Teams have already dished out hundreds of millions of dollars in NBA free agency, but there are still cost-efficient signings yet to come.
With the current CBA's shortened contracts and punitive luxury tax, the league has seen the worth of financial flexibility and has, for the most part, sought to keep cleaner cap sheets. That's how a Cleveland Cavaliers franchise built around Kyrie Irving can suddenly pivot and clear enough space to bring home LeBron James.
At any price, James is the most valuable signing of the summer, but his situation is also instructive of how today's furious spending works.
The Cavs landed him, but about half the league could have conceivably worked into the cap room to do so. Some of that money is already tied up in contracted players, but the rest has to go somewhere.
How much goes to whom and what production it brings back define a winning or losing free agency. Best to avoid giving Marvin Williams $7 million a year, per Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports, and to snag Paul Pierce for the mid-level exception without thinking twice, per ESPN.com's Marc Stein. The less spent on one effective piece, the more left to surround him with more talent.