Watching the NBA free agency period this season is something that I find rather amusing. First, teams only have two and a half weeks to go through training camp, re-sign their own players and sign free agents. Second, some of the contracts that players, in particular centers, have been receiving have been somewhat outrageous. I know that some of these players are key players for their respective teams, but are you serious on some of these contracts? Let’s take a look at some of the contracts that NBA centers have received and see whether they are worth that amount of dough.
Nene, Denver Nuggets – 5 years, $67 million – In my mind, Nene is one of the most under-rated centers in the league. He doesn’t get enough credit for what he has done the past few years. He averaged 14.5 ppg and 7.6 rpg, led the league in field-goal percentage (61.5%), and is an under-rated on the defensive end, as well. Now, is he worth an average of $13.4 million a year? I think he is for the first two years, but I don’t know about the next three years. Once a player gets his money, he seems to fall off the map, unless he is a superstar and Nene is no superstar. Is he under-rated? Yes. But is he worth it? No.
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies – 4 years, $58 million – I am wondering how Gasol got all this money. I know he had a great playoff run, averaging 15 ppg, 11 rpg, and 2 blocks per game in 13 games. But are the Grizzlies going over the edge with this deal? Gasol’s deal averages $14.5 million a year for a player that didn’t blossom until the playoffs. The Grizzlies were without Rudy Gay for the majority of the season and playoffs, but he is back this season, so who is to say that Gasol’s numbers don’t go down this season? In the regular season he averaged 11.7 ppg, 7 rpg, and 1.7 bpg. Gasol is a nice role player, but he is not some guy to give this type of money to. Unless he averages 17, 12, and 2 per game over the next four seasons, he might never live up to this contract. The one thing I like about this deal is that it’s only for four years.
DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers – 4 years, $43 million: This is a deal that I don’t understand. Jordan averaged 7 points and 7 rebounds per game last season and now he will average $10.75 million a season for the next four. He played 25 minutes per game, partly because the Clippers had Chris Kaman, too. But Kaman played in only 32 games last season, so why didn’t Jordan play more minutes? I don’t have an answer for that. All I know is that the Clippers went 32-50 last season, but they have some nice pieces coming in this season, most notably Chris Paul and Caron Butler. Back to Jordan though. Jordan is mainly a dunk-player. He has no mid-range game and no post-moves. He is a decent defensive player (1.7 blocks per game), but averaged 3.2 fouls per game. I don’t like this deal at all. It’s nice to spend money on players that are proven like [Caron] Butler, but when you give a guy like Jordan this type of money, you don’t know what you are going to get.
Kwame Brown, Golden State Warriors – 1 year, $7 million: The biggest bust in NBA history gets, yet, another chance. Since the Warriors were unable to get DeAndre Jordan, they settled (and I mean settled) for the Brown. Brown has career averages of 6.8 ppg and 5.5 rpg. But this deal doesn’t really surprise me. I remember when they signed another player (who is not that good), Andris Biedrins. Biedrins is set to make $9 million this season. I can understand the Warriors need to beef-up their front-line, but any guy out there, except Dwight Howard; they are going to over-pay for. This might Brown’s last chance to play in the NBA. Even if he averages 10 and 10 this season, he is going to get an outrageous deal next year by a desperate team. I don’t like this deal.
Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks – 4 years, $56 million: I think a lot of people would say that one of the reasons the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA championship last season was because Chandler changed the culture of the Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki also had something to say about it, too. But is this a bad deal for the Knicks? Chandler is a good defender, but he is no Dwight Howard. He doesn’t impact the game like Howard, doesn’t have the offense that Howard does, and is not as young as Howard. Can Chandler really make a difference in New York? Don’t forget that Dallas had DeShawn Stevenson (tough dude), Shawn Marion, and Jason Kidd (still a good defender). The Knicks have Mike Bibby (not even close to as good as Kidd), Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony (could be a good defender if he tried), and Amar’e Stoudemire (not that good either). They got rid of a solid defensive player when they acquire Chandler: Ronny Turiaf. Turiaf was a tough, hard-nosed defender. So, can Chandler really change the culture in the Big Apple? It’s going to be tough, but at least Chandler got paid (average of $14 million a year).
The only center that has proven he worth any absurdable amount of money is [Dwight] Howard. He is a reliable force in the middle. He is always part of the MVP-conversation, First Team All-NBA, Defensive First Team, and Defensive Player of the Year. He is consistent, night in and night out.
The center position is not the only position that had outrageous contracts. Every position has their outrageous deals. But I feel that [Tyson] Chandler is the main reason that all these centers are getting these big-time contracts without the credentials.