Toronto traded Gary Forbes and a protected future first-round draft pick to Houston for Kyle Lowry
After missing out on Steve Nash, Toronto opted for Plan B — Kyle Lowry, who is an effective point guard in his own right. Lowry is one of the rare point guards who can bring positive contributions in the rebounding, passing and defensive departments.
Considering Lowry is due $12 million over the next two seasons, he’ll be an immense bargain — even more so than Steve Nash would have been. His defensive prowess will also be a huge plus over Nash’s deficient defense. Lowry limited his opponents to 0.67 points per possession on isolations, good for 63rd in the league. Considering the dearth of athletic point guards in the league, Lowry’s defensive numbers look even more impressive.
Lowry may not be as appealing as Nash but he’s younger, brings multiple facets to the team and he won’t impact Toronto’s 14th ranked defense in a negative manner. And it only cost them Gary Forbes and a future lottery pick. Toronto can let out a sigh of relief. They will not completely suck this year — and, in a weak conference, could contend for a playoff spot.
Jason Kidd, New York Knicks — three-years, $9 million
In a surprising development Jason Kidd spurned the Dallas Mavericks just when they were nearing a deal. Kidd will supposedly be a good candidate to mentor Jeremy Lin, who they will retain if they match Houston’s offer sheet. Kidd’s assist and turnovers took a noticeable nosedive in the wrong direction. His shooting efficiency isn’t enough to cover for his alarming lack of foot speed. And by the end of his deal, he’ll be 42 years. I wouldn’t be wholly excited if I were a Knicks fan right now.
Chauncey Billups, Los Angeles Clippers — one-year, $4.3 million
This will be his last chance to revive his career. He’s coming off a torn Achilles and his 16th season. It’s now or never.
Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers — four-years, $25 million
Huh? This deal boggles my mind for a variety of reasons which I’ll address in bullet point format.
— It’s a four year deal ensuring that they will endure Crawford’s inefficiency at the age of 36 — and that could be historically brutal.
— Though the last two years have reportedly small guaranteed sums, according to Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated, Crawford is not worth an average of $6.25 million per year.
— Crawford posted his fourth lowest true shooting percentage (.506) despite leading the league with 92.7% shooting from the foul line. Crawford’s efficiency would have been even worse if he had shot at his normal rate. Imagine that — he was already bad and easily could’ve done worse.
— Crawford still scored at an elite rate on isolations despite his other warning flags. He scored 0.95 points per possession off 41.4% shooting. But do the Clippers really want to sacrifice their elite pick-and-roll attack to appease to Crawford’s whims?
Jeremy Lin, Houston Rockets* — four-years, $28.8 million
New York will inevitably stomach Lin’s “poison pill” offer sheet for the sake of retaining one of the most marketable stars in the league.
The Knicks are essentially banking on their ability to free significant cap space before the third season of Lin’s deal, when his salary takes a bump to $9.3 million. Assuming they match Houston’s offer sheet, they will have $70.8 million tied up to five players by the 2014-15 season. What measures will they take to prevent the consequences of entering deep into the luxury tax?
Brandon Bass, Boston Celtics — three-years, unspecified
The Spurs were reportedly interested in Bass until Boston locked him up to a three-year deal. He’s a nice addition to any team because of his mid-range shooting and surprisingly solid pick-and-roll defense.
Brandon Roy, Minnesota Timberwolves — two-years, $10 million
Roy has been subject to the whims of his degenerative knees and, as such, was forced to retire prematurely. I don’t like this deal because it eliminates the reward. An average salary of five million for a guy who last played two years ago is a little on the high side. Especially when you factor in Roy’s career-low true shooting percentage (.491) came in his last season. We have no idea how he’ll perform and Minnesota paid handsomely for an unknown commodity.
Marreese Speights, Memphis Grizzlies — two-years, ~$7 million
He effectively appropriated Darrell Arthur’s role after Arthur was sidelined for the entire year with a torn Achilles. $3.5 million per year is a nice value.
Nicolas Batum, Minnesota Timberwolves* — four-years, $45 million
Minnesota wants Batum and Batum wants to play in Minnesota. A core of Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, Derrick Williams and Batum is certainly a playoff caliber core. Of course, Batum is subjected to the constraints of restricted free agency and, unless Portland changes their tune, he’ll be suiting up in Portland next season.
Other free agency tidbits
— The Spurs are reportedly in the running for Chris Kaman, an unrestricted free agent.
— Antawn Jamison, an unrestricted free agent, is talking to Golden State and Charlotte.
— Chris Paul and LeBron James are courting Ray Allen. Allen converted on a career-high 45.3% of his 3-pointers last season. His best offer, though, will likely come from Boston who can offer $12 million over two years.
— Key: * = restricted free agent