NBA Free Agency 2013: Best Bargain Signings Thus Far

It was nearly 10 days ago that Jockstrap Journal took a look at some of the most distasteful signings of the offseason thus far; now it’s time to flip the script and look at some of the best bargain signings from this thrilling offseason. After some thorough research (research meaning reruns of Breaking Bad), we’ve decided on the 15 best values of the offseason so far.

We can’t say the same for Craig Sager…

 

Honorable Mention: Chauncey Billups signs with the Detroit Pistons for two years, $5.5 million.

Photo of the Detroit Pistons Chauncey Billups.

Photo of the Detroit Pistons Chauncey Billups. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were points last season when Chauncey Billups looked like he needed to get wheel-chaired off the court, before a long nap with his dentures. However, being the starting shooting guard at 36 years old after tearing your Achilles is something only a deer-antler-spray user or Kobe Bryant can. Billups, though, continues to slide into a Jason Kidd-esque role. He will lead this young Piston team while coming off the bench, and the value he will bring doing this will be invaluable.

Chris Copeland signs with the Indiana Pacers for two years, $6 million.

This is going to certainly come back to bite the Knicks in the rump. Cope is a really good reserve who can stretch the floor and flat out score. Copeland is your true “started from the bottom now we’re here” player; just two seasons ago he was playing in Belgium. Now he got paid and looks to be a valuable reserve on a championship contender.

Lil Nate Robinson signs with the Denver Nuggets for two years, $4 million.

Lil Nate is certainly familiar with the Nuggets (see video below). More recently, Nate lit up the playoffs last season and proved he can still be a dynamite scorer in this league (if little else). The Nuggets lost a ton this offseason, but Robinson has shown he can certainly carry the load on offense. At $2 million a year this is an absolute steal.

 

Jermaine O’Neal signs with the Golden State Warriors for one year, $2 million

The Warriors I tell you are poised to be contenders in the West for quite some time. O’Neal looked rejuvenated last year with the Suns, and he proved that he can still be an above average reserve who can make a spot start for you when called upon. He might not be the beast he used to be while with the Pacers, but O’Neal, just 33 years old, can still provide some muscle and intimidation off the bench.

Byron Mullens signs with the Los Angeles Clippers for two years, $3 million

Considered a project coming out of college in 2009, 24-year-old Mullens has finally turned a corner. However, while he seems to be transforming into a formidable offensive threat, it’s debatable whether he’s the “good stats on a bad team” player (played for the Bobcats) or truly a late bloomer. In the end, at 24 years old Mullens could be budding into one of the leagues better offensive centers. The signing not only is a value but it also makes so much sense when scripted alongside DeAndre Jordan, who is literally the worst crunch-time player you can want out on the floor because he shoots free throws with less efficiency than a garbage bag filled with vegetable soup. Mullens will provide Clip City with a formidable offensive bigman during crunch time. Fringe NBA Championship contender.

 

Aaron Brooks resigns with the Houston Rockets for one year, $1.7 million.

Just a few seasons ago Aaron Brooks was averaging almost 20 points per game and looked to be a budding star, when suddenly China robbed him of his NBA prime and he returned an elder. However, the man can still ball. Patrice Beverley, Jeremy Lin, and Brooks can all compete in what will be an enticing starting point guard competition when the Rockets open camp in the fall. An above-average starting point guard at $1.7 million? Aaron Brooks, you might need a new agent.

Chris Kaman signs with the Los Angeles Lakers for one year, $4 million.

Chris Kaman at XBox Live Settle the Score, pla...

Chris Kaman at XBox Live Settle the Score, playing NBA 2K6. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps the second coming of Sasquatch, Chris Kama remains a talented defensive center and an above average starter in this league. While his PER (player efficiency rating) is through the roof, Kaman can’t exactly fill Dwight Howard’s shoes (although what did they do?). But at $4 million, he is a nice consolation prize.

Nick Young signs with the Los Angeles Lakers for two years, $2.3 million.

Nick Young can score flat out. I always thought he would be a spectacular sixth man, which is what he will be, but if Kobe Bryant can’t go opening night Young can certainly start. The new look Lakers might have made some bold signings this offseason, but will it be enough to outshine Dwight Howard? Cut to Kobe Bryant salivating over a picture of the Larry O’Brien Trophy and saying “my precious.”

Zaza Pachulia signs with the Milwaukee Bucks for three years, $16 million.

But seriously…

Keyon Martin resigns with the New York Knicks for one year, $1.4 million.

Kenyon Martin proved to be a steal for the Knicks with the initial ten-day contract. His toughness was paramount to this Knicks team’s success and he quickly became a fan favorite. Now the veteran is back to provide depth in the frontcourt and certainly be worth more then a million bucks. If Martin can stay healthy, this contract should be glorious.

