The Summer of 2015 was supposed to be rather mediocre in terms of free agent movement as most big prizes on the open market were expected to resign with their current teams.
For the most part that was or still remains to be true as Kevin Love, Kawhi Leonard, and Jimmy Butler decided to stay with their previous teams rather than start anew in a fresh new city.
But that wasn’t always the case as some of the biggest fish on the market shockingly changed squads as impact players like LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, and Greg Monroe all decided to go elsewhere to try and win a title.
We are still awaiting the decisions of several big names like Lebron James, Marc Gasol, and Tim Duncan but most reports signal they will return to their respective teams from last season.
High dollar deals like Paul Millsap(3Yrs – $59 million), Wes Mathews(4Yrs – $57 million), and Greg Monroe(3Yrs – $50 million) just miss the cut.
We are barely a week into free agency but it has been quite the frenzy but here are the 15 Most Lucrative Free Agent Deals So Far This Summer(2015)…………..
7’0 255lbs Center
’14-’15 Stats: 7.3 ppg, 9.8 reb, .517 FG%
The 29 year old 7 footer has helped parlay his specific skillset of being an elite rebounder, defender, and rim protector into one of the most lucrative free gent deals this Summer. His stats won’t blow you away but keeping Asik locked up for another 5 seasons allows NBA MVP candidate Anthony Davis the ability to do his damage at the PF position, where he is a match-up nightmare. Asik has made great strides from a relatively unknown 2nd Round pick from Turkey back in 2008 to one of the NBA’s least appreciated dirty work big men in the Association today.
6’8 215lbs Small Forward
’14-’15 Stats: 12.6 ppg, 5.3 reb, 1.3 stl, .395 3PT%
The Atlanta Hawks were put in the unenviable position of choosing between Carroll and All Star forward Paul Millsap in free agency this Summer and unfortunately for Carroll, the All Star won. But don’t feel back for the former University of Missouri product as he lands a monster deal to play in Toronto that averages out to roughly $15 million per season. DeMarre established himself last season as one of the game’s best individual defenders as well as timely 3 point shooters. He was arguably Atlanta’s best player in the Playoffs(14.6 ppg, 6.1 reb) despite suffering a nasty knee sprain at the hands of Cleveland’s Mathew Dellavadova.
7’0 275lbs Center
’14-’15 Stats: 17.2 ppg, 7.4 reb, 1.8 blk, .513 FG%
As his twin brother Robin signed a monstrous 4 year – $54 million deal to play for the NY Knicks, Robin will remain right across town as the centerpiece of the Brooklyn Nets, at least for the next 3 seasons. The 27 year old big man has gone through his share of injuries over his career playing in only 96 games the prior 3 seasons, but Brook rebounded well to play in 74 contests last year and was Brooklyn’s best player in the postseason, putting up nearly 20 points and 10 boards per contest. When healthy, many consider Lopez the most potent offensive center in the game, making an All Star appearance back in 2013.
6’9 235lbs SF/PF
’14-’15 Stats: 17.1 ppg, 6.3 reb, 1.8 ast, 1 stl
Once thought to be a huge target of his hometown New York Knicks, in the end Harris took the money to remain in Orlando. From an organizational standpoint it’s a bit confusing since they also have recent Lottery picks Aaron Gordon and Mario Hezonja already on the roster at the same position but Harris is a still only 22 year old forward with impressive offensive potential going forward. At the very least he can be a future trade chip or be part of the growing young core in Orlando alongside Victor Oladipo, Nic Vucevic, Elfrid Payton, Gordon, and Hezonja.
6’7 225lbs Shooting Guard
’14-’15 Stats: 13.4 ppg, 4.4 reb, 2.3 ast, 1.5 stl, .407 3PT%,
The average NBA fan probably knows very little about the Milwaukee sharpshooter but he was a big part of the Bucks’ resurgence last season, helping them back to the postseason following a horrendous ’13-’14 season where they nabbed the #2 pick in the draft. Middleton was acquired from Detroit in the Brandon Jennings trade in 2013 and has played in all but 3 games in his 2 seasons in Milwaukee. The Bucks obviously see him as the SG of the future, giving the former Texas A&M star a whopping 5 year – $70 million deal that will keep him in Milwaukee through 2021.
6’3 190lbs Point Guard
’14-’15 Stats: 13.4 ppg, 4.5 ast, 2.1 reb, .409 3PT%
Many were surprised when Milwaukee sent the former University of Kentucky floor general to Phoenix at the All Star break, especially since he was one of the final players in consideration to play in the actual All Star Game. Something obviously didn’t click in coach Jason Kidd’s system as Knight now becomes part of the backcourt of the future in Phoenix alongside another former Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe. Knight is a super athletic floor general, capable of stretching the floor with his growing 3 point prowess, that is still far from a finished product at age 23.
