Grading Every NBA Team's 2014 Free-Agency Performance
It took a while for the NBA's highly anticipated free-agency period to kick into high gear, but once it did, pens were put to paper at a rapid pace.
Now, with the majority of the league's most noteworthy free agents off the market, it's time to evaluate how all 30 franchises fared in their quest to add new talent.
In the following slideshow, we'll be grading each team's free-agency performance to date based on the players they added, the ones they lost and the terms of the deals that were signed.
Additionally, it's crucial to note that we're evaluating moves made only after July 1, meaning draft picks and trades made earlier in the offseason were not taken into consideration when doling out final marks.
As always, the grading scale functions on a classic A-F spectrum, with a C representing an "average" performance. There are a few "incomplete" grades interspersed as well, where appropriate.
A marquee free-agent signing continues to elude general manager Danny Ferry and his Atlanta Hawks.
Although the Hawks were flush with cap space following the trade that sent Lou Williams and Lucas Nogueira to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for John Salmons, they've been able to snatch up only role players to this point.
Thus far, Atlanta's done well to sign perimeter defender Thabo Sefolosha to a three-year, $12 million deal, especially considering the Hawks ranked No. 20 overall in opponent's three-point shooting percentage (36.5) last season.
Atlanta was also able to nab Kent Bazemore on a cheap two-year pact worth $4 million, a signing which figures to bolster the team's depth on the wing behind DeMarre Carroll.
The Hawks gained enough momentum this summer to be considered contenders for one of the Eastern Conference's playoff spots, but disappointment regarding the front office's inability to lure a big name overshadows some of the nice progress they've made.
As far as signings go, the Boston Celtics haven't done much worthy of praise.
Avery Bradley signed a four-year deal worth $32 million to remain in Beantown, but given how the team's stockpiled backcourt talent of late, inking Bradley to a deal of that size doesn't make much sense, as Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal recently explained:
With that in mind, how can the C's justify giving Bradley $8 million per year, especially when that's paying more than market value for a player with huge limitations? The combo guard is a fantastic defender—one of the best in the league—and started developing more of a consistent shot last season, but dribbling tends to throw him off. That's usually problematic for a guard.
However, the Celtics deserve high marks for playing a role in the three-team trade that sent Jarrett Jack to the Brooklyn Nets and gave the Cleveland Cavaliers the cap space necessary to sign LeBron James.
To recap, for helping facilitate the trade, the Celtics filled a frontcourt need by acquiring rim protector Tyler Zeller, a bench scorer in Marcus Thornton as well as a first-round pick that will be top-10 protected in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
And while that appeared to be all the Celtics had in store this summer, Boston general manager Danny Ainge decided to ink Evan Turner to a deal that will pay him a portion of the team's mid-level exception, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.
While Turner may have been a worthy buy at the veteran minimum for a contender in need of depth on the wing, his presence would seem to indicate Boston has no intention of rolling out aesthetically pleasing lineups next season.
With Turner, Bradley, Rajon Rondo, Marcus Smart and Jeff Green all in the fold, Brad Stevens' club isn't going to improve much, if any, on its putrid 43.5 percent overall shooting mark from last year (No. 28 overall).
While their personnel moves have hardly been sterling, the Celtics' ability to stockpile future assets should be commended.
It's been a messy offseason for the Brooklyn Nets, an atypical sight during Mikhail Prokhorov's reign.
After rocking the boat last summer by trading for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn watched Pierce depart for the nation's capital while combo-guard Shaun Livingston signed with the Golden State Warriors.
And while Garnett plans on returning for a 20th season, according to ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk, the 38-year-old is hardly worth the $12 million he's slated to make.
As far as additions go, the Nets brought Jarrett Jack aboard to try and help mitigate the loss of Livingston, but his defensive chops are hardly inspiring (career defensive rating of 111).
Neither is his contract. According to ShamSports, Jack is due $6.3 million each of the next two seasons, while that same amount is unguaranteed for 2016-17.
It's also worth noting that the Nets were finally able to sign 2011 draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic to a three-year, $10.1 million deal, but his immediate place in Lionel Hollins' rotation remains unclear.
