One of the most frantic NBA free agency periods in recent years is almost over as just a few big names remain on the market. Here are the top five bargains secured by teams this offseason.
5. Spencer Hawes - Los Angeles Clippers - four years, $22.6 million
The Clippers filled their biggest need by signing Hawes, who will back up Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the frontcourt. Hawes is a very good stretch power forward and an excellent rebounder. Although he is suspect defensively he is a bargain at the full mid-level exception, and at 26, the Clippers will have him locked up for his best years.
4. Lance Stephenson - Charlotte Hornets - two years, $18 million (third year team option)
Stephenson by far was the most polarising player on the market this season. He could have signed a deal worth anything between $7 million and $15 per year, and in the end the Hornets snagged the 23-year-old for less than he was offered by the Indiana Pacers. The key to this deal is the length of the contract - if Stephenson's antics on the court are a distraction the Hornets can cut him loose after just two years.
3. Pau Gasol - Chicago Bulls - three years, $22 million
Gasol is nearing the end of his career, but was still fielding some big offers this offseason. The Lakers offered him $29 million to remain in Los Angeles, but he took less money to chase a championship in Chicago. He is an upgrade on Carlos Boozer defensively, and this will look like an even better deal if the Spaniard helps to deliver a title this season.
2. Isaiah Thomas - Phoenix Suns - four years, $27 million
When free agency began Thomas was targeting over $8 million per year, but as his market dried up the Suns pounced. They will pay the point guard $7.2 million this season, but the deal gets cheaper with time and he will count for only $6.2 million against the cap in 2017. Thomas will be a high-energy guard off the bench and provides the Suns with some leverage in their contract talks with Eric Bledsoe.
1. Dirk Nowitzki - Dallas Mavericks - three years, $25 million
Nowitzki took one of the biggest pay cuts in NBA history in the hope of winning another contract for the team he has spent his entire with. Both the Lakers and Rockets offered the power forward max-level contracts this year, but Nowitzki will make just $8.3 million per year with this deal. His sacrifice allowed Dallas to sign Chandler Parsons from the Rockets to a $45 million contract and to trade for center Tyson Chandler.