With the free agency period at near completion, the teams may have stacked up or lost their players. The finalisation of the rosters of Southwestern teams is the topic I will discuss. I will include the trades during and after the draft, and all players after the draft signed. I will avoid low minimum salary players like Oliver Layfette for the Celtics, as well as draft picks (since they have not produced any NBA talent to assess). Shamsports provides the best contract info which is used for this post. We will discuss the void of the backup PF spot as well. Lets begin, shall we?
Golden State Warriors: Charlie Bell (2 years, $8,547,712) and Dan Gadzuric (1 year, $7,248,325), F. This is the best you could have gotten in a trade for Corey Maggette? It may be a salary dump, but try getting some people, that you know, can play! Doubt Bell or Dan see the court.
Louis Amundson (2 years, $4.5 million), A. Great move by Golden State, a good hustle PF. Shows that Vladimir Radmonovic is going to be buried on the bench, since Amundson and another new addition will take all PF minutes.
David Lee (6 years, $79,537,680), B. Very good sign and trade they were able to negotiate with New York. A double double machine, plays and was paid like Zach Randolph. May improve still in the fastest offensive game that is suited for him. Needs work on blocks.
Dorwell Wright (3 years,$11,469,000 ), C-. Bit below average SF, the signing with the Warriors may now let him shine. He averages 7.4 PPG, and the offensive game may utilize him more. An improvement in such thing such as scoring and assisting in GS may make him a bargain.
L.A Clippers: Randy Foye (2 years,$8,500,000 ), B-. Ok 2 guard, may be looking for a good season to be paid more.With the 2 spot on the Clips belonging to Eric Gordon, however, Foye will need to work on his shooting, right now at a bad .414%.
Brian Cook (2 years,$2,412,313 ), F. Cook, for a back up of any kind, and with 2 years guarenteed? What threat did Cook use to gain this contract? His days to play are done, but still managed to gain a contract. This does reinforce the image Sterling is cheap( Donald, not the metal). Needs to work to get to being a rotation players, to start.
Ryan Gomes (3 years,$12,000,000 ), A-. Finally filling the hole left empty once Sam Cassell left, the Clips basically gave him the contract he was waived from. Will produce in right situation, and new Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro is good to making players like Gomes work out well. Assists are the area to improve for Gomes.
Craig Smith (1 year,$2,400,000 ), B. A good back up PF, one Dallas currently needs. Smith is a liability on defense, however, and VDN will make that a priority for Smith to work on. Very good price, and can be dumped rather easily if his stats fall or is injured.
Rasual Butler (1 year, $2,400,000), C. A back up SF, Butler player rather well for the Clippers, breaking the 3PT record held by Tim Thomas. Sighed cheap as well, seems to be the new 3PT threat now that Steve Novak is gone.
L.A Lakers: Matt Barnes (2 years, $3,671,200), A-. New back up SF to Ron Artest, Barnes helps out the depleted second unit of the Lakers. While his FG% has gone down, he can make shots better than Adam Morrison, and has a cheap contract the Lakers were able to give him for being contenders.
Steve Blake (4 years, $16,000,000) D. Not having produced good stats, Barnes signed a long 4 year deal with the Lakers. Very low assist rate for some one expected to be a starting PG, at 4.8, Blake needs to improve the assists and FG%, or will end up being the next Luke Walton for the Lakers.
Derek Fisher (3 years, $10,500,000), F. Signing the aging Fisher to a 3 year contract? Not a good idea at all, with his stats declining as well. He may make a big shot once in a while, but a 3 year contract is 2 years too many. Also why sign Fisher for 3 years when you sign Blake for 4?
Theo Ratliff (1 year,$854,389 ), B. A rare exception to the avoiding minimum player, Ratliff is a bargain at the vet's. Playing well with the Bobcats, he produced better numbers than Dampier did. Lakers will get more use out of Theo that they did of DJ Mbenga or Josh Powell.
Sacramento Kings: Samuel Dalembert (1 year, $13,428,129), A. Getting that center spot filled, and a defensive center at that, the Kings won their trade with PHI. It may have cost them a first found center, but Sammy is worth it. They also managed to dump Andres Nocioni, a player with a longer salary commitment. Props to the Kings GM who knows how to manage their assets well.
Phoenix Suns: Channing Frye (5 years, ), F. While Frye has had a good year in PHX, he is definitely not worth his new contract. He will regress , as his stats show he plays well every other year, hence teams choosing not to sign him long term, or with the team option. Now that Stoudemire is gone, Frye isn't going to be able to play the perimeter, and his stats will decline.
Hakim Warrick (4 years, $17,000,000), F. Warrick always got short deals, and produced an ok PPG% but was a liability at defense. Now the Suns are throwing mooney around, and it will regret it. Salary cap hell got a new home: Phoenix, with his and Frye's contracts.'
Josh Childress (5 years, $33,500,000 ), C. Good SF in Greece, has no stats comparable since he played in Europe. Good signing for PHX, but the contracts of Frye and Warrick made their summer a bad one.
Now we will discuss the PF to be filled. Look at the remaining PF's left: http://blog.shamsports.com/2010/08/best-of-whats-left-after-what-was-best.html#more . Bad, isn't it? The options the Mavs have looked at are Brian Cardinal, Steve Novak, and Bobby Simmons. I propose to ignore those FA's and put Ajinca to play the PF. Check their stats, while Ajinca may not have played a lot in the NBA, he would produce more than either of the 3 the team is looking at. Give Ajinca time to adjust to the PF spot in training camp and the preseason. If the Mavs do not feel comfortable with this, give the competing PF a invitation for a free training camp similar to Dee Brown. If that PF beats out Ajinca, then he can stay on. Who knows what path the Mavs may take, but if the back up PF is Cardinal, hope that Nowiztzki doesn't get the injury bug, or else kiss the playoffs goodbye.