 

J.R Smith resigns with the New York Knicks for three years, $18 million

Move over Jose Cuervo, J.R Smith is definitely the most interesting man in the world! Smith undoubtedly took a pay cut to stay with the Knicks and god bless him for it. Although he was a virtual no-show in the playoffs, Smith pulled off the best statistical year of his career and was surprisingly, yet incredibly consistent. Smith turned into a viable second scorer and many nights took the load off of Carmelo Anthony’s aching shoulders. Knicks fans may worry about the Pacers, who got Danny Granger back, and the Bulls, who get Derrick Rose back, but they’re excited to get Amar’e Stoudemire back (really?). Yes, when healthy he can still be a force in limited time. I actually think that the Big Apple will be pleasantly surprised with STAT’s production this season. Maybe JR will be dethroned and STAT will return to his productive self and help out Melo like originally planned. But don’t hold your breath.

Chris “Birdman” Andersen resigns with the Miami Heat for one year, $2 million

Birdman was an integral piece to the Heat’s championship run this season. He provided excellent energy off the bench, great defense, and most importantly an excellent intro to the Heats “Harlem Shake” video. Birdman came out and said he was offered in excess of $4 million a year but he chose to stay with the Heat. Players signing with the Heat for less money to contend has been what made the Heat…well the Heat. (see Mike Miller, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Rashard Lewis, etc.)

 

Darren Collison signs with the Los Angeles Clippers for two years, $2 million

Poor Darren Collison. He really has been put to shame because people focus so much on his negative aspects. However, his role as backup point guard will show people exactly what he is. He is instant energy who can score and pass in limited doses. I’d guess Collison signs for a more lucrative deal next offseason, very much like Jarrett Jack (who just received a four-year, $25 million dollar deal) and might be the best backup point guard in the NBA. Another steal for the Clippers.

Andray Blatche resigns with the Brooklyn Nets for one year, $1.4 million

Blatche turned in a spectacular bounce-back season last year for the Nets as he re-established himself as a legitimate low-post threat. He is also making 7.5 million dollars for the Wizards this season because he was amnestied. Great role player on a championship contender.

MettaRon Peace (aka Ron Artest, aka Metta World Peace) signs with the New York Knickerbockers for two years, $3 million

All the therapists in the tristate area are lining up because MettaRon is officially open for business. Metta provides the ‘Bockers with defense, 3-point shooting, and most importantly a formidable fighter in any brawl they want to partake in this season. World Peace can also cover three positions due to his versatility and defense ability. Expect World Peace to be a fan favorite in New York and hopefully his defense will make LeBron James sweat a little more.

 

Andrei Kirilenko signs with CSKA Moscow the Brooklyn Nets for two years, $6 million dollars

Mikhail Prokhorov gets his man. The Russian pals have reunited in Brooklyn and look to reestablish their formidable duo. Seriously though, Kirilenko left nearly $7 million on the table to sign with the Nets and instantly become one of the best backups in the league. He is very versatile and can knock down the three. Not only do the Nets have a scary starting five but they also have a thoroughly deep bench. Watch out.

Paul Millsap signs with the Atlanta Hawks for two years, $19 million

How Al Jefferson got $22 million more then Paul Millsap is beyond me. While Millsap is slightly inferior offensively to Big Al, he is still exceptionally better defensively and is far more versatile. But hey, that’s why Big Al landed on our worst contracts list.

Andrew Bynum signs with the Cleveland Cavaliers for two years, $18 million

Wow. The Cleveland Cavaliers get the second best big man in basketball in highway-robbery fashion, for one year, $12 million, and a club option for $6 million next season. If Bynum can stay healthy, regardless of his maturity issues he will provide the Cavs with a dominant low-post threat. The Cavs have propelled themselves into a playoff spot with this terrific offseason. If all their young players can continue improving, this Cavs team is poised to make a big leap next year. However, Cavs fans please relax; knowing the track record of Cleveland sports you should expect Bynum to blowout his knee and all the promising young talent the Cavs have to quit basketball and form an underground folk band, thus sending the franchise into NBA purgatory. Stay classy Cavs fans!

 

With the NBA offseason wrapping up, we can almost start counting down the start of the NBA season. All that’s left is to see which GM overpays for Brandon Jennings, who gets Greg Oden, and if there are any other blockbuster trades to happen. As we all believed rosters were set and stone on the eve of the regular season last year, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden for Steven Adams, Jeremy Lamb, and Kevin Martin. This year, who knows what kind of two-step mayhem will strike…

 

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