In every off season, teams have a certain amount of money that they can spend on free agents. Some signings are home runs, while others aren’t so great. Every offseason, some team has to have the worst free agency signings in the NBA. Not every team can walk away as a winner.
Five Bad 2019 Free Agent Signings
After trading both Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside, the Miami Heat don’t have much of a roster around Jimmy Butler to be a competitive team in the Eastern Conference this year. Earning an average annual salary of $35 million per season for a guy that at his best can average 20 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds doesn’t make sense. If the Heat can pull off a trade for a Chris Paul or another star, then this signing makes sense. As of right now, they are paying a guy that’s turning 30 in September a max contract that in reality is a B level All-Star. The smarter move for the Heat would’ve been to spend that money elsewhere.
If Butler and his mega-deal are going to be on this list, then certainly Khris Middleton and his five-year $178 million contract are going to be on this list as well. Last year Middleton posted averages of 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. While these are solid numbers, they’re also less than spectacular at the same time. He was a borderline All-Star last year who made the team due to the Bucks having the best record in the NBA. Again, paying somebody $35 million per season that is barely an All-Star is not worth it. The Milwaukee Bucks need a second star next to Giannis Antetokounmpo if they want to make it to the NBA Finals, and Middleton is not that guy. This seems to be more of a “keep Antetokounmpo happy” type of move instead of a championship move.
The Golden State Warriors signing D’Angelo Russell added more of what they already had: offense. Russell averaged 21 points and 7 assists last season for a playoff Brooklyn Nets team. With Klay Thompson sidelined until the all-star break, he’ll join Stephen Curry, another purely offensive player, in the backcourt. This signing also means the Warriors had to trade Andre Iguodala, a key component to the Warriors championship success over the last five seasons. If the Warriors end up trading Russell around the time Thompson returns for a wing player, then this will be a good signing. As of right now, this looks like a desperation play by Bob Myers to stay relevant as the Warriors move into their new arena this fall.
Harrison Barnes is what all NBA followers over the past few years have come to know: a mediocre wing player that doesn’t offer much outside of scoring. While his shooting numbers are solid, he only averaged 16 points per game last year which is his strongest category. The $21 million price tag per season is overpriced and to make matters worse, the Sacramento Kings are loaded in the frontcourt following the addition of Dewayne Dedmon in free agency. His payday means that young players Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles will have a harder time developing due to the lack of minutes that will be available. If Barnes can up his other statistics (rebounds, assists, steals, blocks), then this money will be better spent. However, this has been asked of him for years, so don’t expect much to change.
Delon Wright has always been a decent player but certainly hasn’t shown that he can be a starting point guard. The Dallas Mavericks thought the opposite when they signed him to a three-year, $29 million deal in a sign-and-trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. In 26 games averaging 30 minutes with the Grizzlies last year, he averaged 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. While these are decent numbers, they aren’t anything that jumps off the page. The Mavericks clearly overpaid Wright once the point guard market dried up and they still hadn’t signed anyone yet. Could Wright have a big year in Dallas? Possibly. But with Luka Doncic dominating the ball on offense, it will be hard to put up the same kind of numbers he had last year when he was playing heavy minutes on a depleted Memphis Grizzlies team.
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