NBA Free Agent Recap: Jefferson to Bobcats, Korver and J.R. Smith re-sign

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al jefferson bobcats

In one of the more surprising decision made by an NBA free agent this off-season, Al Jefferson agreed to a deal with the Charlotte BobcatsKyle Korver, J.R. Smith, and Earl Clark also made their decisions.  Here is the latest NBA free agent dealings.

Charlotte Bobcats sign C Al Jefferson to 3-year, $40.5 million deal
For a team that has struggled to become relevant and seemed destined for an eternity of basketball purgatory, this is a major splash landing one of the top free agents on the market and not having to totally break the bank to do so.  Charlotte declined to give Byron Mullens his qualifying offer which made him a free agent and opened up a hole in the middle.  Jefferson is the low post scorer the ‘Cats have been missing and provides a major upgrade to a frontcourt consisting of Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, and Brendan Haywood.

To be honest, I’m surprised Big Al joined up in Charlotte when it seemed like other teams like Dallas, maybe Houston if they don’t land Dwight Howard would be interested and possibly provide him with a better chance of winning.  Even with this signing and a likely very weak Eastern Conference, I don’t see this signing being enough to get the Bobcats into the playoff picture.

In order to make this deak work, Charlotte had to amnesty Tyrus Thomas and the remaining 2-years on his contract worth $18 million.  That was a no-brainer decision.

Grade: B+

San Antonio Spurs re-sign G/F Manu Ginobli to 2-year, $14 million deal
No surprise here as there wasn’t any doubt of Manu leaving San Antonio.  The Spurs retain one piece of their “Big 3” for a reasonable rate even though he is definitely on the down side of his career.

Grade: A

San Antonio Spurs sign SG Marco Belinelli to 2-year, $5.6 million deal
Since the Spurs are likely losing backup two guard and restricted free agent Gary Neal who is reportedly receiving contract offers more expensive than San Antonio is willing to pay, Belinelli ultimately serves as his replacement.  He will provide the same sort of offensive firepower off the bench but is a liability on the defensive end which makes this signing a bit surprising.

Grade: C

New York Knicks re-sign SG J.R. Smith to 4-year, $24.7 million deal and PG Pablo Prigioni to 3-year deal
Re-signing the league’s reigning sixth man of the year is a huge deal for a Knicks team that didn’t have the cap space to find a suitable replacement in free agency.  While some people are worried about the length of his contract, getting Smith for a tad more than six million dollars per year is a bargain since he is a proven scoring threat off the bench.  Keeping Prigioni helps fill the void left by the retired Jason Kidd and he figures to be the main backup to Raymond Felton.

Grade: B+

Atlanta Hawks re-sign G/F Kyle Korver to 4-year, $24 million deal
Because of his ability to stroke it from outside, Korver was a hot commodity on the market with Brooklyn and Milwaukee making serious runs at him.  In the end, Korver decided to stick in Atlanta on a rebuilding team.  With holes at pretty much every position, the Hawks keep a proven and experienced scorer at a reasonable rate.

Grade: A-

Cleveland Cavaliers sign F Earl Clark to 2-year, $9 million deal
After a relatively lackluster first three years in the league, Clark had a bit of a breakout season for Lakers last season but I don’t think he did enough to earn $4.5 million per year.  What’s interesting about this signing is that the Cavs just drafted Anthony Bennett with the first overall pick and have Tristan Thompson already at the power forward position.  Clark can play the three but seems better suited to play the four.  Plus, he is not a real threat as an outside shooter which is what Cleveland needed.

Grade: D

OTHER NBA OFF-SEASON MOVES:

NETS ACQUIRE GARNETT, PIERCE

KNICKS MAKE RISKY TRADE FOR BARGNANI

BLAZERS GET ROBINSON FOR PICKS

7/1 FREE AGENT RECAP (PAUL, DUNLEAVY RE-SIGN)

SUNS LAND BLEDSOE IN 3-TEAM TRADE

T-WOLVES ADD SHOOTERS WITH MARTIN AND BUDINGER

7/2 FREE AGENT RECAP (WEST, SPLITTER, ALLEN)

EVANS TO PELICANS IN SIGN-AND-TRADE DEAL

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David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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