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The NBA’s biggest bargains

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January 5th, 2021

The holiday shopping season may be over, but there are still plenty of great deals to be found in the NBA, where many players are far exceeding the value of their contracts.

We've surveyed the Association and have identified the league’s five biggest bargains.

5. Kevin Huerter ($2.7 million)

Team: Atlanta Hawks
Position: Shooting guard

Trae Young has received most of the credit for the Hawks’ red-hot start, but Atlanta wouldn’t be in the playoff picture without the contributions of Kevin Huerter. "The Red Mamba" is averaging 11.4 points in 26 minutes per game and has emerged as one of the most lethal shooters in the league. Huerter's three-point stroke has done wonders for the Hawks’ spacing, and is a big reason why Atlanta has the third best offensive rating in the league.

4. Carmelo Anthony ($2.5 million)

Team: Portland Trail Blazers
Position: Power forward

We bet you didn’t expect to see a guy with lifetime earnings of $262 million on our list, did you? Although Anthony was a big earner during his prime, the 10-time All-Star has made under $2.5 million per season over the last three years. Melo's production can waver from night to night, but that’s an awfully nice price point for a player averaging 12.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

Anthony’s willingness to accept a lesser role (and a lesser salary) has helped to extend his career, and had made him one of the NBA’s biggest bargains.

3. Luguentz Dort ($1.5 million)

Team: Oklahoma City Thunder
Position: Small forward

It became clear in the offseason that someone on the Thunder was going to get a lot more touches after OKC jettisoned four of its top five scorers in a flurry of moves. The biggest beneficiary so far has been Luguentz Dort, whose scoring average has jumped from 6.8 points per game during his rookie year to 14.8 points per game this season.

The additional shots certainly help, but the undrafted forward has also been remarkably efficient with the rock, nailing 45% of his three-point attempts. It’s unlikely Dort can maintain that lofty percentage, but he'll always have a home in the NBA so long as he continues playing with heart and hustle.

2. Gary Trent Jr. ($1.6 million)

Team: Portland Trail Blazers
Position: Shooting guard

Consider, for a moment, that the average salary in the NBA is $7.7 million. That’s for an average player with average talent delivering average value. Now consider the fact that Portland Trail Blazers forward Gary Trent Jr. is earning $6.1million less than that amount while contributing 11.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per night.

The Duke product erupted for 28 points against the Los Lakers on Dec. 28, and is well on his way to earning a lofty raise befitting his enormous talent.

1. Tyler Herro ($3.8 million)

Team: Miami Heat
Position: Shooting guard

Anyone who tuned into the 2020 NBA Playoffs knows just how dangerous Tyler Herro can be. The 20-year-old shooting guard averaged 16.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists, and became the youngest player in history to start a game in the Finals. Although Miami came up short in its quest to win another title, Herro proved he can thrive on the game’s biggest stage.

The Kentucky alum is averaging 14.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in his sophomore season, and has already dropped 20 points or more in two of the Heat’s first six games.

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