It’s no stretch to say that Draymond Green is the best bargain on any team left in the playoffs. The soon-to-be restricted free agent is making the minimum salary this season as a vestige of the contract he signed in 2012 shortly after the Warriors drafted him 35th overall that June. He’s due for a massive raise in restricted free agency this summer, perhaps all the way to the maximum salary. For now, the Warriors continue to reap the benefits of their second-round steal as they make a run at a championship.
Green might be the most profoundly underpaid performer on teams still alive for the title, but he’s not the only minimum-salary player who’s had an outsized effect, even among his own teammates. Indeed, seven of the eight teams at play in the second round have at least one player making the minimum salary who’s averaging at least 10 minutes per game in the playoffs and has appeared in at least three postseason contests this year. That would no doubt be the case for all eight if Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley, another soon-to-be restricted free agent, wasn’t out with a left wrist injury.
Hawks power forward Mike Muscala is the only one among these key minimum-salary players who’s under contract for next season. Only Green could reasonably be expected to flirt with the maximum this summer, but many of the impending free agents listed below stand to improve on the minimum next season.
Each minimum-salary player who is playing for a team in the second round, has appeared in at least three postseason games and is seeing at least 10.0 minutes per game is listed below and categorized by team. Their respective statuses for next season are also listed. Note that free agency is presumed to be unrestricted unless otherwise noted.
- Draymond Green, nine games, 37.4 MPG — What’s next: Restricted free agency
- Leandro Barbosa, nine games, 10.2 MPG — What’s next: Free agency
- Nick Calathes, eight games, 15.6 MPG — What’s next: Restricted free agency
- Glen Davis, 12 games, 11.0 MPG — What’s next: Free agency
- Mike Muscala, five games, 10.6 MPG — What’s next: Under contract for non-guaranteed minimum salary in 2015/16.
- Drew Gooden, nine games, 17.7 MPG — What’s next: Free agency
- Will Bynum, three games, 10.3 MPG — What’s next: Free agency
- Matthew Dellavedova, nine games, 16.4 MPG — What’s next: Restricted free agency
- James Jones, nine games, 12.0 MPG — What’s next: Free agency
- Aaron Brooks, 11 games, 11.1 MPG — What’s next: Free agency
The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.