I’m going to sit back, roll my eyes, scream “arrrgggh” and throw my hands in the air when the first stupid signing goes down in the next month. The owners will try to rationalize it, talk about the market and how they’re so excited to be bringing in a player and how the team will suddenly turn it around. I’ll rationalize it by saying “Owners and general managers are stupid. They’ve always been stupid, and will continue to be stupid… lockout or no lockout.” It feels great doesn’t it? Knowing much of the lockout occurred because league executives said many players were making too much money. Awesome to know we missed out on two months of ball and countless games so that the owners could learn nothing. You know the ridiculous contracts are coming.
This month’s free agent class isn’t spectacular, and in a way that’ll make it worse. The pressure for teams to win never wavers, and without any truly great players available right now, GMs will panic and overpay. It will happen. Yesterday, we hit you with the list of the 20 best NBA free agents right now, and as all five of these players I’m about to name found their way onto that list, I’m not saying these guys here can’t play. Quite the opposite. But I believe someone is about to throw crazy money at them.
Here are the five most likely free agents who I think are on track to be overpaid before this 66-game season starts on Christmas.
J.J. Barea, Unrestricted Free Agent
Hear me out: I love Barea. Chilled in Puerto Rico with him this summer. Met his Miss Universe girl (who had me stumbling over words). Saw the love he gets from everyone down there. It’s not just his size that makes him seem normal. He gives off this vibe that the celebrity hasn’t quite gotten to him yet. And we all saw what he did during the playoffs against the Lakers and Heat. But I don’t think he’s an NBA starter. In fact, I think Dallas is the perfect spot for him: sparkplug off the bench, running high screen-n-rolls with Dirk Nowitzki.
People get caught up in the Mavs’ end-of-season run and forget Barea shot 44 percent from two and 35 from three all season long. He averaged 9.5 points and just below four dimes a night. Defensively, he’s a liability and the whole “pesky” label? He had 30 steals in 81 games last year.
There is a legion of teams that feel they need a point guard to jumpstart their offense. I just don’t think Barea is the man to do it. As a bench guy/sparkplug making $3-4 million, he’s great. But with his value at an all-time high, it’s now or never for Puerto Rico’s finest to secure a lucrative, long-term deal.