Just three days into the NBA free agency 2016, the basketball world (and some whining NFL players) already saw a number of titantic deals in record fashion.
Allow Jerry Maguire to put it succinctly:
There are still some free agents left in the market, including one Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder, so the NBA’s ‘summer of splurge’ is not yet done.
Here are the richest deals handed out so far, and the players have to thank the booming salary cap owing to the new television deals for the league (From lowest to highest):
10. Ryan Anderson to Houston Rockets ($80 million/4 years, $20M/season)
“Stretch 4” Ryan Anderson was expected to be one of the most sought after free agents in the market because of his ability to stretch the floor. According to reports, he was also being courted by the Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards.
Anderson would have been a nice fit anywhere, but the Rockets being a playoff contender was probably the difference-maker. Also, Houston loves three-point shots and adding Anderson means they get to continue doing what they love to do.
9. Evan Fournier to Orlando Magic ($85 million/5 years, $17M/season)
One of the first WTF contracts handed out so far. Evan Fournier is a nice player that can hit the three-pointer and also slash to the basket; but at $17 million per year?
The Magic wanted to keep him badly however because of the Victor Oladipo-to-OKC trade so this deal makes sense for the Magic.
However, Fournier is a restricted free agent (RFA) so the Magic could have matched any offer sheet made to the sweet-shooting Frenchman. Perhaps they are fearful that other teams would offer him more?
8. Hassan Whiteside to Miami Heat ($98 million/4 years, $24.5M/season)
Pat Riley claimed even before the offseason that Whiteside was the top priority for the Heat.
The top shot-swatter and rim-protecter in the league was linked to the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers and ultimately decide to be loyal to the team that gave him a chance for his breakout season last year.
7. Chandler Parsons to Memphis Grizzlies ($98 million/4 years, $24.5M/season
The “Grit N’ Grind” Grizzlies added a legit gunner this summer and this could mean the difference between a lottery selection or playoff appearance next season.
Memphis needed to improve their roster to keep up with the still-improving West; with Parsons, they acquired a shooter that should add more versatility in their offense.
6. Al Horford to Boston Celtics ($113 million/4 years, $28.5M/season)
Danny Ainge wasn’t walking away from this offseason without a major haul. The Celtics signed a veteran center in free agency who could put them over the top or at least be at the same level of the top teams in the East, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors.
At the same time, they stole him from East rival Atlanta Hawks, who now has to deal with an inconsistent and perhaps over-the-hill Dwight Howard.
5. Nicolas Batum to Charlotte Hornets ($120 million/5 years, $24M/season)
There were reports early that Batum was meeting other interested parties in free agency and willing to leave Charlotte. But after they met and the Hornets had the big contract offer it was a no-brainer for the injury-prone Frenchman.
Batum’s versatility helps the Hornets’ cause nonetheless and Charlotte can once again contend for a playoff spot next season.
4. Andre Drummond to Detroit Pistons ($128 million/5 years, $25.6M/season)
One of the free agents who was never really expected to leave his team. Drummond continues to improve both on offense and defense and is the franchise cornerstone in Detroit.
It’s not yet clear if it’s stipulated in the maximum contract that he should improve his free throw shooting however.
3. Bradley Beal to Washington Wizards ($128 million/5 years, $25.6M/season)
The Wizards were never going to attract the top free agents because they are a borderline playoff contender. So they did the next best thing they could accomplish; lock down their own stars and hope for the best.
Beal has had brushes with multiple injuries the past seasons. The Wizards are hoping that those are a thing of the past or else this $100M plus contract will haunt them for the next five years.
2. DeMar DeRozan to Toronto Raptors ($139 million/5 years, $27.8M/season)
After Toronto dragged Cleveland to six games in the East Finals, there was no other resort for the Raptors but to re-sign their franchise player. He might not be on the same level as LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but the All-Star can get the job done.
1. Mike Conley to Memphis Grizzlies ($153 million, 5 years, $30.6M/season)
With the vultures circling in on their point guard this summer, the Grizzlies had little choice but to give Conley the full maximum deal this summer.
One of the best two-way players in his position, Conley was reportedly being courted by the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs. He decided that running “Grit N’ Grind” was the best choice moving forward with 150M reasons why returning to Memphis was the best deal for his career.
The NBA’s summer of splurging continue the next few days but it’s safe to assume that the players in the list above will be among the highest paid in the years to come. And Kevin Durant is expected to lead the pack eventually.
Did their respective teams make the right decision in giving them these dizzying max deals in NBA free agency 2016? Who was overpaid or underpaid this summer?
Video courtesy: YouTube/Alex