It was a great summer to be a mediocre NBA player. No disrespect to any of the NBA players inking deals this off-season; but the recently raised salary cap had NBA teams throwing large amounts of money in all directions. With the salary cap expected to rise once again next summer, teams are willing to spend more on average players this year. Some deals will begin to look like bargains compared to potential deals down the road. They also simply have more money to spend than in the past. The clear winners of free agency this summer, landing former MVP Kevin Durant, have to be the Warriors. However, let’s take a look at some of the other best and worst deals from the off-season thus far:
NBA Free Agency Bargains & Overpays
Dion Waiters (Miami Heat) 2 years/$6 million
Losing Dwyane Wade to the Chicago Bulls could not have been easy for the Miami Heat, but there are worse ways to replace him than Dion Waiters for $6 million. While Waiters has not lived up to his number four draft selection, he is still young and talented enough to take a chance on at this price tag. Waiters should have an increased role with the Heat and is definitely a bargain with this deal.
Jarrett Jack (Atlanta Hawks) 1 year/veteran minimum
After trading Jeff Teague, the Atlanta Hawks had a hole at backup point guard behind new starter Dennis Schroder. Schroder is a talented player but still a bit of an unknown as a starter and signing Jack to a minimum deal is a great bargain for a quality backup. Jack can play starter minutes if need be and has shown a knack for hitting big shots late in games over the years.
David West (Golden State Warriors) 1 year/veteran minimum
Adding Kevin Durant meant losing most of the productive bench from the past few seasons for the Warriors. Adding David West for the veteran’s minimum helps shore up part of that Golden State bench. West is not the player he once was, but showed last year in San Antonio that he still has something left in the tank. West has shown that at this stage of his career winning is all that matters and the Warriors benefited greatly from that mindset with this deal.
Tyler Johnson (Miami Heat) 4 years/$50 million
The Miami Heat elected to match the Brooklyn Nets $50 million offer to Tyler Johnson. Losing Dwyane Wade could have factored into the decision to hang onto Johnson, but as an undrafted player he is a huge unknown. The Heat must have seen something in Johnson that caused them to gamble on his future. It is hard to predict his future as an NBA player at this point. As a backup who rarely played, this deal is a head scratcher.
Timofey Mozgov (Los Angeles Lakers) 4 years/$64 million
Timofey Mozgov was a key piece as a starter for the Cleveland Cavaliers 2015 NBA Finals run. However he saw his role greatly reduced last season. The Cavaliers went to a small ball lineup and Mozgov was phased out of the lineup completely. He is a decent player inside but has poor hands and limited mobility. With the small ball trend in the NBA and the Lakers rebuilding, this deal makes little sense for L.A.
Ian Mahinmi (Washington Wizards) 4 years/$64 million
Ian Mahinmi was signed by the Washington Wizards as an insurance policy behind Marcin Gortat. Mahinmi has been a career backup thus far. Frankly he hasn’t show much other than being a big body while on the court. With Gortat in place and Mahinmi’s limited skillset, the Wizards greatly overpaid for the backup big man.
Main Photo: OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 07: Timofey Mozgov (C) of the Cleveland Cavaliers vie for ball with Andrew Bogut #12 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Two of the 2015 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 7, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)