The first 5 days of this free agency window have been pretty damn action-packed. Day 1 saw the likes of LeBron James, Paul George and Chris Paul committing to max deals - LeBron's much-anticipated move to Los Angeles panned out exactly as expected, and didn't require any kind of bad fallout as came after his ill-conceptualized 'Decision' television declaration.
Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors for a one-plus-one deal that paid him $5 million less than he could've gotten on the open market. Bob Myers then hit a home run that has virtually cemented the Warriors' threepeat already, signing DeMarcus Cousins to the taxpayers' mid-level exception of $5.3 million.
While any subsequent moves might seem inconsequential as to what the rest of the league can muster in terms of challenges to the two-time defending champions, a number of sneakily good moves have been made by teams ever since.
But some players are already late to the free agency signing declaration party, and should probably already have had their short- and long-term futures confirmed by now. Nevertheless, the following 5 players represent the best value any team could get out of free agency from this point onward:
#5 Marcus Smart
There's a two-word phrase that defines Marcus Smart about as well as anything: 'Winning Plays'. If there's one thing that Marcus Smart definitely is, it's a winner. He is by far the best guard defender in the league, and probably the only one regularly tasked with guarding forwards in the league.
Other than hustle plays and the fact that he is by default the one to emerge as a winner for any loose ball, Smart is also a capable ball-handler and distributor who thrives in pick-and-roll scenarios. His only downside is that he gets too many shots off for one of the worst shooters in the league, and would do well to keep the bricks down to a minimum.
The Celtics have extended a qualifying offer to their 2014 draft pick to tie him down until next season. A young team with playoff aspirations and in need of defensive studs could very well force them to match any offer they make in the region of $10-15 million annually.