When NBA free agency opens at the start of July, the focus tends to be on the big name players inking nine-digit deals. There has been a lot of talk about the Kyrie Irving trade rumors and that has overshadowed a lot of the shrewd signings. Not all deals have to be huge paydays to win. Through the first four weeks of free agency, roughly 80 deals have been reached. Here are the biggest steals of so far of the 2017 offseason.
Honourable Mention: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors: 2yrs/$51.3 Million
It was evident after the success Durant experienced in Golden State in his first season, that the former MVP and reigning Finals MVP would want to stay put. Signing a below market value deal, Durant helped the Warriors keep their roster intact. Considering that JJ Reddick, Jrue Holiday and Otto Porter will all make similar money this season from their offseason deals, makes it hard to not throw Durant in as at least an honourable mention.
PJ Tucker, Houston Rockets: 4-yrs/$31.3 Million
The first thing to note about PJ Tucker’s deal is the fact the Toronto Raptors offered him a larger contract – 3yrs /$33 Million. That alone makes Tucker’s contract a steal, but there are many reasons why multiple teams were bidding for Tucker’s services. Tucker is a hard-nosed defender, capable of guarding four positions. Not known for his offense, Tucker shot a highly respectable 40% from 3-point range, as a Raptor in 2017 and is less of a liability than many of his contemporaries.
Remember, the Rockets are looking to make a deep playoff run. To do that, they are going to need roleplayers who can match up in different situations and play defense. They already had one of the best offenses in the league, so Tucker will help them on the other side.
Jamal Crawford, Minnesota Timberwolves: 2-yrs/$8.7 Million
Looking for a savvy vet, Minnesota inked Jamal Crawford to a team friendly two-year deal. Crawford is one of the best six-men in the league, having won Six-Man of the Year three times in his career. An effective scorer, Crawford has 14 straight seasons of averaging 12.0 points or more per game, with the last eight coming as a bench player.
Derrick Rose, Cleveland Cavaliers: 1-yr/$2.1 Million
As crazy, as it may seem to include Rose on this list, at the amount he is set to make it is hard not to call his signing a steal. Though he will never be the MVP-level player he was in the early stage of his career, Rose is still good, if not underrated. Last season Rose averaged 18.0 PPG, set a career low in turnovers per game and shot a career high from the free throw line. Although, he is a horrendous three-point shooter, the fact his contract this season is roughly 1/10 of what it was last year essentially erases that and turns him into a bargain.
Rajon Rondo, New Orleans Pelicans: 1-yr/$3.3 Million
After a tumultuous time in Chicago, Rondo is on the move again, this time heading to the “Big Easy” to team with Anthony Davis. Rondo is only one season removed from leading the NBA in assists per game, the third time he has done such in his career. Rondo set a career high in 3-point field goal percentage last season. An all-around player – skilled at both ends of the court – Rondo biggest knock is his demeanour and personality, but at only $3.3 million per year – $10.7 million less than he made last year – Rondo is a steal for the Pelicans.
Jonathon Simmons, Orlando Magic: 3-yrs/$20 Million
After a stellar performance in the playoffs, Jonathan Simmons moved on from San Antonio and cashed in with the Orlando Magic. The Spurs kind of messed up as they lifted their qualifying offer for him and tha allowed him to find a new home.
In only two NBA seasons, Simmons has developed into an elite defender, while occasionally flashing brilliance on offence. The deal itself is very team friendly, and even if Simmons does not take a step forward, it cannot be viewed as a bad signing.
The 2017 NBA futures are out. It’s been a wild offseason already, but keep an eye on the betting lines as they move around at Diamond Sportsbook! Get the latest NBA betting lines right here.