenty of role players to a new team. The “small deals” category was filled with interesting movement across the league, specifically with the Lakers making moves to fill voids on their bench.
The Lakers, just one week after making a move for Russell Westbrook, made four significant moves to their bench. Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls surprised everyone again by making a splash, while Steph Curry became the highest-paid man despite not even being a free agent. Let’s give out our grades for the small, medium, and mega deals from the second day of the offseason.
Rodney Hood - Milwaukee Bucks
The Deal: Bucks sign Hood to one-year, $2.2 million deal
The Bucks thought Bryn Forbes was going to be their star outside shooter last season, but he failed to live up to the hype. Donte DiVincenzo has also struggled to shoot from outside. One year ago, Hood shot 49.3% from three-point range, but that was in 21 games. Hood has struggled to stay healthy and has shot 31% or less from three in the last parts of two seasons. This is a low-risk move by the Bucks, but not one that will be impactful.
Andre Drummond - Philadelphia 76ers
The Deal: 76ers sign Drummond to one-year, $2.4 million deal
If you can’t beat them, join them, right? Joel Embiid in 2018 said he owned real estate in Drummond’s head. Now, the two are going to be partners. With Dwight Howard exiting, the 76ers upgraded their rebounding with a four-time rebounding champion that was averaging 13.5 per game before signing with Los Angeles. His fit in this offense is unclear. Also, Drummond could come off the bench and there are questions around that. This looks like a good deal, but chemistry and ego could get in the way.
Didi Louzada - New Orleans Pelicans
The Deal: Pelicans sign Louzada to four-year, $7.2 million deal
Louzada is a former second-round pick that played in the NPL the last two years. Last season, he averaged 8.8 points and shot 53% from the field. His three-point percentage was 26.4%. This move provides depth to the Pelicans, but nothing more.
Tony Snell - Portland Trail Blazers
The Deal: Trail Blazers sign Snell to one-year, $2.3 million deal
Snell shot 51.5% from three-point range. With the addition of Norman Powell, the Trail Blazers could lead the NBA in three-point field goals along with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Snell will only shoot a couple a game, but that is beside the point. He doesn't make the team significantly better, but you could have signed someone worse.
Ish Smith - Charlotte Hornets
The Deal: Hornets sign Smith to one-year, $4.5 million deal
At this point, who hasn’t Ish Smith played for? The Hornets will be his 13th team in his career. Smith isn’t going to provide a spark for the team but can play serviceable minutes behind LaMelo Ball. This was a depth move for the short term.
Hassan Whiteside - Utah Jazz
The Deal: Jazz sign Whiteside to one-year deal
Which Hassan Whiteside will the Jazz get? Will they get the player that averaged 15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks in Portland in 2019? Will they get the player that averaged 8.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks last year for the Kings? With Derrick Favors out, the Jazz needed a backup to Rudy Gobert. If Whiteside performs as he did two years ago, the Jazz could remain near the top of the standings.
James Johnson - Brooklyn Nets
The Deal: Nets sign Johnson to a one-year, $2.6 million deal
Remember when James Johnson was getting paid $15 million in salary last year? Johnson is a 34-year old averaged 9.2 points and 4.1 rebounds last year for the Pelicans. With Jeff Green out of town, the Nets have to think that Johnson could give them what Green gave the team last year. If that happens, this is a huge reward for a team that spent a little over two million.
Markieff Morris - Miami Heat
The Deal: Heat sign Morris to one-year, $2.6 million deal
Morris wasn’t going to be retained by the Lakers due to other commitments. Morris will fit into the culture that the Heat have. He is a bruiser, a solid teammate, and works hard. He will be a valued member of the bench. If a physical altercation starts, Morris, Jimmy Butler, and Kyle Lowry make one formidable trio.
Robin Lopez - Orlando Magic
The Deal: Magic sign Lopez to one-year, $5 million deal
At 33 years old, Lopez is becoming a journeyman. Lopez averaged 9.0 points for the Wizards last season and was the odd man out once Thomas Bryant returned. Moving forward, Lopez should provide a fun locker room presence to a young Magic team. Lopez will back up Wendell Carter Jr. and potentially provide the youngsters insight on how to be a good teammate.
Carmelo Anthony - Los Angeles Lakers
The Deal: Lakers sign Anthony to one-year, $2.6 million deal
It’s either now or never, right Carmelo? After years of choosing money over titles, Anthony has decided it’s time to stop worrying about the money. He could have joined superteams in the past but chose the max salary. Now, the Lakers get a former NBA scoring champion that has changed his game to fit his aging body. Anthony, who is good friends with LeBron James, will contribute in great ways for the Lakers this season.
