30 for 30 : FA Edition + Bonus Four Thought

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Last week in the 30 for 30: Draft Edition, the draft process was compared to the dating app Tinder. If the NBA Draft is a slow paced courting process full of game playing, then it’s Free Agency counterpart is the exact opposite. It’s more like speed dating.

When 12:01am (EST) hits on July 1st, players and teams know exactly what they are looking for and aren’t about to waste any time. Teams will have a short list of targets they wish to get in touch with and players will have pretty specific demands they want met, before signing on the dotted line.

While some deals may take a little longer to eventuate than others, it is Free Agency Eve and we are just hours away from our first round of commitments. With that in mind, let’s see how many ‘Perfect Matches’ we can find between player and team.


olynykATLANTA HAWKS

Space: Up To $35 Mil
Need: Young Big
Match: Kelly Olynyk – 4 Years / $52mil (PO)

If the Hawks let Paul Millsap walk, after also trading out Dwight Howard, the finger is very much on the reset button. Atlanta are armed with a young PG and a multitude of talented young wings but lack a versatile big to grow with the group. With a small bounty of cap space to play with, offering Olynyk a contract the Celtics can’t possibly match is a good starting point.

haywardBOSTON CELTICS

Space: Up To $33 Mil
Need: Difference Maker
Match: Gordon Hayward – 4 Years / $130+mil

It may take a few more slight tweaks to create the necessary room but Boston is all in on it’s attempt for Hayward. It’s time for Ainge to start moving the needle for the Celtics and Hayward would give them another legitimate star to pair with Thomas and Horford. The reunion with ex-coach Brad Stevens, makes this the ultimate perfect match in Bean Town.

galloBROOKLYN NETS

Space: Up To $35 Mil
Need: Scoring Talent
Match: Danilo Gallinari – 4 Years / $72mil (TO)

The Nets are going to be on the look out for a go to scorer in Free Agency. Despite the potential injury risk, Gallo provides Brooklyn with a legitimate wing option to partner with the newly aquired D’Angelo Russell and a host of young prospects. With no incentive to keep losing, a Lin-Russell-Gallinari-Booker-Mozgov starting 5 should at least be competitive with a fun bench in tow.

miles

CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Space: $0 Mil – Mid Level & Bi Annual Available
Need: Shooting
Match: CJ Miles – 4 Years / $32mil

The Hornets are capped out and have a team that is built to get back to the Playoffs in Season 17/18. Drafting Malik Monk will help some shooting woes but they could always do with more, with a potential starting lineup including Howard and MKG. CJ Miles could certainly be interested in a long term deal at the Mid Level Exception.

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simmons

CHICAGO BULLS

Space: Up To $39 Mil
Need: Young Talent
Match: Jonathon Simmons – 4 Years / $50mil (PO)

After trading Jimmy Butler, the Bulls believe they have a clear plan towards rebuilding. They also have a TON of cap space to attempt to accelerate things with a slightly older timeline around LaVine and Dunn. Drafting Markkanen as well as having Lopez/Portis, means the Bulls biggest need is at the 3. Don’t discount a large offer sheet on Simmons.
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speights

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Space: $0 Mil – Portion of Mid Level Available
Need: Kevin Love/Channing Frye Plan B
Match: Mo Speights – 1 Year / $3mil

Cleveland is capped out with only a portion of the Mid Level available to add playable pieces. Big Mo has bounced around contenders for the last few years and could easily find himself at the Cavs, where they love all guys who can shoot. With limited trade possibilities to get better, Love or Frye may find themselves shipped out and Speights could be a cheap alternative.

noelDALLAS MAVERICKS

Space: Up To $33 Mil
Need: Franchise Big
Match: Nerlens Noel – 4 Years / $110+mil

Dallas are juggling a farewell to a Franchise Hero, while trying to rebuild from underneath. They signed Harrison Barnes, hit some luck with Seth Curry and got even luckier with Dennis Smith Jnr falling to them in the draft. Amongst that they also traded for Nerlens Noel. Now they have to see it through and sign him long-term, with all signs suggesting they will. Smith-Curry-Barnes-Noel is a pretty good start.

