Yes, there’s still a few prominent names out there – Lamar Odom, Antawn Jamison, Corey Maggette and Tyrus Thomas among them – but no one who is going to crash our list of the top 10 free agent signings.
From a player standpoint, the top signing this summer was undoubtedly Keith Bogans. Last season, Bogans made $1.23 million while playing 74 games for the Brooklyn Nets. He became a free agent July 1 and figured to get another one-year deal at the veteran’s minimum.
Then the Nets started talking to the Boston Celtics about Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and needed another player to put in the deal to make the salaries match. That player was Bogans, who got a three-year, $16 million contract from the Nets before being shipped to the Celtics.
Who cares that the final two years aren’t guaranteed? Bogans got a 500 percent raise after a season in which he averaged 4.2 points on 38 percent shooting. Find me the guy who did better than that.
But this list is from a team standpoint. Below are the 10 best signings by teams this summer, with three teams hitting the exacta with a pair of super signings.
10. Dorell Wright, Portland (2 years, $6.14 million): He definitely topped out in 2010-11, when he averaged 16.4 points in 38.4 minutes for a defenseless Warriors squad. But he should have no problem replicating the roughly 10 points and four rebounds per game he has averaged the last two seasons while shooting 37 percent from the arc. He needs to use his dribble-drive game more but costs roughly the same amount as the combined salaries of Victor Claver and Luke Babbitt, who spent last season proving they have no idea how to play.
9. Jeff Teague, Atlanta (4 years, $32 million): His numbers have improved dramatically through his first four years and should take another jump with the departure of Devin Harris. Teague has shown that he is highly durable (two DNPs over last two seasons) and his career per-36 numbers are comparable to John Wall, Jrue Holiday and Ty Lawson, all of whom make considerably more money. He also has played in more playoff games than any of those three point guards and will still be on the right side of 30 when this deal expires in 2017.
8. Gerald Henderson, Charlotte (3 years, $18 million): There are six shooting guards who have averaged better than 15 points per game in each of the last two seasons – Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, DeMar DeRozan and Henderson, who is the only one in the bunch making less than eight figures per year. Some folks believe he has reached his ceiling, but he shot a career-high 33 percent from the arc last season and figures to get better looks with Al Jefferson being double-teamed in the post and the continued maturation of point guard Kemba Walker.
7. Mo Williams, Portland (2 years, $5.6 million): Last season, the Trail Blazers tried to support rookie point guard Damian Lillard with Ronnie Price and Eric Maynor. Lillard ended up leading the NBA in minutes played, and Price and Maynor were not re-signed. For about $1 million more than it paid that duo, Portland brought in Williams, a former All-Star who has averaged at least 12.1 points and 3.1 assists in each of the last eight seasons. For his career, he has shot 38 percent from the arc and 87 percent from the line. His presence assures Lillard will be fresher, more likely to make distance shots and less likely to make mistakes.
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