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The NBA has gotten better about handing out value contracts. It’s become increasingly harder and harder to limit this list to just 10 deals. Some of that is the rapid growth of the salary cap, but a lot is teams are being smarter who gets big money.

A few notes before we get to the list:

  • You won’t see any max contracts on here, nor max extensions. Even if you think it’s fair to pay a player $100 million per season, that’s not allowed. (Well, at least not yet. Wait about five more years or so.) That means that no matter how good it looks that teams got some players to ink max deals, they won’t show up here.
  • No rookie scale contracts will appear here either. Like a max deal, it’s nearly impossible to do better than teams already do on these deals. No Second Round Pick Exception deals either.
  • Also, we’re not including anyone signed to a Minimum Exception deal. Those are largely a circumstantial thing. Plus, they run only two seasons at most, so the value is limited.
  • This is a best value list, so role and production factor in greatly. The same is true of not only the size of the contract (both per year and in total), but the length of the contract too. No one-year steals will show up here.
  • This list factors in right now and looking forward. In all cases, total money will include this season, plus what’s remaining on the deal.

Got all that? On to the list!

Honorable Mentions

Oklahoma City Thunder

A whole team? Yup, a whole team! Now, to be fair, the Thunder’s salary cap sheet features a whole bunch of key players on rookie scale contracts. And, yes, they’ll start getting expensive here in the next few years, as those players sign extensions. But for now, Oklahoma City is one of the best teams in the NBA and they have a remarkably clean cap sheet. That’s scary for the rest of the league.

Wendell Carter Jr. – Orlando Magic

Carter has been terrific for Orlando, but he has missed considerable time with injuries. That’s the only thing holding him back from making the top-10.

Ayo Dosunmu – Chicago Bulls

 Dosunmu provides starter-level production for roughly half to the Non-Taxpayer MLE. Sure, he might move back to the bench if the Bulls other guards get healthy. But, even then, Dosunmu would still be on a great contract, and are you really betting on Chicago’s guards getting and staying healthy?

On to the 10 Best Value Contracts!

10 Best Value Contracts

1. Jalen Brunson – New York Knicks

Three years, $76.3 million (player option in 2025-26)

Brunson is the Knicks leader and has become the team’s heartbeat in under two full seasons. He’s stayed pretty healthy throughout his career, so that gives Brunson a level of reliability for New York. He’s also incredibly productive, and his game has translated to winning. And, a key for a team that has added a lot of salary and will continue to do so, Brunson’s deal declines from this season to next by nearly $1.4 million. Also, Brunson has been so good, that we’re willing to overlook that player option which likely makes next season a contract year.

2. Jaren Jackson Jr. – Memphis Grizzlies

Three years, 75.8 million

Jackson is one of the best defenders in the NBA. This season, he’s shown he can anchor the frontcourt defense, as he’s had to play at the five more than ever. Jackson has also had to take on a bigger offensive role this season, with so many other Grizzlies injured. He’s lost some efficiency, but Jackson has shown he can handle more creation and playmaking. Like Brunson, his deal also declines year over year. That’s huge for Memphis, who has locked into a lot of long-term money for players on extensions.

3. Kawhi Leonard – LA Clippers

Four years, $195.3 million

This one is cheating a little bit. Leonard is on a max contract this year, and he will be next season too. But the last two years of Leonard’s deal are below the max he could have signed for. That’s good value for the Clippers. This season, Leonard has largely stayed healthy and he’s played well enough that he’s going to appear on a lot of MVP ballots. For less than the max, even a couple of years from now, that’s great value.

4. Domantas Sabonis – Sacramento Kings

Five years, $216.6 million

Sabonis’ deal is actually going to come in a bit less than above, as not being named an All-Star this year cost him some bonus money. That only makes his contract a better value. Sure, the final two seasons, when Sabonis will be in his early-30s, could turn a little sour. But we’re going to bet that this double-double machine will keep being an underrated big man through the life of his contract.

5. Zion Williamson – New Orleans Pelicans

Five years, $197.2 million

Alright, this one is full-on cheating. Williamson is on a max deal, but there’s a reason we’re including him here. Due to clauses that the Pelicans smartly included in Williamson’s deal, his contract isn’t fully guaranteed. If he has a reoccurrence of injuries and/or weight issues, New Orleans can get out of the contract with relatively little owed. We don’t expect that to happen, as Williamson looks good physically and is playing as well as he ever has. But having that protection is huge for the Pelicans or another team, if New Orleans were to ever trade Williamson.

6. Coby White – Chicago Bulls

Three years, $36 million

When this deal was signed last summer, it looked like a fair value. Nearly a year later, this contract is a great value for the Bulls. White should be garnering a lot of Most Improved Player love. He started playing better at the end of last season, and that’s carried over. White’s improvement into a legitimate starting guard is a big reason the Bulls don’t need to panic about Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine’s uncertain futures.

7. Herb Jones – New Orleans Pelicans

Four years, $53.8 million

Herb Jones is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. Actually, he may be THE best perimeter defender in the NBA. That alone would make a deal that comes in under the Non-Taxpayer MLE amount a great value. But Jones has improved as an offensive player each season too. This year, he’s shot over 43% from deep. If he shoots that well, while maintaining DPOY levels of defense, Jones will have broken the 3&D mold and rewritten whatever ceiling was previously put on his potential.

8. Austin Reaves – Los Angeles Lakers

Four years, $53.8 million (player option in 2026-27)

Reaves is a touch behind Jones on this list, because Jones has filled his role a little bit better and Reaves has a player option on the final season of his deal. But Reaves is still a tremendous value for the Lakers. A little shine has come off of Reaves since last season, but it shouldn’t have. He’s still a tremendously efficient shooter and scorer, but Reaves has also improved as a playmaker too. And he does all of that for less than the Non-Taxpayer MLE.

9. Mikal Bridges – Brooklyn Nets

Three years, $69.9 million

We’re knocking Bridges down behind Jones and Reaves only because he makes more than them, and his deal runs one year shorter. That means Bridges is in line to get paid before either Jones or Reaves, and he’ll get a bigger contract too. This season has been messy for both Bridges and the Nets, but he’s still a terrific player. For far less than the max, several teams have done way worse than Bridges. Even as his efficiency and defense has slipped just a bit, Bridges remains a great value. If the Nets improve the talent around him, Bridges will get back to being the two-way star we all loved a year ago.

10. Jarrett Allen – Cleveland Cavaliers

Three years, $60 million

Allen probably should have gotten more All-Star consideration. He’s one of the best defensive centers in the NBA, as he owns the paint and the glass. Allen is also a better offensive player than he usually gets credit for. He’s become a good passer and he’s one of the best play finishers in the league too. For $20 million per season, it’s hard to find many better values at the center position, or in the league period.