Every NBA Team's Best Free-Agent Class of the Past Decade
The 2019-20 NBA season is done, which means it's time for the most exciting part of the league calendar for many fans.
With the Nov. 18 draft and free agency taking center stage, teams can turn their attention to roster improvements.
We've seen some legendary free-agent classes over the past 10 years (2010-2019), including the formation of the Miami Heat's Big Three, LeBron James' star-led class of 2014 and Kevin Durant's headlining the 2016 group that took advantage of a massive salary-cap spike.
When deciding every team's best free-agent haul over the last decade, we considered a few parameters. Only signing unrestricted free agents, restricted free agents or being on the receiving end of an agreed upon sign-and-trade count. Players who inked rookie or veteran extensions were not included, since no other teams had the chance to sign the player at the time.
While some franchises have had far better luck than others with recruiting and signing players, these are the best free-agent classes for every NBA team since 2010.
Atlanta Hawks: 2013
- PF Paul Millsap (two years, $19 million)
- SG Kyle Korver (four years, $24 million)
- PG Jeff Teague (four years, $32 million)
- SF DeMarre Carroll (two years, $5 million)
- PF Elton Brand (one year, $4 million)
The Atlanta Hawks began building the core of their 60-win 2014-15 team the season before, headlined by luring Millsap from the Utah Jazz.
Millsap would go on to make the All-Star team all four years in Atlanta, and his original contract there was one of the decade's best values.
Korver and Teague would both make an All-Star appearance under these pacts, with the former leading the NBA in three-point shooting in both 2013-14 (47.2 percent) and 2014-15 (49.2 percent).
Carroll ended up being a terrific signing, becoming a talented perimeter defender and reliable offensive threat as the team's starting small forward.
Boston Celtics: 2019
- PG Kemba Walker (four years, $140.1 million)
- C Daniel Theis (two years, $10 million)
- C Enes Kanter (two years, $9.7 million)
- G Brad Wanamaker (one year, $1.4 million)
The Boston Celtics' decade featured some big individual signings (Al Horford, Gordon Hayward), but no class was as complete as last summer's.
After Kyrie Irving left as a free agent, getting Walker from the Charlotte Hornets helped save the season and gave Boston an All-Star at point guard.
While signing Kanter made more headlines, it was Theis who became the team's starting center, one who blended well Boston's talented wings and guards.
Wannamaker was one of the few veterans on the team, playing in all but one game and leading the NBA in free-throw shooting (92.6 percent) this past season.
Brooklyn Nets: 2019
- SF Kevin Durant (four years, $164.3 million)
- PG Kyrie Irving (four years, $136.5 million)
- C DeAndre Jordan (four years, $40 million)
Two of last year's biggest free agents, Durant and Irving could go down as one of the best classes in league history.
While Irving's season lasted just 20 games before he underwent shoulder surgery, he was averaging a career-high 27.4 points to go with 5.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
The Brooklyn Nets knew Durant would be out for the year while he recovered from an Achilles injury, but getting him for three healthy years at $164 million will be worth it if he even closely resembles his pre-injury self.
Both players took slightly less than the max to bring Jordan in, and the 32-year-old is still a solid rotation player even if Jarrett Allen should win the starting job.
With a healthy Irving and Durant for 2020-21, the Nets' $300 million investment should start paying dividends.
Charlotte Hornets: 2013
- PF Al Jefferson (three years, $41 million)
- SG Gerald Henderson (three years, $18 million)
It hasn't been a glamorous decade for the Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats, where big free-agent signings are hard to find.
The team came close to landing Hayward in 2014, getting the former Utah Jazz forward to sign a four-year, $63 million offer sheet before the Jazz matched. Losing franchise icon Walker to the Celtics in 2019 stings as well.
Jefferson was arguably the club's best signing of the year, as he would make the All-NBA third team in 2013-14 after averaging 21.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 blocks per game.
