This NBA offseason was one of the craziest in the league’s history. From massive signings to blockbuster trades, a good portion of the top stars have changed teams in the past month.
There were some moves, however, that fell through the cracks. Some people noticed them, but the general consensus may be underestimating their impact.
Let’s look at four free agency signings that will change their teams (and the NBA as a whole) this season.
Top NBA Under-the-Radar Moves
J.J. Redick signs two-year, $26.5 million deal with New Orleans Pelicans
Is Redick worth $13 million at 35 years old? It’s debatable. He is one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA and is an expert moving without the ball, but he is also undersized on defense and doesn’t have the skill set to operate well with the ball very much on offense.
However, he is a perfect fit for the Pelicans squad that is on its way to contention in the next couple of years. New Orleans has youth and athleticism in spades, but it needed shooting after trading for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart and drafting Zion Williamson and Jaxson Hayes. Redick may only average 12 to 14 points per game with this squad, but his presence on offense will space the floor. His leadership should also shine through on a team mostly lacking in experience.
JaMychal Green signs two-year, $9.8 million deal with Los Angeles Clippers
This was a heck of a deal for the Clippers, who needed depth around superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and super subs Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. Re-signing Green was a must, and the team did it at a very cheap price.
Green is an all-around solid forward who can reliably defend the 3, 4 and 5 positions and rebound with toughness. He shot more than 40 percent from three-point range last season on more than one made three-pointer per game. While he isn’t going to take over games, he won’t lose them with mistakes, and he fits nicely in a variety of lineups.
Green is exactly the type of player who is needed on title-contending teams like the Clippers: a guy who can provide constant effort and consistency around the stars.
Maxi Kleber signs four-year, $35.9 million deal with Dallas Mavericks
Those who don’t follow the NBA closely probably don’t know Kleber. He has played a bench role for a Mavericks team that hasn’t done anything of note the past two seasons, and his game isn’t flashy.
Kleber’s role is going to expand in the next few years. He is one of those rare NBA big men who can both protect the rim (1.9 blocks per 36 minutes) and shoot three-pointers (1.8 made threes per 36 minutes on 35.3 percent shooting).
Because star teammate Kristaps Porzingis also has those same skills at a height of 7’3” and considerably better, Kleber probably won’t start. Don’t be surprised, however, if the 6’11” German plays close to starter’s minutes off the bench.
His deal may not be a full-on steal at around $9 million per year, but the 27-year-old big man is under contract for four seasons, seasons that are likely going to be his prime years. This is a very team-friendly deal for Dallas.
Kevon Looney signs three-year, $15 million deal with Golden State Warriors
I can tell you this right now: Looney is going to exercise his player option to opt out of the third year of this deal in 2021. He will prove himself worth considerably more than the $5 million per year he signed for this summer.
The Warriors won’t be the stacked powerhouse that they have been for the past five seasons, but their move to get back the 23-year-old UCLA product will help keep them firmly in the playoff hunt. Looney is extremely efficient as a scorer without demanding touches, and he is a borderline elite defender. He is a great complement to the outside scoring exploits of Stephen Curry and D’Angelo Russell, as well as Klay Thompson when he returns from his ACL tear.
Looney is only 23 and has quickly improved throughout his career. Who’s to say he won’t take another step or two forward in the next couple of seasons?