The 2016 NBA offseason was absolutely bonkers. I don't like using the word bonkers, but it's the only word I could come up with for how bat-shit crazy this summer was. Honestly, if we wanted to, we could've just made a list of 30 NBAers who were overpaid due to the huge increase in the salary cap for the 2016/17 season. In 2015/16, it was $70 million. This year, it's increased by $24 million to an astounding $94 million. Here's the crazy part though; it's only projected to grow over the next few years, with the 2020/21 season having a projected salary cap of $114 million. Wow.
Due to all this new spending money, teams splurged this summer, doing completely insane things with their money, which we''l look at here. At the same time, some of the smarter organizations found themselves some solid bargains while other teams were burning their money and signing career bums to All-Star money. Then, there's the third tier; the signings that just don't matter. Some of these signings aren't bargains or duds, but just signings that will leave no fingerprints on the upcoming season.
Without further ado, here are 5 Signings That Were Bargains, 5 That Were Overpaid & 5 That Don't Matter. Enjoy!
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15 Bargain: Arron Afflalo
Arron Afflalo is a solid player who excels on both ends of the court, making him a player that most NBA coaches would love to have on their team. The Sacramento Kings, who actually made a sane decision with this signing, decided to pick up Afflalo this summer for a modest $25 million over two years. While $12.5 million per season seems high, the Kings only signed him for a couple of seasons, making this signing more calculated then a lot of the other signings on this list.
Afflalo has averaged 11.6 points per game over his eight year career in the NBA. He'll provide some valuable secondary scoring for the Kings behind DeMarcus Cousins, while bringing his solid defense to the other side of the court. Afflalo won't make the Kings a contender, but he's still an absolutely valuable piece to have.
14 Overpaid: Timofey Mozgov
Lakers fans let out a collective groan when the news broke that Timofey Mozgov signed with their team. That was before they saw the money attached to the signing. When they saw that he was going to be paid $64 million over four years, they collectively threw their phones at the closest wall.
Now, Mozgov isn't the worst player of all time, but he's definitely not worth $16 million per year. We can see why the Lakers wanted a player like him, as they wanted a big center to take some of the pressure off Julius Randle as he finds his way in the NBA. However, there had to be a better way to go about it. Career averages of 6.9 points and 5.0 rebounds should not be rewarded with massive contracts, but Mozgov lucked out due to the salary cap increase.
13 Doesn't Matter: Austin Rivers
The Clippers had a strange 2015/16 season that saw him they finish fourth in the Western Conference, before losing in the first round to the Portland Trail Blazers. In the middle of the year, Blake Griffin punched a Clippers' staff member, which meant that rumors would swirl around the Clippers star man all summer. Griffin hasn't been moved, but the Clippers haven't done much else. They signed Marreese Speights and re-signed some other bench players, like Austin Rivers.
Rivers could've also made the overpaid list, as he's bringing in $35 million over three years, despite the fact that he's done nothing of note so far in the NBA. He's not a terrible backup point guard for Chris Paul or occasional replacement as a shooting guard, but you have to believe other teams weren't really vying for his services. Overall, this signing bring very little to the table and wasn't that surprising, landing it as a signing that really don't matter. If Doc Rivers leaves the Clippers, they'll quickly offload his son.
12 Bargain: Pau Gasol
Last time Pau Gasol hit free agency and signed with the Chicago Bulls, not much was made of it. People felt he was on the downside of his career and wouldn't make much of an impact. At most, most figured he'd be a solid role player on a team featuring Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. Well, he and Jimmy Butler flipped that around and became the two most important pieces in Chi-Town over the last two years, with both players appearing in All-Star games in both years.
Well, Gasol has decided to move on again, going to San Antonio. This time, we won't take him lightly and will see him for the absolute bargain that he is. He'll be getting just over $31 million over two seasons as he helps the Spurs get over the loss of Tim Duncan in their lineup. We think it's a great signing and applaud the Spurs for making it.
