The NBA offseason is here. With free agents names such as LeBron James, Carmel Anthony, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, the summer is packed with superstar talent. The league has not seen such an accomplished list of free agent players since the summer of 2010. The infamous summer that saw The Big Three of James, Wade and Bosh join forces and change the way free agency was constructed. Now more than ever teams are looking to pair their star players with other superstars in order to become closer to competing for a championship. However there have also been some puzzling moves already thus far. Teams are not allowed to officially sign players until after July 10, when the NBA moratorium is lifted. The following is a list of some the worst offseason deals that have been negotiated this summer.
Shaun Livingston agrees to three-year deal with the Golden State Warriors.
Livingston is coming off of perhaps the best season in his NBA career. After being drafted number four in the 2004 NBA draft, the 6’7″ point guard has battled a career riddled with injuries to become a solid rotation player in the league. At one point in 2007 he endured one of the “most gruesome” knees injuries ever witnessed on television. The guard tore his ACL, PCL, and MCL while also dislocating his patella tendon. Livingston posted numbers of 8.3 ppg, 3.2 asp, while shooting 48 percent from the field. The slashing guard started 54 games in place of an injured Deron Williams. The problem is not that Livingston will not be effective with the Warriors, but rather why they believe the player is worth $16 million over three seasons. The injury prone guard played a career high 76 games which is the closest to a full season he has ever played. Such a commitment in excess salary for a player who has played on 12 different teams in his career is puzzling, considering his talent and production. Questions as to whether Livingston can remain healthy, play point guard and defend will need to be answered in Golden State.
Darren Collison to a three-year $16 million dollar contract with the Sacramento Kings.
Collison is coming off a productive season with the Los Angeles Clippers. The 26-year-old speedster will be entering his sixth season in the league. He backed up Chris Paul and filled in admirable averaging 11 ppg, 3.7 apg, while shooting 46 and 37 percent from the field and three-point range respectively. In the playoffs he helped the Clippers infamously rally from down 22 points in Game 5 to beat the the OKC Thunder. The performance was arguably the highlight of his season and included a 13 point fourth quarter. However realistically Collins is like being brought into replace a much more talented and productive point guard in Isaiah Thomas.
The 24-year-old guard is a free agent but the Kings are apparently uninterested in paying him handsomely . He averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 apg last season. The electric Thomas has room for improvement with his shot selection and defense but he is certainly proving to be well worthy of the number 60 pick in the 2011 draft. Collison is an “average offensive” player and struggles mildly on defense. These weaknesses make it is difficult to understand why a team that is rebuilding would commit to paying a high price player like Collison over a potential budding star in Thomas. While Thomas is 5’9″ he can score consistently at a high level. Collison lost his starting job with the Indiana Pacers to George Hill later he did not elevate his play with the Dallas Mavericks and will now be playing for his fifth team in six seasons. Another reason this deal is one of the NBA’s worst of the offseason is because there did not appear to be a high market for Collison with so many stars on the market this summer.
Jodie Meeks agrees three-year $19.5 million deal with the Detroit Pistons.
In his first move as a General Manager, Stan Van Gundy showed why coaching is his strength. Meeks enjoyed a career season with the Lakers. The sharpshooting guard averaged a career high 15.7 ppg and shot 40 percent from the three-point line. He even dropped 42 points in a win versus the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, this past season was just the second-year Meeks managed to average double figures in six seasons. The 26-year-old will be playing for his fourth team next season. While Meeks certainly addresses the need of three-point shooting in Detroit, he will be paid around $6 million a season. According to ESPN, Jamal Crawford, Kevin Martin, J.J. Redick and Wesley Matthews all make similar figures per season. Somehow Meeks’ career production and skill set as a “catch and shoot” player do not parallel with his wing competitors.
Ben Gordon receives a contract offer from the Magic for more than the minimum.
The “most shocking” deal of the NBA offseason may not be the worst but is certainly in the running for honorable mention. Ben Gordon’s two-year non guaranteed $9 million contract with Orlando Magic is not as risky a deal as some of the others. However, Gordon was waived after playing just 19 games with the Bobcats last season. Although Gordon has averaged 15.6 ppg over his career, since leaving the Chicago Bulls the shooter has struggled to find a stability in a role. He career low numbers across the board last year. No team picked up Gordon during the regular season, and after averaging just 5 ppg, shooting 37 percent from the field and 27 percent from downtown his play did not make a case for him. One must question why a rebuilding team like the magic would even bother to sign Gordon.
Commentary by Brandon Wright