Free agency this season has been nothing short of entertaining. We have seen the best player in the world move to the entertainment capital of the world. We have seen the hometown kid, Paul George, not even give the Lakers the chance of an interview before deciding to sign back with the Oklahoma City Thunder. We have seen the Warriors rouse another wave of hatred towards them when they announced the signing of DeMarcus Cousins. Then of course, we had the Kawhi Leonard for DeMar DeRozan trade. Those are only a few of the entertaining storylines that brewed in the NBA with all the free agency talk. There are still open threads like the Damian Lillard to the Lakers rumor and many other stories have yet to reach their finish lines.
Let’s not forget that the NBA Draft was one of the most entertaining in recent memory as we saw a lot of unbelievably talented prospects making their way into the league. With all that action, we already have enough material to give you a nice list describing some of the dumbest moves every NBA team has made so far this summer. NBA GMs get paid a lot of money to build teams that will eventually contend for a championship. It is surprising to see how many mistakes these guys make every summer that even the most casual fans are able to point out. The fun thing is that while we have all of this material that you will probably agree with, the summer is not even close to being over, and there is still a lot of time for teams to make stupid moves before the season gets underway.
30 Atlanta Hawks: Not Sticking With Luka Doncic
At the end of the day, whether this prediction of ours will come true or not will depend both on how Trae Young develops and who the Atlanta Hawks will be able to select with the top-five protected first round pick they got from the Dallas Mavericks for next season. If Young becomes a star, or the player who gets drafted later becomes an All-Star, you could let Atlanta off the hook for giving up a player who seems like he will become one of the best players in the NBA in Luka Doncic.
29 Boston Celtics: Not Immediately Re-Signing Marcus Smart
Everyone knew Marcus Smart had a strong personality, but no one thought that the Boston Celtics would have as much trouble with his restricted free agency as they did.
Their delay in offering him something angered Smart who was supposedly not even answering the organization’s texts and attempts of communication. Ultimately, the Celtics and Smart agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal, but you have to wonder if there'll be any bad blood when Smart eventually hits unrestricted free agency. Not to mention Terry Rozier hits restricted free agency this year and you have to wonder how that'll go after the fiasco with Smart.
28 Brooklyn Nets: Not Re-Signing Nik Stauskas
The Brooklyn Nets are not really a team that can give themselves the luxury of letting good talents slip away during free agency. Unfortunately for them, that was exactly what happened when Nik Stauskas decided he had enough of the purgatory in Brooklyn and signed a contract with Portland.
This would not have been a problem for many teams, but for a team that lacks talent like Brooklyn does, losing a guy like Stauskas was a big hit.
That is especially true since they are probably the least attractive organization for free agents.
27 Charlotte Hornets: Drafting Miles Bridges Ahead Of Michael Porter Jr.
We get that there were a lot of problems with his medical status, but it really was a crime to watch a player of the caliber of Michael Porter Jr. slip through the fingers of so many teams. If this kid manages to beat the injury that slashed a year from his college career, there is no doubt in our minds that he will become one of the best players in the NBA.
That brings us to the fact that a team that is as desperate for talent as the Charlotte Hornets passed up on a gamble that could pay off so much, to draft a guy who will probably just be a reliable scorer in Miles Bridges.
26 Chicago Bulls: Matching The Zach LaVine Offer
Sometimes a player can force a team’s hand during free agency. For example, the Chicago Bulls gave away their franchise player in Jimmy Butler to acquire Zach LaVine. That was quite the gamble, but one Chicago should be okay with, if only LaVine were reliable. The problem is that he has had some serious injury problems over these past two seasons and now they have been forced to commit $80 million for the next four seasons on an asset that might not be nearly as valuable as someone they could get in free agency next year for that kind of cash.
25 Cleveland Cavaliers: Losing Jeff Green
Nobody believes the Cleveland Cavaliers will be a great team for the foreseeable future without LeBron James.
Still, it is sad to see how, as soon as the King decided to leave Cleveland, the team was pretty much dismantled.
Yes, after you lose a player of the caliber of LeBron, you are immediately put in rebuilding mode. But for that to work out, you still need to keep some of your veterans, especially someone who played as well for them during the playoffs last season as Jeff Green.
Unfortunately, Cleveland could not keep hold of a guy who would for sure be a starter next season as Green decided to move to Washington.
