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NBA Dilemma Review: Choose Contender or Money?

14 Jul

Let me guess, you have heard this story before: “will veteran join a contender or will he sign for most money?”.
Last one is courtesy of orlandosentinel’s blog about Jason Richardson from Orlando Magic:

Jason Richardson already has hit the jackpot, landing a six-year, $70-million deal in 2004 which expired with the Magic last season.
As a free agent, J-Rich has reached a critical point in his career: Does he sign with a team that can pay him the most money or take less to play with a contender?

Here’s my question: Which Starters in the Past actually Signed With the Contender?
And Which One Chose Weaker Teams?

BTW, I deliberately didn’t write “chose money” because usually we know very little about other offers so I wanted to check only one part of this story which can be easily verified.

Thanks to basketball-reference.com I’ve compiled a list of all free agents in the last 10 seasons [around 800].
Then I deleted those who didn’t have previous NBA team [free agents from overseas, undrafted etc] and those who didn’t play over 30 minutes for previous team [my assumption is that non-starters probably should focus more on opportunity and minutes available than anything else] which narrowed list down to… 70 players.

So Which Ex-Starters Actually Joined a Contender?

Player Signed At Age With Old Team Old Team Wins New Team’s Wins After Joining New Team’s Wins in Previous Season
Anthony Parker 2009 34 CLE TOR 33 61 66
Ron Artest 2009 30 LAL HOU 53 57 65
Marquis Daniels 2009 29 BOS IND 36 50 62
Rasheed Wallace 2009 35 BOS DET 39 50 62
Grant Hill 2007 35 PHO ORL 40 55 61
Rasho Nesterovic 2003 27 SAS MIN 51 57 60
Nick Van Exel 2005 34 SAS POR 27 63 59
Chris Duhon 2010 28 ORL NYK 29 52 59
Gary Payton 2005 37 MIA BOS 45 52 59
Michael Finley 2005 32 SAS DAL 58 63 59
Doug Christie 2005 35 DAL SAC 50 60 58
Bruce Bowen 2001 30 SAS MIA 50 58 58
Brent Barry 2004 33 SAS SEA 37 59 57
Mitch Richmond 2001 36 LAL WAS 19 58 56
Marcus Banks 2006 25 PHO MIN 33 61 54
Antonio McDyess 2009 35 SAS DET 39 50 54
Andre Miller 2009 33 POR PHI 41 50 54
Al Harrington 2010 30 DEN NYK 29 50 53
Alonzo Mourning 2002 32 NJN MIA 36 47 52
Anthony Mason 2001 35 MIL MIA 50 41 52
Michael Olowokandi 2003 28 MIN LAC 27 58 51
Rod Strickland 2001 35 MIA WAS 19 36 50
Shareef Abdur-Rahim 2005 29 SAC POR 27 44 50
David Wesley 2006 36 CLE HOU 34 50 50
Rod Strickland 2002 36 MIN MIA 36 51 50
Gary Payton 2003 35 LAL SEA 40 56 50
Karl Malone 2003 40 LAL UTA 47 56 50

Not a long list, huh? Total of 27 players with Average Age of 32,74 Years… and I generously counted contenders as 50 win teams…

Let’s tweak the issue a little bit… Who Signed With a Team which was Better than Previous One?

