NBA Free Agency has been action-packed but pretty pricey, so who was the best value signing?
Let’s take a lot at some of the players who teams secured for an absolute bargain.
Special mentions include Tre Jones and Shake Milton.
AUSTIN REAVES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Austin Reaves was the Lakers third-best player last season behind LeBron and AD and the franchise were able to re-sign the restricted free agent on a four-year, $56 million deal.
What a steal. Plenty of NBA insiders agree.
“Reaves is a 25-year-old wing who shot nearly 40% from deep last season and is also an excellent pick-and-roll creator,” Fox Sports’ Yaron Weitzman said. “That’s a $20-million-per-year profile, at least. To be clear, it’s not that the Lakers did Reaves dirty: They just benefited from desire to remain in L.A.”
The Lakers saved themselves a boatload of cash and avoided headaches since the Spurs and other suitors decided not to sign Reaves to any offer sheet, ESPN’s Zach Lowe says.
“I think the Reaves contract has a chance to be one of the best contracts in the league from a team perspective,” Lowe said on The Lowe Post. “And the Lakers got very, very lucky that nobody made them pay through the nose. And I know San Antonio was going back and forth on it and just for whatever reason didn’t do it, and that’s a steal.”
RUSSELL WESTBROOK, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
15-season veteran Russell Westbrook will remain at the Clippers after signing a two-year, $7.8 million deal that includes a player option in the second year.
“Westbrook outscored, out-rebounded and out-assisted Reaves last season,” Fox Sports’ Ric Bucher said. “Yes, he’ll turn 35 next season, but he has been fanatical about taking care of his body.”
Of course, Russ isn’t the MVP-caliber player he once was, but getting him on less than four million dollars per season? Certified steal.
Westbrook averaged 15.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 7.5 assists on 43.6 percent shooting from the field last season and in the postseason, he excelled.
Without Kawhi and PG-13 in the playoffs, Russ took the team and carried them on his back. His PPG jumped to 23.6.
If he can continue with the same efficiency, his contract will be one of the best value for money deals in the entire league.
GABE VINCENT, LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Heat guard Gabe Vincent left Miami for less than the full non-taxpayer’s mid-level after securing a three-year $33 million contract with the Lakers.
“Getting someone who can toggle between off- and on-ball responsibilities while juicing beyond-the-arc volume is huge for the Lakers offense,” B/R’s Dan Favale writes. “That it comes from someone who can defend at the point of attack, as a starter or bench headliner, is even bigger.”
Vincent showed he can step in big moments during the playoffs and improved on his regular season stats, since he shot 37.8 percent of threes, compared to 33.4 percent during the regular season.
The 27-year-old may even find himself a starting spot if he outperforms DLo at training camp, it has been reported.
JEVON CARTER, CHICAGO BULLS
The Bulls acquiring Jevon Carter on a three-year, $20 million deal is great value, especially considering he could become one of the team’s top shooters.
He has a rate of 39.7 percent shooting throughout his career and he’s fresh off shooting 42.1 percent of his 4.2 looks per game with the Bucks last year.
Carter isn’t just offense savvy, he was the Bucks second-best in steals behind Jrue Holiday in 2022-23.
The 27 year old’s scrappy defensive style, along with his relentless screening is killer.
“Most importantly, though, he has the quickness to chase his matchup all around the floor and the footwork to stay in front of them,” Bulls writer Elias Schuster says. “If the Chicago Bulls wanted to replicate the first line of defense they had with Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball, this is one way to do that.”
JALEN MCDANIELS, TORONTO RAPTORS
The Raptors got Jalen McDaniels on a two-year, $9.3 million deal from Philly on way less than the mini mid-level exception. Professional steal.
McDaniels is a 25-year-old wing that can can comfortably play the 3-and-D role but his shooting consistency does need work, since he hit just 36.6 percent of his wide open threes last season.
Despite this, Favale says this percentage was “certainly good enough to warrant more playing time than he received during the Philadelphia 76ers’ playoff push.”
Still being quite young, McDaniels certainly has time to develop and finding a two-way player for such value is pretty rare.