24 Dallas Mavericks: Letting Nerlens Noel Walk
The marriage between the Dallas Mavericks and Nerlens Noel did not last long. After only a couple of seasons with the team, the former number six overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft decided to try new pastures and moved to Oklahoma City.
Yes, Noel was subpar, to say the least, during his time in Dallas. But judging by what Dallas has to work with next season, the 24-year-old could have been a perfect pick and roll pairing with Luka Doncic. Yeah, it will be fun to watch Luka and DeAndre Jordan playing together, but Noel would’ve been a better option than Dwight Powell at least.
23 Denver Nuggets: The Will Barton Contract
The Denver Nuggets did a lot of things right this offseason. First and foremost, they managed to lock in their superstar Nikola Jokic for another five years. Secondly, they signed one of the most promising prospects in the 2018 NBA Draft as Michael Porter Jr. slid to them at the number 14 pick.
However, there was also one iffy move Denver made during the summer. That was signing Will Barton to a four-year, $54 million deal. Barton is good, but if everything goes according to plan, he will become a role player in no time. That is a lot of money to be paying someone to come off the bench. Then again, they were still paying Kenneth Faried almost $14 million a year.
22 Detroit Pistons: Zaza Pachulia? Seriously?
So, there are a couple of lines of thought we can go with here. The first one is a narrative that will feel nostalgic for some Detroit Pistons fans. That would be if we understood that the Zaza Pachulia signing this offseason would bring the bad boys days back to Detroit. Well, at least where the dirty play is concerned.
The other line of thought here is that this was simply a terrible move.
Pachulia is more of a liability than an asset as even the Warriors eventually found out.
Putting him in a team like Detroit is like adding a self-destruct button to a hot powder keg.
21 Golden State Warriors: Signing Boogie
It is really hard, maybe even impossible, for you to come up with a bad move the Golden State Warriors have made in the past five years. Much on the contrary, everything they do seems to make their team better. Even when they have to let some good players go, the Warriors always come back with a better option. That brings us to DeMarcus Cousins.
Arguably one of the best centers in the league, signing him was a gamble for Golden State regardless of what people think. This guy is recovering from an Achilles injury. Do you remember what happened to Kobe after he returned from one? Still, only time will tell if this was a good move or just a gamble that didn’t pan out.
20 Houston Rockets: Adding Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony is set to join the Houston Rockets and while the addition improves the lineup on paper, we've seen time and time again that Melo just doesn't work well with other superstars. The Knicks never experienced playoff success with Melo leading the way and the Thunder flopped last season after adding Melo to join Westbrook and George. The Rockets had great chemistry last season and adding Anthony to the locker room has the chance of messing with that chemistry.
19 Indiana Pacers: Giving Doug McDermott 3 Years
Don’t get it wrong, we love ourselves some Doug McBuckets. However, signing him to a three-year contract might not have been the best decision for the Indiana Pacers. Yes, there is some upside to McDermott since at 26 years old he could still improve as a basketball player. The problem is that he has always been known as a one-trick pony.
He is an amazing three-point shooter who could stretch the floor for you, but he is also an incredible liability on defense.
Whether this will work out or not will depend on how he fits within the Indiana system, but maybe a one-year deal to experiment would’ve been a better choice.
18 Los Angeles Clippers: Drafting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
While every move the Warriors make seems to make their team better, there are franchises that seem to be keen on making moves that make no sense at all. Take the Los Angeles Clippers for example. They traded to move up one spot during draft night in order to draft a point guard. That would’ve been fine if they were in need of a point guard. But no, before taking Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the draft, Doc Rivers and his crew already had three point guards on the roster.
17 Los Angeles Lakers: Signing JaVale McGee
It doesn’t matter what team it is, if LeBron James signs with a franchise, they immediately become a title contender. Having a guy like that means you have the centerpiece to a championship team. What matters from there are the pieces you put around him. And we have to say that Magic Johnson is building one of the weirdest teams we have ever seen.
From picking up the unpredictable Rajon Rondo to LeBron’s number one enemy Lance Stephenson, Magic has done it all during this summer. Still, the weirdest move of them all was signing Mr. Shaqtin’ A Fool himself, JaVale McGee.
16 Memphis Grizzlies: The Kyle Anderson Contract
Again, this was a move that could have been good, maybe even unquestionable, but became iffy because of the amount of faith the Memphis Grizzlies decided to put on Kyle Anderson. The former Spurs small forward showed he can be a reliable option playing in the right system. But that was playing for Gregg Popovich, in one of the most unselfish systems in basketball.
