By KELTON BROOKS
NBA free agency is well underway with rumors channeling through the wires, trade implications and players agreeing to contract terms. However, July 10 is the day the NBA’s free-agency moratorium is lifted and players can officially sign with new teams.
While general managers and coaches are delivering their best sale’s pitch to recruit the A-List stars in LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony or possibly land Timberwolves’ forward Kevin Love in a trade, others names in the free agent frenzy warrant their own attention—for better or for worse. NBA Free Agent Tracker
Best Move in Free Agency: Kyle Lowry
Lowry re-signed with the Toronto Raptors to a four-year, $48 million contract. The Raptors made it a top priority to sign the scrappy, hard-nosed point guard who led Toronto to their first playoff appearance since 2008. The Raptors entered the playoffs as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, but lost in a back-and-forth series to the Brooklyn Nets in seven games.
Lowry, who had a career year averaging 17.9 points, 7.4 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game and making 38 percent of his three-pointers in the regular season, was fielding interest from the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets. He previously played with the Rockets in 08′ and again from 2010-12 seasons.
Miami was an interesting landing spot for Lowry, but coming off his best season as a pro, Miami wouldn’t have been able to offer Lowry the lucrative contract that he deserves. The Lakers are starving for a point guard, but they have their eyes set on a bigger prize in James, Anthony or Love. Lowry would have been an upgrade over Patrick Beverly and Jeremy Lin in Houston, but I personally don’t believe he wanted to return to Houston for a third stint.
The nucleus of Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Terrance Ross bodes a promising future for the franchise if the organization can keep them intact. Re-signing Lowry was the first step in the direction.
Worst Move in Free Agency: Jason Kidd Traded to the Milwaukee Bucks
The Nets traded away Kidd to the Bucks for two second-round picks—one in 2015 and another in ’19—for the one time coach who went 44-38 in his only season in Brooklyn.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Jason Kidd is just the fourth NBA head coach to switch teams immediately after his rookie season and the first since Stan Albeck and Jack McKinney did so after the 1979-80 season.
Kidd requested to become the Nets’ president of Basketball Operations after his first season as coach, but was denied. After Kidd’s denial, the Nets gave him permission to talk to other teams about a job.
The Bucks then fired coach Larry Drew June 30 after the deal for Kidd was reached. Drew and the Bucks had the worst record in the league, 15-67, in his only season as the Bucks’ coach.
You’ve got be Kiddin‘ me? Bad pun, sorry. All jokes aside, I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one.
In one perspective, Kidd could be seen as a keen businessman who has viewed the struggles of Nets’ General Manager Billy King as he tried to seize control of the Nets’ basketball operations department. Every willing and driven individual has aspirations to move up in their profession. It’s hard to knock Kidd based on that thought process.
In another view point, Kidd could easily be seen as a man who was put in his place by an organization by trying to force his way into a position he does not yet deserve. Kidd turned player to coach in one year, then tried to muscle his way into a bigger role after his lone season in Brooklyn. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are very well coming to the end of their careers, but the roster still had the likes of all-stars in Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, as well as other capable players.
Kidd is still an unproven coach and had the luxury of experienced players on his team. Brooklyn started the season 10-21 and rumors started to swirl about Kidd’s firing, but the Nets battled through the storm to the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, losing in five games to the Heat.
In a letter to the Milwaukee Bucks, Kidd said:
“…there is no place I’d rather be. Over my twenty years in the NBA as a player and coach, I have always been impressed with the level of support that Bucks fans have given this team, in good times and bad. With a talented young roster, new owners that are passionate about being successful in Milwaukee, and a great fan base, we have the makings of something special here and I’m proud to be leading this new era of Bucks basketball.”
Will Kidd fulfill his new promise in leading a “new era” of the Bucks? Time will tell, but drafting Jabari Parker with the No. 2 overall pick was a smart move that will aid Kidd in the long run.
Melo to the Lakers?
Several reports have surfaced about the Los Angeles Lakers becoming a serious contender to sign superstar Carmelo Anthony. The Lakers would be able to offer Anthony a four-year, $97 million deal and re-signing with the Knicks would give Anthony a five-year deal worth $129 million.
It’s all speculations at this point with no word from Anthony or his camp of where the star is leaning, but for the sake of argument, if Anthony does sign with the Lakers, it would entice the return of Pau Gasol. The pairing of Gasol, Anthony, Kobe Bryant, and No. 7 overall draft pick Julius Randle is a roster bound for the playoffs.
But the big question mark is Bryant. The future Hall of Fame guard is 35-years-old coming off a torn achilles tendon. A brief two year window with an aging Bryant and a 34-year-old Gasol doesn’t seem persuasive enough if Anthony has the desire to win multiple championships for the long haul.