NBA free agency is going strong and everyday a player either signs to stay with his current team or leaves for different opportunities. While we wait for the bigger fish to decide what they are doing I thought I would look back at the 10 biggest free agent signings in NBA history. This is a list of players who changed teams not chose not to stay with their current team.
10. Tom Chambers- (Seattle Super Sonics to Phoenix Suns) I have Tom Chambers at ten manly because it just felt right to start the list with the first unrestricted free agent. In 1988 Tom left the Seattle Super Sonics for the Phoenix Suns. In Phoenix Tom helped the Suns to five straight Western Conference Finals and One NBA Finals. He played in three all-star games and led the team in scoring for the first three years.
9. Dwight Howard – (Los Angeles Lakers to Houston Rockets)Howard makes the list because of his name and status. Seeing how this move is only a year old there is still time to create a legacy in Houston.
8. Ray Allen – (Boston Celtics to Miami Heat) When Ray signed with Miami in 2012 he was clearly was at the end of his career, but Miami thought that he could help win them another championship. He sure enough did that with his clutch three in game six of the finals against the San Antonio Spurs that not only saved their season, but propelled them to a game seven victory.
7. Chris Bosh – (Toronto Raptors to Miami Heat) This move was technically a sign a trade, but in free agency it’s the same thing as just outright signing with another team. The move is usually made to try to help the team losing the player get something in return while it gives the out going player a chance to get more money. Anyways, Bosh might be known as the third wheel of the big 3, but he has been just as important as anybody else in Miami going to four straight finals and wining two.
6. Robert Horry- (Los Angeles Lakers to San Antonio Spurs) By the time Horry had joined the Spurs he had already won five championship and the Spurs had already won two. So their partnership was more about the rich getting richer and Horry was a key member to two more Spurs Championships.
5. Gilbert Arenas- (Golden State to Washington Wizards) During his Wizards run Arenas became one of the big names of the league by becoming one of the top scorers and making three all-star games. The biggest reason why Arenas makes the list because he is responsible for the “Arenas Rule”
It’s the current rule that allows the home team the ability to pay its free agents more than anyone else.
4.Tracy McGrady-(Toronto Raptors to Orlando Magic) McGrady makes the list not so much for how he helped his next team, but more so how he helped his self. During his run in Orlando, McGrady became one of the best players in the league. He went to multiple all-star games, won a scoring title, and made all NBA first team twice. The knock on McGrady was his inability to get out the first round of the playoffs, but that was never because of him.
3. Chauncey Billups (Minnesota Timberwolves to Detroit Pistons) Before signing with the Pistons many considered Billups to be a bust. Who would have thought he would go from bust to potential hall of famer? In Detroit, Billups went to five straight conference finals, two NBA a finals, and wining one championship. He was name finals MVP, played in five all-star games and made 3 all nba teams. He was also named to two all defensive teams as well.
2. LeBron James- (Cleveland Cavaliers to Miami Heat) This was another sign and trade, but LeBron had already decided to take his talents to South Beach. In his four years with the Heat LeBron has risen to become the best player in the league. He has four finals appearances, while wining two. He’s won two MVPs during the regular season and finals and all of the stats speak for themselves. LeBron still has a chance to build upon this resume or he could make the list twice if he signs somewhere else.
1. Shaquille O’Neal-(Orlando Magic to Los Angeles Lakers) The biggest free agent signee both figuratively and literally. Shaq became arguably the best big man ever while playing with the Lakers. He was responsible for bringing “showtime” back to LA. While there he played in four NBA Finals and wining three. He was finals MVP three times and league MVP once. He played in the all-star game every year and even became a Hollywood star by acting in movies. This is probably the most productive free agent deal for all parties included because everybody won, including the fans.
So that’s my list. If you don’t agree or feel some one was left off, drop a line in the comments section below and let me know.