Henderson averaged 13.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest as the Hornets' starting shooting guard after signing his 2013 pact, and he was later traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in a deal for Nicolas Batum.
Chicago Bulls: 2014
- PF Pau Gasol (three years, $22.3 million)
- PF Nikola Mirotic (three years, $16.6 million)
- PG Kirk Hinrich (two years, $5.6 million)
Gasol was one of the most underrated signings of the past decade, not joining the Chicago Bulls until his mid-30s when he had failed to make the previous three All-Star teams.
His two years with Chicago brought averages of 17.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.0 blocks per game, as Gasol would be named an All-Star for the last two times in his career.
Mirotic finally joined the team from Real Madrid, becoming a floor-spacing power forward who served as one of the NBA's better reserve big men. He gave Chicago 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest, knocking down 35.0 percent of his threes while making $5.7 million or less per year.
Cleveland Cavaliers: 2014
- SF LeBron James (two years, $42.2 million)
- SG Mike Miller (two years, $5.6 million)
- G/F James Jones (one year, $1.5 million)
- F Shawn Marion (one year, $1.5 million)
Honestly, the Cleveland Cavaliers could have signed Shawn Kemp out of retirement, given a contract to TV broadcaster Austin Carr and let chairman Dan Gilbert run some point guard and this still would've been their best free-agent class as long as it included James.
Coming back to the Cavs at age 29 meant four more years of his prime in Cleveland, four trips to the Finals and a 2016 championship to cap it off.
Miller lasted just one season with the Cavaliers and wasn't very productive, but his experience spilled over to a pretty young Cavs team, many of whom were yet to make the playoffs. Marion started 24 games and could still defend multiple positions, and Jones would end up playing his final three seasons in Cleveland, shooting 39.1 percent from three before joining the Phoenix Suns front office.
Dallas Mavericks: 2019
- PF Kristaps Porzingis (five years, $158.3 million)
- SG Seth Curry (four years, $32 million)
- F Dorian Finney-Smith (three years, $12 million)
- F/C Maxi Kleber (four years, $35.9 million)
- C Boban Marjanovic (two years, $7 million)
While the Dallas Mavericks' best free-agent signing of the decade was Dirk Nowitzki's four-year, $80 million deal in 2010, the best class came last summer.
Starting with Porzingis, a restricted free agent, the Mavs made sure they locked up Luka Doncic's running mate after trading for him just months before.
After that, getting the right veteran pieces to put around the two stars resulted in the No. 1-ranked offense in the NBA in 2019-20. Curry averaged 12.4 points per game and shot a scorching 45.2 percent from three while making just $7.4 million. Finney-Smith has become a terrific three-and-D wing, and Kleber was one of just 13 players to average at least one made three-pointer and one block per game.
Marjanovic put up 24.7 points and 16.8 rebounds per 36 minutes, giving the Mavs some depth at center.
Denver Nuggets: 2017
- PF Paul Millsap (three years, $90 million)
- C Mason Plumlee (three years, $41 million)
- SF Richard Jefferson (one year, $2.3 million)
It's no coincidence the Denver Nuggets jumped to 46 wins and looked like serious playoff contenders starting in 2017-18, their first season with Millsap at power forward.
The four-time All-Star signed at the perfect time, helping lead a young Denver team back to a winning record and later consecutive playoff appearances, the last of which ended in the Western Conference Finals in September.
Plumlee has been a high-efficiency big off the Nuggets bench, and Jefferson brought championship experience to Denver in what would be his final season.
All helped lay the foundation for what's become one of the NBA's best teams.
Detroit Pistons: 2013
- PG Brandon Jennings (three years, $24 million)
- F Josh Smith (four years, $56 million)
- PG Chauncey Billups (one year, $2.5 million)
The Detroit Pistons didn't attract many big-name free agents over the past decade, so getting a player of Smith's caliber was an accomplishment, even if things didn't work out.
