Kawhi Leonard – SF, Los Angeles Clippers:
Perhaps the hottest name on this list overall, Leonard lead the Toronto Raptors to an unlikely NBA Championship after playing only 17 games for the San Antonio Spurs in 2017-18. He was an absolute beast who scored 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. Then he averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 boards, and 3.9 assists in the playoffs.
To top it off, he was an unrestricted free agent set to cash in. That he did, leaving the Raptors for a three-year, $103,137,300 deal averaging $34,379,100 a year with the Los Angeles Clippers. The deal carries a large cap hit of $32,742,000 in 2019-20. It’s safe to say it was worth it no matter the cost, as Leonard will carry the Clippers into the future as one of the best players in the NBA.
Al Horford – C, Philadelphia 76ers:
After nine seasons in Atlanta to kick off his career, Horford played the last three in Boston. Last year, he averaged 14.1 points, 8.4 boards, and 3.2 assists per game.
That was enough for Philly to lock him up with a four-year, $109,000,000 deal averaging $27,250,000 a season. It has a cap hit of $28,000,000.
The 76ers are an up-and-coming force in the East, so adding the veteran Horford to their young core of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Ben Simmons was a savvy move if a costly one.
De’Angelo Russell – PG, Golden State Warriors:
The supposedly fading juggernaut Golden State Warriors lost one of the biggest names yet to come on this list, so they re-upped by adding the young, dangerous Russell to their team in free agency. The previous Brooklyn Net and Los Angeles Laker signed a four-year $117,325,500 deal averaging $29,331,375 a year as a restricted free agent. It has a cap hit of $27,285,000 this year.
The 23-year-old Russell averaged 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists this year. Golden State made a big and much-needed move by adding this future star to their roster in the 2019 free agency frenzy.
Kyrie Irving – PG, Brooklyn Nets:
An infamous superstar who helped Lebron James shock the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, Irving has nonetheless gained the reputation of being unhappy wherever he goes.
It’s more about his skills on the floor, however, so Brooklyn doesn’t seem to care, however, lavishing a four-year, $136,490,600 deal on the former champion. The contract averages $34,122,650 a year and has a 2019-20 cap hit of $31,742,000. He’ll join Kevin Durant in forming one of the many so-called ‘super teams’ that were assembled in the 2019 offseason.
Kemba Walker – PG, Boston Celtics:
Walker spent his first eight seasons in Charlotte. He was a consistent force there, averaging more than 20 points a game for four straight seasons. Last year was his finest when he racked up 25.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game.
Boston scooped him up to replace Kyrie Irving, handing him a four-year, $140,790,600 contract worth $35,197,650 a year. It has a large cap hit of $32,742,000 in 2019-20.
The Eastern Conference is shaping up to be a tough one this year, so Walker has his work cut out for him in leading the Celts to a top spot there. He got paid huge and should be up to the challenge.
Jimmy Butler – SG, Miami Heat:
Butler averaged more than 20 points a game himself for the Bulls and Timberwolves from 2014-2019. He was then traded to Philly in early 2019. He averaged a little less at 18.2 points for the 76ers, but still got paid big to go to South Beach.
The Miami Heat offered him a four-year, $140,790,600 deal as an unrestricted free agent and he took it. It averages $35,197,650 a season with a cap hit of $32,742,000. While his old team the 76ers has several high-profile players, he’ll have a chance to be the man in Miami.
Kristaps Porzingis – PF, Dallas Mavericks:
Porzingis didn’t play at all during the 2018-19 season after tearing his ACL. But after the Mavs traded the New York Knicks for him, it was time to extend his contract and lock him up.
They lavished the seven-footer a five-year, $158,253,000 deal that averages $31,650,600 a season with a cap hit of $27,285,000. They’ve spent a lot in free agency this year, and Porzingis was their prize deal as he heads into his tenure as the main centerpiece of their team.
Kevin Durant – SF, Brooklyn Nets:
Now we’re getting up into the true big guns of the 2019 NBA free agency frenzy. Durant infamously tore his Achilles tendon while playing for the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals. His team lost, adding insult to injury, but Durant also won two rings with the Warriors in 2017 and 2018.
He could miss the next season, but he still agreed to join Kyrie Irving with the Brooklyn Nets. They offered him a five-year, $164,255,700 deal averaging a staggering $41,063,925 a year. It carries a monster cap hit of $38,199,000. Durant averaged 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game last year. His injury is a devastating one, but Brooklyn still got one of the league’s best with this massive contract.
Ben Simmons – SF, Philadelphia 76ers:
The latest in Philly’s insane 2019 spending spree, Simmons just inked a new deal for five years and $170 million. It averages 34,000,000 a season. Simmons’ numbers aren’t eye-popping, but he did average 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game in his second year with the team.
He’ll remain with Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and the newly acquired Al Horford as Philadelphia looks to make a big push towards the Eastern Conference Championship.
Khris Middleton – SF, Milwaukee Bucks:
After playing one year in Detroit, Middleton has played the last six with the Bucks. He had one of his finest seasons last year, averaging 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.3 assists a game in 2018-19. The Bucks obviously made the Eastern Conference Finals as well, so they chose to pay Middleton in order to keep their core intact.
He got paid in the form of a five-year, $178,000,000 deal averaging $35,600,000 a year. It carries a cap hit of $30,689,655 this year. He’ll join Giannis Antetokounmpo as the Bucks look to make another push to the NBA Finals.
Tobias Harris – SF, Philadelphia 76ers:
Harris has played for five teams since 2011, and he was traded to Philadelphia from the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2018-19 season. He averaged 18.2 points per game for the 76ers after averaging 20.9 points per game for the Clippers.
Philadelphia obviously saw him as an integral piece as the highest-priced prize of their free agent spending spree. The 76ers locked him up to a five-year, 180,000,000 contract averaging $36,000,000 a year with a $31,034,483 cap hit. Philly is gambling big that this core of Joel Embiid, Harris, Ben Simmons, and Al Horford gets them to the Finals. It had better at this price tag.
Klay Thompson – SG, Golden State Warriors:
Finally, we arrive at the biggest contract of the absolutely insane 2019 NBA free agency season. Thompson needs no introduction as a member of Golden State’s infamous ‘Splash Brothers’ with Steph Curry. He averaged 21.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists last year as the Warriors made the NBA Finals again.
Things got complicated when Thompson tore his ACL against Toronto in a losing effort by Golden State. Still, there was really no other option for the team than to re-sign him to a max five-year, $189,903,600 deal averaging $37,980,720 a season with a cap hit of $32,742,000.
Thompson has quite a ways to go towards his recovery. But overall, he’s still one of the best pure shooters in the league today. If Golden State wanted to keep their core intact, they needed to make this huge deal, and they did. Thus, Thompson signed the biggest deal of the NBA’s craziest free agency period of all-time.