These transactions were my favorite under the radar moves either in trades, new signings, or resignings made in the 2019 offseason. The best NBA moves throughout the offseason aren’t always the most expensive stars, but the players you are able to get on cheaper deals, for low value, or in the teams best interest.
- T.J. Warren, Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers lost Tyreke Evans who was a very valuable wing off of their bench last season, but in the playoffs, the pacers had trouble scoring and averaged 91.8ppg and shot only 40% from the field. Victor Oladipo was out for the most of the season, so having him back will obviously make a difference, but the pacers still made a great decision to add Warren to the mix. The Pacers traded the 32nd pick of the 2019 draft for T.J. Warren. Warren only played in 43 games last season, but averaged 18ppg and shot close to 42.8% from three. His remaining contract is $35 million for 3 years, but his ability to put the ball in the basket seems worth it as a valuable role player for a team that lacks scoring.
2. Ricky Rubio, Phoenix Suns
It’s safe to say many suns fans were unhappy by trading away the 6th pick of the draft and missing out on point guard Coby White. This approach made the Suns deeper and adding Rubio should speed up the development of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. Ricky Rubio may be the NBA’s most well known “pass first” point guard, as he is always looking for his teammates. He is also known to be an above average defender and defense was definitely an issue for Phoenix as they let up 116.8ppg; this ranked 28th in the NBA. Devon Booker had to play point guard for a lot of last season and that hurt his shooting percentages as Devin shot a career low 32.6% from 3. Getting someone to run the offense should help Booker’s development and efficiency. Rubio will be making $51 million for the next 3 seasons and maybe he is getting overpaid, but he will be the glue to this young and developing team.
3. Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic
Terrence Ross is not new to Orlando, but was a valuable reason why they made it to the playoffs in the 2018-2019 season. This past season, Ross shot 38.3% from 3, while shooting 7 attempts per game. He wasn’t only a shooter though as he averaged 15.1ppg and was tied for 3rd on the team in scoring. Orlando has players that still haven’t reached their potential such as Mo Bamba, Johnathan Issac, and hopefully Markelle Fultz. Ross will be making $54 million over 4 seasons, but having shooters around these young prospects is necessary for them to reach their potential, and Terrence Ross will provide that as well as veteran leadership in the locker room.
4. Rodney Hood, Portland Trail Blazers
Hood had a tremendous impact off the bench in the playoffs for Portland, and I think this decision to resign is good for both sides. Hood averaged 15.7ppg in the playoff series against Denver, which is a huge reason why they won and made it to the conference finals. People question why not Seth Curry over Hood? The answer to that would be Hood provides more versatility for them and in a close game, Portland would not play Lillard, Mccollum, and Curry together due to their lack of size. Hood is also only making $5.7 million the first season and the second season is a player option worth $6 million. Don’t get me wrong, Hood is streaky when it comes to shooting, but he will offer the Trailblazers something they don’t have. The Trailblazers lost Alfaruque Aminu and Mo Harkless, so they desperately needed someone like Rodney Hood to fill in for them. Hood is 6’8, long, and is the 3rd best shooter on the team, so whether he is starting or providing a spark off the bench, he is going to be a big part of this team.
5. Josh Richardson, Pheladelphia 76ers
Jimmy Butler turning down the 76ers was shocking to the NBA community, considering most players choose to go with the super teams in today’s game. However, Jimmy decided he wanted to be in Miami and this could possibly be better for the 76ers as they aquired Josh Richardson in the Jimmy Butler trade. Richardson has three years with a player option on the third year. In his remaining contract though, Richardson will make no more than $12 million per season. Josh averaged 16.8 ppg last season with a career three point percentage of 36.8%. He will bring shooting to Philadelphia, which is necessary for them to have success as Ben Simmons is still working on gaining a jumper. In addition, when Simmons is off the floor, Richardson can run the offense as he ran PG at times for the Heat last year, which will give the 76ers more versatility. Josh Richardson fits the identity of the 76ers being 6’6 with a 6’10 wingspan so he will fit right in with the 76ers and be a big reason why they will be one of the top teams in the east.
6. Dewayne Dedmon, Sacramento Kings
Dewayne Dedmon is someone who has been around the league, but has transformed his game in order to fit in the modern NBA. Last season, he shot 38.2% from 3 and attempted 3.4 a game. It is concerning that he is 30 years old, but finding a center that has his skill set is special and rewarding for many teams and the players around him. His ability to shoot will setup a 5 out at times which has tremendous upside for De’Aaron Fox who is one of the better driving point guards in the NBA. This pickup will also compliment second year player Marvin Bagley as Bagley is best as a rim runner and a glass cleaner at this point in his career. Dedmon is a plus defender as well which should help this young Kings team. Dewayne will be making $40 million total over the next 3 seasons, which matches up with when the Kings will have to pay Bagley. Overall, the combination of Dedmon’s size, jump shot, and defense will help the Kings out in a lot of ways that don’t show up in the stat sheet.
7. Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards
Yes, another resigning made the list. Thomas Bryant is about to enter his 3rd year in the NBA and the Wizards made the right decision to resign him for $25 million for 3 years. He started in 53 games for the team last season and played with a motor. He averaged 10.5ppg and 6.3rpg in only 20.8 minutes per game, and even showed this past season that he has impressive rim running ability. Bryant will be a good rotational big man to have on any team and I think for the Wizards to get him at this low of a price is very impressive, considering they aren’t contending for a title any time soon. To add on to his impressive skill set, he made 33.3% of 3’s on 1.4 attempts per game. His release is smooth and has a high release point, and I expect his percentage to improve as he keeps working on his game. Finding big men in the NBA with a high motor and a jumper is not easy to find and the best part is he is only 22 years old. Bryant should keep improving his overall game and if he can keep that motor of his then I can see him becoming a good NBA starting center and will fit well in today’s NBA.
Article written by Sean Patten
All stats provided by Basketball-reference (https://www.basketball-reference.com)
All information on contracts by Spotrac
Photo credit to Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images