11 Overpaid: Matthew Dellavedova
Look, there's absolute no universe where Matthew Dellavedova should be making nearly $10 million per season. We get that the salary cap skyrocketed, but that doesn't mean guys like Delly should be getting paid like starters. A guy who has averaged 5.7 points and 3.4 assists per game in three years in the NBA is getting $38.43 million over four years.
The Bucks were desperate to add some grit to their talented, young core, but this was the absolute wrong way to go about it. Delly is a below average shooter, a below average passer and barely an average defender. Good luck getting rid of this contract next year, Milwaukee.
10 Doesn't Matter: Joe Johnson
It's been a while since Joe Johnson was a star in the league. After moving to Brooklyn from the Atlanta Hawks, Johnson has seen his stats consistently decrease, going from 16.3 points per game in his first year with the team, back in 2012/13, to 11.8 points per game this past season, until he was released. He wasn't much better for the Miami Heat after signing with them and they opted not to re-sign the former All-Star.
He entered this offseason to little fan fare and was scooped up by the Utah Jazz for a modest $22 million over two years. Now, the Jazz didn't overpay for Johnson, but it's just one of those signings that won't really make a huge difference. Johnson could've had an impact on a team with Championship aspirations, as a scoring option off the bench. Instead, he'll be a scoring option on a fringe playoff team and won't be enough to get them over the hump.
9 Bargain: David Lee
Well, look at that, another Spurs signing makes the list. David Lee was signed this summer for a little over $3 million on a two-year contract. While Lee hasn't been close to the All-Star level he played at when he was starter in Golden State, Lee has still managed to produce in limited bench minutes, scoring 7.8 points per game last season, despite managing less than 17 minutes on the court.
While the Spurs already having an established front court with LaMarcus Aldridge and the aforementioned Pau Gasol, David Lee can come in and give Coach Popovich some different options with his lineup, Lee is very different style of center than Aldridge and will provide the Spurs with secondary scoring off the bench.
8 Overpaid: Bismack Biyombo
Before his exciting playoff surge with Toronto Raptors last season, most considered Bismack Biyombo to be a draft bust. Well, now we can consider Biyombo to be filthy rich.
He went 7th overall in 2011 to Sacramento and he never panned out like they hoped he would. While he's provided solid rebounding and defense for whichever team he's played for, along with a lot of energy, a career average of 4.6 points per game simply isn't enough for a 7th overall pick.
Now, that isn't to say that Biyombo isn't a valuable commodity. Teams love rim protectors and will often pay handsomely for it. Just ask the Orlando Magic, who gave Biyombo $72 million over four years. Biyombo brings some solid things to the floor, but not enough to warrant $18 million per season.
7 Doesn't Matter: Deron Williams
Remember when Deron Williams vs. Chris Paul was a thing? Well, that's been firmly put to bed, as Chris Paul has endured as one of the best point guards in the league, while Deron Williams has quickly become an afterthought.
The former third overall pick played for the Mavericks last year, where he wasn't terrible, but still not noteworthy. His 14.1 points per game were a far cry from his All-Star days, while his win share was 3.7, the third lowest amount of his career. To say he's regressed might be an understatment and Williams no longer scares opposing point guards who need to face him. The Mavs saw enough to re-sign him to a one-year deal, but we don't expect him to be much better than last year or make a huge impact on the Mavs season.
6 Bargain: Kevin Durant
Any time that you can get one of the best three players in the NBA, while giving nothing in return, you've got yourself an absolute bargain. That's exactly what the Golden State Warriors did this summer, securing Kevin Durant's signature. With Durant and Steph Curry, the Warriors legitimately have two of the best three players in the NBA and seem like they'll nearly impossible to defeat. Again, they gave absolutely nothing in return and also weakened their opponent from last year's Conference Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder, making it a double whammy for them.
