What makes a good contract in the NBA? There are several factors to consider, such as the player’s fit on a team, his amount of productivity, and the size of the deal compared to what the going rate is at the position in the market. With these factors in mind, here’s a hand-picked list of the best contracts signed in free agency this year.
Omri Casspi – F, Golden State Warriors/
Luc Mbah a Moute – F, Houston Rockets
Contracts: One year, $2.1 million each
There’s a reason why the Warriors and Rockets front offices are regarded as the best in the business. Their signing of Casspi and Mbah a Moute respectively, for the veteran’s minimum, is yet another example of their excellence. Both players are solid veterans who can capably guard either forward position – although Mbah a Moute can defend a few more positions – and hit some open three-pointers.
Their versatile skillset is very important in modern NBA, and for the Warriors and Rockets to add such key pieces at the end of the bench for the minimum is smart on numerous levels.
Tyreke Evans – G, Memphis Grizzlies
Contract: One year, $3.3 million
While the injury-plagued Evans isn’t the same force that he once was, he’s still a very useful piece that can provide just what the Grizzlies offense has been lacking, which is a reliable playmaker off the bench.
With Zach Randolph gone, Evans can be the focal point of the Grizzlies’ second unit. When healthy, he can still create offense off the dribble for himself and for others. The phrase “when healthy” is obviously a big factor, but for one year and $3.3 million, he’s definitely a risk worth taking.
Andre Roberson – F, Oklahoma City Thunder
Contract: Three years, $30 million
Yes, Roberson has huge flaws offensively. He never really had the “3” part of “3-and-D” and his abysmal free throw shooting (42 percent last season) is unheard of for a wing. But he’s an elite defender and, given the dearth of capable small forwards in the league, he’s still a valuable commodity.
The Thunder’s ability to lock him up for just $10 million a season despite the high demand for wings has to be considered a nice piece of negotiation from general manager Sam Presti.
Patrick Patterson – F, Oklahoma City Thunder
Contract: Three years, $16 million (player option in the third year)
While the re-signing of Roberson was good, Presti’s signing of Patrick Patterson for the mid-level exception was better. From a fit perspective, Patterson is perfect for the Thunder. He’s the floor-spacing big that the team missed last season without Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant, and his shooting can help open up the lane a lot more for Russell Westbrook.
Patterson is also a capable defender who won’t be a complete liability on that end of the floor. He easily could’ve gone for much more, but somehow, some way, the Thunder landed him for a bargain instead.
Alan Williams – C, Phoenix Suns
Contract: Three years, $17 million (last two years fully non-guaranteed)
Williams was incredibly productive last season when he got a chance to play for the tanking Suns as he averaged 17.6 points and 14.8 rebounds per 36 minutes off the bench. A three-year, $17 million contract looks pretty fair considering the relatively small sample size of his production, but to have just one year be fully guaranteed is a steal from the Suns’ perspective.
If Williams can continue to be as efficient as he was for the second half of last season, that deal could turn out to be a massive bargain for Phoenix.
Paul Millsap – F, Denver Nuggets
Contract: Three years, $90 million (team option in the third year)
The Millsap-to-Denver deal was one of the best of the offseason for two reasons. First, the Nuggets got just about the best fit for their biggest need, which was a new starting power forward. Millsap’s varied offense complements the Nuggets very well, and he also provides some much-needed defense on a Denver team that was awful on that end of the floor.
And second, the Nuggets managed to get Millsap at just two years guaranteed. The big risk with taking Millsap, who is now 32, in free agency was that a four-year max deal would’ve been ugly at the backend. But Denver will get Millsap at his best for the next couple of years, and if he shows signs of decline they can cut their losses in the third year. It’s essentially the best-case scenario for them, which is why Millsap’s deal firmly belongs on this list.
Kevin Durant – F, Golden State Warriors
Contract: Two years, $53 million (player option in the second year)
There’s only one right answer to the question of what the best free agent contract signed this offseason: Durant. The Warriors just got one of the three best players in the NBA and the reigning Finals MVP to sign a way-below-market deal, one that will pay him a mere $25 million this season (close to $10 million less than his max). That’s less money than what Millsap, Gordon Hayward, Mike Conley and DeMar DeRozan will make next season.
The Dubs still had to take care of Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston as part of the deal for Durant to take less, but it’s a small price to pay to keep a key piece of their championship team happy, even though he took a huge discount and became by far the biggest bargain signing this offseason.
Which other free agent signings did you like? Share them in the comments below!
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