Under the radar NBA signings missed during ‘LeBron-Mania’
The basketball world was all shook up after the news of LeBron James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers for a reported four-year $154 million deal. Just because the ‘King’ chose his team doesn’t mean the other NBA GM’s are sitting on their hands. Multiple free agents have signed and there have been some solid names changing teams. Here’s the rundown of the latest NBA signings…
Aaron Gordon-F-Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic have agreed to re-sign restricted free-agent forward Aaron Gordon to a four-year, $84 million contract.
Gordon averaged career highs of 17.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and two 3-pointers made per game during the 2017-18 season for Orlando.
Elfrid Payton-PG-New Orleans Pelicans
Free-agent guard Elfrid Payton has agreed to a one-year deal with his hometown New Orleans Pelicans, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Payton averaged 12.7 points, 6.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds during his 2017-18 campaign, while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from 3-point range.
Mario Hezonja-F-New York Knicks
Free-agent forward Mario Hezonja has agreed to a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the New York Knicks.
Hezonja, a 6-foot-8 forward from Croatia, played well during stretches of the 2018-19 season, averaging 9.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 22 minutes per game. In 75 games, he made 30 starts and shot 44 percent from the field.
The former fifth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft hasn’t lived up to his potential, but the Knicks and new head coach David Fizdale hope to tap into his talents.
Trevor Ariza-F-Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns and Trevor Ariza have reached an agreement on a one-year, $15 million contract, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Phoenix will use most of its available cap room to complete the signing.
Ariza averaged 11.7 points and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 37 percent from long-range in 67 regular-season games for the Rockets.
Omri Casspi-F-Memphis Grizzlies
I wasn’t going to add Casspi to this list, mainly because in my mind he is nothing more than a journeyman who will rarely see time on the court. He’s on his seventh team since 2011 and can’t seem to find an NBA home.
However, my co-host on the My Fantasy Podcast, Brandon Reid, who is a serious Grizzlies fan, likes the move and said, ” Memphis didn’t get Doncic so they signed Omri Casspi. Not bad, decent player and exactly what the Grizz need.”
I’ll take his word for it as he is much more in tune with the team and roster than I am.
In 53 games for the Warriors prior to being cut late in the season, Casspi averaged 5.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
Casspi’s one-year deal will be a fully guaranteed minimum salary contract, so there is little risk with the move. It’s not like they have flexibility with Chandler Parsons robbing the team of millions.