Bernucca: The 10 Best Offseason Free Agent Signings

moneyWith transactions reduced from a torrent to a trickle, the NBA is now truly in its offseason.

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 Teague v George HillHoliday 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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  3. Kelly Scaletta says

    Mike Dunleavy should be on here. He will be a big asset t for the Bulls. He’s the first two-way backup 3 the Bulls have had in the Thibs era, and that should mean a major drop in Deng’s minutes. He also can play multiple positions, which will allow him to play alongside Butler and Deng with any one of the three able to play the four at stretches, which will give them lineups that are very difficult to math up against. It’s a signing which got an initial very positive view, but has become forgotten about since.

  4. PC3 @swhtown20 says

    Well @ Least Tiago Splitterrrrrrrrrr (StephenASmith Voice) Isnt on this list ..I think somebody said Andre Blatche LOL i thought he was kicked out the league…Agree W/ THe List 1 person you are missing is Francisco Garcia Rockets CDut Him & Signed Him 2 min. contract This Guy Was a Beast On D vs Kevin Durrant & Does Everything better then Del3ino

  5. john says

    How do you not have Nate Robinson among the top, when he had a better post season and regular season than JJ Redick and he only signed for 2 yrs, $4 million. You really should think about writing about another sport.

    • says

      It’s not just what a supposed value player like Robinson signs for. It’s where he signs. He signed with the Nuggets, who already have two undersized point guards. And while Nate is not a pure point, he does kind of need the ball in his hands to be effective. If Denver trades Miller, it will get great value for Robinson. But it looks crowded in their backcourt right now. Thanks for reading.

      • john says

        Since when is 6-2, 200 lbs, which Andre Miller is, is being undersized for a point guard in the NBA. What a ridiculous statement. Many of the top point guards don’t even have his size or strength. i.e. Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, and most of the others are in that range. As a matter of fact, MIller overpowers a lot of point guards in the low post. Your knowledge is weak. Sorry if the truth hurts.

  6. jerry25 says

    Need a category for best $3 million and under signings, or just Vet Min signings.
    Otherwise, its like comparing Apples with Oranges.

    • jerry25 says

      Andray Blatche was a free agent even though he immediately re-signed with Nets for essentially a minimum of 1.375 million. (I guess so was CP3).
      Can’t have a better value signing that Blatche, who should be allowed to play more at PF this season.

      • says


        As always, thanks for reading. I tried to avoid vetmin signings because they are almost always great value. But your idea about finding a financial line of demarcation is not a bad one. Maybe next year. CB

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