6’11 265lbs Center
’14-’15 Stats: 11.5 ppg, 15 reb, 2.2 blk, .710 FG%
In a surprising shock this offseason, Jordan decided to leave some money on the table and depart Los Angeles for his hometown Dallas in free agency. There were rumblings that he didn’t always get along with Chris Paul and that he wanted a bigger role in the offense, which wasn’t going to happen with Blake Griffin and CP3 on the roster. Dallas gets an athletic rim protector that has led the NBA in rebounding the past 2 seasons as well as leading all players in FG% the past 3 seasons. I’m not really sure how much more of an offensive force he can be but surely Rick Carlisle hoped he sticks to being a perennial NBA Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
6’11 240lbs Power Forward
’14-’15 Stats: 23.4 ppg, 10.2 reb, 1 blk, .352 3PT%
Undoubtedly the biggest free agent prize this offseason, Aldridge made a surprise decision to leave Portland and go to San Antonio for a chance at winning an NBA Title. It’s a perfect fit for both Aldridge and the Spurs as aging superstars Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker are nearing the end and Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard can keep San Antonio in the title hunt for years to come. The 29 year old, 4 time NBA All Star is one of the toughest covers currently in the NBA as he can both bang in the paint and shoot over smaller defenders ranging out to the 3 point arc.
6’7 230lbs Power Forward
’14-’15 Stats: 11.7 ppg, 8.2 reb, 3.7 ast, 1.6 stl, 1.3 blk
One of the game’s premier stat stuffers and individual man defenders, Green picked the right season to have a career year, as he finished 2nd to Kawhi Leonard in Defensive POY and was the heart and soul of the World Champion Golden State Warriors. Many wonderd if he was mearly a product of the system in Golden State or was he worth a max deal somewhere else. The question never truly will get an answer as the Warriors decided to keep their core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Green together for the foreseeable future in an attempt to win multiple NBA Championships.
6’7 230lbs Small Forward
’14-’15 Stats: 16.5 ppg, 7.2 reb, 2.5 ast, 2.3 stl
It was a no brainer that the reigning 2015 NBA Defensive Player of the Year wasn’t going anywhere outside of San Antonio, as he was rewarded with a 5 year max deal to potentially be the next face of the franchise once Tim Duncan retires. Leonard joined only Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win both Defensive POY and NBA Finals MVP. It might sound crazy even frightening to think that Leonard is still only 24 years old and has just begun to scratch the surface as to how good he can become. The Spurs are hoping he reaches MVP caliber.
6’3 190lbs Point Guard
’14-’15 Stats: 16.6 ppg, 5.3 ast, 3.4 reb, 1.1 stl, .502 FG%
Once a potent player in waiting behind former 2 time NBA MVP Steve Nash in Phoenix, Dragic was sent to Miami mid-season in 2015, forming a potentially devastating backcourt alongside Dwyane Wade. Dragic is a former European superstar who was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player and named to the All NBA 3rd Team in 2014. He seemed to struggle a bit during the 2nd half last year but GM Pat Riley hopes Dragic can help prolong the careers of D-Wade and Chris Bosh, helping to make Miami one of the most potent teams in the Eastern Conference next season and going forward.
6’7 225lbs Shooting Guard
’14-’15 Stats: 20 ppg, 5.8 reb, 3.3 ast, 1.8 stl, .378 3PT%
Butler surprisingly turned down a pricey extension prior to last season but he is laughing all the way to the bank as he set career highs across the board, won the 2015 Most Improved Player Award, and was named to his first NBA All Star Game. The 25 year old 2 guard is one of the game’s best 2 way players, emerging with the constant injuries to superstar Derrick Rose in Chicago. Have the Bulls hitched their wagon to a player that has already peaked or will Butler continue to improve towards being a Top 10 player?
6’10 245lbs Power Forward
’14-’15 Stats: 16.4 ppg, 9.7 reb, 2.2 ast, .367 3PT%
Despite having arguably the worst season statistically of his career and seeing it end prematurely due to a shoulder injury in the Playoffs, Love decided his best landing spot was back in Cleveland. Choosing having a chance to win over individual success, Love helps stretch the floor in the same way that Chris Bosh did in Miami, helping Lebron James and Kyrie Irving get to the rack with ease. Many felt that if Love were healthy, it would have been a much closer NBA Finals this season. Resigning Love to team with both LBJ and Kyrie probably makes Clevelnad the team to beat in the East for the next few seasons.
6’3 195lbs Point Guard
’14-’15 Stats: 21 ppg, 6.2 ast, 4.6 reb, 1.2 stl, .343 3PT%
With the 4 other starters all gone from a successful 50 win season in 2015, the 25 year old Lillard now becomes the face of the franchise going forward. It’s a point guard driven league, and Lillard has proven to be one of the better ones, making 2 NBA All Star Games in just 3 seasons out of Weber State. His 3 point shooting slipped a bit last year but he remains one of the more potent offensive forces from the PG position, capable of dropping 30 points on any given night. Lillard is one of only 6 players to have averaged 19 points and 6 assists per game over the past 3 seasons.
6’10 225lbs Power Forward
’14-’15 Stats: 24.4 ppg, 10.2 reb, 2.9 blk, 2.2 ast, 1.5 stl. .535 FG%
Easily the most lucrative offseason deal goes to 2 Time NBA All Star Anthony Davis, who led the Pelicans to their first Playoffs since 2011 when Chris Paul was still on the roster. Davis is so skilled that he has only begun to touch just how good he can be as a still only 22 year old forward. He’s the odds on favorite to become the best player on the planet once Lebron James can no longer hold the crown and he now is locked in to make New Orleans basketball relevant into the 2020’s. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Davis won multiple NBA MVP’s during this period.