To cap things off, Alan Anderson returned to the Nets on a two-year deal "worth a little less than $3 million," according to the New York Post's Tim Bontemps, but his career mark of 39.7 percent shooting won't be turning heads.
The Charlotte Hornets aren't messing around.
The additions of Brian Roberts and Marvin Williams helped bolster the team's depth at point guard and power forward, respectively, but the blockbuster signing of Lance Stephenson at three years and $27 million may wind up being one of the summer's biggest steals.
From a defensive standpoint alone, Stephenson will give the Hornets another elite stopper on the wing alongside Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, which is terrifying for opponents considering Charlotte finished No. 5 overall in defensive efficiency last season.
But offensively, Stephenson provides Steve Clifford's attack with another capable ball-handler and penetrator, one who led the NBA in triple-doubles last season.
The Hornets may still have trouble getting opposing defenses to honor their three-point shooting, but they've made enough progress this summer to be considered one of the Eastern Conference's most improved clubs.
It's hard not to admire the Chicago Bulls' aggressiveness.
Despite missing out on Carmelo Anthony, general manager Gar Forman nabbed one of free agency's top big men, one who should slot in seamlessly next to Joakim Noah in what's evolved into an elite frontcourt.
Pau Gasol's three-year, $22 million deal should instantly vault the Bulls into contention for an Eastern Conference title, and as Bleacher Report's Dan Favale notes, it could also take serious pressure off of Derrick Rose:
A 48-win team just added a passing-savvy big man fresh off averaging 17.4 points and 3.4 assists per game as the offensive focal point of the tanking Los Angeles Lakers.
Though Gasol has missed 55 games himself over the last two seasons, it doesn't matter. He played in 109 more games than Chicago had him for. Regardless of whether he plays all 82 contests, the Bulls now have someone who, in the absence of Rose, can both create his own shot and make plays for others.
Factor in the arrival of stretch 4 Nikola Mirotic from Spain, the return of Kirk Hinrich and the signing of point guard Aaron Brooks, and Chicago's starting to look like the deepest team in a rapidly improving Eastern Conference.
Nab free agency's biggest prize, and you're going to earn the highest marks possible.
Following months of speculation, Cleveland's prodigal son, LeBron James, will be returning to the Cavaliers on a two-year, $42 million deal with a player option for year two.
But as Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes explains, the reason James opted for a short-term deal is all about his future earnings:
Generally, players prefer as many years as possible on their contracts. The possibility of injury, decline and any number of other risks makes assuring long-term financial security the smart move in most cases.
But James took a short deal because it enables him to make the most money possible under the collective bargaining agreement's current structure, while also setting himself up to cash in on an even higher level when that structure changes.
James' addition will officially transform the Cavaliers from perennial lottery winners into instant title contenders, and the help of some old friends should aid Cleveland's championship case, as well.
Aside from LeBron, the Cavs were able to sign Mike Miller to a two-year, $5.5 million deal, while James Jones agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum of $1.4 million.
Considering Cleveland shot just 35.6 percent from three last season (No. 18 overall), it's poised to make a big leap from beyond the arc next season.
Prior to free agency, the Dallas Mavericks turned heads by trading Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin and a handful of second-round draft picks to the New York Knicks for old pal Tyson Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton.
But little did we know that Dallas general manager Donnie Nelson and owner Mark Cuban had several other tricks up their sleeves.
Although $46 million over three years was a hefty sum to pay for swingman Chandler Parsons, the 25-year-old represents a major upgrade over Shawn Marion at the 3.
And after averaging 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and four assists last season for the Houston Rockets, Parsons told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Dwain Price he still has plenty of room to improve.
"I feel like I haven't even scratched the surface as to how good I can be," Parsons said. "I'm an extremely hard worker, and I'm going to keep getting better and better every single day."
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Parsons—along with Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Gordon Hayward and Michael Carter-Williams—was one of only seven players to average at least 16 points, five rebounds and four dimes last season.
