Breaking down three players, and a few honorable mentions, that are maximizing the value of the minimum contract in the NBA this season
Every offseason, several players around the league find themselves in a sub-optimal position: playing for the NBA league minimum. Players on these contracts have a relatively wide range of abilities, and their reason for signing the deal isn’t always the same.
Some players, typically in their twilight years, want one last chance to win a championship. These are called “ring-chasers.” Others leave money on the table to showcase their talent in hopes of signing a lucrative contract the following summer.
Lastly, there are the players who have struggled, and a minimum contract is their only option. These deals are often utilized by cash-strapped teams in hopes to take the team to another level, or by franchises that simply need to fill out the roster. Regardless of the reason, minimum deals remain a low-risk, high-reward option. While most of these contracts bring little to no value, some of them yield a legitimate contributor.
Disclaimer: The list is limited strictly to players who are on minimum salaries – no rookie deals, mid-level exceptions, or bargain contracts – just the minimum.
Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors
Chris Boucher has become the latest prospect to come out of Toronto’s G-League affiliate/ talent powerhouse, Raptors 905. Boucher, 26, has emerged as a promising talent for the Toronto Raptors. Though he has played less than 500 minutes, Boucher has done well filling in for Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam, and Marc Gasol whenever either is injured.
Even when the team returns to full health, Boucher should still see playing time. Earning his minutes by posting team-highs in offensive rating (124), defensive rating (102), PER (20.3) and WS/48 (.219); and is trails only Kyle Lowry in BPM.
These will almost certainly regress as he sees more minutes, but his promising defense should improve as he matures. Both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are unrestricted free agents this summer, and Boucher could see a significant role change if either were to walk.