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NBA: Bargain Players Making Big Impact

January 13, 2010

Keeping Shannon Brown has turned out to be a big boost for a Lakers bench that has, generally, struggled. What’s more is that Brown didn’t put much of a dent in the Lakers’payroll — he signed for just $2 million, plus an option for next year. But several of the league’s top teams were able to pick up key contributors this summer for less than $2 million.

1. Channing Frye, Suns. Frye came to Phoenix on a two-year contract worth just $3.8 million, but he has become one of the best longe-range shooters in the league, averaging 12.4 points with a 3-point shooting percentage of 43.3.

2. Jason Williams, Magic. Orlando brought Williams out of retirement to be the backup point guard, for just $1.3 million. Williams played well when starter Jameer Nelson went down and is averaging 6.9 points and 4.6 assists.

3. Shannon Brown, Lakers. His defense and consistency have made him a Phil Jackson favorite.

4. Marquis Daniels, Celtics. Daniels will return from thumb surgery in the coming weeks, but he showed enough in his 19 games to make clear that he will be a key producer off the bench for the Celtics in the second half. Not bad for $1.9 million.

5. Juwan Howard, Blazers. Howard signed a one-year deal for $1.3 million, and did not expect to play a whole lot this year. He certainly did not expect to be a starter. But with Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla out, Howard has had to use his veteran know-how to hold down the middle.

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