Community Shootaround: 2022’s Best, Worst Big-Money FA Deals

When we identified the top 50 highest-paid NBA players of 2022/23 on Thursday, four names on that list were free agents who signed new contracts this offseason. Those players, who received the four most lucrative free agent deals of 2022, are as follows:

  • Bradley Beal, Wizards: Five years, $251,019,650. Fifth-year player option. 15% trade kicker. No-trade clause.
  • Zach LaVine, Bulls: Five years, $215,159,700. Fifth-year player option. 15% trade kicker.
  • Deandre Ayton, Suns: Four years, $132,929,128.
  • Jalen Brunson, Knicks: Four years, $104,000,000. Fourth-year player option. 10% trade kicker.

As our tracker shows, five other 2022 free agents received multiyear contracts that will pay them at least $15MM per year. Here are those players, along with the details of their new deals:

  • Anfernee Simons, Trail Blazers: Four years, $100,000,000.
  • Luguentz Dort, Thunder: Five years, $82,500,000. Fifth-year team option. Includes $5MM in unlikely incentives.
  • Jusuf Nurkic, Trail Blazers: Four years, $70,000,000.
  • James Harden, Sixers: Two years, $68,640,000. Second-year player option. 15% trade kicker.
  • Mitchell Robinson, Knicks: Four years, $60,000,000.

These nine contracts are what we’re considering the “big-money” deals of 2022 free agency. That term is subjective, but no other free agent received a contract worth more than $50MM in total, or with an annual average value of $15MM+, so these deals are in a class of their own.

With that in mind, we want to know which of this summer’s biggest free agent contracts you view as the best and worst values from a team perspective.

The Wizards have received some criticism not just for signing Beal to a contract exceeding $50MM per year but for handing him a series of perks that will give him significant leverage if the team wants to trade him down the road. But are there other contracts in the groups above that you’d consider even less team-friendly than Beal’s?

Harden, meanwhile, has been lauded for taking a pay cut that created the spending power necessary for the Sixers to sign P.J. Tucker and Danuel House, though his average salary ($34.32MM) is still the third-highest of any of this summer’s free agent deals. Does the short-term nature of that contract and his potential ceiling make it the most team-friendly contract of these nine, or is there another one you like more?

Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your two cents on this year’s best and worst big-money free agent signings!

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