Ranking the best free agent signings in NBA history

While the date to officially sign new contracts in the NBA is still a few days away, there has already been plenty of fireworks announced. DeMar DeRozan and Mike Conley have agreed to new deals to stay put, while players like Al Horford, Chandler Parsons and Rajon Rondo couldn’t pass up the big dollars offered them by new teams.

With all the excitement and player movement since the start of free-agency, one announcement stands alone. That came Monday when Kevin Durant shared his thoughts on the Player’s Tribune and declared that he intends on moving on from Oklahoma City to join the Golden State Warriors.

While the Durant to Golden State move will go down as one of the biggest free agent signing in league history, he isn’t the first star to make a huge splash in free agency.

Here is my list of the top free agent signings in NBA history

H.M. LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs

It’s only been one season since Aldridge signed his deal to join the Spurs and he has already made a huge impact. He made his fifth straight all-star games after averaging 18 points on a career-high 51.3 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 8.5 rebounds as San Antonio won a franchise-record 67 games.

H.M. Vlade Divac, Sacramento Kings

After having one of the most difficult seasons of his career with the Charlotte Hornets, Divac signed with the Sacramento Kings in the summer of ’98 and helped transform them into a perennial contender in the West. During his six seasons in Sacramento, The Kings made the playoffs every year, including a trip to the West Conference Finals in 2002. He also had plenty of personal success with the Kings, Averaging 11.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists while making his only all-star appearance.

H.M. Carlos Boozer, Utah Jazz

Following two solid seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boozer made his way to the Utah Jazz in the summer of 2006 where he was a double-double machine when healthy. During his six years in Utah, he made two all-star games, propelled they Jazz to the Western Conference finals 2006-07 in and was a Third-Team All-NBA honoree in ’07-08.

H.M. Jamaal Wilkes, Los Angeles Lakers

After three seasons in a Golden State uniform, Wilkes signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1977. During his time with the Lakers, he averaged more than 20 points per game three times, made two all-star games and was a huge pieces to a pair of championship teams.

10. Dikembe Mutombo, Atlanta Hawks

After three all-star appearances in five seasons with the Denver Nuggets, Mutombo took his shot blocking skills to the Atlanta Hawks in 1996. During his four and a half seasons with the Hawks, he made four all-star games, won defensive player of the year twice and was a Third-Team All-NBA selection in 1997-98.

9. Tom Chambers, Phoenix Suns

After five good years in Seattle, Chambers landed with the Phoenix Suns in 1988 and became their No. 1 scoring option. During his time with the Suns, he made three all-star game appearances, finished top 10 in the league in scoring twice and was a Second-Team All-NBA selection in back-to-back seasons.

8. Gus Williams, Seattle SuperSonics

After two decent years with the Golden State Warriors, Williams signed with the SuperSonics and became a scoring machine. He averaged 20.3 points a night during his six seasons in Seattle, made two all-star games and was the leading scorer on the 1978-79 championship team. He also earned All-NBA Second-Team honors in ’79-80 and First-Team All-NBA in ’81-82.

7. Chris Bosh, Miami Heat

After five straight all-star selections and three 20-point, 10-rebound seasons, Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami. Since joining the Heat in 2010, Bosh has put up 18 points and 7.3 rebounds in 384 games while making six all-star games and helping Miami to four straight finals and two championships.

6. Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards

After two seasons in Golden State, Arenas left the Warriors for the nation’s capital and became one of the elite scorers in the league. Along the way, finished in the top 10 in scoring three times, made three all-star games and was an All-NBA selection three straight years.

5. Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons

After bouncing around the NBA during his first five years in the league, Billups inked a deal with the Pistons in the summer of 2002 and became a star. He made three all-star games, was an All-NBA selection twice and led the Pistons to six straight conference finals. He also led the Pistons to back-to-back NBA finals, Including the 2003-04 championship where he was the finals MVP.

4. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns

Following six seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, Nash returned to the Phoenix Suns and became one of the premier lead-guards in the NBA for eight years. During that time, he was a six-time all-star, led the league in assists five times and earned All-NBA First-Team or Second-Team honors five times. He also secured back-to-back MVP awards and led the Suns to three conference finals.

3. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

His return to Cleveland after four straight finals appearances with the Miami Heat re-energized a team that had languished at or near the bottom of the league since his departure. Since coming back to the Cavaliers, he has brought two finals runs and the team’s first championship ever. He also added two all-star game appearances, two First-Team All-NBA selections and the 2015-16 NBA Finals MVP.

2. LeBron James, Miami Heat

James spent four very successful seasons with the Miami Heat after making the decision to leave his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010. His was All-NBA First-Team four times, made four all-star games and was the league MVP in back-to-back seasons. He also was a part of two championship teams where he was the finals MVP.

1. Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles Lakers

After four amazing seasons in Orlando, O’Neal headed west to the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 1996. In his eight years in Los Angles, he managed six First-Team All-NBA selections, seven trips to the all-star game and the league MVP award in 1999-2000. He also won three finals MVP awards while helping to bring the Lakers three straight NBA titles.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s