While he didn't come cheap, it's only a two year deal worth a little over $54 million, meaning both parties have a way out if this marriage doesn't work. Durant makes the Warriors one of the scariest teams in NBA history and he's an absolute bargain for the Warriors.
5 Overpaid: Mike Conley
In terms of total dollar value, Mike Conley has the largest contract in the NBA. While LeBron James makes more per season at over $33 million, Conley has the most guaranteed money at $140 million and the largest overall contract at over $152 million. Just think about that for a second.
While Mike Conley is a solid point guard in the NBA, he's never been to an All-Star game, has never been an MVP, has never won any awards in the NBA apart from a second-team All-Defensive team selection in 2011/12, and is not a known megastar in the league. All in all, the contract makes absolutely no sense and seems exponentially higher than his market value. Other players to re-sign with their teams this offseason and who still make less than Conley include DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, and Damian Lillard. Most would consider Conley to be far below those players, making this the most confusing extension of the summer.
4 Doesn't Matter: Seth Curry
The son of Dell and brother of Steph, Seth Curry hasn't been able to match his family name's greatness. His father was a sharpshooter during his 16 years in the league, while his brother is a back to back NBA MVP. What has Seth been able to do? Sadly, not much that compares to his family members
After going undrafted, Curry has bounced around the NBA and D-League, never really making much of an impact. The point guard has career averages of 6.3 points and 1.4 assists per game, making him little more than an average bench player. He signed this summer with the Mavs, making him the second Mav to make the 'doesn't matter' portion of this list, for nearly $6 million over two years. He and Deron Williams will combine to form one of the least interesting point guard combinations in the league and won't be able to bring the Mavs back into contention.
3 Bargain: Al Jefferson
A lot of the players in the 'overpaid' portion of this list are big centers, who've had average careers, that teams are hoping can help fill a need in their front court. Well, Al Jefferson has been an elite center for the last decade and got very little love in free agency. While he's slowed down over the last couple of years due to some injuries, he's only 31 years old and has proven more than Timofey Mozgov or Bismack Biyombo, yet he's being paid much less. Jefferson was signed for $30 million over three years, meaning he makes $6-8 million per year less than Mozgov or Biyombo.
The Pacers got themselves a low-risk (only three-year contract), high reward player in Jefferson who might not be finished yet. This might not pan out, but it's a worthwhile risk for the Pacers.
2 Overpaid: Ryan Anderson
The last overpaid player on our list is also a big man, which shouldn't be a surprise at this point. Over this offseason, NBA teams have shown how highly they value average NBA big men and a lot of men have become filthy rich because of it, like Ryan Anderson. Anderson signed a massive four year, $80 million contract after a solid year where he averaged 17 points per game, that will see him earn an astounding $20 million per season.
Casual fans who don't really know Anderson must figure that he's made an All-Star game for that kind of money, right? Well, no, he hasn't. He must at least be a starter, right? Well, not really, as he's only started 159 of his 484 career games. Alright, well at least he must be consistently in the line-up, right? Actually no, as he's never played a full season, managing 81 games once and never topping 66 in any other season.
So, to sum it up, an injury prone, bench player is going to collect $20 million every year from the Houston Rockets. Wow.
1 Doesn't Matter: Jeff Green
Jeff Green is an interesting case in the NBA. The former 5th overall pick back in 2007 can score in bunches, but has never been able to find a consistent home in the NBA despite that. Last year, with the Grizzlies and Clippers, Green had his worst scoring season since he was a rookie, only averaging 11.7 points per game. He also had the worst win share of his career, since he was a rookie, at 3.1.
Despite his regression, Green signed a one year, $15 million contract with the Orlando Magic, as he'll look to back up Serge Ibaka and Aaron Gordon. While he could've potentially been considered overpaid at $15 million, it's only a one year contract, so there's little risk involved. However, we figure it'll just be another stop for Green, before he makes his way to another team as a bench option.
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