Deron Williams' $98MM+ contract represented the biggest deal of his summer's free agent period by far, but Williams is the only unrestricted free agent you'll find among the offseason's top five largest contracts. Rounding out the top of the list? Restricted free agents Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, Eric Gordon, and Nicolas Batum.
While Lopez, Hibbert, and Gordon landed max deals, not every restricted free agent made out quite so well. Most players were able to improve at least marginally on the one-year qualifying offers their teams offered, but there were a handful of instances where the player may simply have been better off accepting his QO.
Besides the four restricted FAs listed above, the following players made out very well in free agency, landing big, multiyear deals: JaVale McGee, George Hill, Ryan Anderson, Jason Thompson, Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Danny Green, Darrell Arthur, and Marreese Speights. And while Courtney Lee was made unrestricted by the time he signed, his four-year deal represents a big win as well. Lavoy Allen, Aaron Brooks, and Jeremy Evans also did okay, landing multiple years and modest raises.
Let's take a look at the rest of this summer's restricted free agents to see how they fared:
- Robin Lopez: Lopez's three-year, $15.3MM contract looks nice on paper, but only the first year is guaranteed, for less than $5MM. Still, even that's a slight improvement on the $4MM qualifying offer he had from the Suns.
- Greg Stiemsma: Stiemsma's QO was only worth about $1.05MM, so even though he only earned one guaranteed year from the Timberwolves, the raise to $2.58MM made it worthwhile.
- Brandon Rush: The two-year, $8MM deal Rush signed with the Warriors is solid, but his qualifying offer was actually worth slightly more than his $4MM 2012/13 salary. Rush has a player option in the second year of the deal, which provides a level of security that a one-year deal wouldn't, so even if he opts out next summer, he shouldn't have any regrets about not simply accepting his QO.
- D.J. Augustin: The Bobcats pulled their $4.39MM QO to Augustin right before he signed with the Pacers for one year and $3.5MM. That's not an insignificant amount Augustin gave up by not returning to Charlotte, but given the team's performance last year, maybe the change of scenery was worth it.
- Jerryd Bayless: Bayless' overall guarantee from the Grizzlies (about $6.1MM) is larger than the amount of his QO (about $4MM), but his salary for 2012/13 will be just $3MM. The Raptors withdrew their offer to Bayless fairly early in July, but perhaps the combo guard would do things differently if had a second chance at free agency.
- A.J. Price: The Pacers rescinded their qualifying offer to Price early in the free agent period, and it cost the point guard a little money. He ended up signing with the Wizards for the minimum salary ($885,120) rather than his $1.09MM QO.
- Derrick Brown: The Bobcats pulled their QO to Brown, who remains unsigned. It looks like that $1.09MM offer will be more than Brown lands now.
- Semih Erden / Sonny Weems: We don't know exactly how much Erden signed for in Turkey, but considering he inked a two-year pact with a third-year option, he probably made out just fine. Ditto for Weems, who signed a three-year deal with CSKA Moscow after the Raptors withdrew their qualifying offer.
- Devin Ebanks / Darius Morris / Luke Harangody: These players simply re-signed their qualifying offers to return to their respective teams.
- Patty Mills: Mills also re-signed for the amount of his qualifying offer, but added a second-year option to his new contract. There are conflicting reports on whether it's a team or player option, but a player option would make more sense -- otherwise, Mills would've been better off simply accepting the QO.
- Alonzo Gee / Ivan Johnson: The only two remaining unsigned restricted free agents, they still have a few weeks to either accept their qualifying offers or work out new deals.