The 2020 NBA offseason has had no shortage of excitement, especially free agency. In addition to a few blockbuster trades, dozens of marquee players either re-signed with their teams, or left for new ones.
As with most offseasons, many of the larger contracts came as a surprise, and garnered reaction on social media. Some however, came at a great value for both the team and the player.
Here is a look at some of the best valued signings of 2020 free agency.
Fred VanVleet– 4 years/ $85 million
Heading into the offseason, Toronto guard Fred VanVleet was expected to see large offers from teams with cap space like Detroit and New York. Instead, the Raptors retained him, a key player from their 2019 championship run.
As a starter next to Kyle Lowry, VanVleet excelled in a larger offensive role last season. He averaged 17.6 points, 6.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds in his fourth NBA season, in addition to playing solid defense while being undersized. Going forward, VanVleet will remain part of Toronto’s future, especially with Lowry aging.
At roughly $20 million per season, the Raptors kept VanVleet for a reasonable amount. At only 26, he will only continue to improve.
Montrezl Harrell– 2 years/ $19 million
Of the entire NBA, it’s arguable the Los Angeles Lakers had the best offseason. After acquiring Thunder guard Dennis Schröder in a trade before free agency, the Lakers signed forward Montrezl Harrell, landing them the 2020 Sixth Man of the Year Award runner-up and winner respectively.
These two will allow for not only more scoring around LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but another pick-and-roll tandem as well. Averaging 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds last season, Harrell only adds to the team’s presence in the paint, led by AD.
At $8 million per season, the Lakers signed Harrell at a great bargain, especially in a weakened class when he was expected to sign a larger contract.
Tristan Thompson– 2 years/ $19 million
With their mid-level exception, the Boston Celtics shored up some front court depth, adding former Cavalier Tristan Thompson. At roughly $8 million per season, Thompson’s presence will be a great value for Boston, and could prove to be vital come postseason.
Last year in Cleveland, Thompson started at power forward, and averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 51 percent from the field. Thompson isn’t the type of big man who can stretch the floor and knock down threes, but his offensive prowess is one of the reasons he is an upgrade for the Celtics.
In Thompson, Boston is getting a championship-seasoned veteran who can stabilize the team’s biggest weakness. The Celtics didn’t have the best offseason, but signing Thompson to the contract they did should prove to be important down the stretch.
Hassan Whiteside– 1 year/ $2.3 million
Returning to the team that drafted him in 2010, center Hassan Whiteside signed a one-year minimum contract with the Sacramento Kings this offseason. The team is likely to miss out on the playoffs yet again after a lackluster offseason, but the Whiteside signing gives them insurance in the front court.
The Kings’ big man rotation has had trouble staying healthy the last few seasons. Marvin Bagley, Rachaun Holmes, and Harry Giles have all missed time due to injury. In Whiteside, Sacramento is getting someone who averaged 15.5 points and 13.5 rebounds last year with Portland. He averaged 2.9 blocks per game as well, though is isn’t a great defender overall.
At best, Whiteside can clean the glass for Sacramento while the offense runs through Buddy Heild and De’Aaron Fox in the backcourt. For just $2.3 million, this signing is good for a team still searching for their identity. Whiteside on the Kings is a low risk, high reward signing.
Featured image credited to Canadian Press.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.