Aside from Parsons, Dallas did well to retain a solid two-way presence in point guard Devin Harris at $9 million over three years, while Richard Jefferson was a low-cost, low-risk signing capable of making up for Vince Carter's production from beyond the arc.
However, Rashard Lewis' deal with the Mavericks may reportedly be voided after a failed physical revealed the 34-year-old needs to undergo a procedure on his knee, according to Basketball Insiders' Eric Pincus.
Oh yeah, and Dirk Nowitzki took a massive pay cut ($25 million over three years) so all of these moves could be made possible. Not too shabby.
The Denver Nuggets' offseason has been among the least eventful in the NBA, and for good reason.
Denver made its big splash prior to free agency by acquiring Arron Afflalo from the Orlando Magic, which has since left the team with very little financial wiggle room.
According to ShamSports, the Nuggets currently have just over $71.2 million on the books for next season, which would exceed the league's salary cap of $63 million and some change but fall short of the luxury tax threshold, which has been set at $76.8 million.
The Nuggets possess plenty of offensive potential a year after finishing No. 9 overall in nightly scoring average, but the defense remains a major sieve, especially after Brian Shaw's club allowed the third-most points per game (106.5) last season.
Apparently Stan Van Gundy accomplished his goal of adding capable floor-spacers this summer, because the Detroit Pistons spent wildly on a bevy of perimeter scorers.
First, it was Jodie Meeks on a three-year deal worth between $19-20 million.
Next, it was Cartier Martin signing a one-year deal.
And then there's Caron Butler, who inked a two-year, $9 million deal with a team option for year two.
Finally, there was point guard D.J. Augustin, who agreed to terms on a two-year, $6 million deal to play a backup role to Brandon Jennings.
Given that the Philadelphia 76ers were the only team to shoot a lower percentage from three last season than the Pistons, the signings make sense from a system standpoint.
Dating back to his days in Orlando, Van Gundy has employed a spread attack that's required shooters to be at the ready while playing through a big man—in Orlando, it was Dwight Howard; Andre Drummond will fill that role in Detroit—and the hodgepodge of recently acquired swingmen seems to fit the bill.
But for $19 million, the Meeks signing is iffy, particularly after his numbers were inflated in Mike D'Antoni's injury-ravaged, up-tempo offense last season.
Detroit may be more ready to compete for a lower-rung playoff spot in the short term, but it still hasn't addressed the Greg Monroe situation or its long-term prospects to a sufficient degree.
Golden State Warriors
Thanks to some savvy free-agent signings, the Golden State Warriors have the potential to boast tremendously versatile lineups during their first year under new head coach Steve Kerr.
Already a top-five defensive club last season in terms of efficiency (No. 4 overall, 102.6 points per 100 possessions), the Warriors added the lengthy Shaun Livingston to play a backup role behind Stephen Curry.
Now, with Livingston in the fold, Kerr will have the luxury of rolling out several daunting perimeter combinations that incorporate Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Curry and Livingston.
But don't forget about Brandon Rush, who signed a two-year, $2.5 million deal with a player option for year two.
Converting on 40.9 percent of his three-point attempts for his career, Rush figures to give the Warriors even more depth on the wing should he show few ill effects from the nasty knee injury he suffered early in the 2012-13 season during his first stint with the Warriors.
The most controversial offseason award goes to the Houston Rockets, and it may not be close.
While the team was able to offload Jeremy Lin's contract to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first step of an apparent masterplan, it cost them a future first-round pick and a second-round selection in 2015.
Then Daryl Morey's house of cards collapsed.
Chris Bosh inked a max contract with the Miami Heat, and the Dallas Mavericks extended to Chandler Parsons an offer sheet that possessed what Morey called "one of the most untradeable structures I've ever seen," via The Dallas Morning News.
Houston, of course, declined to match.
With a spot open at the 3, Morey moved quickly to sign Trevor Ariza to a four-year, $32 million deal.
However, as the Rockets are well aware, Ariza has a penchant for coming up large in contract years and then failing to live up to the shiny new deals that are bestowed upon him.
