When Kyle Korver signed a 4-year, $24 million deal earlier in the off-season, the move was generally met with either tepid reaction or praise. However, not everyone seems to agree that the signing was a positive one, and Chris Bernucca of Sheridan Hoops placed Korver on an inauspicious list on Tuesday.
In Bernucca’s list of the 10 worst free agent signings of the off-season, Korver landed in the #2 spot (for reference, only former Atlanta forward Josh Smith landed higher), and his description of the deal was pretty scathing:
Perhaps the best thing about Korver’s deal is that it decreases annually to a somewhat manageable $5.24 million in 2016-17. But Korver turns 36 that season and will be much more of a defensive liability than he is now, which is saying a lot. There is no doubt that Korver is one of the top two or three pure shooters in the game, and we don’t expect that skill to disappear. But $6 million per year is way too much to pay for a one-dimensional player, no matter how good he may be at that dimension.
As you may expect, I take all kinds of exception to this note on Korver. First, I would certainly agree that the structure of Korver’s contract (declining each year to the end) was a brilliant cap move by Danny Ferry, as the team has increased flexibility now that may erode over time. With that said, it isn’t the only positive thing.
Bernucca’s assertion that Korver is a “defensive liability” is frankly inaccurate, and a product of a misconception surrounding Korver’s game. Admittedly, I was (very) skeptical of Korver’s defense before he arrived in Atlanta, but after watching a full season of production, he is what I would categorize as an average defender based on the fact that he is consistently in right place during rotations, and isn’t the death trap that many would believe in 1-on-1 situations.
Also, $6 million a year certainly wasn’t a bargain for someone like Korver, but in the market that included wretched contracts (like it always does), Korver’s deal is market value. It is unfair to compare the contract to bargain-basement deals signed later in the year, and he was the best shooter on a market that places a premium on that skill.
It remains to be seen whether he can keep up the blistering pace (46% shooting from 3-point land in 2012-2013) that he set for himself last season, but Kyle Korver is a proven commodity and any mention of him on a “worst contract” list is wildly premature.