When NBA teams sign highly-touted free agents in the offseason, there are several outcomes that could take place. The worst possible outcomes are those where the player turns out to be overpaid for their performance, with their team not being much better, or sometimes even turning out worse for that player’s addition. And given the plethora of talented players expected to enter free agency in the summer of 2019, Bleacher Report listed three would-be NBA free agents whom the outlet believes won’t deserve the big-money deals they are likely to receive.
As opined by Zach Buckley, Philadelphia 76ers wingman Jimmy Butler could be one of those players in question, despite his status as one of the best two-way players in the NBA and a track record that includes appearances on four All-Defensive teams, two All-NBA teams, and four All-Star games. However, Buckley explained that Butler might not be worth a maximum contract because of several factors, including the fact he will turn 30 before the start of the 2019-20 season and his recent lack of durability.
Likewise, Buckley also mentioned Butler’s acrimonious departures from the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves as a reason why teams might have to think twice about signing him to a big contract this summer.
The next would-be free agent mentioned was Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic, who, as pointed out, has enjoyed a career-best season in 2018-19 with new head coach Steve Clifford leading the way in Orlando, while also adding a solid three-point shot to his game and improving on defense. However, Bleacher Report’s Buckley warned that Vucevic’s big numbers might have been an “illusion of growth,” given that he is on a contract year and could have “millions of dollars at stake” in the coming summer’s free agent market.
“We don’t know if Vucevic’s newfound three ball could sustain over more seasons or handle a volume increase,” Buckley wrote.
“We don’t know if this defensive energy will be the same should he start collecting Powerball-sized paychecks. We have zero evidence he can be the best player on a decent team or even a top-two or -three option on a really good one.”
Lastly, Buckley suggested that Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Derrick Rose could be one of those players NBA teams should avoid overspending on in the summer of 2019. A former MVP with the Chicago Bulls whose best days were once seen as being long behind him, Rose has had a remarkable bounce-back campaign in 2018-19 as a sixth man for the Timberwolves. Per Basketball-Reference, he averaged 18 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game despite starting in just 13 out of the 51 games he’s played in this season. However, CBS Sports reported last week that Rose was shut down for the season so he could recover from right elbow surgery.
Despite Rose’s seeming resurgence, Buckley opined that the 30-year-old guard mostly had a “good couple of months” rather than a good overall season, and ended up playing just 19 games since the start of the new year. The Bleacher Report contributor added that Rose could be “exploited” if given significant playing time and is currently a liability on the defensive end and a subpar long-range shooter.
“In other words, alarm sirens should be sounding from every angle,” wrote Buckley, who added that any team willing to pay Rose at least $10 million a year might end up suffering from “buyer’s remorse” in the end.