Matching his 40.7 percent conversion rate from three next season will be a tall task, but Ariza should find similar defensive success flanked by the tenacious Patrick Beverley.
The additions of Joey Dorsey, Troy Daniels, Jeff Adrien and Alonzo Gee rounded out Houston's unspectacular offseason haul.
Let's keep it simple: When you lose Lance Stephenson and replace him with a platoon consisting of Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles, you're not having a very good offseason.
Following Stephenson's departure, the Indiana Pacers find themselves hurting on the perimeter, and they didn't do much to ease their fans' concerns that the defense will take a step back next season.
While Stephenson finished 14th in individual defensive rating last season, Miles and Stuckey enter with spotty track records. Specifically, Miles and Stuckey own career defensive ratings of 109 and 111, respectively.
And while the Pacers did bring Damjan Rudez as a stretch 4 aboard to provide some versatility, it remains to be seen if the Pacers' moves will be enough to boost their offensive rating from a putrid 24th-best in 2013-14.
In an Eastern Conference where teams like the Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls have all taken steps forward, it appears as though the Pacers are in the process of taking a step or two back.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers struck quickly in free agency, agreeing to terms with guard Jordan Farmar and center Spencer Hawes before the league's moratorium ended.
As it pertains to Hawes, the Clippers got a nice value for one of the league's true stretch 5s, inking him to a four-year, $23 million deal at the mid-level exception.
A 41.6 percent shooter from three last year, Hawes will help last season's top-ranked offense flourish in new ways. And while he may be a legitimate 7-footer, Hawes isn't going to help the Clippers when it comes to rim protection or defensive intensity on the blocks.
In 27 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Hawes surrendered 1.19 points per possession to roll men in the pick-and-roll (No. 121 overall) and 0.94 points per possession (No. 204 overall) on post-ups—play types that accounted for 56 percent of his defensive possessions, according to Synergy Sports (subscription required).
As for Farmar, the former Los Angeles Laker was brought aboard at $4.2 million over two years to help run point for Doc Rivers' second unit following Darren Collison's departure to the Sacramento Kings.
Not only did Farmar shoot 43.8 percent from distance last season, but his 4.9 assist-per-game average ranked as the second-highest mark of his career. And considering the Clippers got Farmar for approximately $3 million less annually than what the Kings signed Collison for, it's hard to knock that value.
Glen Davis was brought back on a one-year deal at the veteran minimum, but he's not a viable option to help resolve the team's lack of depth behind DeAndre Jordan.
Los Angeles Lakers
No, the Los Angeles Lakers didn't strike gold with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh.
But as far as stopgaps go, Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin were fine acquisitions, especially since the latter was accompanied by a future first-round pick in a trade with the Houston Rockets.
And while it may seem like the Lakers unnecessarily loaded up on big men by adding Boozer, Ed Davis, Jordan Hill and rookie Julius Randle, Bleacher Report's D.J. Foster made a strong case that the group could, in fact, co-exist:
The positive here is that both Davis and Hill are solid shot-blockers, so they protect Boozer when they play together. While we'll likely never see Randle and Boozer paired up, the other frontcourt options actually complement Boozer quite well.
It's also important to note that, while Davis has plenty of potential, there's probably a reason why he can never fully crack a rotation and earn consistent playing time. He might not be someone you want to count on for significant minutes, and that's the spot the Lakers would have been in without another frontcourt player to add to the rotation.
L.A. also retained the swaggy stylings of Nick Young at $21.5 million over four years, after he torched opponents to the tune of 17.9 points per game on 43.5 percent shooting from the field and 38.6 percent from three last year.
The returns of Xavier Henry, Ryan Kelly and Wesley Johnson will help fill out a rotation that's clearly lacking defensive prowess, but with Kobe Bryant back healthy, the Purple and Gold's offense should be intriguing to watch develop.
Aside from the drama that enveloped the Memphis Grizzlies' front office in May, the team has had a relatively quiet offseason.
While Mike Miller explored his options and eventually signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Grizzlies wasted little time filling his spot on the wing.