Playing in Memphis will be a completely different challenge.
Sure, he will have guys like Mike Conley and Marc Gasol to get him open shots, but the Grizzlies’ roster doesn’t go much deeper than that. Still, they decided to give him a four-year contract. Anyone else smells another Chandler Parsons situation?
15 Miami Heat: Re-Signing Derrick Jones Jr.
After a while, we have learned not to doubt anything Pat Riley does. Still, it is hard to understand why he decided to hand a two-year contract to a guy like Derek Jones Jr. The 6’7” small forward has yet to prove he even deserves a place in the NBA. In two years as a professional, Jones has played a total of 52 games between the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat, averaging 4.4 points and shooting a little over 51 percent from the field and 20 percent from beyond the arc.
14 Milwaukee Bucks: Giving Ersan Ilyasova 3 Years
There is no denying that this is a reunion both parties were looking forward to. Ersan Ilyasova started his NBA career in Milwaukee more than a decade ago, and it will certainly be fun to see him coming home next season. The Bucks were also in need of a big man who could stretch the floor like Ilyasova, so this is a lucrative deal for both sides.
The only reason we put this reunion on this list is because of the length of his contract.
Ilyasova is already 31 years old, and he was given a three-year $21 million deal. That is a good chunk of money for a small market like Milwaukee to commit to a veteran.
13 Minnesota Timberwolves: Letting Jamal Crawford Walk
After losing in the first round of the playoffs last season, the Minnesota Timberwolves are in for a rough 2018-19 season if we are to believe all the behind the scenes noise. Jimmy Butler is apparently upset at his young teammates because they lack the fire to compete at a high level. This will make for an interesting conversation topic as Karl-Anthony Towns heads into the final season of his rookie contract and might not be willing to take more heat from Butler. But that is a topic for later.
Where this all ties together is that Minnesota lost a veteran who could be the bridge between these two camps in the locker room in Jamal Crawford. Oh yeah, and at 38 years old he's still one of the deadliest scorers in the game as well.
12 New Orleans Pelicans: Letting Key Players Walk
If you have one of the top-three basketball players in the world on your roster, all you need to do is make sure he has the right pieces around him to succeed. It will be tough to find anyone who will argue against Anthony Davis being one of the best players in the world.
It doesn’t seem like the New Orleans Pelicans are doing everything they can to keep their superstar happy.
Yeah, he still has another three years on his contract, but Davis will certainly not be happy with the Pelicans allowing key players like DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo to walk away.
11 New York Knicks: Signing Mario Hezonja
If there is one thing both teams from New York State have in common, it is that both of them make terrible mistakes every time they have to deal with free agency and the draft during the summer.
In the Knicks’ case, the mistake was bringing in Mario Hezonja to play in Madison Square Garden for a hefty $6.5 million. Hezonja grew up a Knicks fan, so perhaps there was a sentimental tie-in to this signing, but it's hard to see this move leading to an improvement in New York.
10 Oklahoma City Thunder: Re-Signing Raymond Felton
Oklahoma City managed to get exactly what they wanted during the summer. Sam Presti made one of the biggest gambles in the history of basketball when he traded for Paul George. Luckily, that all worked out and the All-Star committed to another four years in OKC. That says a lot about the continuity they want to get to this project in Oklahoma City. However, that continuity is exactly why they decided to give Raymond Felton another shot at being a backup point guard.
At 34 years old, Felton brings a lot of experience to this team, but maybe giving a shot to a younger guard to develop under Westbrook would have been the better move for the Thunder in the long run.
9 Orlando Magic: The Timofey Mozgov Trade
The salary cap bump of a few years ago had a lot of winners and losers in the NBA. The losers were mostly all of the teams that decided to overpay for subpar talents. The winners were those subpar talents. One of them was Timofey Mozgov.
Usually, a player for whom you would not spend much more than a mid-level exception, Mozgov was awarded a four-year $64 million deal in 2016.
Now, for some reason, the Orlando Magic decided to trade for that terrible contract in exchange for the similarly horrible Bismack Biyombo deal.
That would’ve been okay, but to go along with that Orlando sent a draft pick and only got a disappointing point guard in Jerian Grant. You know how they say the poor keep getting poorer? Moves like these are why.
