NBA Free Agency 2016: Best Bargains
This year’s NBA Free Agency has been nothing short of spectacularly crazy. Obviously the headline is Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Warriors, while the other dominant narrative has been the crazy amount of money handed out to tons of players. While every contract seems to be huge, some deals have been given out that may not seem like tremendous values, but given the new landscapes, they actually are. Here are a few of the best bargains agreed upon throughout free agency, in no particular order:
Zaza Pachulia to the Golden State Warriors: 1 year, $2.9 million
Obviously the most important deal the Warriors made during free agency was getting Kevin Durant, but this deal is basically highway robbery. Ian Mahinimi and Timofey Mozgov both got over $60 million, and the Warriors signed Zaza for essentially nothing. Sure, his per game averages of 8.6 and 9.4 rebounds aren’t eye-popping, and he doesn’t really protect the rim, but the Warriors were in need of some size since Andrew Bogut is following Harrison Barnes out the door. Take a look at the comparison of all three players:
Sure, you can maybe make the argument that Mahinimi is a better player, and maybe even mention that Mozgov’s rim protection makes him more valuable than Pachulia, but the difference in their contracts is astounding. The Warriors definitely got a steal here.
Joe Johnson to the Utah Jazz: 2 years, $22 million
Sure, this is not the All-Star Joe Johnson from his Atlanta years, but after toiling away in the basketball hell that is Brooklyn, Iso Joe showed some flashes that he still has it during his stint in Miami last year. This Utah core has been together for a few years now and is ready to make the jump to the playoffs, and adding a veteran presence like Johnson is a smart move. Nobody is silly enough to think that Joe Johnson is pushing the Utah Jazz to a championship, but adding a guy who has been there before and brings experience to a younger locker room will help Utah out. The deal is short and him making $11 million a year is good value, especially for a team who may struggle to bring players to play in Utah. With so much cap space, it makes sense to spend money on a guy like Johnson, who can shoot the ball and play multiple positions, as Miami had him playing some 4 while he has traditionally been a 2 or a 3. All in all, a very good deal for the Jazz, who may be in line for a big jump this year.
Al Jefferson to the Indiana Pacers: 3 years, $30 million.
Big Al had a very disappoint year last year, as it was a injury plagued season that saw him only play in 47 games and average a measly 12 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Unfortunately for Al, he is 31 years old and the way the game is changing doesn’t seem to be in his favor. This is the most risky deal listed here, as the injury bug could follow Jefferson and torpedo this entire contract.
However, there are some good news for Big Al. One, his field goal percentage remained the same this past season, showing that his touch and footwork are still there, making him a force to be reckoned with on the block. Two, the players surrounding him in Indiana will be better than those he was with in Charlotte, and better suited for his game. The Hornets struggled with shooting, which makes it harder on a big man as he becomes susceptible to double teams. However, there are a plethora of shooters throughout Indiana’s lineup, and anybody who joins a team with a player of Paul George’s caliber usually receives a boost. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Jefferson’s Per-36 minute stats haven’t dramatically changed over the last 3 years:
The numbers remain relatively stable, with a small decrease in rebounding and points, but also a decrease in the amount of shots per game. Yes, he is getting up their in age, but the productivity is still there. Personally, I think the Pacers will be able to properly utilize his skill set and turn this deal into a great bargain.
To me, these seem like the 3 best deals that have bee struck through today. Considering the new landscape of free agency, all of these deals look very good. The only ways these deals completely fall of the wheels is if there is severe injury, which is impossible to predict. While other deals were certainly very good for teams, these standout as the best bargains. Coming later will be another post looking at the worst deals handed out this year