Smith averaged 15.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.5 blocks in 105 games as a Piston before being waived, a product of a terrible fit alongside Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
Jennings played well as the Pistons' point guard after agreeing to a sign-and-trade from the Milwaukee Bucks, putting up 14.1 points, 6.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game over three seasons.
Billups played just 19 contests in what would be his final campaign, but just having the former Finals MVP back in Detroit one last time was worth the signing.
Golden State Warriors: 2016
- SF Kevin Durant (two years, $54.3 million)
- PF David West (one year, $1.5 million)
- C Zaza Pachulia (one year, $2.9 million)
Taking advantage of a one-time cap spike of $24 million, the Golden State Warriors signed Durant even with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green already on the roster.
They were even able to get Durant for less than the max, helping make room for some other veterans. Durant would lead the Warriors to three straight Finals trips and two titles, winning Finals MVP both times.
West would play his last two seasons with the Warriors, and Pachulia served as Golden State's starting center for all 85 of his regular- and postseason games in 2016-17.
Houston Rockets: 2013
- C Dwight Howard (four years, ($87.5 million)
- PG Patrick Beverley (three years, $2.0 million)
- F Omri Casspi (two years, $2.0 million)
Howard was a landmark acquisition in 2013, as he chose to leave the Los Angeles Lakers after just one season to join Harden with the Rockets. While the pairing never resulted in a title, Howard did average 16.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game while making the 2014 All-Star team.
Beverley signed in early 2013 out of Spartak St. Petersburg in Russia and became the Rockets' starter at point guard, beginning in the 2013-14 season. He averaged 8.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.1 steals per game over the length of the deal, one that paid him just $2 million over two-and-a-half seasons.
Indiana Pacers: 2012
- PG George Hill (five years, $40 million)
- C Roy Hibbert (four years, $58.4 million)
- PG D.J. Augustin (one year, $3.5 million)
While Paul George drove the Pacers in the early 2010s, Hill and Hibbert were instrumental to Indiana's success.
Hill was a bargain at $8 million per year as a do-it-all point guard who could defend, pass and hit threes. Hibbert dominated defensively as the NBA was slowly shifting to small ball, making the All-Star team in 2012 and 2014. He averaged 11.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game under his four-year deal.
The Pacers would reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 2013 and 2014, thanks in large part to Hill and Hibbert's return on their new deals.
Los Angeles Clippers: 2019
- SF Kawhi Leonard (three years, $103.1 million)
- PG Patrick Beverley (three years, $40 million)
- C Ivica Zubac (four years, $28 million)
Leonard is the biggest free-agent signing in Los Angeles Clippers history, with Beverley and Zubac serving as perfect role players next to him.
Even if it took a trade for George to convince Leonard to sign, the Clippers' acquisition of a free agent whom the Los Angeles Lakers were also pursuing is a win in itself.
Leonard put up 27.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game last season and is still one of the few players in the NBA who can be the No. 1 option on a championship team.
Beverley is still one of the better defenders in the league at guard, and Zubac, at $7.5 million per season, is a bargain as the Clippers' starting center.
Los Angeles Lakers: 2018
- SF LeBron James (four years, $153.3 million)
- SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (one year, $12 million)
- PG Rajon Rondo (one year, $9 million)
- C JaVale McGee (one year, $2.4 million)
Getting James to sign in 2018 changed everything for a Los Angeles Lakers team that hadn't made the playoffs the previous five years.
The night James signed, plenty of veterans followed.
While Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson weren't particularly effective, Caldwell-Pope played all 82 games for the Lakers while splitting time between starting shooting guard and sixth man. Rondo averaged 9.2 points and 8.0 assists per game as the team's starting point guard, and McGee arguably had the best season of his career with 12.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in just 22.3 minutes per contest.
Even though a groin injury ended James' 2018-19 season early, he more than made up for it by leading the Lakers to the 2019-20 NBA title.
