The 2020 NBA offseason has had no shortage of excitement, especially free agency. In addition to a few blockbuster trades, dozens of marquee players either re-signed with their teams, or left for new ones.
As with most offseasons, many signings came at a great value for both the team and the player. Many of the larger contracts, however, came as a surprise and garnered reaction on social media.
Here is a look at some of the worst valued signings of 2020 free agency.
Gordon Hayward– 4 years/ $120 million
One of the largest of most shocking signings this offseason was Gordon Hayward leaving Boston for Charlotte. The Hornets signed him to a four-year, $120 million deal, paying him roughly $30 million per season. The team also waived and stretched Nicolas Batum‘s contract, costing the team $9 million the next three seasons.
Make no mistake, Hayward is still an incredibly talented player. Despite having last season broken up by two injuries, he averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists on 50 percent field goal percentage. However, $30 million per year over four years is a massive amount of money to invest in a player who for the last three seasons, couldn’t stay heathy.
Even if the Hornets are convinced Hayward’s injuries have been “flukes,” giving a pro headed into his 11th season a max contract to play alongside developing talent doesn’t make much sense. Hayward will make Charlotte better next season, and it will be interesting to see how he plays alongside LaMelo Ball, Devonté Graham and others. Still, $39 million is a lot to pay for him.
Marcus Morris– 4 years/ $64 million
The Los Angeles Clippers failed to meet expectations last season, and had many questions to answer this offseason. Of the few moves they made, re-signing veteran forward Marcus Morris to a big contract is the most questionable. Morris signed a four-year contract worth $64 million, earning him an average of $16 million per season.
There are many positive aspects of Morris’ game: he’s a physical player who can be put onto bigger wings, he can knock down a couple threes per game, as well as grab rebounds. Last season, Morris averaged 11.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in the playoffs.
Given the rest of the Clippers’ offseason, it looks like they invested in the wrong player. The signing looks especially bad considering the Clippers lost Montrezl Harrell, the better player, to the rival Lakers for half the price per season.
Los Angeles clearly over-payed Morris, 31-years-old, when the team could have tried to use some of their cap space on the point guard position, a clear weakness. Morris is a good player for the Clippers to have for a playoff run, but his new contract could age very poorly.
Mason Plumlee– 3 years/ $25 million
Detroit had themselves a strange offseason. The team lost Christian Wood to the Rockets, signed Josh Jackson and Jahlil Okafor to two-year minimum deals, and gave Jerami Grant a three-year, $60 million contract. The Pistons’ most questionable decision however, was giving Nuggets veteran Mason Plumlee a three-year contract worth $25 million.
As Nikola Jokic‘s backup last season, Plumlee averaged 7.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 17 minutes per game. Heading into his eighth NBA season, Plumlee hasn’t started consistently since his tenure with Portland in 2016.
Plumlee’s contract is puzzling given the team drafted center Isaiah Stewart with the 16th overall pick in 2020 NBA Draft, along with the signing of Okafor. Additionally, Detroit lost Wood in free agency, who’s deal pays him only $5 million more annually than Plumlee’s with Detroit.
The Pistons are rebuilding and trying to find their identity as a team. Given the young prospects, signing Plumlee to a three-year deal doesn’t make sense, unless he can be used as salary for a trade down the line.
Steven Adams– 2 years/ $35 million
In a four-team trade that sent Jrue Holiday to the Milwaukee Bucks for a massive haul, the Pelicans landed veteran Thunder center Steven Adams. As soon as the deal became official, New Orleans signed Adams to a two-year extension worth $35 million.
Adams averaged 11 points and nine rebounds for the Thunder last season, primarily being used as a pick-and-roll big who can catch lobs inside the paint. Adams is a talented player who will benefit New Orleans, but his style of play may not be optimal for the team, especially when there’s a $17.5 million price tag.
For all the things that Adams does well, the 6’11” center does not stretch the floor. A potential starting five for the Pelicans this season could be Adams, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Eric Bledsoe. Of that five, only Ingram is a reliable three-point shooter.
Acquiring Adams in the Holiday trade was a good roster move, as they are getting one of the better big men in the league. However, given the team’s roster and the uncertainty of the fit in new coach Stan Van Gundy’s offense, the contract extension may not have been wise.
Featured image credited to ESPN.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.