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Cyber Monday: The Best Value Deals in the NBA

From Jevon Carter to Lauri Markkanen, let’s build a Cyber Monday starting lineup of undervalued NBA talents currently overperforming their modest contracts.

Cyber Monday is here, and folks around the world are expected to spend $11 billion on the occasion — the most in history. So, how does this pertain to sports, you ask? 

Well, 30 teams across the NBA spent a total of $5.12 billion this offseason, which is the third-highest offseason frenzy in league history. In the same way people find their own diamonds in the roughs on the world wide web, teams around the NBA have to find their own gems that carry more value on the court than their paycheck may indicate.

Like a rare, underpriced item you may find on Cyber Monday, some assets see their market values increase over time. That’s how it is for so may of ascendant athletes, too — specifically in basketball, where so many star players are just waiting for the chance to justify a max or near-max contract come the offseason.

In this particular exercise, we’re not considering guys still on rookie deals like LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Maxey, Scottie Barnes, Keldon Johnson, and so many more who would otherwise belong on this list. But how about those veterans who are ballin’ for a bargain?

In honor of the spirit of Cyber Monday, we created a starting lineup capturing exactly that.

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PG: Jevon Carter

Carter went from an afterthought in Brooklyn to starting point guard on the 14-5 Milwaukee Bucks. Before this season, the 27-year-old out of West Virginia never averaged more than 20 minutes per game. Now, he’s getting about 27 minutes per game as the primary ball handler, while Jrue Holiday plays off the ball and exerts his energy where he’s best — on defense.

Carter’s no All-Star by any means, but he’s got the fifth-best net rating (6.7) on a team with $176.7 million in active cap (fourth-highest in the NBA).

Jevon Carter contract details
  • Years: 2 (player option for 2023-24)
  • 2022-23 Salary: $2,100,000
  • Average Annual Value (AAV): $2,169,972
  • Total Value: $4,339,943
  • Free Agency: 2023 or 2024
  • AAV Rank: No. 352

SG: Jordan Clarkson

Some might argue that Clarkson is paid accordingly, but let’s hold off for a second — he was the 2021 Sixth Man of the Year and he’s only gotten better with more responsibility on his plate in Utah. He’s averaging career-highs for points per game (19.5) and assists (4.7) on 36% 3-point shooting. He’s a certified bucket and he’s underpaid.

Period.

Jordan Clarkson contract details
  • Years: 4 (player option for 2023-24)
  • 2022-23 Salary: $13,340,000
  • Avg Annual Value: $12,880,000
  • Total Value: $51,520,000
  • Free Agency: 2023 or 2024
  • AAV Rank: No. 110

SF: Yuta Watanabe

This is quite the shock nobody expected. All this chatter about the superstars in Brooklyn and whatnot, but Yuta has arguably become one of the most integral role players on the Nets. He leads the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage (57.1%), averaging 8.1 points in 18 minutes per game.

Watanabe, 28, is on an Exhibit 9 contract, which enables his team to waive him at any time should the player get hurt; in that case, they’d owe just $6,000 to the player.

  • Years: 1
  • 2022-23 Salary: $1,968,175
  • Total Value: $1,968,175
  • Free Agency: 2023
  • AAV Rank: No. 370

His contract doesn’t become guaranteed until Jan. 10, and as Kevin Durant recently said on the ETCs podcast: “If we don’t lock him down, a lot of people are going to want him.”

PF: Lauri Markkanen

Talk about someone who’s playing themselves into the Most Improved Player conversation. Although Utah has lost some of its early-season momentum, Markkenen remains a bright spot. He’s averaging a career-high 21.7 points and 8.4 rebounds as a stretch big (36.6% 3-point). Those are scarce — Lauri is one of two frontcourt players averaging 20+ points on 35% 3-point shooting (min. three attempts).

It’s no surprise that Markkanen and Clarkson both made this list, two stars earning 19.96 % of the NBA’s 10th-lowest spending team ($137.6 million).

Lauri Markkanen contract details
  • Years: 4
  • 2022-23 Salary: $16,475,454
  • Average Annual Value: $16,867,727
  • Total Value: $67,470,906
  • Free Agency: 2025
  • AAV Rank: No. 87

C: Bol Bol

Bol Bol was such a teenage sensation that we often forget that he’s now considered a “veteran” in his fourth year at 23 years old. The big fella is averaging 13 points and eight rebounds on 60% shooting in Orlando, and he’s also in the top five for blocked shots per game (2) — you wouldn’t have fun shooting over his 7-foot-8 wingspan or 9-foot-7 standing reach.

One more time: He’s 23!

Bol Bol contract details
  • Years: 2
  • 2022-23 Salary: $2,200,000
  • Average Annual Value: $2,200,000
  • Total Value: $4,400,000
  • Free Agency: 2024
  • AAV Rank: No. 350

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.