Enter Vince Carter (at $12.2 million over three years), the ageless wonder who shot the rock at a 39.4 percent clip from three last season in 81 appearances as a sixth man for the Dallas Mavericks.
Now, Carter will be tasked with trying to spread out Dave Joerger's slow and deliberate attack, one that attempted the league's fewest threes and played at the Association's slowest pace last season.
And while the Grizz watched Ed Davis hit the open market, they did well to retain the services of Nick Calathes and Beno Udrih at point guard.
Given how the Grizzlies appear to be creeping toward luxury-tax territory next season, per ShamSports, the club did well to make a few under-the-radar additions with very limited financial wiggle room.
Remember how bleak things looked for the Miami Heat on the afternoon of July 11?
Now, after team president Pat Riley acted quickly to lock up Bosh on a five-year max deal worth $118 million and Wade to a team-friendly deal that will pay him $15 million this season with a player option worth $16.1 million next season, per ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Miami's not ready to fade from of the Eastern Conference playoff picture just yet.
But that wasn't all.
Riley also secured swingman Luol Deng on a two-year commitment worth $20 million while adding Josh McRoberts at the mid-level exception to help complement Bosh in the frontcourt. And don't forget Danny Granger, who's looking to revive his career on South Beach after signing a two-year, $4.2 million deal with the Heat.
Factor in Miami's ability to retain Mario Chalmers at an average annual value of approximately $4 million, convince Udonis Haslem to take a pay cut to the $2.7 million "room" exception and lock up Chris Andersen at $10 million over two years, and Miami actually made out quite well.
Yes, they lost the best player in the world, and that's an overwhelming negative.
But considering how quickly Miami was able to rebound from James' decision and assemble a roster that will be able to compete for a conference title, Riley should be commended.
Since we're not exploring the impact of incoming draft picks in this space, the Milwaukee Bucks' offseason has been one of the league's most boring.
Prior to the team's winning waiver claim on point guard Kendall Marshall, the Bucks had been extremely quiet on the free-agent front, letting names like Ramon Sessions and Ekpe Udoh walk while making no signings of note.
However, Milwaukee has reportedly been close to a deal with combo-guard Jerryd Bayless for days now, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, although word regarding a finalized contract has yet to come down.
The big takeaway from all of this backcourt moving and shaking, though, is that Brandon Knight may be slated to play a fair bit of shooting guard next season after former coach Larry Drew experimented with several different lineup pairings at guard last season.
Specifically, lineup data from 82games.com shows that Knight spent 10 percent of his time playing the 2 in his first year with the Bucks. During those stints, Knight recorded a player efficiency rating of 20.8, which was 4.5 points higher than his PER as a point guard. His effective field-goal percentage also spiked from 46.0 to 57.1 when playing shooting guard, per 82games.
Whether Jason Kidd continues that experiment remains to be seen, but Knight has the chops to capably play the 2 next to Marshall and Nate Wolters.
During his first season with the Bucks, Knight averaged a career-high 17.9 points on 42.2 percent shooting from the field and 32.5 percent shooting from three while racking up a career-best 4.5 free-throw attempts per game.
Constricted by the salary cap, Flip Saunders and the Minnesota Timberwolves have kept a low profile throughout July.
In terms of free-agent signings, that is.
While trade rumors regarding Kevin Love continue to swirl at an unprecedented pace, Minnesota's owner, Glen Taylor, wants his superstar back with the team this season, according to the Pioneer Press' Andy Greder:
"My preference is that Kevin will come to (training) camp—and I'm sure he will—and play with the team," Taylor said.
Love, who can opt out of his contract next July, repeatedly has said all he wants to do is win.
"I say back to Kevin, 'Well, that's all I want, too,'" Taylor said.
With few signings on the horizon and the bulk of last season's roster set to return, Minnesota needs to hope that young guns like Gorgui Dieng, Zach LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad develop in a hurry.
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans already boasted one of the league's elite rim protectors in Anthony Davis, so pairing him with a stout defender like Omer Asik could make Monty Williams' club one of the more physically imposing in the paint.