Memphis Grizzlies: 2010
- SF Rudy Gay (five years, $82.3 million)
- SG Tony Allen (three years, $9.5 million)
The Memphis Grizzlies handed out the biggest contract in NBA history in 2016, with Mike Conley's five-year, $153 million deal setting a record at the time.
Despite that, Memphis' best class came six years earlier.
Gay was coming off a rookie deal and looked like a star for a Grizzlies team eager to lock him up. He responded by averaging 19.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game in 2010-11, finishing just behind Zach Randolph for the team lead in scoring.
The signing of Allen turned out to be one of the best bargains of the decade, as The Grindfather would make an All-Defensive team all three years of his deal.
Miami Heat: 2010
- SF LeBron James (six years, $110.1 million)
- SG Dwyane Wade (six years, $107.2 million)
- PF Chris Bosh (six years, $110.1 million)
- SG Mike Miller (five years, $29 million)
- C Udonis Haslem (five years, $20.3 million)
No team had a better summer than the 2010 Miami Heat—not only in the last decade, but also perhaps in NBA history.
While the Heat were in danger of losing their own franchise star in Wade, Miami kept him while poaching two others and turning the NBA world upside down.
James and Bosh would eventually agree to sign-and-trades to extend their deals to six years, even though both would opt out after four.
Miller and Haslem were valuable pieces on the wing and in the paint, and the combination of all five helped lead the Heat to four straight Finals and championship rings in 2012 and 2013.
Milwaukee Bucks: 2019
- SF Khris Middleton (five years, $177.5 million)
- C Brook Lopez (four years, $52 million)
- PG George Hill (three years, $28.8 million)
- SG Wesley Matthews (two years, $5.3 million)
The Milwaukee Bucks got the band back together last summer, following a season in which they won an NBA-best 60 regular-season games.
While Middleton didn't come cheap, Milwaukee made the only choice it could in deciding to bring back Giannis Antetokounmpo's running mate. Middleton responded with a career-high 20.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 41.5 percent from the field.
Lopez's three-point shooting slipped, but he remains an effective defensive center next to Antetokounmpo to anchor the Bucks' rim protection.
Hill led the NBA in three-point shooting (46.0 percent), and Matthews held the starting shooting guard job all season thanks to his defense.
Minnesota Timberwolves: 2013
- C Nikola Pekovic (five years, $60 million)
- SG Kevin Martin (four years, $27.8 million)
- SG Corey Brewer (three years, $14.1 million)
The Minnesota Timberwolves made the playoffs just once in the past decade, and a look at their free-agent history would help to show why.
Perhaps the Wolves' best summer came in 2013, with the team giving one starter a new contract while bringing in two others in free agency.
Pekovic was a bully of a center at 6'11" and 307 pounds before injuries ended his career early, but not before he averaged 17.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and shot 54.1 percent in 2013-14. Martin was a sign-and-trade addition who excelled as a scoring shooting guard, putting up 19.4 points per contest on 38.9 percent three-point shooting from 2013 to 2015 in Minnesota.
Brewer averaged 12.3 points while starting all 81 of his games at small forward and was a favorite target of Kevin Love on full-court outlet passes.
New Orleans Pelicans: 2017
- G Jrue Holiday (five years, $131.8 million)
- PG Rajon Rondo (one year, $3.3 million)
- SG Tony Allen (one year, $1.5 million)
While Anthony Davis is the most talented player to put on a New Orleans Pelicans uniform in the last decade, Holiday may be the most important.
A bridge between the Davis and Zion Williamson eras, Holiday scored a deal that seemed like an overpay at the time but has since become a reasonable pact.
One of the NBA's best defenders, Holiday has averaged 19.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game in three years and counting since signing this deal.
Rondo averaged 8.3 points, 8.2 assists and 1.1 steals per contest as the Pelicans' starting point guard, and Allen was brought on as a defensive body before being traded for Mirotic.