millsapDENVER NUGGETS

Space: Up To $41 Mil
Need: Franchise Player
Match: Paul Millsap – 4 Years / $120mil

Denver are one team under pressure to elevate their status. After chasing Wade last off-season, the Nuggets clearly have a thirst for turning their ‘up and coming’ tag into something taken a little more serious. Denver look like one team capable of paying Millsap the big bucks to leave Atlanta. $35 Mil a year for Millsap is a lot but when you say $36 Mil a year for Millsap & Jokic, it feels a lot better right?

rekeDETROIT PISTONS

Space: $0 Mil – Mid Level & Bi Annual Available
Need: Playmaking
Match: Tyreke Evans – 2 Years / $10mil (TO)

The initial build under SVG seems ready for a tear down already and Detroit seem out of love with what was suppose to be their franchise cornerstones. Rather than sell for cents on the dollar, the Pistons may decide to press ahead for the time being. However, they are capped out with only exceptions to add to their core. Evans might be a cheap option for further playmaking in case Jackson continues to slump.

carter

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

Space: Up To $54 Mil (Mid Level & Bi Annual Available)
Need: Cheap Talent
Match: Vince Carter – 1 Year / Vet Min

Don’t let the cap figure fool you, the Warriors have to do a salary dance to bring back Iggy, Livingston, Curry, Durant and possibly Zaza. Like last season, vet minimum contracts will be the order of the day (particularly if exceptions are needed for the above) and Vince Carter has already stated he’d take less to join the Dubs. Make no mistake Carter will be chasing an elusive ring but he will certainly contribute in the process.

nene

HOUSTON ROCKETS

Space: $0 Mil – Mid Level & Bi Annual Available 
Need: Big Men
Match: Nene – 2 Years / $16mil

Chris Paul was the first choice for the Houston slot before the Rockets jumped the shark and traded for him before July 1. After the trade, the Rockets are over the cap and need to fill out a loss of several roster spots with 2 exceptions and minimum contracts. Another big man is certainly a key roster need and Nene was exceptional in red and white last season. The full MLE for 2 years should get it done.

INDIANA PACERSholiday

Space: Up To $31 Mil 
Need: Young PG
Match: Jrue Holiday – 4 Years / $75mil

Paul George is technically still a Pacer but Indiana are ready to rebuild. A complete tear down may not be advisable and if the Pacers can get some decent pieces back for George, they may be able to accelerate the process. With no current PG (or PG13), Jrue Holiday is an intriguing option who is still young enough and could form a new nucleaus with Turner and aforementioned trade returns.

greenLA CLIPPERS

Space: Up To $21 Mil 
Need: Cheap Shooting
Match: Gerald Green – 1 Year / Vet Min

Okay, a lot has changed in 48 hours for the Clippers. They traded Chris Paul away but got some okay pieces in return given the situation. LAC also seem intent on re-signing Blake Griffin but letting Redick go. So with Beverley at the point, Griffin may become the key facilitator and needs as much shooting around him as possible. Gerald Green showed in the playoffs he may still have a role to play in the NBA.

thaboLOS ANGELES LAKERS

Space: Up To $24 Mil 
Need: Short Term Help
Match: Thabo Sefolosha- 1 Year / $15mil

Los Angeles are planning everything around the summer of 2018. Pelinka and Magic showed they have ice in their hearts on the way to shedding Mozgov and his contract, while Lopez’s deal ends after this season. The Lakers want maximum space next off-season but will also want to show out as a team this season to remain attractive. Keep an eye out for 1 year overpay deals and Thabo fills a need on the wing.

clarkMEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

Space: Up To $4 Mil (Mid Level & Bi Annual Available)
Need: Athleticism
Match: Ian Clark – 2 Years / $6.5mil

At least one of the current Warrior championship players is set to leave Golden State for a larger contract than the minimum. Memphis won’t have a lot to offer the majority of the FA market but need to add athleticism and shooting, wherever they can. The Bi-Annual for the maximum 2 years might be enough to lure Ian Clark, along with the promise of a much larger role.

