Within the first hour of this year’s NBA free agency period, a cumulative $1 billion worth of contracts was signed by 25 different players.

There was much speculation, as usual, heading into free agency regarding player movement, yet the most significant deals of the day involved players re-signing with their current teams.

The 5-year, $160 million contract signed by Jerami Grant to stay with the Portland Trail Blazers was the largest total dollar amount secured during this period. This comes amidst the speculation regarding the future of Portland’s star point guard Damian Lillard whose time with the team may finally be coming to an end.

For the Trail Blazers, this is a solid, albeit unspectacular, move that locks in the 29-year-old forward for the remainder of his prime years. While the annual salary may be a bit too much for a player of Grant’s caliber, this franchise has struggled to fill its forwards spots for most of the past decade so it makes remote sense to maintain the best one that they have had since LaMarcus Aldridge’s departure in 2015.

Last season, Grant averaged 20.5 points, a career-best 2.3 three-pointers, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists over 63 regular season games.

On a per-year basis, the most expensive contract secured during the first hour of free agency was that of eight-time NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving who stuck with the Dallas Mavericks after being heavily involved in rumors regarding a move to the Los Angeles Lakers and even the Phoenix Suns.

Irving’s is a three-year, $126 million deal, with the third year being a player option.

The pairing of Irving and Luka Doncic failed to push the Mavericks into the postseason following the arrival of the former prior to the 2023 trade deadline. The hope is that a full offseason together will help these two ball dominant superstars figure out how to effectively coexist with one another at Dallas.

Other notable players who decided to stick with their current teams include NBA champions Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors, $100 million over four years) and Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks, $102 million over three years). These two players are expected to continue playing pivotal roles for their respective teams as they contend for more NBA titles.

There were two more deals that crossed the $100 million mark during the first hour of free agency and they both went to two tweener forwards coming off the best campaigns of their rising careers. Cam Johnson re-signed with the Brooklyn Nets, inking a four-year $108 million deal after averaging 16.6 points, 2.3 three-pointers 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.4 steals in 25 games with Brooklyn.

Johnson, along with Mikal Bridges, was one of the key assets that the Nets received from the Suns in last February’s Kevin Durant trade.

Kyle Kuzma was the other young forward who secured a nine-digit deal as he chose to stay with the Washington Wizards on a four-year, $102 million contract. The 27-year-old played the first four years of his NBA career with the Lakers with whom he won an NBA title in 2020.

Kuzma was a key return in the trade that sent Russell Westbrook from Washington to Los Angeles and has flourished in the two years since. In the ‘22-’23 campaign, he put up 21.2 points, 2.5 threes, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 64 games for the Wizards.

Aside from these notable players that signed the largest contracts, there were other key pieces who also decided to stay put such as Jakob Poeltl (Toronto Raptors, $80 million over four years), Coby White (Chicago Bulls, $40 million over three years), and Caris LeVert ($32 million over two years).

Meanwhile, Kristaps Porzingis signed a two-year contract extension worth $60 million to cap off the trade that sent him to the Boston Celtics.

The most significant player movement of this first hour of free agency came from Bruce Brown who just won an NBA championship with the Denver Nuggets as their do-it-all reserve. The former second round pick secured a two-year, $45 million contract with the Indiana Pacers as he dashed Denver head coach Michael Malone’s hopes of keeping his title-winning group intact.

Last, but not least, Fred VanVleet also decided to leave the north for Texas, signing a $130 million contract to join a promising young Houston Rockets team that has an intriguing group of players heading into next season.

While the kick off of this year’s free agency was a wild one in terms of dollars, it was quite underwhelming in terms of player movement. More deals should materialize within the week, with teams waiting for a few key superstar decisions before making any further moves.