Georges Niang - Philadelphia 76ers
The Deal: 76ers sign Niang to two-year, $6.7 million deal
This could pay off nicely for the 76ers. For the last three years, Niang has been a productive player for the Jazz. Niang appeared in 72 games last year, averaged 6.9 points, and shot 42.5% from three-point range. Niang only played about 16 minutes per game, but the 76ers needed another piece to provide depth. For a cost-effective deal, they got a solid player.
Malik Monk - Los Angeles Lakers
The Deal: Lakers sign Monk to one-year, $1.7 million deal
Monk was supposed to be a true scorer to help the Hornets. Last year, he averaged a career-high 11.7 points and shot over 40% from the three-point range for the first time. Instead of keeping Monk, he saw an opportunity to try and win a championship. This has a Bryn Forbes to Milwaukee feel from last year. For the price and upside, the Lakers added another potential shooter to the team.
Kendrick Nunn - Los Angeles Lakers
The Deal: Lakers sign Nunn to two-years, $10 million deal
Nobody understands how Nunn fell out of favor in Miami. He was a starter that averaged 14.6 points, shot 48.% from the field, including 38.1% form three, and played 29.5 minutes per game. Then, he suddenly was out of the rotation and did hardly played in the playoffs. If this is the type of production that the Lakers get from the second unit, Nunn could be Sixth Man of the Year. Not to mention, on a $5 million salary? The Lakers are stealing people out here.
Bruce Brown - Brooklyn Nets
The Deal: Nets sign Brown to one-year, $4.7 million deal
The Nets had to bring back Brown. When Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant struggled with injuries, it was Brown who was the main consistent starter in the lineup. He didn’t disappoint either by averaging 8.8 points and shooting over 50% from the field. Brown flourishes in Steve Nash’s system and he is the primary backup guard. The Nets also didn’t cash strap themselves for the future. This was an all-around great move.
Patty Mills - Brooklyn Nets
The Deal: Nets sign Mills to two-year, $12 million deal
When you are a title-contending team, you will convince veterans to take less. Mills, 32, owns a ring with the 2014 Spurs. It appears he wants more because $6 million for a valued teammate and leader is a huge steal. Mills also averaged 10.8 points per game and shot 41.2%, as well as 37.5% from three. This was a huge steal for the Nets.
Spencer Dinwiddie - Washington Wizards
The Deal: Wizards sign Dinwiddie to three-year, $60 million deal
The length and amount for the deal are just right. We are still trying to figure out what will happen with Bradley Beal. For now, the Wizards are going to try and compete for a playoff spot with the new additions of Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell. Dinwiddie is not a good three-point shooter but can get points otherwise. He averaged 20.6 points in 2019-2020. An injury last year cut him to just three games, so there is some risk paying this much money upfront.
Talen Horton-Tucker - Los Angeles Lakers
The Deal: Lakers sign Horton-Tucker to three-year, $32 million deal
When it was reported that the Lakers denied a trade for Kyle Lowry because Horton-Tucker was included, it was a given that the Lakers would keep him. At 20 years old, there are executives that view Horton-Tucker as a future starter in this league. He can get to the rim, and finish at a high rate (46%).
Rudy Gay - Utah Jazz
The Deal: Jazz sign Gary to two-year, $32 million deal
Rudy Gay and Mike Conley Jr. are back at it again. The former teammates played together in Memphis. Gay should provide some scoring off the bench and rebounding. What makes this deal so special is that the second unit could feature Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson, Joe Ingles, and Gay at the same time. When you look at the depth, the Jazz is about 10 players deep.
DeMar DeRozan - Chicago Bulls
The Deal: Bulls sign DeRozan to three-year, $85 million deal via sign-and-trade; Spurs receive Thaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu, a future first-round pick, and a future second-round pick
The Bulls went from irrelevant to a potential future destination for free agents. While DeRozan’s salary seems high, there were reports that the Clippers were close to making a deal, so the Bulls had to up the ante. DeRozan averaged a career-high 6.9 assists last year. There might be concern about his fit, but with DeRozan on the team, the Bulls have three legit passers. A lineup of Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeRozan, Patrick Williams, and Nikola Vucevic has a ceiling as the No. 4 seed. After years of drowning, the Bulls are a relevant basketball franchise again.
Steph Curry - Golden State Warriors
The Deal: Warriors sign Curry to four-year, $215 million extension
While free agents were trying to find a new home, Curry made sure that Golden State would remain his home forever. Curry’s new deal keeps him with the team until he is 37 years old. The specs on this deal include making $48 million after this season. The deal will cap out with $59 million in the final year. There are questions regarding the core of Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, which hasn’t played together in two years, but it will pay off if the Warriors can convert on a championship in the next few years. Curry brought the city three championships and won two MVPs, Needless to say, he should feel valued.