MIAMI HEATjohnson

Space: Up To $37 Mil
Need: Stability
Match: James Johnson – 3 Years / $45mil

There is possibly no better ‘Perfect Match’ in this year’s Free Agency market. Johnson shed some weight and turned his career around in South Beach, in turn helping the Heat turn their own season around. There may be higher offers on the table when July 1 hits but this  is certainly a case where the player needs the team just as much as the team needs the player.

tucker

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Space: $0 Mil – Mid Level & Bi Annual Available
Need: 3 & D
Match: PJ Tucker – 3 Years / $24mil

The Bucks are in an interesting situation this Summer, maxed out on salary and also most positions. They are still in need of significant improvement however and whilst some will come internally, Milwaukee would love to add external help. They have 2 exceptions to bring in help and PJ Tucker offers the defense and spacing, which is priority 1 and 2 when building around Giannis.

bojanMINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

Space: Up To $20 Mil 
Need: Expensive Shooting
Match: Bojan Bogdanovic – 3 Years / $45mil

A starting lineup that includes Rubio, Wiggins and Butler isn’t getting enough deep shooting, 1 through 3. That means the Wolves will need to make moves or add shooting at the 4, as well as in reserve. With up to $20 Mil to use before some key extensions kick in, Bogdanovic could come in on a lucrative short term deal and bring Minnesota much of what he did for the Wizards late last season.

young

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

Space: Up To $12 Mil 
Need: Any Shooting
Match: Nick Young – 3 Years / $15mil (TO)

If New Orleans are all-in on the Boogie/Brow Kentucky Wildcat offense, shooting is the key priority to add around them. They have to bring back Jrue Holiday, as options without Bird Rights are not going to come close to comparing, which leaves the wings wide open. With not a lot of money to burn, some risks may have to be taken by a Front Office forced to gamble. Swaggy is as big of a boom/bust prospect there is on the market.

NEW YORK KNICKScollison

Space: Up To $20 Mil 
Need: Point Guard
Match: Darren Collison – 2 Years / $20mil

New York are a mess. As if the Melo-Drama and KP-Spat weren’t enough, Dolan decided to remove Phil Jackson just a few days out from Free Agency. There is plenty of cap space, but not enough for max players and no GM in place to create the additional space. Add in the fact the current state of the Knicks isn’t exactly attractive and the best option might be a slight overpay on a guy like Collison while Ntilikina develops.

gibsonOKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Space: $0 Mil – Mid Level & Bi Annual Available
Need: Veteran Bigs
Match: Taj Gibson – 2 Years / $16mil

Oklahoma cannot run it back again next year and expect similar/better results. It took a historical season from Westbrook to drag the Thunder into the playoffs and ultimately Presti will need to make some trades to improve his team. In the meantime, 2 exceptions are there for when FA opens and the full MLE might be just enough to entice Gibson back for 2  years ( or 3 if that’s what it takes).

ORLANDO MAGICmills

Space: Up To $17 Mil 
Need: Playmaking/Shooting
Match: Patty Mills – 3 Years / $45mil

History shows that new GMs like to bring in their own players. It may take significant time to revamp the full Orlando Roster, however Hammond may use FA to start #TheProcess. Elfrid Payton is an old school PG trapped in a new school game and the Magic will need an antidote to his play as the lead guard. Locking Patty Mills up on a reasonable deal over 3 years would be a good first move for Hammond.

redick

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

Space: Up To $59 Mil 
Need: Vets and SHOOTING!
Match: JJ Redick – 3 Years / $50mil (TO)

After the big trade for the #1 pick, the core of Fultz-Simmons-Embiid is everything Hinkie the Sixers planned for. There is a serious need for veteran leadership and shooting to add to this young team. JJ Redick says “Why Not Both?!”. There is zero chance Redick is heading back to LAC and at 33, Philly can offer the one last big contract he will be after.

