This summer has turned into one of the biggest offseason’s in recent memory. There has been many big moves, such as LeBron James coming back home to Cleveland. Below I have accumulated a list of the best NBA Free Agency signings in terms of how much the player is being paid and what they will provide to the team they went to. (I don’t even need to put LeBron James on this list as his two year $42.1 million deal is in it’s own category of tremendous value.)
D.J. Augustin: Two years $6 million with the Detroit Pistons
Before the mid-season last year I would’ve never thought paying D.J. Augustin three million per year is a bargain, but it is. Augustin was at times the Chicago Bulls best scorer as he averaged 14.9 points and 5 assists for the Bulls in 61 games (52 off the bench). Luckily most teams are set at point guard, but regardless I expected Augustin to get paid about five million per season.
Ed Davis: Two years $2 million with the Los Angeles Lakers
You can’t fault teams for falling asleep on Ed Davis as he was planted on the bench behind one of the better front courts in the NBA in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. This season, Davis averaged 5.7 points and 4.1 rebounds in 15.2 minutes a game. The 2010 lottery pick is only 25 years old and has never played more than 25 minutes per game in a season. In the 2012-13 season Davis averaged 12.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 28 starts (24 with Toronto Raptors). At one million per season for two seasons the Lakers have nothing to lose and don’t be surprised if he averages numbers close to that in a better role then he has gotten recently.
Pau Gasol: Three years $22 million plus with the Chicago Bulls
At 34 years old Pau Gasol might be out of his prime, but he is still one of the better big men in the league. Gasol had a bounce back season from 2012-13, last season as he averaged 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists. The problem with Gasol is that he has missed 55 games the past two seasons. If Gasol stays healthy he is productive and being on a team like Chicago will take pressure off him on both sides of the ball. Expect Gasol to be a main contributor to what should be a championship contender if Derrick Rose is healthy.
Dirk Nowitzki: Three years $25 million with the Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki is a once in a generation NBA player, what I mean by that is he is willing to take pay cuts just to improve his team, while turning down max offers from other teams (Rockets & Lakers). This past season Nowitzki averaged 21.7 points and 6.2 rebounds, helping lead the Mavericks to the seventh seed in a loaded Western Conference. Thanks to the help of Nowitzki it might have been okay overspending on newly acquired teammate Chandler Parsons (three years $46 million).
Lance Stephenson: Three years $27 million with Charlotte Hornets
Going into the off-season most thought Lance Stephenson was going to be the most overpaid free agent in the league and that was not the case. Stephenson averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists on the best team in the Eastern Conference in the regular season. Stephenson turned down a reported five year $44 million with the Pacers, which is paying basically the same per year as the Hornets are. No matter what offer Stephenson took he got fair money as he is still improving as a player.
Isaiah Thomas: Four years $28 million with Phoenix Suns
Three seasons after Isaiah Thomas was the 60th pick in the draft, Thomas got a nice payday but he could have gotten better. Thomas averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists this season. While the Suns might seem like they have all the point guards in the world, Thomas is a bargain at seven million per year, especially when players like Greivis Vasquez and Darren Collison.
Nick Young: Four years $21.5 million with Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers were a poor team last season, but Nick Young was one of the only bright spots on the team. Young averaged 17.9 points in 64 games, 55 being off the bench. When Young came off the bench he led the league in scoring as he averaged 18.8 points, compared to Jamal Crawford‘s 17.2 points when coming off the bench. It’s fair to say Young should’ve got about $7-8 million per year.
Paul Pierce: Two years team’s midlevel salary exception (5.3 million first season) with Washington Wizards
While Paul Pierce is certainly not the same player he was a few years back he is still a productive player. Pierce averaged 13.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in 28 minutes last season. Pierce will certainly help replace Trevor Ariza, as he is now teaming up with one of the more complete starting lineups in the league. The Wizards are a talented team and when the playoffs hit, Pierce will be even more valuable.