The 2015 NBA free-agent season is officially underway, and while the mega extension for Anthony Davis was the first big news to break, it still remained to be seen who the first player to switch teams would be:
Free agent Aminu Al-Farouq has agreed to a four year, $30 million deal with Portland, league source tells Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 1, 2015
Though Woj made a minor snafu with his name, Al-Farouq Aminu clearly garnered respect around the league after playing on a minimum deal for the Dallas Mavericks.
Aminu was a lottery pick by the Clippers in 2010, chosen by now-Blazers GM Neil Olshey, and was included in the deal that sent Chris Paul to Los Angeles. The luster on his stock quickly wore out though, as New Orleans declined his fourth-year option, making him a free agent.
He chose to sign in Dallas, and despite lower stats and minutes, Aminu impressed with his contributions on a strange Mavericks roster that had to cover for Dirk Nowitzki‘s defensive shortcomings.
A good defender who still can’t shoot, Aminu’s deal is an example of how the impending salary cap boom is inflating salaries. In this moment, $7.5 million annually seems steep for a limited player, particularly in Portland’s offensive system that thrives on ball movement and having offensive threats all over the floor. In a year though, it may look like bargain compared to other players of his ilk.
Finally, Aminu’s signing doesn’t provide much info on the LaMarcus Aldridge front, as Aminu was young when he entered the league, thus next year is only his age-25 season, making him a useful piece whether the Blazers have to rebuild or not.