According to NBA.com, Asik limited opponents to 47.7 percent shooting at the rim last season while Davis surrendered a conversion rate of just 48.9 percent on the same shots.
Outside of acquiring Asik in a three-team trade with the Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets, the Pelicans have made a few under-the-radar signings that don't figure to make a significant impact.
Jimmer Fredette was added at the veteran minimum to help a club that ranked 29th in three-point attempts last season, but his defensive shortcomings won't make him much more than a back-end rotational body.
New Orleans also re-signed Darius Miller and inked John Salmons to a one-year deal worth $2 million, but neither player is going to help solve the Pelicans' myriad defensive woes. (The team was No. 27 overall in defensive rating last season).
New York Knicks
In a suddenly crowded and competitive Eastern Conference, have the New York Knicks done enough to wedge their way into the playoff picture?
Despite retaining Carmelo Anthony at a gaudy, near-max contract over five years, the Knicks didn't have the flexibility necessary to take positive strides like the Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards or Chicago Bulls did.
Instead, the Knicks had to settle for lower-tier free-agent signings like Jason Smith, who was brought to Manhattan for one year at $3.3 million.
And while the arrivals of Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert prior to the NBA draft give New York a bit more stability in both the backcourt and frontcourt, the moves weren't enough to bring about a complete defensive transformation.
After the Knicks finished 24th in defensive efficiency last season (109.1 points per 100 possessions), Derek Fisher has to become a miracle worker for New York to take a major leap forward.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder's second unit didn't have much of a problem offensively last season, ranking 15th in scoring average and 10th in three-point field-goal percentage, according to HoopsStats.
But in a highly competitive Western Conference that boasted seven of the league's eight most efficient offenses, Scott Brooks will take all of the reinforcements he can get.
Which is where Anthony Morrow comes in.
Signed to a fresh deal worth $10 million over three years, Morrow figures to help bolster a perimeter attack that was aided greatly by the presence of MVP Kevin Durant.
Bleacher Report's Luke Petkac explains:
The Thunder entered the offseason needing shooting badly. OKC hit a middle-of-the-pack 36 percent from three last year, but that number was skewed by Kevin Durant's flamethrowing from deep. Remove Durant from the equation, and the squad's three-point shooting plummets to 33.4 percent—a bottom-five mark.
A 42.8 percent shooter from three for his career, Morrow excels in catch-and-shoot and spot-up situations.
In fact, Morrow drilled a gaudy 43.4 percent of his spot-up threes last season, according to Synergy Sports (subscription required), situations that accounted for 33 percent of his offensive production.
Aside from Morrow, the Thunder were only able to round out their depth chart with Sebastian Telfair and Grant Jerrett due to limited salary-cap mobility.
The Orlando Magic have pieced together one of the Association's more interesting summers.
After shipping Arron Afflalo off to the Denver Nuggets in return for Evan Fournier and a second-round draft pick, Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan moved to secure one of free agency's most overlooked prizes.
By nabbing Channing Frye on a four-year pact worth $32 million, Hennigan was able to provide Jacque Vaughn's attack with one of the league's better stretch 4s, one who hit 37 percent of his threes last season while averaging 11.1 points and 5.1 rebounds.
"I think the Magic pretty much made themselves at the top of my list early on," Frye told the Associated Press. "They were the first people to call, and that means a lot."
Orlando was seemingly the first team to call on free-agent shooting guard Ben Gordon, as well, who nabbed a two-year, $9 million deal with the Magic after appearing in just 19 games for Charlotte last season.
Hennigan then moved to finalize his free-agent haul by replacing veteran point guard Jameer Nelson with Luke Ridnour, a 33-year-old backup floor general who will help provide stability behind Elfrid Payton should the rookie struggle to find his footing.
The Frye signing could wind up being a boon for a Magic team that ranked 21st in three-point field-goal percentage last season, but shelling out $9 million for an over-the-hill Gordon remains one of the more questionable decisions any team has made since July 1.
How do you grade a team that's made virtually zero moves during free agency?
Well, you don't.
The Philadelphia 76ers have entered a period of radio silence (not uncommon during Sam Hinkie's tenure as general manager) since shaking up the NBA draft by selecting Joel Embiid and Dario Saric with their two lottery picks.
Truly, the only move of note for the Sixers this summer was veteran shooting guard Jason Richardson opting into the final year of his contract at $6.6 million, according to Basketball Insiders' Eric Pincus.
And that wasn't positive.
Other than that, Philadelphia has stockpiled enough second-round talent to assemble the league's least appealing roster, one that would figure to start Michael Carter-Williams, Hollis Thompson, K.J. McDaniels, Thaddeus Young and Nerlens Noel, if the season began today.
Phoenix general manager Ryan McDonough made arguably the savviest move of free agency when they acquired diminutive scoring machine Isaiah Thomas in a sign-and-trade with the Sacramento Kings in exchange for a $7 million trade exception and the rights to Alex Oriakhi.
McDonough, via AZCentral's Paul Coro, explained why the Suns made the deal despite already boasting two tremendous talents in the backcourt.
We were very good when Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe were on the court, and we think Isaiah Thomas is that caliber of player where if you can have one or two of those guys on the court at all times, you really don't have any dropoff scoring-wise. You always have multiple weapons. You have guys who can run pick-and-rolls from either side of the floor and can push the floor in transition.
The Suns then proceeded to sign Thomas to a four-year deal worth $27 million, which means Thomas' average annual salary comes in just below $7 million.
In an inflated market, that's an absolute steal.
And in order to mitigate the loss of stretch 4 Channing Frye, the Suns signed Anthony Tolliver to a two-year, $6 million deal with only $400,000 guaranteed for year two, according to the Associated Press.
Considering Tolliver shot a career-high 41.3 percent from three last season, he may very well be capable of filling Frye's shoes at a fraction of the cost.
Portland Trail Blazers
Like so many Western Conference contenders, the Portland Trail Blazers weren't flush with the monetary flexibility necessary to make a big splash during free agency.
However, that didn't stop general manager Neil Olshey from picking up two quality rotational players in Steve Blake and Chris Kaman.
For Blake, 2014-15 will represent a return to the Pacific Northwest after he suited up for Rip City in 2005-06 and then again from 2007-2010.
And while he was limited to just 55 appearances during stints with the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors last season, Blake was a playmaking savant at times, racking up 7.6 dimes and just 2.6 turnovers a night with the Purple and Gold.
For $4.2 million over two years (player option for year two), the 38.8 percent shooter from three should slot seamlessly into Mo Williams' old reserve spot behind Damian Lillard.
Portland then capped things off by using their mid-level exception to ink Kaman to a two-year deal worth $9.8 million.
While his defensive chops are hardly robust, Kaman gives the Blazers some veteran stability behind Robin Lopez that Meyers Leonard and Joel Freeland simply can't provide.
In 39 appearances (13 starts) with the Lakers last season, Kaman averaged 10.4 points and 5.9 rebounds while recording a player efficiency rating of 17, which represented the second-highest mark of his career.
Does anyone know what the Sacramento Kings' game plan is?
Apparently not, according to Grantland's Zach Lowe.
"Hung out with a bunch of people from all over the league last night in Vegas. No one has any clue what the Kings are doing," Lowe tweeted on July 11.
Not only did the Kings fail to retain Isaiah Thomas, but they decided to fill his former spot with Darren Collison, whom they signed to a fully guaranteed three-year deal worth $16 million that will pay out approximately $5.3 million annually.
With a career efficiency rating that hovers just above the league average (15.7), Collison just doesn't feel like an adequate replacement for a rapidly improving Thomas, whose ceiling continues to grow with each season.
Especially when the Suns got Thomas (career PER of 18.7) for just $1.4 million more annually over three years.
The team's only other move of note was Rudy Gay exercising his $19.3 million player option for next season, although the swingman is open to signing a long-term extension with the club, according to The Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones.
San Antonio Spurs
When the reigning NBA champions are able to retain every key member from their title run, the rest of the Association should be very, very afraid.
