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The 2018 NBA free agency period is off to a blazing start. LeBron James and DeMarcus Cousins both made huge splashes by joining new teams. James decided it was time to go West as he chose the Lakers as his next team. Then, in the biggest shock so far, Cousins elected to sign on with the world champion Warriors on Monday night.

Beyond those big names at the top, this is an incredibly deep free-agent class. With most teams struggling to find cap room, the market could get really interesting this summer. 

Now that free agency has started, keep checking back to see where the top players have signed.

Kevon Looney’s Return On A Minimum Deal Saves The Golden State Warriors Over $3m

The dream summer of the Golden State Warriors just got even better, with the news that forward Kevon Looney has agreed to return to the team on a veteran minimum deal. The team’s 2015 draft pick was a free agent after the Warriors declined his fourth year option back at the end of October. At the time it seemed like a reasonable decision as Looney had struggled in his first couple of years with injuries.

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As the season went on though, it began to look like a big mistake. Looney reportedly shed 25 pounds over the summer and came into training camp noticeably more svelte and mobile. With his long arms and basketball smarts, he carved out a nice role in the Warriors rotation. His ability to not bite on pump-fakes, and shuffle his feet on defense, was huge in the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets. PerBasketball-Reference.com he ended up playing the sixth most minutes, and more minutes than any other non-Draymond Green center, throughout the playoffs for the Warriors.

Naturally the Warriors were keen to retain him. However that earlier decision to decline his option loomed large. Once that option was declined he became an unrestricted free agent, with the Warriors limited to what that option would have been – around $2.2m.

Again though, the tight free agent market this year has aided the Warriors. Like many other big men, Looney’s value was squeezed and he ended up signing for a minimum contract worth just over $1.5m, saving the front office $700,000. That doesn’t sound like much, but per Sportrac.com the Warriors salary number prior to Looney signing was $140,617,646.

The final numbers won’t be clear until the Warriors have rounded out their roster, but adding Looney’s contract, Patrick McCaw’s qualifying offer, and two more veteran minimums would put the Warriors somewhere in the $20-25m range above the tax line. At that point every tax dollar is multiplied by $3.75. So that $700,000 turns into a saving of over $3m for the team once you take into account the luxury tax savings as well.

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Looney figures to be an important part of the rotation going forwards. While DeMarcus Cousins is the splashier move, he will miss significant portions of the season and will need to brought along slowly. So the Warriors will need solid production in the middle. Looney has proven that he can be counted on when it matters most. Along with Jordan Bell, who is busy terrifying people in the summer league by flashing a three point stroke, and the springy Damian Jones, the Warriors now possess a trio of young, cheap, versatile big men.

Looney now has the opportunity to play more minutes, while contending for a championship, and enter free agency again next summer. Only this time the Warriors will possess his full bird rights so will be able to go over the cap and re-sign him without any restrictions. If he has another year like the one he’s just had, the odds are he’ll be in a Warriors uniform for some time yet.

1 LeBron James (33) F Agreed to 4-year, $154M deal
2 Kevin Durant (29) F Reportedly agreed to one-and-one deal worth $61.5M
3 Paul George (28) F Reportedly agreed to 4-year, $137M deal
4 Chris Paul (33) G Reportedly agreed to 4-year, $160M deal
5 Clint Capela (24) C RFA
6 DeMarcus Cousins (27) C Reportedly agreed to 1-year, $5.3M deal
7 DeAndre Jordan (29) C Reportedly agreed to 1-year, $24.1M deal
8 Aaron Gordon (22) F Reportedly agreed to 4-year, $84M deal
9 Julius Randle (23) F Reportedly agreed to 2-year, $18M deal
10 Marcus Smart (24) G RFA
11 JJ Redick (34) G Reportedly agreed to 1-year deal worth $12M-to-13M
12 Trevor Ariza (33) F Reportedly agreed to 1-year, $15M deal
13 Derrick Favors (26) F/C Reportedly agreed to a 2-year, $26M deal
14 Isaiah Thomas (29) G UFA
15 Tyreke Evans (28) G Reportedly agreed to 1-year, $12M deal
16 Jabari Parker (23) F RFA
17 Jusuf Nurkic (23) C RFA
18 Zach LaVine (23) G RFA
19 Will Barton (27) G Reportedly agreed to 4-year, $54M deal
20 Fred VanVleet (24) G Reportedly agreed to 2-year, $18M deal
21 Luc Mbah a Moute (31) F UFA
22 Avery Bradley (27) G Reportedly agreed to 2-year, $25M deal
23 Rajon Rondo (32) G Reportedly agreed to 1-year, $9M deal
24 Wayne Ellington (30) G UFA
25 Brook Lopez (30) C UFA
26 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (25) G Reportedly agreed to 1-year, $12M deal
27 Rudy Gay (31) F Reportedly agreed to 1-year, $10M deal
28 Rodney Hood (25) F RFA
29 Joe Harris (26) G Reportedly agreed to 2-year, $16M deal
30 Montrezl Harrell (24) F RFA
31 Dante Exum (22) G Reportedly agreed to 3-year, $33M deal
32 Elfrid Payton (24) G Reportedly agreed to 1-year, $2.7M deal
33 Greg Monroe (28) UFA
34 Nerlens Noel (24) C Reportedly agreed to 2-year deal, $3.5M deal
35 Kyle Anderson (24) F RFA
36 Dirk Nowitzki (40) F Reportedly agreed to 1-year, $5M deal
37 Ersan Ilyasova (31) F Reportedly agreed to 3-year, $21M deal
38 Aron Baynes (31) C Reportedly agreed to 2-year, $11M deal
39 Michael Beasley (29) F UFA
40 Dwyane Wade (36) G