For two former Ohio State Buckeyes, it was one heck of a fourth of July weekend. With the NBA's salary cap rising to $94.1 million, plenty of free agents were able to cash in on the new, bigger contracts throughout the league, including guards Mike Conley and Evan Turner.
Conley, who has spent his entire career with the Memphis Grizzlies after being drafted by the team with the fourth-overall pick in the 2007 draft, will remain in Memphis after signing a five-year, $153 million contract, the biggest contract in NBA history.
The 28-year-old averaged 15.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 42.2 percent from the floor and 36.3 percent from beyond the arc in 31.4 minutes per game during the 2015-16 season. He only played in 56 games before tearing his Achilles tendon which caused him to miss the rest of the season. After just one year at Ohio State in 2006-07, the point guard just concluded his ninth year in the NBA. In his career so far, the lefty has averaged 13.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 44 percent from the floor and 37.3 percent from three-point range in 637 games (608 starts).
Turner, who signed a four-year, $70 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, also cashed in on the new salary cap.
After he was selected with the second-overall pick in the 2010 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, the Trail Blazers will be the combo-guard's fourth team so far in his six-year career so far. In 2015-16 with the Boston Celtics, the 27-year-old averaged 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 45.6 percent from the field and just 24.1 percent from beyond the arc in 28 minutes per game. He came off the bench, but with the Celtics most ball-dominant guard on a team that did not have many pass-first point guards. So far in his six years in the league, Turner has averaged 10.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 43.2 percent from the floor and 30.5 percent from three-point land in 469 games (241 starts).
Conley and Turner may not have made an All-Star game so far in their careers, but the two guards were able to cash in on a rising salary cap that is expected to increase even more in 2017.