The NBA has a plethora of high ticketed free agents to offer this offseason. Trade talks have already been rampant and seemingly improbable scenarios have been discussed. While some of the NBA’s bigger fish of the summer such as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony remained unhooked, a few of the best deals have been negotiated already this offseason. Although teams will not be able to make the official announcements of the signings for a few more days, one should take a glance at some of the finer moves that were orchestrated.
Kyle Lowry agrees to resign With the Toronto Raptors. Coming off his best season by far, the hard-nosed point guard from New York City led Toronto all the way to the playoffs. The occasion marked the first time in 12 seasons the franchise made the postseason. The 6’0″ point guard put up a career high 17.9 ppg and averaged 7.4 apg and also shot 38 percent from three-point range. Despite being snubbed from the all-star team last season, Lowry was easily the top free agent point guard of the summer. The savvy Lowry formed one of the better back court duos with a gifted, young athletic scorer in Demar Derozan. At four years and $48 million the Raptors should be happy that the “top ten point guard” is still just 28 years old and improving.
Dirk Nowitzki agrees to resign with Dallas for home team discount. Following a rough 2012-13 season, the 2011 NBA Finals MVP returned healthy from his offseason, which made his deal easily one of the best values of the summer. The league’s best shooting seven footer quietly averaged 21 ppg, shot 49 percent from the field and 39 percent from deep. The scoring juggernaut may not be getting younger at 36 years of age but his stoke is still one of the purest in the business. More importantly at three years for $30 million, Dirk is giving the Dallas Mavericks the ability to “be a major player in free agency and the trade market.” The $10 million per year is a far cry from other aging superstars such as Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba will make more than double that total in the next two seasons. The move may help the Mavericks lure a free agent like Carmelo Anthony out west. Pairing Melo with Dirk and the suddenly revitalized Monta Ellis, could form a Texas triangle worth contention.
Kyrie Irving stays in Cleveland for the max. While some might see paying Irving $90 million over five years as excessive, the Cleveland Cavaliers did not have much better options. General Manager David Griffin and owner Dan Gilbert may still be chasing their LeBron James pipe dreams. However, if LeBron fails to return to his old stomping grounds Irving is still one of the best offensive point guards in the NBA. Even on a down year the all-star game MVP averaged 20 ppg and dished out 6 dimes per contest. If Andrew Wiggins can live up to anywhere near his potential and the Cavaliers can get a piece of equal value for Dion Waiters, Irving’s streak of watching NBA playoff games from his couch may be over soon.
Honorable mention goes to the San Antonio Spurs for keeping both Patty Mills and Boris Diaw for three seasons. While Diaw’s deal is $22 million dollars for an aging veteran, he was a key piece to this season’s finals championship. Both players posted modest numbers, but roles and usage are minimal in Greg Popovich’s offensive systems. Diaw’s passing for a big man and Mills’ ability to shoot leave little doubt that the Spurs retention flew under the NBA radar as one of the offseason’s best deals do the summer.
Commentary By Brandon Wright