NBA Free Agency 2012: Under-the-Radar Signings That Will Pay Dividends

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJuly 18, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 26:  Jerryd Bayless #5 of the Toronto Raptors handles the ball against Ramon Sessions #3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the season opener at Quicken Loans Arena on December 26, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

The headlines of NBA free agency belong to the big stars, but the guys, whose deals can be found in the fine print, can go on to fill big and vital roles for their new teams. 

These under-the-radar signings are far from sure things, but then again, not even the headline grabbing signings are sure things. 

Here are three signings that are great fits, and will go on to pay huge dividends for their new teams. 


D.J. Augustin, PG, Pacers

Augustin, 24, has spent his four NBA seasons in obscurity with the Bobcats, but he is solid young point guard.

This was an important signing for the Pacers as they shipped out last year's backup point guard Darren Collison.

Augustin will bring similar production to the Pacers as Collison. Last season Augustin averaged averaged 11.1 points, 6.4 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game.

This allowed the Pacers to maintain solid depth at the point guard position and upgrade their depth on the interior as the trade of last year's backup point guard netted them center Ian Mahinmi. 


Jerryd Bayless, PG, Grizzlies 

Bayless will be entering his fifth season in the league, but he is still just 23, and he is starting to figure out how to play in this league. 

He has been refining his point guard skills, and he is capable of playing either guard spot. He will be a quality backup to Mike Conley, and will also be able to give some minutes at shooting guard. 

Last season, with the Raptors, Bayless averaged a career-high 11.4 points per game while shooting 42.7 percent from the field.

What is really going to be a welcomed sight for the Grizzlies is Bayless' shooting from beyond the arc. He hit 42.4 percent of his threes last season, which will be a big boost to a team that hit just 28.9 percent of their threes a season ago.

This will help the Grizzlies space the floor and free up some room for their big men underneath the hoop.  


Jamal Crawford, G, Clippers 

Crawford, 32, signed, according to the Associated Press, "a four-year deal worth $21.7 million." He is starting to show declines that come with aging, but he is still an effective weapon off the bench. Last season, with the Trail Blazers, he averaged 14.0 points and 3.2 assists in 26.9 minutes per game.

Crawford is capable of playing either guard spot. He is a terrific ball handler and has a nice mid-range game. He knows how to create his own shot, and this will be a nice dimension off the bench for the Clippers.

He is not the most efficient scorer, as he hit just 38.4 percent of his field goals last season. However, he is an excellent free-throw shooter (92.7 percent last season) and he does a good job of getting to the line. This will be welcomed in Lob City where free throws did not go down as easy as alley-oops last season.