Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Give me a free-agent signing that you just don’t like.
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: I’m not a fan of World Peace. World Peace is overrated. New York is not a place conducive to World Peace. OK, enough playing around … But I don’t think Metta World Peace does much for the Knicks other than generate tabloid headlines. He’ll be 34 two weeks into the regular season, his game has more football than basketball in it now and he’s 10 seasons removed from his 2004 Defensive Player award. I know the price was right, given the Lakers’ amnesty move, and the personality is appropriately outsized for that market, but I think the city and the spotlight will distract him. Best thing about the move? He can hop in a cab when the NBA’s new discipline boss Rod Thorn calls him in.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: I could list a few the Bucks made, particularly handing O.J. Mayo $24 million over three years, but I’m going with the Mavs giving Jose Calderon four years and $29 million as he turns 32 before the start of training camp. Hey, the guy can shoot the 3, there’s no doubt about that, and he’s a heady player that doesn’t make many mistakes. But he’s a poor defender and can’t get to the rim. Seems like a lot of years and cash to give the Spaniard when they are also still expected to sign Devin Harris (his initial deal with Dallas fell through after the discovery of a toe injury that requires surgery) and have a couple of intriguing rookies that need developing in Israeli Gal Mekel and first-round draft pick Shane Larkin, both of whom now seem to be buried on the depth chart. The Mavs continually talk about developing their own, but they don’t stand by that.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Josh Smith to Detroit. As much as Smith can make an impact, especially on defense, that money for that team at this time strikes of a franchise desperate for a free-agent splash. Desperate to the point of forcing it. How much time will he get at power forward to slow the development of the two young bigs, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond? How many shots will he take from the lottery-pick rookie, Kentavious Caldwell Pope?
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Monta Ellis, of course. He should be slightly more efficient playing next to Jose Calderon and Dirk Nowitzki than he was next to Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova, but he’s still going to miss a lot of bad shots and hurt the Mavs defensively. He’s a player that makes more of a negative impact than a positive one and for $8 million a year, that’s not good. But hey, the Mavs were desperate.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: The New Orleans Pelicans signing Tyreke Evans gives me pause for financial and fit reasons. The price, four years and $44 million, was steep. But adding Evans to a shooting guard group that already includes Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers doesn’t make much sense to me, unless the Pelicans plan on deploying Evans at small forward, where Al-Farouq Aminu is a much better option. Of course, the Pelicans could be embracing the “positionless/small ball” fad that requires LeBron James (or a LeBron James-like figure … though there is only one) to run properly. Keep in mind, the Pelicans added Evans after trading for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday. Signing Evans to potentially come off the bench for that price just doesn’t make much sense.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Andrew Bynum to Cleveland. I know the deal is only partially guaranteed and there’s a team option after the first year, but a risk is still a risk. And if you’re a young team trying to make the leap into being not only a playoff team but becoming an upper echelon team, I’m not sure taking a risk right now is the most prudent thing to do. I like Bynum, as a player and a person, but if I’m Cleveland, at this point I’d need him to prove himself first.