Entering last offseason, no GM knew what to prioritize in free agency. This lead to many GM's paying poor contracts to subpar players, who ended up not converting well in the engine conversion.
On the contrary, a couple GM's got away with massive steals in the hectic confusion. These contracts would prove to be cheap and cost-efficient, as GM's didn't expect the player to play as well as they would be.
1. Pascal Siakam(4 Years, $42,700,000). The Brooklyn Nets matched a 4 year, $42,700,000 contract offered by the Dallas Mavericks. They were looking for offensive rebounders to join their team, and Siakam would have been an unsurprising target. Unfortunately, due to the log-jam that the Nets have at all big man positions, Siakam has struggled to match the value of his contract. Sure, he's still an elite rebounder, but at the meger average of 5.7 Points-Per-Game and 6.8 Rebounds-Per-Game, in only 19.5 Minutes-Per-Game, he's not lived up to the standards of such a hefty contract.
2. Julius Randle(5 Years[4+1 PO] $86,250,000). Although at the time, this was considered a massive overpay, the Pistons decided to pay a big price to retain their elite bigman. Unfortunately, similar to the Brooklyn Nets, the Pistons have a massive log-jam at the big man positions, resulting in their new big signing only playing 5 games all season. With SJJ expiring, one might think that the Pistons have Randle as a backup bigman to take over, but the Pistons might doubledown on the elite play of Johnson Jr.
3. Gary Harris(4 Years[3+1 PO] $40,372,154). The Wizards pursued Harris in free agency, hoping that his floor spacing and ability to be a floor leader would help in their team chemistry, especially around Mario Hezonja. Some may say that Harris wasn't expected to do much, as Wizards fans weren't expecting a strong showing this season. Others would say that this contract is a massive overpay, as Harris cannot break 20 minutes in the team's rotation consistently. For a backup combo-guard, he's been given a much-too impressive contract.
4. Paul George(3 Years $49,050,000). Now at 35, George has clearly lost a step. His numbers are down across the board, besides his steals-per-game(we'll get into that later). He's not going to be getting better anytime soon, and next season will be a glorified 6th man. At least before the Magic/Pelicans trade, he was one of the best defenders in the league still, making the argument for All-Defense 2nd team at the age of 35. Unfortunately, the contract just isn't anything of interest, just incredibly massive. At George's old age, this will easily be his final pay day, and hopefully he gets to retire in a place that loves him.
5. Eric Bledsoe(4 Years[3+1 PO] $74,575,000). Bledsoe is where George was last season, one year younger and getting paid his final big contract. That being said, he's been performing at a similar level to George this season, which leads me to believe that he won't be able to last the entire contract without breaking down. My prediction is that next season, Bledsoe is at best a 6th man, and at worst a bench warmer. He's been impresive this season, helping both the Raptors and Bulls reach the success that they have, but the contract drags everything down. He's earning 40mil in the final 2 seasons, at age 37 and 38. Hopefully he gets to retire in a place that loves him.
6. David Michineau(5 Years $41,430,000). Now I understand that on paper, this is a solid contract. A cheap, movable contract on a backup guard, I agree that the premise and purpose of this contract is worth it. But I also think that based on his production this season, this contract might bite the Celtics in the future. Michineau is solid, but I don't think he's deserving of 8mil a year. I say this specifically because the Celtics are looking at a long future of signed contracts. They have 10 players with guarenteed contracts next season, and it even goes to 3 guaranteed big contracts in 2027. Regardless, I liked the bargain buy by the Celtics, but I feel like Michineau could've possibly cost less.
Enough ranting about some of the worst contracts in the league. Now on a brighter note, a couple of the better contracts in the league.
1. Furkan Korkmaz(5 Years $44,800,000). The Hornets got away with robbery in last offseason's free agency, as they locked up their primary bench scorer on an incredibly valuable deal. Not only do they save money, they also get to keep his bird rights after his expiriation.
2. Henry Ellenson(5 Years $55,000,000). Last offseason, the Warriors locked up Ellenson on what was considered a reasonable underpay. Ellenson was a core part of the Warriors rebuild, and to get him under the max was considered a win. They didn't realise he'd be so effective, as Ellenson has shown why he's valued at higher than his contract. He's a sweet-stroking big man, who fills it up from behind the arc. Currently a low-volume shooter, Ellenson fits well within the Warriors system, spacing out to the 3 point line and using his shooting threat to drive into the paint. He's shown that the signing was a bargain deal, and that he'll be a crucial part of the Warriors future.
3. Austin Rivers(3 Years[2+1 TO] $19,500,000). Rivers has bounced around the league for a while, and is currently playing on the Clippers as a backup combo guard. He brings a veteran leadership to the Clippers young core, and serves as a role model to their team. His contract is affordable, easily movable, and sports a team option at the end of it. He's a cheap, easily affordable combo guard that any team in the league can use. Can't complain here.
4. Briant Weber(3 Years $16,500,000). Look above. Change Clippers to Timberwolves.