It’s still very early in NBA free agency, but players are already committing to sign contracts with teams — some old, some new. Some of these deals make a lot of sense, while others are headscratchers, even with many of the offseason dominoes yet to fall.
Here are five of the best and worst deals of free agency in the NBA so far — and remember, none of these contracts can become official until July 6, so things are subject to change.
5) Nuggets to sign Will Barton to four-year, $54 million deal
Keeping their core intact is a big deal for the Nuggets, who are also set to ink Nikola Jokic long-term in the week ahead as well. It’s a great deal for Barton, who gets a lot of guaranteed money, and the Nuggets get to keep a player who became very valuable to them. He’s a 37 percent three-point shooter and a threat on the perimeter coveted by many teams. It’s a deal that works for both sides.
4) Bucks to sign Ersan Ilyasova to three-year, $21 million deal
Ilyasova knows Milwaukee well, and he does a lot of things that will help a team. He’s a competent defender who can stretch the floor and shoot from the perimeter, and the Sixers even employed him as a small-ball center at times, opening up a new possible route for his game. It’s not hard to envision him paired with Giannis Antetokounmpo in a smaller lineup causing some havoc. The three year deal is a risk for Milwaukee, but a big win for Ilyasova, who should fit in nicely and rather affordably in Milwaukee.
3) Nets to sign Ed Davis to one-year, $4.4 million deal
Davis seems perpetually underused and underpaid, and here he is again on a rather cheap deal, but one that could pay dividends for Brooklyn. Davis isn’t a starter, but he can come off the bench and grab you rebounds and score you some points in stretches. Players like that are very valuable, and it’s even better if you can get them on low-risk contracts such as this one. Worst-case scenario? He becomes a nice little trade chip in February.
2) Mavericks to sign DeAndre Jordan to one-year, $24 million deal
It’s a low-risk, high-reward move for both sides. The Mavericks aren’t contenders, but getting a year of Jordan ensures that they have a quality player that they’re not married to long-term if things don’t work out. Jordan gets a nice payday and the opportunity to rebuild some value. He’s still an offensive weapon, though some concerns began to arise about his defense last season. If he answers those, he could either opt to make his stay long-term or get one more big contract somewhere else next summer.
The Miami Heat cavalry has come for Philadelphia 76ers big Ersan Ilyasova.
Addressing reporters this weekend before the Sixers’ second-round playoff series against the Celtics, Ilyasova said that he expected a raucous crowd in Boston, unlike Miami in the first round where “the gym was half-empty.”
On Monday however, it was Heat guard Dwyane Wade’s turn to respond to Ilyasova’s criticism. Wade tweeted that Ilyasova did not know any better and that most of Heat Nation did not even know who he was in the first place.
Ilyasova, 30, was in his second season with the rebuilding Hawks. He is averaging 10.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game on 45.9 percent shooting. He’s been making 35.9 percent of this threes and should give Philly another option off the bench.
The Sixers entered play on Monday 32-26, less than two games out of the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference.
In this year’s NBA Finals, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant — three all-timers who have claimed seven of the last nine MVP awards — operated at the height of their powers. But it was an under-the-radar Warriors forward who finished with by far the best plus-minus of any player in the series: Andre Iguodala.
Iguodala finished the series +60, 20 points better than the next-most impactful player (Draymond Green was +40). And the 33-year-old Iguodala saved his best performance for last, playing 38 minutes, scoring 20 points, notching a +18, knocking down two vital threes, and playing excellent defense on James in the decisive Game 5.
Iguodala played so well that the Warriors were able to employ small-ball for most of the game, as JaVale McGee didn’t see the court and Zaza Pachulia played only 10 minutes.
Golden State acquired Iguodala in the 2013 offseason in a sign-and-trade deal involving the Nuggets and Jazz. The next year, the Dubs signed Shaun Livingston. And in the 2016 offseason, they inked three veteran big men (McGee, Pachulia, and David West) to bargain-basement deals. The three combined to make $5.7 million — nearly $2 million less than Channing Frye.
Role players don’t draw much attention when they sign with a new squad, but these players often prove to be difference-makers — even on the most talented teams.
Here are 10 under-the-radar free agents to keep an eye on this offseason.
10. Ersan Ilyasova
Ilyasova is a 10-year veteran who has bounced around after spending his first seven NBA campaigns with Milwaukee. He’s suited up for five teams in the past two years, but he’s still a valuable piece. Most recently he was dealt from the Sixers to the Hawks in exchange for Tiago Splitter and a second-round pick and potential pick-swap.
This season he averaged 10.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 24.3 minutes per game for Atlanta. It wasn’t his best year, but he did notch 31 points in a January game, and throughout his career he’s consistently put up double-digit points and provided a punch on the offensive end.
The Turkish big man, a second-round pick in 2005, presents potential suitors with an interesting skill set. He can stretch the floor; he’s a career 35 percent three-point shooter. He’s a good pick-and-pop guy and he runs the floor.
Ilyasova, 6-foot-10 and 30 years old, lacks lateral athleticism, so he struggles to keep up with guards on switches, but he plays hard on defense and is a good rebounder. He could be a key bench guy for a contender.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks are making a deal before the NBA trade deadline that Atlanta hopes will bolster their playoff chances.
Philly is sending forward Ersan Ilyasova to Atlanta for Tiago Splitter and a second-round pick, as first reported by The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says the teams will also swap second-round picks.
Ilyasova has been bothered by a hip injury lately, but he’s still averaging 14.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this season.
This is a move by Atlanta to try and improve their standing in the Eastern Conference. They are 5th in the conference and a half-game behind the Raptors, and just 2.5 games back of the No. 3 seed Wizards.
Splitter is a 6-foot-11 center from Brazil who has yet to play this season due to injuries. He is on an expiring contract.
Ilyasova should add to Atlanta’s depth in the frontcourt, which already includes the likes of Dwight Howard, Paul Millsap and Kris Humphries among others.