5. Chandler Parsons, Dallas Mavericks, three years $46 millionDid the Mavs overpay for Chandler Parsons? Yes. However they only slightly overpayed and with Dirk Nowitzki taking a pay cut this does pay off as a big signing. Parsons should thrive alongside Dirk and Monta Ellis, filling a role similar to the one he played so well in, while calling Houston home. "I feel like I haven't even scratched the surface as to how good I can be," Parsons told Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I'm an extremely hard worker, and I'm going to keep getting better and better every single day." It will be interesting to see how the Mavericks stack up with the rest of the Western Conference powerhouses. They were a fringe playoff contender last year and now with the additions of Chandler Parson and Tyson Chandler it may be just what they need to get back in the conversation as a contender in the Western Conference.
And on a side note watch for Parsons and Nowitzki to execute the pick and roll as well as any other duo in the NBA this upcoming year.
4. Lance Stephenson, Charlotte Hornets, three years $27 millionStephenson, who led the league in triple-doubles last year, is exactly the kind of two-way threat they Hornets can use. At $9 million a year the Hornets are getting great value. There will always be questions about "Born Ready" until he matures and proves he's not going to disrupt one of the NBA's most stable locker rooms. However, there's no denying the two-way talent he flashed over and over while with the Pacers. With the Hornets signing of Al Jefferson last season and the two draft picks PJ Hairston and Noah Vonleh, the signing of Lance Stephenson solidifies them as a true playoff contender, potentially positioning them to make a deeper run this year.
3. Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors, four years $48 MillionLanding one of the Association's top 10 point guards for just $12 million, may just be the best value signing all offseason. Lowry was instrumental in the Raptors' most successful season in over a decade. His presence gave the team the necessary tools to compete with experienced, star-studded squads, and he led the team in both assists and steals per game. Not only did Lowry look great during the regular season, but he was stellar during Toronto's playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets. By resigning Kyle Lowry the Toronto Raptors have done exactly what they needed in order to contend for the playoffs again.
2. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks, five years $124 MillionIf the Knicks wanted to avoid a multi-year rebuild resigning Anthony was their only option. After resigning Anthony, Phil Jackson told the media, "He did exactly what we kind of asked him to do, Give us a break in the early part of his contract so that when we have some wiggle room next year, which is hopefully big enough wiggle room, we can exploit it." With Stoudemire and Bargnani’s salaries both coming off the books next summer, New York will have more than enough to sign a second player to a max contract. They could have as much as $23 million or so in cap room next summer making them a canidate to sign one of the top stars that headlines next years free agent class such as Marc Gasol, Goran Dragic, Rajon Rondo, Wesley Matthews and, of course, Kevin Love. Anthony's time in New York has been quite unimpressive never making it past the second round of the playoffs. Stay tuned to see if Jackson can finally surround Anthony with some talent and end the championship drought the Knicks are in.
1. Lebron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, two years 42.2 MillionThis one goes without saying. Any time a team picks up the best basketball player in the world it will hands down be the best signing. Now consider the fact that it is Cleveland who loves their basketball so much. They have gone from a locker room disaster full of potential to a team ready to make a deep playoff run. Eventually. For now, it's fine to paint James' return as the fairy tale it is. It's hard to remember when an athlete last did something this monumental that was met with such universal approval. When the appeal of that hero-comes-home narrative fades and sports fans dial their focus back in on wins and losses once the season begins, the Cavs may endure a tough period in which their capabilities don't quite measure up to expectations. But if everyone's patient, there's a good chance James will eventually mold this team into the contender it couldn't be the first time around.
And that kind of redemption—the kind that brings a title back to Cleveland—will be sweeter than anything we've seen so far.