Seven of the 10 free agents in the final edition of the 2015 Hoops Rumors Free Agent Power Rankings signed maximum-salary deals, and nine of them were able to secure player options. None signed for as short a term as LeBron James, the No. 1 player in the rankings, but that’s no surprise, as he places a premium on flexibility and will have no trouble signing an even more lucrative max deal next year.
Training camps are three weeks away, and while Tristan Thompson and a few other notable 2015 free agents remain unsigned, the 10 most prominent long ago came off the board. So, with the first our 2016 Free Agent Power Rankings already compiled, we’ll look back on how the heavies from the 2015 class fared.
- LeBron James — As expected, James re-signed with the Cavaliers on a two-year deal for the maximum salary, which works out to a total value of $46,974,673 for the 12-year veteran. It seems unlikely he’ll exercise the $24,004,173 player option for 2016/17 and will instead become a free agent next summer, if the pattern holds to form. It would be the most lucrative path for him, since the projected 2016/17 maximum for a player with his experience is $29.3MM.
- Kawhi Leonard — The only mystery in Leonard’s free agency surrounded the terms of his new deal, not whether he would end up back with the Spurs. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year made it a five-year max deal with a player option on the final season. That works out to a total of $94,343,129.
- LaMarcus Aldridge — The Spurs scored their second top-three free agent when they held off the Suns and a pack of other suitors to sign Aldridge to a four-year, maximum-salary contract with a player option after year three. He’ll make $84,072,030 if he lets the deal run to term.
- Marc Gasol — Big Spain was careful not to make his intentions too obvious, but Gasol didn’t meet with any team other than the Grizzlies, with whom he re-signed for five years at the max, with a fifth-year player option. The total value of the contract is $113,211,750, more than the five-year max that Leonard signed based on Gasol’s greater amount of service time.
- Kevin Love — Rumors of Love’s imminent departure from the Cavaliers persisted for months, despite Love’s insistence otherwise, and Love finally put an end to them when he re-signed with the Cavaliers for a five-year, maximum-salary deal with a player option on the final season. It’s identical in value to Gasol’s, at $113,211,750.
- Jimmy Butler — The Most Improved Player of the Year from this past season was reportedly set to consider short-term offer sheets, but when Chicago put a maximum qualifying offer of five years at the max on the table, he apparently put off meetings with other teams. The maximum qualifying offer, by definition, includes no option seasons, and Butler wound up taking slightly less than the max, presumably so he could secure a player option after year four. The total value of his five-year deal is $92,339,878, or about $2MM less than what the max would have been.
- Greg Monroe — Monroe said at one point this spring that the Pistons had the “upper hand” to re-sign him, but he looked far more likely to end up with the Knicks. Instead, it was the darkhorse Bucks who signed him to a three-year max deal with a player option after year two. That comes to a total of $51,437,514.
- DeAndre Jordan — No one’s free agency was a wilder ride than Jordan’s, as he committed to the Mavericks before changing his mind and re-signing on a four-year max deal with the Clippers. It carries a player option on that last year, just like his four-year max with the Mavs was to have, but he’ll make somewhat more with the Clippers, who are eligible to give him 7.5% raises instead of the 4.5% to which Dallas was limited. Thus, the full value of Jordan’s new Clippers contract is $87,616,050.
- Draymond Green — Like Leonard, this defensive stalwart on the upswing never appeared destined for anywhere but Golden State. Unlike Leonard, he wound up with less than the max. The Warriors gave Green a five-year deal worth precisely $82MM, more than $14MM less than the max over the life of the contract. The deal contains no option years.
- Goran Dragic — Dragic, too, long appeared bound to stay with his incumbent team and wound up taking less than the max to do so. The point guard re-signed with the Heat on a five-year deal worth $85,002,250. That’s more than $28.2MM less than the maximum that he was eligible for, but he did receive a player option after the fourth year.
Did the value of any of these deals take you by surprise? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.
The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.