We’ve seen plenty of big moves in the NBA in recent weeks so we decided to take a look a look at the five biggest free agent contracts of all time.
5 biggest NBA free agent contracts ever
5. Kevin Durant
It would be a stretch to describe Kevin Durant’s $164m four year deal with the Brooklyn Nets as a walk down memory lane, given it was only back in 2019. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a big deal though. Durant, a nine time All-Star at the time of the move, had helped the Golden State Warriors win back-to-back NBA Championships in 2017 and 2018. The next season saw Durant suffer a major injury in the Finals but he still opted to enter free agency. The Nets stumped up the cash and Durant joined his close friend Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn. It’s going pretty well too.
4. Blake Griffin
If you don’t remember this deal between Blake Griffin and the LA Clippers back in 2017 then let us remind you. At the time it looked reasonable enough but, with the benefit of hindsight, was all a bit farcical. The Clippers had just flipped Chris Paul over to the Houston Rockets and didn’t want to lose another big name. As a result they slapped a five year deal worth $173m on the table for Griffin. It was seen as the contract that would keep him a Clipper for life but just 12 months later he was traded to the Detroit Pistons. Regardless of your thoughts on how it all unfolded, it still goes down as one of the biggest NBA free agency contracts of all time.
3. Khris Middleton
There is no denying that Khris Middleton isn’t the star name of his franchise but, whilst Giannis Antetokounmpo hasn’t hit free agency yet (imagine when he does!), Middleton entered it a couple of years ago. He had a wealth of options offered to him after an All-Star campaign for the Milwaukee Bucks. It put the Bucks in a bit of a predicament for two reasons. Firstly, nobody wants to see a good player walk away. Secondly, and more importantly, Middleton and Antetokounmpo are known to be very close and there was a genuine risk of the Greek Freak wanting out had Middleton moved on. $178m later and the Bucks kept their man he and Antetokounmpo took them to the NBA Championship just a matter of weeks ago.
2. Tobias Harris
Be honest, were you expecting to see this name so high up the list? Most people wouldn’t have been. In early 2019, Harris was offered an extension to remain in Los Angeles with the Clippers but rebuffed that deal. As a result, he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers as part of a larger agreement. Six months later the 76ers shelled out $180m to keep hold of his services. It was an eyebrow raising deal with Harris – and his agent – getting a lot of stick but who can blame them for bagging such a contract? He’s now two years into it with a further three to go.
1. Klay Thompson
Topping our list of the biggest NBA free agency contracts of all time is Klay Thompson’s agreement with the Golden State Warriors in 2019, a five year deal worth $190m. In a nutshell, the Warriors simply had no choice but to pay the big bucks because they couldn’t let a man of Thompson’s stature waltz away into the sunset. It came at a price though because nailing the deal for Thompson was a huge part of the reason Durant was sent packing; they simply couldn’t afford both. What it did mean though was that the Splash Brothers – Thompson and Steph Curry – would remain.
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