In 2014, the NBA agreed to contracts with both Turner Broadcasting System Inc. and Walt Disney Co. with terms that amount to a 9 year TV broadcasting deal that is expected to earn the league $2.6 BILLION per year. Well, that deal is set to kick in next season and the King Midas level cash that’s flowing into the league has teams in a tizzy as they attempt to gauge and rejigger the perceived value and market value of NBA free agents. Naturally, you can expect some under the radar players are going to get P.A.I.D. this off season just because the cap is reported to spike to $92 MILLION and every team is going to have money to blowwwwwww.
Let’s take a look at some of the players that could unexpectedly see their wallets get a lot bigger this summer:
Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat
The Money: $981,348 [Unrestricted FA]
The Numbers: 14.2PPG, 11.8 RBS/G, 3.7 BLKS/G, .606 eFG%
The Projection: $21 million (Bottom Tier Max)
Hassan is a Death Star in the paint. Hopeful drivers find nothing but a sarlacc pit of limbs when they attempt to take the ball to the rack. He rebounds like a black hole, sucking up any object he finds in the air. Hassan Whiteside is going to get PAID this summer. Put chemistry issues aside (he’s a ticking time bomb personality wise). Although some pundits question his true value for the Heat since his on/off curt splits are questionable, this dude still managed to put up a 25.7 PER. Players that efficient deserve a max contract.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warrions
The Money: $5,194,227 (Base) $9,683,495 (Cap hit) [Restricted FA]
The Numbers: 11.7 PPG, 38.3 3P%, .466 FG%, 5.RBS/G, 12.3 PER
The Projection: $21 million(Bottom Tier Max) – $17 million
Barnes is the prototypical “high upside, limited role” guy coming into the 2016 off-season. He has definitely flashed abilities as a ball handling PnR dynamo in short spans for the Warriors, with the ability to hit spot up threes and create shots off the bounce while playing small-ball power forward. The problem is that his sample size is extraordinarily small, and he comes with inconsistency risk as his efficiency numbers show. But, with teams that have money to blow, there is a good chance an organization will throw near max money at Barnes that will scare the Dubs away from matching. Not many players have size and quickness to match him…
Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans
The Money: $8,500,000 [Unrestricted FA]
The Numbers: 17 pts, .366 3P%, 2.0 3P/G, 6 RBS/G
The Projection: $25.3 million (Middle Tier Max) – $18 million
You know exactly what you’re getting with Anderson. He’s a sharpshooter who saw his numbers decline last year on a hectic Pellies roster. In a league that is becoming increasingly smaller, Anderson offers an intriguing option at power forward, albeit not without its quirks. He will bomb treys from the arc and will thus suck a big man out of the paint, but he’s an absolute siv defensively. Still, a team will convince themselves that their offensive output with Anderson on the floor will outweigh the defensive liability and offer him near max money, especially when you can run action like this…
Marvin Williams, Charlotte Hornets
The Money: $7,000,000 [Unrestricted FA]
The Numbers: 11.7 PPG, .402 3P%, .45 FG%, 6.4 RBS/G, 16.8 PER
The Projection: $18 million – $14 million
First off, it’s semi unbelievable that Marvin is in the league still. He must be an undercover “can’t go back guy.” But I digress… Marvin put together arguably the finest season of his career while posting his highest PER ever. He was very effective for the progressive thinking Steve Clifford lead Hornets from the 4 spot where he was able to take advantage of mismatches to his agility in the lane and finally develop a consistent three point stroke. That new found touch will earn him alotta quan this off-season, and if he can continue his wetness from three he will be a very important rotation guy for the team that nabs him.
Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks
The Money: 2,000,000 [Unrestricted FA]
The Numbers: 11.6 PPG, .36 3P%, 5.1 RBS/G, 1.3 STLS/G
The Projection: $14 million – $10 million
Bazemore is another one of those guys who could be oozing with potential as a turbo charged 3 and D guy. He showed the ability to hit open threes in Atlanta this season and established himself as a quality defender. He certainly has a frame that projects him into a shutdown wing defender with a massive wingspan and quick twitch movements (he had a defensive rating of 4.7!). But, was this season the new norm or an anomaly for Bazemore? His free agent candidacy will benefit from the copious amounts of cash laying around for teams that will be eager to find out.
Festus Ezeli, Golden State Warriors
The Money: $3,013,122 (Base Salary) $5,021,870 (Cap Hit) [Restricted FA]
The Numbers: 7 PPG, 5.6 RBS/G, 1.1 BLKS/G, 16.7 MP
The Projection: $12 million – $8 million
Festus is “raw” in every sense of the word. Although he has 7 years of college/pro experience, “Festus for the rest of us” is really still a large man with a lot of long flailing limbs. That’s not a bad thing, especially when he appears to have merely scratched the surface of his potential. He progressed light years this past season developing some commendable hands and touch around the rim. He set solid screens, rebounds well and protects the rim at a solid to decent rate. The progress that he’s shown recently in a finely tuned Dubs winning machine will entice a team to pay him at a rate that will be too rich for the blood of Joe Lacob.
Derrick Williams, New York Knicks
The Money: $4,598,000 [Player Option]
The Numbers: 9.3 PPG, .45 FG%. 3.7 RBS/G, 17.2 PER
The Projection: $12 million – $7 million
Would you have believed me if I told you a year ago D-Will would have a PER above the league average? For sure not. But here we are… The Masta Blasta really did put together a surprisingly effective season in a limited rotational role averaging 17.9 minutes per game. By refining his game somewhat, he was able to utilize his elite athleticism for fortuitous cuts and highlight reel slams. He was in the top 5 in the NBA in coast to coast drives. Knicks fans clamored for increased playing time for him all year, and he may have done just enough to coax another team into offering him a ludicrous contract with thoughts of harnessing his athleticism.
Bismack Biyombo, Toronto Raptors
The Money: $2,940,630 [Unrestricted FA]
The Numbers: 5.5 PPG, 8 RBS/G, 1.6 BLKS/G, 22 MP
The Projection: $14 million – $10 million
When “The Bismack” was drafted everyone knew that his skill set was completely raw. But the potential was tantalizing. In 2016, he may have finally be able to put some of it together for the Raptors, especially down the stretch. Bismack gobbles up rebounds and he towers over drivers in the paint. His wingspan allows him to block shots effectively without even jumping. His per 36 minute numbers are pretty startling, averaging 9 points and 13 rebounds. With progress like that, a team is going to reward him with the thought of him developing in a Tyson Chandler type threat.