Taking a look at some of the best moves made so far in this year’s free agency.
The Toronto Raptors re-sign Kyle Lowry:
The Toronto Raptors locked up their star point guard early in this year’s free agency, marking their desire to continue moving up the ladder in the Eastern Conference. Signing Lowry to a 4-year, $48 million contract not only ensures that they keep one of their top players from last year but also keeps him away from other play-off teams that were set to come calling for Lowry’s signature.
Lowry had one of the best years of his career last year, putting up 17.9 points, 7.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game. These numbers helped Toronto to their 1st post-season in 5 years, though Lowry could not prevent the Raptors being narrowly ousted by the Brooklyn Nets. It was ultimately experience and veteran savvy that guided the Nets past a Toronto team featuring many players seeing the play-offs for the only the 1st or 2nd time in their careers. Keeping Lowry in Canada should allow this unit to grow together and learn from last year’s experience.
The LA Clippers sign Spencer Hawes:
For a team well over the salary cap, bringing in quality free agents can be a difficult task. The Clippers, however, have made one of the moves of the summer by persuading Spencer Hawes to join their tilt at a championship next year via use of their Mid Level Exception.
Hawes is quality offensive player who will help the Clippers second unit no end, while also being able to contribute to their starting unit as a big man with vital floor stretching shooting. Chris Paul won’t know what to do with all the space he’ll find in the lane when Hawes is on the floor.
When one considers that the Heat have recently pulled in Josh McRoberts using the Mid Level Exception, a player with a similar skill set to Hawes, the Clippers will be extremely happy with the business they’ve done.
The Dallas Mavericks re-sign Dirk Nowitzki:
The Dallas Mavericks are never ones to dawdle during free agency and they wasted no time in bringing back their German cornerstone of the last 16 years, Dirk Nowitzki.
The 3-year, $30 million contract is fantastic bit of business by the Mavs as they’ve managed to keep enough cap pace open so as to pursue some of the big free agents still on the market.
While Mark Cuban will surely have his eyes set on the biggest names in the market, it will probably prove wise for the Mavericks to lock up some of the second tier players available given the complications and uncertainty involved in the higher stakes business. Dallas’ interest in the Washington WIzrads’ Trevor Ariza is already well known and the Wizards may struggle to keep him after splashing on center Marcin Gortat. Lance Stephenson is another name that Dallas could try and bring in, with a pairing of Stephenson and Ellis in the backcourt promising to be one the league’s most explosive duos.