You just never know what will happen during the NBA offseason, but one constant every summer is the madness that comes with NBA free agency. Over $1 billion was spent within the first couple hours of the free agency period this year and quite a few big names signed new, long-term deals to remains with their team.

Draymond Green, Khris Middleton, Kyrie Irving, Jerami Grant and Kyle Kuzma headlined the list of those returning to their respective clubs on nine-figure deals, but there were a handful of other notable players that signed new deals, preparing to embark on new journeys.

Free agency is where teams can really put themselves on the rest of the league's radar heading into the new year and for those who came up just short of winning a title, signing just one player could result in them etching their names in NBA immortality.

Even though the free agent pool as a whole was not as talented as it has been in years past, there are still plenty of headlines that have come from this year's signings. Let's take a look at the biggest winners after the first weekend of NBA free agency.

Be sure to follow out LIVE 2023 NBA Free Agency tracker that is updated as soon as new agreements are announced. 

Fred VanVleet

Perhaps the most interesting scenario that played out over the first few hours of free agency involved Fred VanVleet, the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors. Opting out of his $22.8 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, VanVleet entered Friday evening with offers lined up from both teams and he was scheduled to meet with them as well.

There was a lot of talk that the All-Star point guard was leaning towards signing with the Rockets, which is why Masai Ujiri and the Raptors' front office made one last-ditch effort to re-sign VanVleet, league sources told ClutchPoints. Whatever was said in this meeting seemed to hold a lot of weight, as things began to shift and a return to Toronto seemed more likely than ever. The sense around the league, especially those close to the Raptors, believed that VanVleet was seriously considering coming back on a four-year contract that would have made him the highest paid player on the team.

However, the Rockets were not about to give up on their pursuit of VanVleet, as he was the one player they had at the top of their offseason wish list, sources said. Originally offering him a two-year deal, Houston presented the Raptors guard with a three-year, $130 million deal that contained a team option in Year 3. This was too good of an opportunity to pass up on and capitalize on his market, which is why the 29-year-old ended up shocking many in Toronto and signing with the Rockets.

Getting exactly what he wanted from a money perspective and getting to be the leader of a young, rising team in the Western Conference, what more could you want if you were VanVleet?

This is the perfect situation for him, as new head coach Ime Udoka will instantly lean on the veteran to be the primary facilitator and playmaker for this team. The Rockets gave VanVleet 130 million reasons why he should join them in free agency and in doing so, he ended up being this past weekend's biggest winner in the NBA.

Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers, Rob Pelinka, LeBron James

As a team, nobody has had a better offseason than the Los Angeles Lakers. Rob Pelinka did a fantastic job at the trade deadline of turning the Lakers into a team that was on the verge of missing the playoffs to one that made the Western Conference Finals and now, they are once again primed to be a force in the West. Having versatile, athletic options alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis was advantageous to Los Angeles this past season, so that is exactly what Pelinka looked to add.

Not only did they bring back Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura like many expected them to do, but the Lakers re-signed D'Angelo Russell and they added yet another dynamic weapon to their backcourt, shocking many by signing Gabe Vincent from the Miami Heat. They then began filling out their bench with Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes and veteran forward Taurean Prince.

Having depth in their backcourt is crucial and the Lakers now have plenty of ways to bring the ball up the floor and score with Reaves, Russell and Vincent. In need of more talent on the wing, Prince and Reddish supply this organization with two other bench options.

They got younger, they addressed key needs for two-way play and the Lakers continued to build on the energy that got them to the conference finals this past year. The best part is that the Lakers still have some open roster spots and they could add even more talent ahead of the start of next season

For all those Lakers fans out there who wanted Pelinka fired not too long ago, how are you feeling now?

Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers

Even though he still has one more year left on his contract, Tyrese Haliburton found himself making headlines during NBA free agency when he agreed to a massive contract extension with the Indiana Pacers. Drafted in the first-round of the 2020 NBA Draft and entering the final year of his rookie deal, the Pacers inked Haliburton to a five-year, $205.9 million extension that could pay him upwards of $260 million should he win the league's MVP award or receive All-NBA type of honors.

It is worth mentioning as well that LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and Desmond Bane all got the same rookie max extension, so they are all winners of the weekend as well given that $200 million is guaranteed to them over the next five years. I'm not financial analyst, but I think you could live a pretty happy life with $200 million!

As for the Pacers as a whole, signing Haliburton to a long-term extension was just one move that they made. Indiana made headlines right away when they ended up landing Bruce Brown in free agency. One of the better players available given his versatility and ability to impact the game in many ways, Brown earned himself a two-year, $45 million deal from the Pacers to be their “do-it-all” guy.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that they traded away two future second-round picks for the New York Knicks for Obi Toppin, the 8th overall pick from the 2020 NBA Draft. Toppin will fit right in alongside Haliburton and center Myles Turner, which is why this was a fantastic move made by the Pacers.

Indiana showed a lot of promise during the 2022-23 season and now, they enter the new year looking like a legitimate playoff team in the Eastern Conference that can wind up making a lot of noise. They have a star at the point guard position, they have depth at virtually every spot on the floor and they still have flexibility in terms of how they want to build their roster moving forward.