THE NBA hands out massive contracts on a regular basis, but for one reason or another, some players end up becoming absolute bargains — at least for a season or two.
Here’s a look at nine players whose contracts should be a lot bigger when considering their level of production in the current NBA season.
9. Marcus Morris, F, Detroit Pistons
Marcus Morris is under contract for $5.3 million or less for the next two seasons after this one, which is part of the reason he and his twin brother Markieff (now with the Wizards) are so angry with the Suns organisation.
They say they took below market value to be able to play together, and then Phoenix traded Marcus in the summer of 2015.
Morris is the starting small forward in Detroit for the second straight season, and his 14.1 points-per-game-average in today’s NBA is worth far more than the contract he signed.
8. Patrick Beverley, G, Houston Rockets
Beverley is the defensive presence in the back-court alongside James Harden’s otherworldly offence, and for that he should be rewarded far beyond the $5.5 million he’ll be making next season.
7. J.J. Redick, SG, L.A. Clippers
Redick is under contract for just $7.3 million this season, but is third on the team in scoring as its starting two-guard. He should command much more than that on the open market once the season is finished.
6. Isaiah Thomas, SG, Boston Celtics
Thomas is under contract for next season at just $6.2 million, which is actually less than he’s making this year.
Sure, he’ll likely cash in as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018. But as Boston’s leading scorer and a legitimate All-Star, Thomas’ current contract is one of the more franchise-friendly around.
5. Kemba Walker, PG, Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets have been one of the top teams in the East to start the season, and Kemba Walker’s play has been a big reason why.
He’s leading the team in scoring and assists, and is doing so as the fourth-highest paid player on the team — on a deal that has him under contract through the end of the 2019 season.
4. Rudy Gay, SF, Sacramento Kings
Rudy Gay let the Kings know that he wouldn’t be exercising his player option for next year before the season began, and he’s certainly been playing like he wants to showcase his talents for the league’s other 29 teams.
He’s under contract for $13.3 million this season, and is second on his team in scoring with an average of 20.3 points per game.
3. Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors
Kyle Lowry is the fourth-highest paid player on his team this season, yet he’s its second-leading scorer and has been an All-Star in each of the last two years.
Lowry is under contract for $12 million this season, and will almost certainly decline his player option for the same amount next year to pursue a more lucrative long-term deal as an unrestricted free agent.
2. George Hill, PG, Utah Jazz
George Hill is under contract for just $8 million this season, but he’s meant everything to the Jazz in the games that he’s played.
Hill is set to miss an eighth straight game due to injury, but in the seven he’s played he’s led the team in scoring since coming over in trade from the Pacers this summer.
1. Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors
Before Steph Curry was the two-time reigning MVP, he was a decent player battling ankle injuries who was a question mark to many league observers.
Curry agreed to a contract extension in 2012 worth a total of $44 million over the next four seasons, and believe it or not, there were plenty of people at the time who wondered if the organisation was committing too much.
Now in the final year of that deal, Curry has exceeded even the loftiest of expectations, and is unquestionably the biggest bargain on this list — at least until he sets an NBA record by becoming the league’s highest-paid player when he signs his new deal in the summer of 2017.