sauce

PHOENIX SUNS

Space: Up To $29 Mil 
Need: Backup Big
Match: Alan Williams – 3 Years / $22mil

Despite having close to max player room in the salary cap (and numerous rumours) the Suns shouldn’t be in the market for a big name FA signing. Phoenix have been committed to youth for an unprecedented amount of time (still, not that long) now and  are also dedicated to improving their image. Williams fits a need, brings passion to the team and is also an Arizona native. All ‘Perfect Match’ pluses.

jones

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

Space: $0 Mil – Portion of Mid Level Available
Need: Cheap PF
Match: Terrence Jones – 1 Year / Vet Min

Portland is in luxury tax territory and without the exceptions other teams are taking into FA talks. They may look to trade but it will likely be to shed salary rather than make significant additions. With or without a roster shakeup, the forward positions still loom as the spots that could be upgraded. As far as cheap high upside choices go, Terrence Jones is a potential suitor for a Blazers uniform in 17/18.

pattersonSACRAMENTO KINGS

Space: Up To $59 Mil
Need: Veteran Help
Match: Patrick Patterson – 3 Years / $40mil

The Kings are attempting their own rejuvenation. They are stocked with lots of young unknowns at the moment and a ton of cap space. A (large) portion of that will be going to Bogdan Bogdanovic who will become their highest paid player as a rookie. However, look for that to change quickly and the beneficiary could be a guy like Patrick Patterson who brings leadership and shooting to a young team.

jonesSAN ANTONIO SPURS

Space: Up To $21 Mil 
Need: Difference Maker
Match: Kyle Lowry – 4 Years / $120mil (TO)

Chris Paul is off the market and Point Guard still remains a spot the Spurs could look to strengthen. It may require some early July cap shredding (Green should be nervous) but San Antonio would be a great spot for Lowry on his last big contract. The Spurs look after their guys on and off the court and Lowry could unlock a lot of what Pop would like to do in order to stay relevant.

ibaka

TORONTO RAPTORS

Space: Up To $19 Mil
Need: Shot Blocking
Match: Serge Ibaka – 4 Years / $64mil

There may not ever be a more important Summer in Raptors history with Lowry, Ibaka, Tucker and Patterson all UFA’s. If Toronto decide to re-boot the same core, Ibaka may be the most important signing of the lot. Not only did the Raptors trade away assets to bring him in but they also need the spacing he provides DeRozan and Lowry as well as the shot-blocking next to Valanciunas.

ingles

UTAH JAZZ

Space: Up To $31 Mil 
Need: Glue Guy
Match: Joe Ingles – 3 Years / $30mil

With or without a Hayward return, the Jazz need to bring Ingles back to Utah. He is the ultimate glue guy who is likely to be better in Salt Lake City than anywhere else at this stage of his career. Both player and team need this reunion. Ingles will provide more of the same (albeit at a larger cost) if Hayward returns and could possibly even step the production to match the contract if Hayward bolts for greener pastures.

ReedWASHINGTON WIZARDS

Space: Up To $3 Mil
Need: Backup C
Match: Willie Reed – 3 Years / $15mil (PO)

Call it a hunch but the Washington Wizards will trade Gortat this off-season. The Polish Hammer was already outspoken when the season ended for the Wizards and he is one of very few trade chips Washington have available to improve their roster. Reed would be an ideal backup if the Wizards rolled the dice with Mahinmi as the starter, capable of stepping up if/when needed.


Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 6.44.25 pmWe do like to make a prediction or two here at The Four Point Play, so Free Agency is the perfect time to throw a few #Ozwoj’s out there. Or perhaps, #AusWoj’s in the case of our special guest.

After a short hiatus, the Four Thought Roundtable is back. In keeping with the theme, this edition will be in quick hitting speed dating form. Below are answers from three of our TFPP writer team as well as special guest, Austin Hutchinson, of Def Pen Hoops and the newly created Hoops With Hutch podcast.

 

1. Who is your “Perfect Match”? Provide the team, player and contract.

Austin Hutchinson: My perfect match would be George Hill returning to the San Antonio Spurs. Hypothetically, it would take Manu Ginobli’s retirement and a LaMarcus Aldridge trade, but Hill could take a 3 year, 60 million dollar contract if San Antonio is willing to dip into the luxury tax.

