As our 2012 Free Agent Tracker shows, the majority of one-year deals signed by players last offseason didn't amount to a whole lot. That's partly because our tracker took into account summer contracts and non-guaranteed deals, meaning many of the guys signed to so-called one-year contracts haven't been on NBA rosters for months. Still, even the guaranteed one-year deals on the list didn't have a particularly high success rate.
Most of the bigger names on last year's free agent market were able to secure multiyear contracts, or at least one-year deals with a second-year option. But some of the one-year contracts signed for the 2012/13 season have worked out remarkably well, not just for the teams that benefited from a player's solid production (often at a discount rate), but also for the players that have set themselves up to land a bigger contract when they hit the free agent market again this summer.
Here are my picks for 10 of the best one-year deals of 2012/13:
- Chris Kaman ($8MM, Mavericks): The most expensive player on the list by far, Kaman still turned into a reasonable value for a Mavericks team that refuses to be eliminated entirely from the playoff hunt. Even playing a career-low 22.2 minutes per game, Kaman is averaging 11.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and a 16.4 PER, the third-best mark of his career.
- J.J. Hickson ($4MM, Trail Blazers): Hickson couldn't do better than one year and $4MM on last year's free agent market, and the Blazers couldn't land a first-round pick for him on the trade market last month. But at some point, Hickson's play will force a team to pay a decent price for him. He has averaged a double-double with Portland this season, posting 13.3 PPG and 10.7 RPG, while shooting an extremely efficient 56.9% from the floor.
- Marco Belinelli ($1.96MM, Bulls): Although his overall numbers may not be quite as strong, Belinelli's price makes him a better one-year value than other scoring guards like Randy Foye ($2.5MM) and Nick Young ($5.6MM). His 9.8 PPG and .369 3PT% have been crucial for a Bulls team whose "Bench Mob" was overhauled last summer.
- Martell Webster ($1.75MM, Wizards): More than in any of his previous seven seasons, Webster has shown some of the promise that made him the sixth overall pick in 2005. His 11.1 PPG, .455 FG%, and 13.7 PER aren't exceptional, but they're all career-highs for the 26-year-old.
- Alan Anderson (Minimum salary, Raptors): Even with all the new small forwards arriving in Toronto this season, Anderson has made a strong case for regular playing time, averaging 11.6 PPG off the bench while playing just 24.5 minutes per contest.
- Matt Barnes (Minimum salary, Clippers): Earning a minimum salary, Barnes has been such a nice pickup for the Clippers that Grantland's Zach Lowe recently made a case for why the former Laker could be the key to the Clips' playoff run. Like Webster, he's on track to record new career-bests in PPG (10.8) and PER (15.9) as perhaps the NBA's best second unit.
- Andray Blatche (Minimum salary, Nets): While players like Luis Scola, Elton Brand, and Brendan Haywood were claimed on amnesty waivers last July, Blatche passed through unclaimed, and was out of work for weeks before eventually landing a minimum deal with the Nets. There are probably a few teams kicking themselves now for passing on the ex-Wizard, who has bounced back in a big way in Brooklyn, averaging 10.1 PPG on a career-best .501 FG%. Blatche's 22.3 PER is also far and away a career high.
- Antawn Jamison (Minimum salary, Lakers): Although Jamison's numbers have taken a major dip across the board now that he's no longer a primary scoring option, he's still been a nice value for the Lakers at the veteran's minimum. Jamison's 15.0 points per 36 minutes and 15.1 PER may be the worst marks of his career, but they're still more than you'd expect from a minimum-salary bench piece.
- Jermaine O'Neal (Minimum salary, Suns): No one on this list has seen the court less in 2012/13 than O'Neal, who has played just 17.3 MPG in 45 contests. Still, considering how he looked in Boston over the last couple seasons, it's been a solid bounce-back campaign for the veteran big man, who has shot 50.6% from the field and is rebounding like he did in his prime.
- Nate Robinson (Minimum salary, Bulls): Kirk Hinrich received a larger and longer-term contract with the Bulls, and was expected to bear the brunt of the point guard load while Derrick Rose recovered from ACL surgery. But with Hinrich battling injuries over the last month and a half, it's Robinson who has taken over as the starter. He's been a little inconsistent, but the 5'9" guard has still averaged 11.9 PPG, 4.2 APG, and a 17.3 PER.