Player Signed At Age With New Team’s Wins After Joining New Team’s Wins in Previous Season Old Team Old Team Wins Difference
Mitch Richmond 2001 36 LAL 58 56 WAS 19 37
Anthony Parker 2009 34 CLE 61 66 TOR 33 33
Nick Van Exel 2005 34 SAS 63 59 POR 27 32
Rod Strickland 2001 35 MIA 36 50 WAS 19 31
Chris Duhon 2010 28 ORL 52 59 NYK 29 30
Marquis Daniels 2009 29 BOS 50 62 IND 36 26
Corey Maggette 2008 29 GSW 29 48 LAC 23 25
Juwan Howard 2003 30 ORL 21 42 DEN 17 25
Michael Olowokandi 2003 28 MIN 58 51 LAC 27 24
Al Harrington 2010 30 DEN 50 53 NYK 29 24
Shareef Abdur-Rahim 2005 29 SAC 44 50 POR 27 23
Rasheed Wallace 2009 35 BOS 50 62 DET 39 23
Mike Miller 2010 30 MIA 58 47 WAS 26 21
Marcus Banks 2006 25 PHO 61 54 MIN 33 21
Grant Hill 2007 35 PHO 55 61 ORL 40 21
Brent Barry 2004 33 SAS 59 57 SEA 37 20
Damon Stoudamire 2005 32 MEM 49 45 POR 27 18
Clarence Weatherspoon 2001 31 NYK 30 48 CLE 30 18
Elton Brand 2008 29 PHI 41 40 LAC 23 17
Drew Gooden 2010 29 MIL 35 46 LAC 29 17
David Wesley 2006 36 CLE 50 50 HOU 34 16
Alonzo Mourning 2002 32 NJN 47 52 MIA 36 16
Antonio McDyess 2009 35 SAS 50 54 DET 39 15
Rod Strickland 2002 36 MIN 51 50 MIA 36 14
Gary Payton 2005 37 MIA 52 59 BOS 45 14
Andre Miller 2009 33 POR 50 54 PHI 41 13
Ron Artest 2009 30 LAL 57 65 HOU 53 12
Ruben Patterson 2007 32 LAC 23 40 MIL 28 12
Gary Payton 2003 35 LAL 56 50 SEA 40 10
Jeff McInnis 2002 28 POR 50 49 LAC 39 10
Rasho Nesterovic 2003 27 SAS 57 60 MIN 51 9
Doug Christie 2005 35 DAL 60 58 SAC 50 8
Bruce Bowen 2001 30 SAS 58 58 MIA 50 8
Ricky Davis 2008 29 LAC 19 23 MIA 15 8
Chris Bosh 2010 26 MIA 58 47 TOR 40 7
Carlos Boozer 2004 23 UTA 26 42 CLE 35 7
Mike James 2006 31 MIN 32 33 TOR 27 6
DeShawn Stevenson 2006 25 WAS 41 42 ORL 36 6
Karl Malone 2003 40 LAL 56 50 UTA 47 3
Keith Bogans 2006 26 ORL 40 36 HOU 34 2
Anthony Mason 2001 35 MIL 41 52 MIA 50 2
Quentin Richardson 2004 24 PHO 62 29 LAC 28 1
Michael Finley 2005 32 SAS 63 59 DAL 58 1
Jeff McInnis 2005 31 NJN 49 42 CLE 42 0

Unsurprisingly four top spots occupy players at the end of their careers but there’s one interesting twist there: Rod Strickland tasted what’s the danger of joining a contender…

In other notable cases Chris Duhon turned his starting gig with Knicks into a backup role with Magic [generously paid one but still] while players like Marquis Daniels, Corey Maggette, Michael Olowokandi and Al Harrington successfully combined “joining a contender” with “best offer available”.
Congratulations for them!

FYI, Average Age for all above players is 31,11 years while Average Age of the group below is 28,54.

On the other side of spectrum… Who Signed with a Team which was Worse Than Previous One?

Player Signed At Age With New Team’s Wins After Joining New Team’s Wins in Previous Season Old Team Old Team Wins Difference
Matt Harpring 2003 27 UTA 42 47 UTA 47 0
Gilbert Arenas 2003 22 WAS 25 37 GSW 38 -1
Lamar Odom 2003 24 MIA 42 25 LAC 27 -2
Ben Gordon 2009 26 DET 27 39 CHI 41 -2
Larry Hughes 2005 27 CLE 50 42 WAS 45 -3
Jarrett Jack 2009 26 TOR 40 33 IND 36 -3
Bryant Stith 2001 31 CLE 29 30 BOS 36 -6
Voshon Lenard 2003 30 DEN 43 17 TOR 24 -7
Bobby Simmons 2005 25 MIL 40 30 LAC 37 -7
Bryon Russell 2002 32 WAS 37 37 UTA 44 -7
Rafer Alston 2004 28 TOR 33 33 MIA 42 -9
Andre Miller 2003 27 DEN 43 17 LAC 27 -10
Bonzi Wells 2006 30 HOU 52 34 SAC 44 -10
Desmond Mason 2007 30 MIL 26 28 NOK 39 -11
Carlos Boozer 2010 29 CHI 62 41 UTA 53 -12
Ronnie Brewer 2010 25 CHI 62 41 UTA 53 -12
Cuttino Mobley 2005 30 LAC 47 37 SAC 50 -13
Horace Grant 2001 36 ORL 44 43 LAL 56 -13
Allen Iverson 2009 34 MEM 40 24 DET 39 -15
Raymond Felton 2010 26 NYK 42 29 CHA 44 -15
Damon Jones 2005 29 CLE 50 42 MIA 59 -17
Steve Nash 2004 30 PHO 62 29 DAL 52 -23
Donyell Marshall 2002 29 CHI 30 21 UTA 44 -23
Ben Wallace 2006 32 CHI 49 41 DET 64 -23
Amare Stoudemire 2010 28 NYK 42 29 PHO 54 -25
Baron Davis 2008 29 LAC 19 23 GSW 48 -25

Baron Davis, Amare Stoudemire, Ben Wallace, Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones either made a classic money grab or they believed they can really improve new teams… like Steve Nash who AFAIR also focused more on money than team’s success… but he actually managed to turn team around and combine both!
That’s unlikely but probably even better than joining a ready contender ;-)

So which group will J-Rich join?

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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Scrutiny

 

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