Reputations don't win games

Free agency overpays fit a trend

BY DAVID THORPE
  • The Athletic’s John Hollinger put it best, talking about Gordon Hayward’s new $120 million deal: “the Hornets turned their cap space into what is immediately one of the league’s least-desirable contracts.”

  • Other than a handful of playoff games, I challenge you to find any evidence Rajon Rondo helped the Lakers last year. (By one measure, 78 point guards played more effective defense, even though Rondo played on a fantastic team.)

  • Mario Hezonja is, amazingly, likely to enter his sixth NBA year, even though he has never come remotely close to making a team better. On average, his team is outscored by 13 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor. In his very best season, it was a five-point gap.

I could go on and on. A lot of free agent deals will prove to be mistakes, and many of them will fit the NBA’s favorite pattern: fixing on a past, early impression of a player. If you think of Hayward as the heroic scorer who carried unsung Butler to the NCAA title game, it ca…

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