|The Mavericks didn't hit a home run but got on base this summer. (Getty Images)|
The Baseline Awards celebrate the best and worst from the week that was. In this edition, we look back on a crazy free agency period and review some of the highlights and lowlights from Summer League.
Best free agency signing: Nets sign Deron Williams
I'd love to reward one of the smart, subtle moves, like the Hornets bringing in Ryan Anderson, or the Mavericks getting O.J. Mayo for a steal. But this is a superstar league, and the Nets bought themselves the biggest superstar. The price for Williams wasn't just his max deal. It was his max deal, plus the cost of Joe Johnson's contract. Williams admitted he was leaning Dallas until the Nets got Johnson. If there's anyway to overpay for a top-three point guard in the NBA, that would be it.
But about 20 teams would give anything for a superstar. The Nets kept theirs. They get credit for that.
Worst free agency signing: Celtics sign Jeff Green for four-years, $36 million
Lots of great candidates here. Brook Lopez on a max-money-but-not-years deal, Micheal Beasley at $6 million per. Omer Asik at $25 million, lots of options to go around. But I'm going with Green, despite being one of the few advocates of his game. If Green, at age 26, were to make a sudden leap forward in his development, this will be a solid, but not great, contract.
Essentially, the Celtics paid Green the price of him living up to his reasonable ceiling, before you consider his heart condition, the fact he hasn't played in a year, or his lack of tangible evidence to just ify the deal. And to do so on a four-year deal is not great.
It's not awful, which speaks to the lack of Oh-My-God-What-Can-You-Possibly-Be-Thinking deals that got handed out this year. But it's just too much of a risk to give anything but a big ol' F for. And yet it can be redeemed with a strong season from Green.
The "My Wife At An Antique Mall" Best budget acquision award: Mavericks sign O.J. Mayo for two-years, $8 million
Arguably a top-ten free agent in this class and the Mavericks got him for peanuts on a short deal. Ridiculous. Mayo is going to be the beneficiary of so many Collison drive and kicks and doubles on Dirk Nowitzki, it could re-ignite his career.
Speaking of the Mavericks...
The Michael Jordan "Worst Home Run Swing" award: Dallas Mavericks
Mark Cuban didn't show up for the meeting with Deron Williams because he was filming Shark Tank. Which is code for "he knew Deron was going back to Brooklyn and wouldn't waste his time." The Mavericks had a legitimate shot at Williams and never really fought for him once the Nets pulled off the trade for Joe Johnson.
There's a certain point where you kind of have to respect Dallas for not going full-on. They weren't going to waste their time on wooing Williams if it was all for not. The Nets and Knicks both fell over themselves in 2010 trying to land LeBron. The Mavericks instead sent their guys, knew it was a lost cause, and focused on trying to go in a different direction.
Once again speaking of the Mavericks...
Best home makeover award: Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks aren't going to win a title next season. But they are going to be interesting, they are going to be good, and they are not going to waste Dirk Nowitzki's time. Darren Collison, Elton Brand, Mayo, Chris Kaman, the Mavericks have put together a fine and talented team without setting their wallets on fire. They were very little like the 2011 championship team last year. Now they are nothing like it. But they are talented.
And if you give Rick Carlisle talent, good things happen.
The Lakers had trouble last season with three things offensively. Creating shots for one another, getting the ball to Andrew Bynum in the post, and efficiency in shooting. Nash solves all three of those problems. The defensive concerns are irrelevant because honestly, no point guard can keep any other point guard in front of them in this league anymore. Too much speed. He has Bynum and Gasol to get his back, he'll work great with Gasol in the pick and pop and tossing lobs to Bynum.
This is exactly what the Lakers needed and it puts them right back in the title race, like they always seem to be.
Elastic-Man award for Summer League Length: John Henson
Might just want to start calling him "Stretch." Henson showed that he can stretch his arms to tap in loose balls at the rim, stretch the defense with his mid-range jumper, stretch the floor with his handle, and stretch possessions with his rebounding.
Damian Lillard may have been the best player at Summer League, but Henson may have shown the most in terms of his team needing him to do things that weren't expected. Looks like a great pick for Milwaukee, which they needed badly.
The Dexter Pittman award for Foul Play: Dexter Pittman
Dexter Pittman picked up a flagrant foul in Summer League. Let me break out my Iverson.
"Not a game, not a game. Summer League We talkin' 'bout Summer League."
Poor form, Pittman. It's a shame, because the kid shows some actual talent and then ruins it with his behavior like that.
The "Pearl Jam in 1990" award for underground grunge at Summer League: Houston Rockets
The Rockets showed off a weird, versatile, and exciting team at Summer League as Donatas Montiejunas showed his range and improved physicality, Royce White was a passing power forward, Terrence Jones hammered and Jeremy Lam streaked. The Rockets are working on moving multiple parts of this team for Dwight Howard, but if they keep them together, this team is going to be must-watch with Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik.