The free-agency period in the NBA summer has grown from back page news to driving the sports media world until the start of football season. Growing interest in the NBA off-season is one of the main reasons why the NBA is thriving and still growing every year. The Golden State Warriors have won three of the last four championships and other teams are growing antsy about winning a title of their own. The NBA in the 90’s was similar as the Chicago Bulls won six times including two different three-peats. During that time, you were just considered as a player playing in the wrong era. Maybe that can be said about teams playing in the Warriors' era but that does not mean that there will not be anyone that still tries.
Even if you are not a team that feels like you have a legitimate chance of contending for the title, you still want to put out a winning product because who likes to lose right? There is a belief in the NBA that if you are not one of the league's best teams then you should try to be one of the worst because you increase your chances of landing a superstar. Ask teams like Orlando and Phoenix that have been drafting near the top of the draft for 4-5 years how much of a roll of the dice the draft can be. This summer will not be like it was in 2016 when teams were seemingly passing out money to anyone that would take it.
The salary cap situations are more limited this summer but there will still be bad deals signed this free agency just like every year. We'll break down 20 free-agency signings that teams will regret.
20 Dallas Mavericks: DeAndre Jordan
In the summer of 2015, the Dallas Mavericks agreed on a deal with DeAndre Jordan to return to his home state and play alongside Dirk Nowitzki. His former teammates Chris Paul and others reportedly locked Jordan in a room until he re-signed with the Clippers leaving the Mavs with egg on their face. This time, the Mavericks and Jordan will have mutual interest.
Now that the Clippers are no longer in playoff contention Jordan has likely played his last game with the Clippers.
Jordan will require a large contract that Dallas can afford to pay; the only problem is that it will not result in winning.
19 The Golden State Warriors: Michael Beasley
The Golden State Warriors won the 2018 NBA championship so it is hard to rain on their parade these days, literally. Last year it was Nick Young who the Warriors chose to win a championship on their roster. Next season that player is going to be Michael Beasley. Beasley is very close to Kevin Durant dating back to their days growing up in the DMV area. With the Warriors, Beasley will throw off the chemistry in the locker room and his presence will be the demise of the Warriors' championship run. OK, I was only kidding with that last part, but can the Warriors sign anyone this off-season that they would legitimately regret?
18 Chicago Bulls: Jabari Parker
While a senior in high school, Jabari Parker was one of the highest ranked basketball players in the country. This led to Parker committing to play one season at Duke University before he entered the NBA draft. There was a real discussion about who the first pick in the 2014 draft should be between Parker and Andrew Wiggins who eventually went first. In the NBA, Parker has not been what he was projected to be mainly because of knee injuries that have halted his development. The Chicago Bulls have cap space and Parker is a hometown guy that will remind them of the Derrick Rose days. Parker will receive a large contract but the truth is he may never develop into an all-star level player like his trajectory showed early on.
17 Memphis Grizzlies: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
The Memphis Grizzlies should feel burned after signing Chandler Parsons to a $94 million dollar max contract in 2016. They will sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in free agency after finding a team to take on the Chandler Parsons contract and will regret this deal as well. KCP averaged 13.4 points per game this last season for the Los Angeles Lakers.
KCP has the ability to score the basketball consistently and the Grizzlies could use more scoring in their starting lineup.
Expect a deal north of $12 million per year for around four years for Memphis to acquire the services of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
16 Miami Heat: Greg Monroe
The Miami Heat will attempt to trade disgruntled center Hassan Whiteside before the start of next season with the development of rookie Bam Adebayo. Greg Monroe agreed to a buyout with the Phoenix Suns this season and signed with the Boston Celtics for the remainder of the season. The Celtics are not likely to re-sign Monroe as he had minimal impact on their playoff run. The Heat will offer Monroe a deal as a backup front court player behind Adebayo and Monroe will gladly accept the deal. Monroe is 28 years of age and a long term deal will result in the Heat receiving a version of Greg Monroe that will be too slow for the fast paced offenses in the NBA that are likely getting faster.
