Does Marvin Bagley III contract with Pistons look better now?

Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons, Marvin Bagley III
Detroit Pistons forward Marvin Bagley III (35) Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports /

How does Marvin Bagley III contract rank in the 2022 free agent class?

On the current Pistons roster, Marvin Bagley III is the second-highest paid player on the team, just slightly behind Kelly Olynyk. While Olynyk is a veteran who has helped teams in the past make the NBA finals, Bagley has never been in a playoff game.

So should these two be paid virtually the same? I guess one has to see how the season plays out, as they are very different players, even though they play the same position.

According to Spotrac, Bagley received the 11th-highest-paying contract (on a per year basis) out of 81 players who have signed as free agents. Now, 11th out of 81 sure sounds pretty high, but free agency is a very uneven process.

Franchise type players like Bradley Beal, Zach Levine and James Harden got triple to four times as much as Bagley.

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While the big names contracts get most of the attention, a lot of the signings are low-cost minimum or cap exception deals. In layman’s terms, most free agents are simply finding a job for next year.

Comparing Bagley with similar free agent salaries

The player signed as a free agent with the next highest salary is guard Tyus Jones, who inked for two years with the Memphis Grizzlies for an average of $14.5 million. That is two million dollars a year more than Bagley. This is almost double what Jones was paid for 2021-22.

Jones is a veteran six-foot point guard whose job in his career has been mainly to provide a spark off the bench. Being the backup to Ja Morant in Memphis last year, he had his best offensive season, scoring 8.7 points a game. He played very well when Morant missed time due to injury.

Jones, 26, has a career average of 6.2 points and 3.7 assists, not the kind of stats typical for the 10th highest free agent signing. But the Grizzlies had the second best record in the Western Conference last year, and took the Warriors to six games in the semifinals.

Jones was a player they wanted back, and now they have him.

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The player who was signed for just a little less than Bagley was Chris Boucher of the Toronto Raptors. He inked a three-year, $35.25 million dollar deal, which is just $1.75 million less than Bagley.

Boucher is 29-years-old (six years older than Bagley) and had a far different path to the NBA then blue-chip Bagley.

Undrafted coming out of Oregon, Boucher worked his way up from the Raptors G-League team to become a valuable reserve for Toronto.

He was a deep sub on Toronto’s 2019 NBA championship team but Boucher has averaged 11.5 points the past two seasons. With his athleticism, he has also been a rim  protector. However, at 6-foot-9 and 200 pounds, Boucher is a definite tweener in positions.

Thanks to his development, Boucher has become a valuable reserve for Toronto. Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri is considered one of the best GMs in the league, and he was willing to pay a bench player almost as much as Bagley received.