$1.22 billion dollars was spent on Friday. All that money was spent on NBA free agents. Hefty contracts were being thrown around like nothing due to the NBA’s salary cap rising from $70 million to $94 million much in part to a $24 billion TV deal that kicks in before the start of the upcoming season. Looking ahead to the summer of 2017, the salary cap will rise just north of $100 million. Over the course of 24 hours, 29 NBA players were signed. We have many familiar faces in new places. Let us take a look. Grizzlies owner Robert Pera may have tweeted it best yesterday.
— Robert J Pera (@RobertPera) July 2, 2016
One of the first deals to take place was between Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards. The 23 year old two guard picked up a 5 year, $130 million deal. This deal may have turned some heads as Beal has never played more than 73 games during his four NBA seasons. Beal staying on the court will be important if Washington is to contend in an Eastern Conference that will be very competitive. DeMar DeRozan also decided to stay with the team that selected him 9th overall in the 2009 draft. The All-Star and 2016 Olympian agree to a 5 year, $145 million contract with the Toronto Raptors. Despite his occasional struggles during the Raptors 2016 postseason run, the former USC Trojan has secured himself as one of the NBA’s top scorers. While he does struggle on the defensive side of the ball, and lacks a perimeter game, Toronto realized he is too talented to let walk. This Raptors team heavily relies on their backcourt which also includes Kyle Lowry.
The head scratcher of the day happened in when Mike Conley and the Memphis Grizzlies agreed to the richest contract in NBA history. The contract is reportedly a 5 year, $153 million dollar deal. That is over $30 million per season. Now why is this a head scratcher? Conley has not played a full season in the past 3 years, and while his numbers have increased the past 3 seasons, he still only averaged 15 points and 6 assists a game. In 9 NBA seasons, Conley has yet to be named an All-Star. Granted the Western conference is filled with some of the best point guards in the game, the fact that Conley has not been named once in his 9 year career is baffling. During his 9 seasons, the Grizzlies have never missed the playoffs, but only once have they advanced to the Western Conference Finals, where they were swept by the Spurs in the 2013 Western Conference Finals.
Two Cavaliers back ups are on their way out after winning a championship. Timofey Mozgov and Matthew Dellavedova have agreed to contracts with the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks. Mozgov, who played a big role in the Cavaliers run to the 2015 NBA Finals, reached a deal worth $64 million over four seasons. While he only averaged 6 points and 4 rebounds per game during the 2015-16 season, when given the opportunity to play, Mozgov has shown that he can be a productive big man in the league. His ability to run the floor as a 7’1″ center makes him versatile and he can be a rim protector on the defensive side of the ball. For Delly, who is a restricted agent, the Cavaliers have 72 hours to match the Bucks offer of $38 million over four seasons. With the Cavs already having such a high salaried roster, and with LeBron James renegotiating, it does not seem likely that Cleveland will be able to match. The Bucks already have a full backcourt with the likes of Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis, Grieves Vasquez, and Khris Middleton, but what Delly brings is his energetic motor and a player who has experienced winning and knows what it takes to become an NBA champion. Bucks head coach Jason Kidd will love this signing.
Some other intriguing signings include Dwight Howard heading home to Atlanta after agreeing to a 3 year $70 million deal. The Hawks are currently shopping Paul Millsap and are exploring a sign and trade for Al Hereford. Even if one of those big men leave, there will be plenty of touches for Howard. This will be the fourth team Howard has played for. Hopefully playing at home will help resurrect his career. The Detroit Pistons locks up the face of their franchise in Andre Drummond. The young center signed a 5 year, $130 million contract agreement. At 22 years old, and one of the most prolific rebounders in recent memory, the future of the franchise begins with him. The always energetic Joakim Noah is headed to the big apple. Noah and the Knicks agreed upon a four year, $72 million dollar agreement. Noah played in just 29 games last season due to a shoulder injury which required surgery. The addition of this rim protector will fit in well with newly acquired Derrick Rose, along with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.
We all know that we are waiting on the decision of Kevin Durant which may or may not break twitter. Does he stay? Does he leave? If so, where does he go? Only time can tell.