Grading the biggest deals from NBA free agency so far

Alex Caruso
Alex Caruso is one of the surprise movers in NBA free agency. Photo from CBS Sports.

Monday was a free agency frenzy. From Chris Paul up to Kyle Lowry, we’ll analyze the biggest and notable deals and give our own NBA free agency grades.

NBA free agency grades so far

It’s a busy offseason for everyone. Teams have already started to negotiate with key free agents. However, not all deals are the same.

Here are the best and worst NBA free agent deals so far…

Suns re-sign Chris Paul

Deal: Four years, $120 million
Grade: B

Chris Paul elevated Phoenix to a new whole level. His high level of play and impact on winning are just too good. Without him, the Suns aren’t going anywhere in the playoffs.

However, that’s a long contract and a lot of money for a 36-year old who has a long history of injuries.

Heat completes sign-and-trade for Kyle Lowry

Deal: Three years, $90 million
Grade: A

Acquiring Kyle Lowry is one of the NBA free agent deals so far. This is huge for Miami as it addresses their thin point guard rotation.


His three-point shooting and playmaking complement Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo’s inside game. In addition, he’s already a proven leader and champion. The $30 million a year is definitely worth it.

Jazz re-signs Mike Conley

Deal: Three years, $72.5 million
Grade: B+

Mike Conley was a major factor in Utah’s regular-season success. Without him, they would’ve not made it as the first seed in the West.

His efficient game complements Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt. Barring any injuries, his $75 million contract is worth it for a playoff-contending team like the Jazz.

Bulls complete sign-and-trade for Lonzo Ball

Deal: Four years, $85 million
Grade: A

Landing Lonzo Ball is huge for Chicago. He fits perfectly with Zach LaVine as the primary playmaker who can do a little bit of everything.

His arrival answers their playmaking and defensive woes in the backcourt. Clearly, this signing shows Chicago’s willingness to win and build a contender around their all-star.

Cavaliers re-sign Jarrett Allen

Deal: Five years, $100 million
Grade: B-

Jarrett Allen is a walking double-double. His rim protection, rebounding, and ability to play above the rim are perfect for a traditional big man.

However, the $100 million may be too much for a 23-year old center who’s still a work in progress. The Cavs investing this early means that they are banking on his potential.

Knicks sign Evan Fournier

Deal: Four years, $78 million
Grade: C+

Signing Evan Fournier gives New York a reliable scorer outside of Julius Randle and RJ Barrett.

Obviously, the Knicks could do better given their cap space available. It may not be a juicy signing but he’s still is an offensive player who will help spread the floor and make plays.

Heat re-signs Duncan Robinson

Deal: Five years, $90 million
Grade: B+

Robinson joined the likes of Joe Harris for catch-and-shoot players who got paid. His $18 million a year is worth it for a player like him who shoots 41% on threes on 9 attempts per game. His elite shooting gives room for Butler and Adebayo to operate inside.

Bulls sign Alex Caruso

Deal: Four years, $37 million
Grade: A-

Again, this is huge for Chicago.

Alex Caruso’s $9 million a year contract is a steal given that he’s one of the league’s best perimeter defenders. Pairing him with Ball in the backcourt will create havoc defensively.

Mavericks re-sign Tim Hardaway Jr.

Deal: Four years, $72 million
Grade: B

The Mavericks needed Hardaway’s three-point shooting to complement Luka Doncic.

His $18 million a year is on par with his previous contract with them. He may not be an upgrade that Dallas is looking but he’s one of the best floor spacers available in the market.

Heat signs PJ Tucker

Deal: Two years, $15 million
Grade: A

Miami got another “dog” in PJ Tucker. At age 36, he’s still one of the league’s versatile defenders who can hit the three-ball well. Tucker’s grittiness just fits the Heat Culture seamlessly. Signing Tucker is one of the best NBA free agency grades.

Bulls complete sign and trade for DeMar DeRozan

Deal: Three years, $85 million
Grade: A-

After many years of being dormant, Chicago is finally making big moves. The signing of DeMar DeRozan just shows that they are serious in contending in the East.

DeRozan is clearly an upgrade on the wing. His arrival gives additional offensive firepower next to Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. Even though he’s not a good three-point shooter and defender, his midrange game is elite enough to compensate for it. He was expected to take a pay cut to join a contender but instead, the Bulls offered him an $85 million three-year contract. Who would pass on that?

Blazers re-sign Norman Powell

Deal: Five years, $90 million
Grade: B-

The Blazers are in a tricky situation. The pressure is on them this season since Damian Lillard wants to build a championship contending team.

The signing of Norman Powell gives them another scorer in the wing. $90 million for five years just sounds right for one of the hottest scorers in the league. However, this signing doesn’t instantly answer their defensive problems in the backcourt. Moreover, is he enough to make Portland a deep playoff team?

Raptors re-sign Gary Trent Jr.

Deal: Three years, $54 million
Grade: A-

Signing Gary Trent Jr. fits Toronto’s youth movement. He’ll fill in the hole that Lowry left and continue to develop as one of their main scorers.

Last season, Trent averaged 16.2 points while shooting 40% on the floor and 36% beyond the arc in 17 games with the Raptors. Expect him to have a larger role in the coming season.

Kings re-sign Richaun Holmes

Deal: Four years, $55 million
Grade: A

This is such a great deal for the Kings. They retained one of the highly sought centers in the free agent market for only $55 million. Other teams offered a more lucrative contract but Holmes decided to stay.

Richaun Holmes played out of his mind in his contract year. He averaged a career-best 14.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.6 blocks on 64% shooting last season. Expect him to continue improving offensively and defensively. This is one of the best NBA free agent deals so far.

Nets sign Patty Mills

Deal: Two years, $12 million
Grade: A-

Brooklyn added more firepower with the signing of Patty Mills. This is great for them since he’s very reliable in hitting big shots. He also acts as insurance should Kyrie Irving and James Harden miss games.

Mills is a consistent threat from the outside averaging 10.8 points on 2.4 made threes per game. In the 2020-2021 season, he hit a career-high 161 3-pointers, and he’s hit at least 150 threes for the past four seasons.

Lakers sign Carmelo Anthony

Deal: One year, $2.6 million
Grade: B

Carmelo Anthony is one of LeBron James’ closest friends. It’s a dream come true for both of them to play together and chase a title.

His signing gives the Lakers an added scorer off the bench who averaged 13.4 points per game last season. At age 37, he still can hit big shots when needed.

Sixers sign Andre Drummond

Deal: One year, $2.4 million
Grade: B+

The departure of Dwight Howard leaves the Sixers thin in the frontcourt. The arrival of Andre Drummond gives them size next to Joel Embiid, who were previous rivals on the court.

Drummond’s game didn’t fit well with the Lakers. He’ll look to bounce back this season in Philadelphia and help them with his size and rebounding. $2.4 million for one of the best rebounders in the league is a steal.

Lakers sign Kendrick Nunn

Deal: Two years, $10 million
Grade: B+

Kendrick Nunn reportedly turned down lucrative offers to play with the Lakers. Clearly, he wants to help LeBron James and Anthony Davis win another title.

Nunn will become Russell Westbrook’s backup in Los Angeles. His offensive game is valuable off the bench as he averaged 15 points per game in Miami. Moreover, he provides much-needed youth alongside Malik Monk and Talen Horton-Tucker. All other players on the Lakers roster are 30 years old and above.

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About Jeremy Mallari 79 Articles
Jeremy lives and breathes basketball. He's an avid NBA fan for almost a decade now.

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