New York Knicks: 2014
- SF Carmelo Anthony (five years, $124.1 million)
The New York Knicks' 2010 free-agent class led by Amar'e Stoudemire deserves recognition as well, as he and Anthony represent the two biggest signings of the past decade in New York.
Stoudemire had a fantastic 2010-11 season (25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.9 blocks per game) before injuries and a poor fit with Anthony and Tyson Chandler doomed his time with the Knicks.
Getting Anthony to come back in 2014 was a big signing as well, of course.
Anthony would be named an All-Star each of the next three seasons, averaging 22.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 0.9 steals per game.
While the Knicks came up empty in 2019 despite clearing out a massive amount of cap space, 2021 represents a new chance at landing a star or two.
Oklahoma City Thunder: 2018
- G/F Paul George (four years, $136.9 million)
- PF Jerami Grant (three years, $27 million)
- C Nerlens Noel (two years, $3.8 million)
George shocked the NBA world when he turned down the major markets and his hometown Los Angeles Lakers by re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2018, one year after OKC traded Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to the Pacers to get him.
George responded with the best season of his career (28.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, NBA-best 2.2 steals per game), finishing third in MVP voting.
While he pushed for a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers a year later, the Thunder still got Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and five first-round picks for him.
Grant has been worth every penny of his deal as a combo forward who can stretch the floor and defend multiple possessions, and Noel is a perfect defensive backup center for any contender to have.
Orlando Magic: 2019
- C Nikola Vucevic (four years, $100 million)
- SG Terrence Ross (four years, $54 million)
- PF Al-Farouq Aminu (three years, $29.2 million)
The Orlando Magic did well to re-sign unrestricted free agent Vucevic, who was coming off his first All-Star appearance in 2018-19.
His putting up 19.6 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game this past season on his new deal was good value for Orlando, especially with a contract that goes down in annual salary each season.
Getting Ross back on a team that needed perimeter scoring was a must, and Aminu is still a very good defensive forward when healthy.
Philadelphia 76ers: 2019
- F Tobias Harris (five years, $180 million)
- C Al Horford (four years, $109 million)
- PF Mike Scott (two years, $9.8 million)
The Philadelphia 76ers spent most of the last decade collecting draft picks instead of marquee free agents, meaning even a summer spent overpaying the wrong players stands out as the team's best.
Harris is overpaid but still a very good player who averaged 19.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists per game and shot 36.7 percent from three.
Signing Horford at such a large number was a mistake for a team that already possessed an All-NBA center in Joel Embiid, but the deal won't look so bad if the Sixers can use his salary as the base of a deal for a player like Paul this offseason.
Getting Mike Scott for under $5 million per season was good value, but not giving Jimmy Butler the bag was the big mistake for Philly.
Phoenix Suns: 2012
- PG Goran Dragic (four years, $30 million)
- F P.J. Tucker (two years, $1.7 million)
- F Michael Beasley (three years, $18 million)
While the Ricky Rubio signing last year helped bump the Phoenix Suns up the standings, it's a different point guard-led class that stands out as the Suns' best of the decade.
Dragic came back for a second run in Phoenix in 2012, a tenure that lasted just two-and-half seasons but produced some positive results. Dragic was named to the All-NBA third team in 2013-14 following a year in which he averaged 20.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game and shot 40.8 percent from three.
Tucker was signed out of Germany to become the Suns' starting forward, quickly becoming a defensive force. Beasley lasted just one year in Phoenix but averaged 10.1 points per game as a combo forward, mostly off the bench.
Portland Trail Blazers: 2018
- C Jusuf Nurkic (four years, $48 million)
- SG Seth Curry (one year, $2.8 million)
Nurkic's signing for $12 million annually is one of the best values in the league at his position, even with his missing a year of play.
The Portland Trail Blazers' 26-year-old big man averaged 17.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.0 blocks in eight regular-season games after returning from a leg injury, even when being forced to share the court with fellow center Hassan Whiteside.