Sam Eley: James Johnson and the Miami Heat. They proved to be a perfect match last season. James Johnson looked to be on his last NBA contract before breaking through with the 16/17 Heat team. Displaying a skillset not many knew he had, JJ was everywhere – from defensive demon, to offensive playmaker, even sharp shooter. Johnson has bought into the culture and appears set to get a solid pay-day from Miami. Well earned. 3/42 million.

David Nash: A little left field but I really like Aron Baynes to Philly. He rightly opted out of his option in a weak big man FA class. The Brett Brown/Australian connection is key and the Sixers will need a reliable backup for Embiid. 3 Years/$30mil with a Team Option.

Xander Hamilton-Reeves: Paul Millsap and Houston. It might be a long shot if the current reports are anything to go by but Millsap for 3 Years & $80 Million would be great for both parties.

 

2. Which Max Offer FA is the most likely to leave their current team for a better fit?

AH: All indications show Blake Griffin wants out of the Clipper’s organization and playing next to Chris Paul. He seems thirsty to join the Lakers, Celtics, or even the Rockets on a deal to get a fresh start.

SE: Paul Millsap to the Timberwolves. This fit feels too good. With Jimmy Butler now in tow, the Wolves will be looking to bring forward their timeline. Adding an All-Star like Millsap, another defensive menace and gifted offensive player, will make the Wolves a serious threat in the West. Watch out.

DN: I agree on both Griffin and Millsap but will throw Gordon Hayward into the mix. The fit with ex-coach Brad Stevens is too good to refuse and Boston need to start moving the needle.

XR: With my original choice (CP3) off the market, I will double up with Austin on Blake. Word is they want to keep him but Blake should get out while he can.

 

3. Which RFA can you see not being matched by his current team due to a bad fit?

AH: Tim Hardaway Jr seems to be a likely candidate, especially if the Hawks go full rebuild mode. Letting Restricted Free Agents go seems to be a more financial issue than a fit. For example, let’s say if a team nearly maxes Otto Porter, the Wizards should consider not matching that offer sheet due to cap room obligations.

SE: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. I kinda feel like this one is inevitable. The Pistons didn’t click last year and it feels like SVG is getting an itchy trigger finger. They just drafted a 2 guard in Luke Kennard in the lottery, and still need to find out whether Stanley Johnson can play or not. KCP shot just 40% from the floor last year, and will be serving a suspension for a recent DUI arrest. Brooklyn have a ton of cap space and no-one to spend it on, so I’m expecting a heavy offer sheet that the Pistons will decline to match.

DN: Alex Len. Hardly a world beater but 7 footers with some NBA ready skills are hard to come by, so Len will likely get an offer. Anything over $10mil might scare the Suns off, if they can’t trade Chandler and also want to keep Sauce Williams.

XR: Kelly Olynyk will be the collateral damage for Boston trying to free up as much space as they can. He may even be allowed straight into UFA and bypass the RFA process.

 

4. Make one crazy prediction for this FA period that will have less than perfect results.

AH: If the San Antonio Spurs sign Derrick Rose, I might deactivate my twitter account. Interest has apparently been shown from both sides, and I simply do not believe it. Just stay in New York bud.

SE: CP3 on the Spurs Rockets. It’ll seem like a coup at the time, but the Spurs Rockets will have to shed a ton of salary, and chemistry, to make it happen. They’ll still win 55+ games, but it won’t get them anywhere close to the Dubs. *trade happened after roundtable but points still stand.

DN: Hmmm….Kyle Lowry. Whoever gives Lowry Max money over 4 years (likely Raptors and maybe for 5) will regret it very quickly. Lowry is not young and showing some worrying signs. Gone are the days of him being a top 5 PG in the league.

XR: Whoever trades for Paul George. He won’t mesh well as a 2nd or 3rd option, they won’t win the title and he will still bolt for the Lakers. Unless it’s the Lakers that trade for him. Then it’s whoever signs Kelly Olynyk. 


For further details on all the 2017 Free Agents, check out the following:

’17 Full FA Roundup
’17 UFA’s Primer
’17 RFA’s Stock Watch

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