15 Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine
The Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves last season and they received the pick that turned into Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. The former slam dunk contest winner is one of the team's most exciting young players. Paired with whoever the team decides to draft, this is the young core that you will see your fan base supporting.
The only problem is that LaVine's contract is up, and since he is a restricted free agent, an opposing team can raise his value.
The Bulls are stuck with offering LaVine a large contract, and I am not sure if he will ever develop into what his contract may require.
14 Los Angeles Lakers: Isaiah Thomas
After having an MVP level year in 2017, Thomas played through injury and was forced to sit out the first two months of this past season. That may be the main reason why he was traded twice in seven months but Thomas wanted a max contract and neither Boston nor Cleveland looked prepared to offer that kind of deal. After playing off the bench in Los Angeles, Thomas showed flashes of his old self but the Lakers freed up cap space to sign two big name free agents and neither goes by the name of Isaiah Thomas. If the Lakers plans do not work then there is a scenario where Thomas signs for max money with the Lakers, but he may have to consider playing on a one or two-year deal.
13 Dallas Mavericks: Julius Randle
The Dallas Mavericks own the fifth overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Last season, they selected Dennis Smith Jr. with the eighth overall pick, and they appear to have found their point guard of the future. The Mavericks are owned by Mark Cuban and if his track record shows us anything it is that they will get back to winning soon. This is why the Mavericks will be a major player in free agency and Randle will be toward the top of their wish list. Julius Randle will be able to negotiate a near max contract and since Dallas does not want to strike out on free agent targets, they will overpay for Julius Randle in July.
12 Sacramento Kings: Trevor Ariza
The Houston Rockets were one game away from eliminating the Golden State Warriors in the western conference finals this season. A major piece to their success this season was the play on both sides of the basketball by Trevor Ariza.
Ariza has been reported to be seeking a $50-60 million dollar contract for the next four to five years.
As insane as that deal sounds, Ariza will definitely find a suitor and Sacramento is a team that will make this kind of signing. Although one of the best 3-and-D players in the NBA, Ariza is not a primary option and the Kings do not appear close to competing in a tough western conference.
11 Houston Rockets: Chris Paul
In his first season with the Houston Rockets since being traded away from the Los Angeles Clippers, Chris Paul paired alongside James Harden made one of the most formidable offenses we have ever seen. A hamstring injury in game 5 of the western conference finals cost Paul the remainder of the series and a legitimate chance to reach his first NBA finals. The Rockets GM Daryl Morey has said that he loses sleep figuring out ways to defeat the Golden State Warriors. Paul is now a free agent and the Rockets will sign CP3 to a four or five-year max contract deal. The deal will make sense for now but due to his injury history the last two years of his deal will be a tough contract to bear.
10 Portland Trail Blazers: Jusuf Nurkic
The Portland Trail Blazers were third in the western conference this season exceeding expectations by everyone outside of Portland, Oregon. In his year and a half with the Blazers, Jusuf Nurkic proved that he could average double digit rebounds and points while not commanding the ball and taking away from Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Nurkic will demand a pricey contract in free agency and the Blazers have no other options to replace Nurkic if he were to walk. The main issue is that Portland lost in the first round with Nurkic and losing cap flexibility will not close the gap for Portland against the Rockets or Warriors.
9 Phoenix Suns: Elfrid Payton
The Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic made a deal at the trade deadline where the Suns acquired Elfrid Payton as their next point guard. The Suns own the first overall pick in the NBA draft, and they are likely to select center DeAndre Ayton. With Devin Booker established as one of the better shooting guards early in his career, the Suns need a point guard that does not need to score. Payton is absolutely fine with facilitating for others and the Suns will be built to play that way. The Suns will sign Payton to a contract that pays him north of $10 million per year and the Suns will still be in the lottery next season.
8 Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart
After his fourth year in the NBA, Marcus Smart has established himself as one of the best defensive guards in the NBA and has helped anchor the Boston Celtics number one ranked defense. Prior to Smart, the Celtics had Avery Bradley who helped hide Isaiah Thomas' defensive liabilities similar to how Smart does for Kyrie Irving.
