By Justin Danziger
It was a busy offseason this past summer. Stars were signed. Stars were traded. Big bucks were dealt. But the best part about this offseason was the under-the-radar trades and signings — the deals that not only turned out to be bargains, but the ones that changed the whole landscape of that team.
Pau Gasol, Previously Los Angeles Lakers- Currently Chicago Bulls
Pau Gasol is a big name, future hall of fame player and his signing should have been considered a “blockbuster.” But Pau signed for only a little over $7 million per season. Seven million dollars is by no means a miniscule fee, but it is for a player that is averaging 18.7 points per game and 11.4 rebounds. Gasol is adding a much-needed scoring option in the Bulls’ frontcourt. The scoring no longer has to come from the guards. Gasol puts up a double-double nearly every game and is the most consistent scorer on the star-filled roster. On January 10th, he scored 46 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in a win against the Bucks. Considering Gasol is making almost $2 million less than Jordan Hill this season goes to show how much of a bargain this deal was.
Lou Williams, Previously Atlanta Hawks- Currently Toronto Raptors
The Atlanta Hawks may be having an incredible and unexpected 2015 season, but they did not assess one of their players correctly. They traded Lou Williams, a guard who tore his ACL two years ago, for John Salmons and a 2nd round pick. Now Williams is averaging 15 points in 24 minutes a night. He leads the Raptors bench and is a key cog in Toronto’s rotation. He is even being considered for 6th Man of the Year and is arguably the current front-runner.
Dirk Nowitzki, Resigned with Mavericks
Again, another big name, big money player who truly shouldn’t be on this list. But no one could have predicted the contract Dirk signed. He was offered max-level contracts by the Lakers and and Rockets, but he took an $8.3 million deal to stay home in Dallas. This season has been just another year of building his Hall of Fame resume. He climbed up the All Time Scoring Rankings and now stands at seven. He is also another guy who will be making less money than Jordan Hill this season.
Kyle Lowry, Resigned with Raptors
Kyle Lowry is a top five point guard…no question. A no brainer All Star. A no brainer All NBA candidate. So why is he making $12 million a year? Players of Lowry’s caliber should be making the max amount of money. Lowry signed a deal worth $48 million over a four year span — something long term and not too heavy on the cap. Lowry is a player worth way more than his salary. He has turned around the organization and is propelling them to the top of the East without DeMar DeRozan, who has played less than half of the games this season.