NBA Free Agents 2011: The 5 Best Bargain Signings Available This Summer
In contrast with its predecessor, the 2011 free agent class figures to carry a much lower profile.
In an age in which marquee names and monster contracts have become the norm, the nature of this summer's free agent market should go a long way towards calming the hysteria that engulfed the basketball world in the summer of 2010.
While the 2011 free agent class lacks superstar talent, there are still a great deal of available players that can help contending teams get over the hump and take the next step towards their championship aspirations.
Whether it be players coming off of injury or underwhelming seasons, there are a handful of bargains to be had in this summer's free agent class.
Here are the five best bargain signings available this summer.
Due to lingering injuries and conditioning issues, Troy Murphy appeared in just 35 games during the 2010-2011 season.
He was dealt to New Jersey in the offseason, then shipped to Golden State, where he would be waived just four days later.
Murphy signed with the Boston Celtics, and remained in beantown for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, averaging just 10 minutes of playing time.
If Murphy can prove he's healthy, he could come at a relative bargain for his potential suitors.
He's still only 31 years of age, and is just one year removed from averaging 14.6 ppg and 10.2 rbg.
Kwame Brown hasn't averaged double figures in points (10.9) since the 2003-2004 season, the same season in which he averaged his career high in rebounds, 7.4.
At this point, it's safe to say the former first-overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft is a true bust in every sense of the word.
However, after starting just 45 games in each of the past four seasons combined, Brown found himself in the starting lineup in 50 of his 66 games played with the Charlotte Bobcats this past season.
His 7.9 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game were his highest averages since his 2006-2007 campaign.
Still not enough to persuade teams to hand him a lucrative deal, those numbers should at least garner Brown consideration from many teams on the basis of a small, incentive-laden contract.
He can still provide depth to any NBA frontcourt, which is an area of need for many NBA teams this summer.
Coming off of the worst statistical season of his career, T.J. Ford figures to be a candidate for a low-risk, high-reward type of contract.
He'll certainly attract teams given the experience he'd bring to a back up point guard role.
Ford averaged just 5.4 points per game and 3.4 assists per game in 2010-2011, which were career lows for the former Naismith College Player of the Year.
He's been given the "injury prone" label over the course of his career, which should be a red flag for many interested teams.
However, his potential upside may be too great to ignore.
Ford won't have the leverage to ask for a lucrative contract come this summer, making him a strong bargain option.
For a long time Michael Redd was one of the premier scorers and three-point shooters in the NBA, but injuries over the past three seasons have seen him come crashing back down to earth.
However, Redd returned at the end of this past season, and looked fairly healthy.
Redd certainly won't have the leverage in any contract negotiations to ask for a big time payday, making him an appealing option as a bargain.
If Redd can revert back to his former self in even the slightest way, signing him could turn out to be one of the smartest decisions of the summer.
Since being drafted No.1 overall in 2007, NBA fans have grown more accustomed to seeing Greg Oden in a suit than in a basketball uniform.
His injury problems are no secret; he simply cannot stay on the court for an extended period of time.
However, Oden is said to be on pace to return in time for training camp following his most recent knee surgery. He knows he needs to prove himself in 2011-2012, and he'll be forced to do so on the basis of a short-term, non-lucrative contract.
If Oden can miraculously stay healthy next season, signing him for a relative bargain will certainly be viewed as one of the best offseason acquisitions in recent memory.