Will it work? A look at some NBA free agent deals of note
MIAMI (AP) Out of the nearly $4 billion worth of new contracts that were signed this offseason, some of them seem fairly certain to benefit the team that's laying out the money.
Kevin Durant, he makes Golden State even better.
LeBron James, he's worth every penny to Cleveland.
Not every deal is a lock to work, and here's a look at 10 contracts that were executed in recent months where it could be argued there's a fair amount of risk involved.
Signed with: Boston, 4 years, $113 million
Horford has never averaged 20 points, but he'll now average more than $26 million in salary. The Celtics have raved about this move since they got it done this summer, and Horford knows that with this kind of salary comes enormous responsibility - especially in Boston, where fans are starved for a return to the NBA's elite level.
Outlook: It only works if Horford delivers a title.
Stayed with Miami, 4 years, $98 million
He made $980,000 last season and is now assured of making 100 times that much over the next four years. The question with Whiteside throughout the will-they-or-won't-they decision process in Miami was whether he could be trusted with that kind of money. The Heat not only believe it, but ultimately they wound up needing Whiteside because of the Chris Bosh saga.
Outlook: He has a skillset like few others in the game, and $98 million was what the market bore.
Left: Golden State
Signed with: Dallas, 4 years, $94 million
Dallas missed on a number of big free-agent targets in recent years, then wound up taking Barnes this summer. There was no room left for Barnes in Golden State, and he parlayed passing on a $64 million deal in 2015 into one worth much more now. It's still Dirk Nowitzki's team and will stay that way, but Barnes will have to play at a very high level to make this seem like a win.
Outlook: He struggled in the preseason, and the money will bring big pressure. He will have show he can handle that pressure.
Signed with: New York, 4 years, $73 million
He played in only 29 games last season, had no rhythm on the floor and couldn't shoot. A change of scenery might help, but he turns 32 in February. His best game last season was 21 points and 10 rebounds - against the Knicks, which explain why they came running with checkbook wide open.
Outlook: The Knicks aren't worried about the money. They need to worry about his durability.
Signed with: Los Angeles Lakers, 4 years, $72 million
When Deng came to Miami two years ago there were questions about how much more he had left in the tank. But Deng had consecutive good seasons with the Heat, and even flourished when he got moved to power forward last February when Miami lost Chris Bosh again. He can still play, and more importantly to the Lakers, he can lead.
Outlook: A young core can learn plenty from Deng, which makes that deal money well spent.
Signed with: Orlando, 4 years, $72 million
He's coming off a career year, so that's good. Alas, that career year was him scoring 5.5 points per game. He doesn't have an outside game, isn't good from the foul line and isn't exactly a dominating shot-blocker. But he can rebound, and his big games in last season's playoffs - eight double-digit board games, including a 26-rebound night against Cleveland in the East finals - revealed all his potential.
Outlook: Orlando had the money, and knows it wasn't getting a 20-10 guy. But he'll need to do more to make it all worthwhile.
Signed with: Atlanta, 3 years, $70.5 million
Howard essentially replaces Al Horford and gets to go home to Atlanta. The Hawks are good but not great, and really, the same can be said about Howard now. A look at the scoring numbers - 13.7 points per game last season - suggests a decline, but that was moreso based on him taking fewer shots than at any point in the last decade.
Outlook: Losing Horford meant Atlanta had to do something, and playing in his hometown could invigorate the sometimes-enigmatic Howard.
Signed with: Chicago, 2 years, $47 million
Wade cherished Miami and Miami cherished Wade. But years and years of little problems eventually turned into a mess that couldn't be solved, and Wade went to his hometown in one of the more surprising moves of the summer. He turns 35 this season and has been hearing the he's-in-decline argument for years. But he keeps silencing doubters, and has plenty of motivation.
Outlook: His jersey will sell, he'll excite the Chicago fan base and he'll probably coax more out of Jimmy Butler. Hall of Famers are worth the cash.
Signed with: San Antonio, 2 years, $32 million
The Spurs love international players, love players who can do multiple things well and love players who understand that a perfect pass means more than any highlight. It's almost like Gasol is a perfect fit, especially now that San Antonio has lost the retired Tim Duncan. (And at 36, he makes the Spurs younger.) Gasol is still a double-double machine and fantastic from the foul line.
Outlook: There's 50 or so players making more than Gasol this season. There aren't 50 better players. Spurs got a steal.
Left: Los Angeles Lakers
Signed with: Charlotte, 1 year, $5 million
Hibbert's game vanished last season, and there were 27 games in which he had at least as many fouls as he did points. But the Hornets realized they needed some help up front, and at 7-foot-2 Hibbert at least provides an imposing frame. Being on a third team in as many seasons isn't ideal, but here's why this one might work - Charlotte's associate head coach under Steve Clifford is a Georgetown guy like Hibbert, named Patrick Ewing.
Outlook: Ewing gets a project, one that comes a low financial risk for Michael Jordan's club.