8 Philadelphia 76ers: Signing Nemanja Bjelica
The Philadelphia 76ers have proven that they have a knack for building through the draft. Sure, it took them a ton of tries, but they ended up with one of the most promising teams in the NBA. However, they still have to deal with the problem that every once in a while, their front office makes some really bad moves when trying to sign new free agents.
The latest example was the signing Nemanja Bjelica. Yes, this is only a one-year $4.5 million contract. But have you seen this guy play? He is terrible.
7 Phoenix Suns: Losing Elfrid Payton
It is weird to say this, but we had a hard time finding a bad move the Phoenix Suns made during this offseason.
A franchise that has had a rough go as of late, the Suns are putting on a show during the summer in how to rebuild a roster.
First, they maxed their superstar Devin Booker, who now has a contract through 2024. They drafted as well as they could, picking Deandre Ayton at number one. They also picked up a reliable veteran in Trevor Ariza and another rookie who can help right away in Mikal Bridges.
The only non-great move we saw from Phoenix was not re-signing Elfrid Payton.
6 Portland Trail Blazers: Signing Seth Curry
Whether this move is going to be a good one or a bad one will depend a lot on the destiny of Damian Lillard. The All-Star point guard has already said he wants to stay in Portland, but if it were for the betterment of both parties, he would agree to be traded. The number one destination if Portland decides to do that seems to be the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now, depending on what they get in return, it would be okay to have Seth Curry playing as your backup point guard. However, if you need him to play as a starter, Portland is going to have problems.
5 Sacramento Kings: Not Getting Rid Of Terrible Contracts
The Sacramento Kings have a bright future with promising young players like De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Marvin Bagley III. Justin Jackson also showed improvement last the season. With a solid young core like that, one would expect Sacramento to try and save some money so they can spend on free agency next season.
Well, they have yet to do that as the team is stacked with terrible contracts.
Zach Randolph was good at one point, but at 37 years old he is not worth the nearly $12 million he’s being paid.
Iman Shumpert is getting $11 million a year. Garrett Temple and Kosta Koufos are making another $8 million and almost $9 million respectively. Sacramento needs to find a way to get rid of some of these guys if not all of them.
4 San Antonio Spurs: Limiting Kawhi Leonard's Trade Market
All things considered, the San Antonio Spurs got a pretty good return for Kawhi Leonard who had made it clear he was going to leave in free agency next summer. However, through much of the offseason, the Spurs were basically vetoing certain teams, particularly the Lakers.
The Spurs wound up with DeMar DeRozan, but you have to wonder how much more they could've gotten if they shopped Leonard around the Western Conference as well. He's likely going to be playing there in 2019, right?
3 Toronto Raptors: Firing Dwane Casey
It's not often that an NBA coach of the year gets fired. However, Casey's undoing in Toronto was his team's inability to slay the king, LeBron James in their past few playoff outings. By firing Casey, the team basically said it was Casey's fault and promised DeMar DeRozan he wouldn't be traded. Then, the team went out and shipped DeRozan to San Antonio in the Kawhi Leonard deal. So who are the Raptors pinning their playoff failures on? Given that Leonard is now in town, you'd have thought the Raptors would have gone with the coach who got them the top seed in the East, while adding a superstar like Kawhi.
2 Utah Jazz: Drafting Grayson Allen Ahead Of Robert Williams
Grayson Allen came into the NBA exactly how he left the NCAA. Yes, this kid can occasionally put the ball in the basket, and he is a tenacious defender. However, he looks more like the second coming of Matthew Dellavedova than a promising young prospect that will help a team on the rise like the Utah Jazz.
Drafting him would have been okay if Utah was not already stacked with shooting guards and small forwards.
There is also the fact that they need another big for their rotation, and Robert Williams was still on the board when they took Allen.
1 Washington Wizards: The Austin Rivers Trade
Yes, the Washington Wizards already knew they were going to get Dwight Howard in free agency. Managing the egos of Howard and Marcin Gortat could have been hard during the season, but if locker room problems were the reason why they decided to trade away Gortat, the player they got in return made no sense at all.
Austin Rivers has become notorious for his attitude and how he rubs people the wrong way (anyone remember the Chris Paul incident?). In a basketball sense, Rivers could be a good backup for John Wall and Bradley Beal. Still, the Wizards have so many troublemakers in the locker room.