April 15, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon (10) shoots over Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley (11) during the first quarter of a game at the New Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets — four-years, $58 million
Phoenix attempted to rectify their previous mistakes by signing one of the most talented 2-guards in the NBA to a maximum contract. But, in reality, New Orleans was going to match any conceivable offer. Gordon is simply too valuable of a cog in New Orleans’ rotation to let go.
For all the acclaim of Austin Rivers’ potentially dominating scoring presence, Gordon is a proven commodity. In his last two seasons — he played nine games in his abbreviated 2011-12 campaign — Gordon scored nearly one point per possession as a the pick-and-roll ball handler. For reference, Steve Nash scored 0.92 PPP last season (and he’s pretty darn good at pick-and-rolls you know?). Gordon is also dangerously efficient as he will likely convert on 60% of his total shots in the near future.
Young players like that don’t come very often. He’ll be a nice addition next to Anthony Davis.
Spencer Hawes, Philadelphia 76ers — two-years, $13.1 million
This may seem like an overpay, and it just might be, but it’s not as egregious as some make it seem. Centers typically earn more money than the average player because length is an important quality to have as a basketball player. You can’t teach height so, when someone has it, NBA teams are more willing to shell out the extra cash. Besides, Hawes can make a mid-range shot and he’s an above-average finisher in pick-and-rolls. He also defends the pick-and-roll pretty well. Yes, he’s soft and he doesn’t have a ton of lateral quickness but at $6.55 million per year? It’s not that bad.
Michael Beasley, Phoenix Suns — three-years, $18 million
I’m not sure I like this one. Beasley is awfully inefficient as his true shooting percentage has steadily declined since his rookie season — and even then it wasn’t high either. Beasley isn’t a good defender as his overall PPP of 0.87 ranked 257th in the league. Why acquire a player to a three-year contract that won’t create for others and, when he creates for himself, doesn’t score effectively?
Hasheem Thabeet, Oklahoma City Thunder — two-years, unspecified
Another low-risk/high reward move from Oklahoma City. Who does this Sam Presti guy think he is, again? What gives him the right to make moves that actually make sense?
Jan 10, 2012, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash (13), left, talks with film actor Jack Nicholson during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Suns 99-83. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
Phoenix sent Steve Nash to Los Angeles for their 2013 and 2015 first-round picks and 2013 and 2014 second-round picks
In the biggest deal of the night, Los Angeles acquired Nash in a sign-and-trade. They flipped four picks for Nash’s perspicacious passing ability. Nash fits into the trade exception acquired in their Lamar Odom trade last year, worth approximately $9 million.
There are some questions on how Nash will fit in Los Angeles. The Lakers rely extensively on Kobe Bryant isolations and Andrew Bynum post-ups, which represented 16% of their total offense. How will they fit Nash, the league’s most proficient passer the last three years from a percentage standpoint, without affecting their other players? Spotting him up from the perimeter will highlight Nash’s premier shooting ability but his primary asset, his passing, will be devalued in the context of Los Angeles’ offense. That’s a tough predicament. The fact of the matter is: The Lakers find this problem preferable to a noticeable absence at the point guard position. Can you deny that they made themselves a more potent team?
Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns — four-years, $34 million
Dragic is a crafty pick-and-roll threat that also converted on 64% of his 219 attempts inside the restricted area last season. I’m a tad worried in whether he can sustain his numbers with more playing time. Phoenix took a dramatic fall with the news of Nash’s trade and adding Dragic will alleviate their shortcomings for the time being. Houston will reportedly not match Phoenix’ offer on their restricted free agent (AAV: $8.5 million).
(Contractual caveat: The deal is technically worth four-years, $30 million, with Dragic earning $1 million extra for every All-Star appearance. The last year of the contract is a player option. H/T Paul Coro.)
Other free agency tidbits
— Former Washington Wizard Rashard Lewis is on San Antonio’s radar according to Trevor Zickgraf of Project Spurs. Miami, the Lakers, Atlanta and New York are also interested.
— Milwaukee offered unrestricted free agent Ersan Ilyasova a five-year, $40 million contract (AAV: $8 million). It’s a substantial offer but Ilyasova is keeping his options open.
— Houston also offered Jeremy Lin a multiyear deal designed to make it more damaging to New York’s financial flexibility. New York seemed to intent in adding either Deron Williams or Nash and they whiffed on both. They may choose to swallow this “poison pill” contract for the sake of their point guard position.