NBA Free Agency Grades 2016: Celtics, Warriors, Spurs Get Top Marks

by NESN Staff

July 8, 2016

Well, that was fun.

NBA free agency certainly had its fair share of surprises and downright shocking moments, but now that the majority of the 2016-17 roster decisions have been made, it’s time to give each team a grade for their moves over the past week.

So, without further ado, let’s see who aced and failed free agency.

Atlanta Hawks
Signings: Dwight Howard, Kent Bazemore, Malcolm Delaney
Grade: C-
Why:
Who would you rather have at this point in their careers: Howard or Horford? For some reason the Hawks picked Howard.

Boston Celtics
Signings: 
Al Horford, Amir Johnson
Grade: A-
Why:
 The Celtics finally signed a big-name free agent this offseason, and he fits a glaring need. We can’t give Boston an A+, though, since it missed out on Durant.

Brooklyn Nets
Signings: Jeremy Lin, Justin Hamilton, Trevor Booker, Tyler Johnson
Grade: C+
Why:
 In one of the biggest surprises of NBA free agency, the Nets actually made some OK basketball moves. They still should be one of the worst teams in the league next year, though, which is good news for the Celtics.

Charlotte Hornets
Signings: Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, Ramon Sessions, Roy Hibbert, Brian Roberts
Grade: B
Why:
The Hornets were one of the most active teams in free agency, managing to keep Batum and make some nice additions. 

Chicago Bulls
Signings: Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo
Grade: ¯\_(?)_/¯
Why:
We’re not sure if there is a letter in the alphabet that can properly explain the Bulls’ moves. They certainly made one of the biggest splashes with Wade, but a Wade-Rondo-Jimmy Butler combo is just plain weird and could backfire very easily. 

Cleveland Cavaliers
Signings: Richard Jefferson, Mike Dunleavy (trade)
Grade: C
Why: 
The Cavs didn’t do much, but they didn’t need to. There were rumors about Wade potentially joining LeBron James in Cleveland, but that never happened. 

Dallas Mavericks
Signings: Dwight Powell, Deron Williams, Harrison Barnes, Seth Curry, Dirk Nowitzki, Andrew Bogut (trade)
Grade: B+
Why: 
The Mavs failed to re-sign Chandler Parsons, but they did find a more than suitable replacement in Harrison Barnes. They also re-signed the face of the franchise, Nowitzki, and added a big man in Bogut through a trade. 

Denver Nuggets
Signings: Darrell Arthur
Grade: D
Why: 
A more appropriate grade might have been “meh.” The Nuggets could have pulled a big coup if they signed Wade, but they ended up not doing much. 

Detroit Pistons
Signings: Jon Leuer, Ish Smith, Andre Drummond, Boban Marjanovic
Grade: B+
Why:
Not bad, Detroit. Not bad at all. Keeping Drummond and adding Smith were two very solid moves for the Pistons. 

Golden State Warriors
Signings: Kevin Durant, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia, David West
Grade: A+
Why:
Duh. The Warriors won the Durant sweepstakes and therefore are the winners of free agency. 

Houston Rockets
Signings: Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Nene
Grade: B+
Why:
The Rockets made the smart choice in not breaking the bank for Howard, instead adding Anderson and Gordon to the roster. 

Indiana Pacers
Signings: Al Jefferson, Jeremy Evans (trade)
Grade: C+
Why:
The Pacers didn’t make much of a splash in free agency, but they still improved over the offseason by trading for Thaddeus Young and Jeff Teague.

Los Angeles Clippers
Signings: Austin Rivers, Wesley Johnson, Jamal Crawford, Luc Richard Mbah A Moute
Grade: C-
Why:
Keeping Crawford was a smart move, but the Clippers lost out on Durant and fell even more behind the Warriors in the process. 

Los Angeles Lakers
Signings: Timofey Mozgov, Jordan Clarkson, Luol Deng, Tarik Black, Marcelo HuertasJose Calderon (trade)
Grade: C
Why: 
We would have loved to have given the Lakers a worse grade for signing Mozgov, but the Clarkson and Deng signings make up for that a bit.

Memphis Grizzlies
Signings: Chandler Parsons, Mike Conley, James Ennis
Grade: A++
Why:
OK, so the Warriors won the biggest prize, but the Grizzles drastically improved by keeping Conley and signing Parsons. 

Miami Heat
Signings: Hassan Whiteside
Grade: F
Why: 
The Wade effect. Sure, Whiteside is a good signing, but what does this team really have now with Chris Bosh’s blood clot situation and no Wade or LeBron?

Milwaukee Bucks
Signings: Mirza Teletovic, Matthew Dellavedova
Grade: F-
Why: 
Dellavedova. Do we really need to say any more?

Minnesota Timberwolves
Signings: Cole Aldrich, Brandon Rush
Grade: C
Why:
The T-Wolves added some small pieces, but they really didn’t need to do much with the incredible amount of young talent they have. 

New Orleans Pelicans
Signings: Solomon Hill, E’Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway
Grade: D
Why: 
Hill averaged 4.2 points per game last season, but the Pelicans gave him almost $50 million. Yikes. 

New York Knicks
Signings: Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, Brandon Jennings, Lance Thomas, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Willy Hernangomez
Grade: C+
Why: 
The Knicks certainly improved their roster with trading for Derrick Rose and signing Noah. They still have a ways to go, but it’s a start. 

Oklahoma City Thunder
Signings: N/A
Grade: F
Why:
The Thunder lost Durant and did nothing to replace him, although that’s pretty much an impossible task. 

Orlando Magic
Signings: D.J. Augustin, Evan Fournier, Jeff Green, Bismack Biyombo
Grade: B
Why:
The jury’s still out on whether the Victor Oladipo-Serge Ibaka trade will work out for Orlando, but adding Augustin and keeping Fournier were solid decisions. 

Philadelphia 76ers
Signings: Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriguez, Gerald Henderson
Grade: C
Why:
The 76ers have plenty of bigs, but Bayless, Rodriguez and Henderson won’t fix their guard problem. 

Phoenix Suns
Signings: Jared Dudley, Leandro Barbosa
Grade: D
Why:
 Let the tanking commence.

Portland Trail Blazers
Signings: Evan Turner, Shabazz Napier (trade)
Grade: C
Why:
The Blazers were a pleasant surprise last season, and Turner should help, although he’s certainly not a $70 million player. 

Sacramento Kings
Signings: Arron Afflalo, Anthony Tolliver, Garrett Temple, Matt Barnes
Grade: C-
Why:
What could possibly go wrong with Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins on the same team? 

San Antonio Spurs
Signings: Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Dewayne Dedmon
Grade: A
Why: 
The next time the Spurs make a bad decision it will be a first. Adding Gasol to the mix was a great decision.

Utah Jazz
Signings: Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw (trade)
Grade: C+
Why:
These moves won’t move the needle much, but they won’t hurt, either.

Washington Wizards
Signings: Bradley Beal, Ian Mahinmi, Andrew Nicholson, Tomas Satoransky, Jason Smith, Trey Burke (trade)
Grade: B-
Why: 
Keeping Beal is nice and all, but not even being considered by Durant had to have hurt. 

Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images

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