The Celtics have tough decisions to make in the coming years and this Marcus Smart contract is the first domino to fall.
Marcus Smart is a fan favourite and will force management to keep him for a number that his play will not be worthy of.
7 Chicago Bulls: Rodney Hood
In his fourth NBA season, Rodney Hood averaged a career-high 16.8 points per game with the Utah Jazz before he was traded away to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It should be somewhat surprising that the Jazz were so willing to move a scorer as talented as Rodney Hood who is still just 25 years old. When asked to enter the game in the playoffs for the Cavs, Hood seemingly refused and fans in Utah were not surprised in the slightest. When called upon in the NBA finals, Rodney Hood played well under the bright lights and the Bulls are going to be tempted to sign him to a large deal. When his field goal attempts go down for a game or two Hood will not be the best locker room guy and the Bulls will regret it.
6 Denver Nuggets: Will Barton
The Denver Nuggets played in the ultra-rare "play-in" game on the final night of the regular season against the Minnesota Timberwolves for the eighth seed in the western conference playoffs. Many believed that that game was just a chance to lose to the Rockets in the first round but the Denver Nuggets fell short anyway. Will Barton averaged a career-high 15.4 points per game for the Nuggets this season and his scoring has been steadily increasing over the last four seasons. These are the reasons why the Nuggets will re-sign Barton. Denver will need scoring from their bench but if they don't make the playoffs next year, they will have a high scoring reserve that doesn't increase their chances at winning.
5 Milwaukee Bucks: Derrick Favors
The Milwaukee Bucks were one of the most disappointing teams in the regular season. This led to the firing of head coach Jason Kidd without consulting with their best player Giannis Antetokoumpo. Jabari Parker is a free agent and Parker has not shown the ability to effectively play a stretch-four role alongside Giannis. This is where the Bucks will become interested in the services of Derrick Favors. Favors is a scoring threat in the post and teams will be intrigued by his abilities. This deal will not be cheap and the top eastern conference teams will still have the pieces to eliminate Milwaukee come playoff time.
4 Philadelphia 76ers: Avery Bradley
The Philadelphia 76ers ended the regular season on a 16-game winning streak that was good for best in the NBA. The NBA's hottest team looked like a force in the first round against the Miami Heat. By the second round, the Sixers looked like a young inexperienced team like projected when they faced the Boston Celtics.
The Sixers will have cap space from the J.J. Redick contract that is now up and will look elsewhere for shooting guard help.
The Sixers will sign Avery Bradley and opt for defense over shooting and that is a decision that they will regret next season.
3 The Houston Rockets: J.J. Redick
The Rockets are a team that loves to shoot the basketball and their offense set an NBA record for scoring. The Rockets ran into a problem in the playoffs against the Warriors when they missed 27 consecutive three-point attempts in a game 7 loss. Houston will add more shooting to their lineup to replace Trevor Ariza who will receive a large contract from another team. The issue with this mentality is that the Rockets will lose a player that was effective on both sides of the basketball for a one dimensional player. Whether in a reserve role or with the starters, the Rockets will grow to regret this decision.
2 The Cleveland Cavaliers: Rudy Gay
Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers had some success playing Jeff Green at power forward in a small-ball lineup. Green played well in that role and after signing to play with Cleveland on a veteran minimum deal, Jeff Green will look to cash in a larger deal. This leaves the Cavs stuck with attempting to replace this type of player with someone similar a la Rudy Gay. All of this sounds good in theory until you factor in the possibility that LeBron James leaves Cleveland again. If that scenario does come true, then the Cavs will obviously regret downgrading from LeBron James to... Rudy Gay.
1 The San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Anderson
This summer has been unlike any other that we have seen in the last 20 years as the San Antonio Spurs have dominated headlines. Superstar forward Kawhi Leonard has made it known that he would like to be traded from the Spurs organization. Kyle Anderson is a restricted free agent and the Spurs will want to win games next season and make the playoffs, so they will look to resign Anderson. They will quickly realize that a Spurs team in the western conference will have no chance at winning a championship led by Kyle Anderson and not Kawhi Leonard.