Not only did Tim Duncan forgo retirement and exercise his $10.3 million player option for next season, but the Spurs were also able to re-sign playoff hero Boris Diaw at a very reasonable $22.5 million over three years (year three is partially guaranteed, per Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski).
But the Spurs didn't stop there.
They were also able to re-sign point guard Patty Mills to a team-friendly deal that will pay out $12 million over three years while nabbing Matt Bonner on a one-year deal at the veteran minimum of $1.4 million.
With San Antonio's championship-caliber core returning fully intact, expect Gregg Popovich's menacing system to have the team in contention for a third straight trip to the Finals.
Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri kept busy throughout the early weeks of July, re-signing several key components from last season's Atlantic Division title run while scoring a few other small prizes.
His biggest move, though, was signing Kyle Lowry to a $48 million deal that will keep the tenacious floor general North of the border for four more seasons.
Following a breakout campaign that saw Lowry average career highs of 17.9 points and 7.4 assists while recording 11.7 win shares (topping his previous career-best by 4.7), Lowry had earned a sizable boost in pay.
Fortunately for the Raptors, they were able to lock up Lowry, whose player efficiency rating ranked fifth among all point guards last season, at a very reasonable $12 million annually.
In order to preserve depth behind Lowry, the Raptors also re-signed Greivis Vasquez to a two-year, $13 million deal while re-upping Patrick Patterson at $18 million over three years.
And while that may seem like a slight overpay for Patterson at first glance, the pseudo stretch 4 was quite effective upon arrival from the Sacramento Kings, averaging 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 41.1 percent from three over the course of 48 games.
James Johnson's signing went relatively unheralded at the time, but the shot-blocking fiend figures to provide nice depth as a high-energy contributor on the wing behind Terrence Ross.
Past production aside, the Utah Jazz had no choice but to match the Charlotte Hornets' maximum four-year, $63 million offer sheet for Gordon Hayward.
Since Utah lacks the ability to recruit big-name free agents to Salt Lake City, the franchise has become dependent upon drafting and cultivating talent in a more organic way, and that approach forced general manager Dennis Lindsey's hand.
In that context, it's hard to knock Utah for matching.
After all, Hayward, along with Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Michael Carter-Williams was one of five players to average at least 16 points, five boards and five assists last season.
However, his shooting struggles (41.3 percent from the field, 30.4 percent from three) were magnified when he functioned as the centerpiece of Utah's offense, and his player efficiency rating took an expected hit (16.2) as a result.
For Utah's sake, hopefully Quin Snyder's arrival as head coach will make Hayward a more efficient, calculating scorer.
In less controversial news, the Jazz traded Diante Garrett to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Steve Novak and signed forward Trevor Booker to a two-year, $10 million deal to provide Snyder with some reliable depth behind Derrick Favors.
Novak, a sharpshooting specialist, figures to slot in at the 3 and provide perimeter reinforcements for a team that ranked 25th in three-point field-goal percentage last season.
The Washington Wizards have put on a masterclass in accruing depth at a reasonable cost this summer, starting with the acquisition of Paul Pierce.
Following Trevor Ariza's departure, Washington moved quickly and decisively to lock up Pierce for $11 million over two years, filling the team's temporary void at small forward with an infectious veteran presence who will only aid in the development of young guns John Wall and Bradley Beal.
As if that weren't enough, the Wizards also re-signed their most notable unrestricted free agent, Marcin Gortat, to a shiny $60 million deal that will make him the team's frontcourt staple for the next five years.
The Wizards were also able to address their frontcourt depth by adding Kris Humphries on a three-year, $13 million deal while DeJuan Blair joined Washington in a sign-and-trade with the Dallas Mavericks.
Considering Washington's bench ranked 27th in defensive rebounding and 16th in offensive rebounding last season, per HoopsStats, Humphries and Blair should give Randy Wittman some nice insurance behind Gortat and the injury-prone Nene.
It's also worth remembering Humphries is a very capable mid-range shooter. He knocked down 47.9 percent of his shots between 16 feet and the three-point line last season, which represented a new career-high (minimum 500 minutes played).
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com, unless otherwise noted.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!