Curry averaged 7.9 points per contest on 45.0 percent shooting from three off the Blazers bench, a performance that would lead to a four-year, $32 million deal with the Mavericks in 2019.
Sacramento Kings: 2015
- PG Rajon Rondo (one year, $9.5 million)
- SG Marco Belinelli (three years, $19 million)
- C Kosta Koufos (four years, $32.9)
- SG Seth Curry (two years, $2.0 million)
- SF Caron Butler (two years, $3 million)
Sacramento hasn't been a hotbed for free agents over the past 10 years, and one could make the argument for Rondo as the Kings' biggest individual signing.
Rondo led the NBA with 11.7 assists per game in 2015-16, chipping in 11.9 points and 2.0 steals for the Kings. Belinelli averaged 10.2 points per contest but struggled with his shot (30.6 from three), and Koufos split time between starting and serving as the backup center.
Curry shot 45.0 percent from three in his 44 games with the team, and Butler served mostly as a veteran presence in what would be his final NBA season.
San Antonio Spurs: 2015
- SF Kawhi Leonard (five years, $94.3 million)
- PF LaMarcus Aldridge (four years, $84.1 million)
- C Tim Duncan (two years, $10.9 million)
- SG Manu Ginobili (two years, $5.8 million)
For a team that's traditionally relied on strong drafting and player development, the San Antonio Spurs landed one of the biggest free agents of the decade, Aldridge, in 2015.
Leaving the only team he'd ever known in Portland, Aldridge served as a new face of the Spurs as Duncan and Ginobili were both near the end of their careers.
Aldridge made three All-Star teams over his four-year deal, averaging 20.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.6 blocks per game.
Leonard's agreeing to a new deal as a restricted free agent was expected but still a crucial part of San Antonio's success.
Toronto Raptors: 2017
- PG Kyle Lowry (three years, $100 million)
- C Serge Ibaka (three years, $65 million)
- SG C.J. Miles (three years, $25 million)
Giving a 31-year-old point guard $100 million seemed questionable at the time, but the Toronto Raptors' decision has since resulted in three All-Star trips and a Finals trophy for Lowry.
He has averaged 16.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game and shot 36.9 percent over the length of the deal, cementing himself as perhaps the greatest Raptor of all time.
Ibaka has played both starting center and filled the sixth-man role behind Marc Gasol, but he has remained quite productive with 14.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 27.3 minutes per game. He's developed a reliable outside shot and has been in the playoffs in 10 of his 11 career seasons.
Utah Jazz: 2019
- F Bojan Bogdanovic (four years, $73.1 million)
- PG Emmanuel Mudiay (one year, $1.7 million)
- C Ed Davis (two years, $9.8 million)
Getting Bogdanovic was one of the biggest signings in the Utah Jazz's free-agent history, and the sharp-shooting forward was enjoying a productive season before he sat out bubble play because of wrist surgery,
Bogdanovic was Utah's second-leading scorer with 20.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game and a sparkling 41.4 percent shooting mark from three.
Mudiay (7.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists in 15.7 minutes per contest) was a good value on his deal, and Davis was an effective rebounder (12.5 per 36 minutes), even if the rest of his game took a dip.
Washington Wizards: 2016
- SG Bradley Beal (five years, $127.2 million)
- C Ian Mahinmi (four years, $64 million)
- PG Tomas Satoransky (three years, $9 million)
Signing Beal to a $127 million deal seemed like a lot for a player averaging just 16.0 points per game on 42.6 percent shooting for his career, but the Washington Wizards' investment in him has certainly paid off.
Since 2016, Beal has averaged 25.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.2 steals per contest while shooting 46.8 percent, making a pair of All-Star teams and finishing second in the league in scoring last year.
Injuries severely limited Mahinimi's time with the Wizards, but Satoransky became a good shooter and quality starter in Washington's backcourt as John Wall sat with an Achilles setback.