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NBA free agency, trade tracker: Timberwolves get Rudy Gobert, Celtics land Malcolm Brogdon

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 6/30/2022 Ben Golliver
The Utah Jazz has agreed to trade center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves. © Charles Krupa/AP The Utah Jazz has agreed to trade center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

NBA free agency continued Friday with more deals announced and some trades sprinkled in.

What to know

4:20 PM: Jazz trade Rudy Gobert to Timberwolves for pick-heavy package

The long-anticipated breakup of the Utah Jazz’s star partnership has finally arrived.

Utah agreed to trade all-star center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a package of players and draft picks, a person with knowledge of the deal confirmed Friday.

The Jazz will receive four first-round picks, 2022 first-round pick Walker Kessler, guards Patrick Beverley and Malik Beasley and forward Jarred Vanderbilt for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Minnesota will send out unprotected first-round picks in 2023, 2025 and 2027 and a top-five protected pick in 2029. ESPN.com first reported the terms, which also includes Leandro Bolmaro going from Minnesota to Utah.

Gobert, 30, averaged 15.6 points, 14.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game last season, earning his third straight all-star selection. However, chemistry concerns between Gobert and all-star guard Donovan Mitchell contributed to Utah’s lackluster exit in a first-round loss to the Dallas Mavericks, and longtime Jazz Coach Quin Snyder announced his resignation earlier this month after eight seasons.

For Utah, which recently hired former Boston Celtics assistant Will Hardy to be the NBA’s youngest coach at age 34, the return package signals a long-term rebuilding plan. The Jazz didn’t receive an impact-making veteran nor a proven starting-caliber center to replace Gobert. Instead, Utah collected quality draft assets, surpassing the three first-round picks that the Atlanta Hawks sent to the San Antonio Spurs for all-star guard Dejounte Murray earlier this week.

Read the full story

By: Ben Golliver

3:17 PM: Warriors re-sign center Kevon Looney

The Golden State Warriors’ bench will look different next year, but their traditional starting lineup will remain intact.

Unrestricted free agent center Kevon Looney agreed to re-sign with the Warriors on a three-year contract worth $25.5 million, a person with knowledge of the agreement confirmed Friday. Looney, 26, was Golden State’s top priority among its free agents, as his interior defense and rebounding were in short supply on its championship roster. ESPN.com first reported Looney’s agreement.

The 6-foot-9 center averaged a modest 6 points and 7.3 rebounds in his seventh season with the Warriors, but his knack for hustle plays and his ability to step out and guard opponents on the perimeter make him a valuable front line option in the postseason. Looney, who has won three championships with the Warriors, started alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green for most of the 2022 playoff run, though he was shifted to the bench when Coach Steve Kerr preferred smaller lineups for matchup purposes.

The Warriors needed a dose of good news after losing Juan Toscano-Anderson, Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. in the opening 24 hours of free agency. Some roster losses were expected, given that Golden State could wind up approaching $400 million in payroll, luxury taxes and repeater taxes in 2022-23, according to a CBSSports.com estimate.

By: Ben Golliver

2:47 PM: Hawks trade Kevin Huerter to Kings in cap-clearing move

The Atlanta Hawks’ bold trade for all-star guard Dejounte Murray was bound to have some trickle-down effects.

On Friday, the Hawks traded guard Kevin Huerter to the Sacramento Kings for Justin Holiday, Moe Harkless and a lottery-protected 2024 first-round pick, according to ESPN.com.

Huerter, 23, averaged 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game last season while shooting a career-best 38.9 percent from deep. The 2018 first-round pick started alongside Trae Young for most of the past four seasons and delivered a standout performance by scoring 27 points in a Game 7 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the 2021 playoffs.

Murray’s arrival, though, was bound to displace Huerter, who should plug in as a starting shooting guard alongside De’Aaron Fox in Sacramento. In addition to adding Huerter, the Kings poached backup scoring guard Malik Monk from the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

Huerter is entering the first year of a four-year, $65 million contract, and trading him will help Atlanta cut nearly $4 million from its 2022-23 payroll. There are additional financial implications for the Hawks, as both Holiday and Harkless are entering the final years of their contracts.

It remains to be seen whether Atlanta’s roster overhaul is complete, as forward John Collins has been mentioned repeatedly in trade rumors.

By: Ben Golliver

2:09 PM: Celtics acquire Malcolm Brogdon in trade with Pacers

When the Boston Celtics’ offense ground to a halt in the NBA Finals, it became clear that they needed an additional proven ballhandler to make life easier for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Celtics President Brad Stevens wasted little time addressing the clear need, agreeing to trade for Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, a person with knowledge of the deal confirmed Friday. In the deal, Boston will send Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan and a 2023 first-round pick, according to ESPN.com.

Brogdon, 29, averaged 19.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game for the Pacers, although he was limited to just 36 appearances due to injuries. The 2017 Rookie of the Year is a subtle, skilled, high-character player who can play on or off the ball.

Still, there are some concerns that limited Brogdon’s trade value. For starters, he has three years remaining on a four-year, $85 million contract that he signed in 2019, a deal that proved to be too rich for the rebuilding Pacers. Brogdon lacks the athleticism to be the type of top-tier guard who can put a team on his back. What’s more, he shot a career-low 31.2 percent from deep last year, well below his career mark of 37.6 percent.

Brogdon should be a much more natural fit on the Celtics, a leading 2023 title contender who won’t ask him to do too much within a balanced offense. At 6-foot-5, he fits Boston’s goal of fielding lineups composed entirely of players who are big for their positions. In a best-case scenario, Brogdon could emerge as the guard version of Al Horford: heady, steady and unselfish.

Rumors had circulated about a possible Brogdon trade for weeks, accelerating when Indiana drafted Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin to form a young backcourt pairing with Tyrese Haliburton, who was acquired from the Sacramento Kings in a trade deadline deal.

The first-round pick is easily the most valuable piece of Boston’s return package. Otherwise, Stevens managed not to include any players from his main rotation. Theis had his moments during his second stint with the Celtics, but he saw his minutes cut sharply during the Eastern Conference finals and Finals.

Indiana can take a flier on the 22-year-old Nesmith, who has struggled to shoot the ball as advertised when he was selected in the 2020 draft lottery.

By: Ben Golliver

1:32 PM: Blazers solidify interior by re-signing Jusuf Nurkic

While next year’s Portland Trail Blazers will feature plenty of intriguing new names, there will be a familiar face in the middle.

The Blazers agreed to re-sign Jusuf Nurkic to a four-year contract worth $70 million, according to his agency, Klutch Sports.

Nurkic, 27, has been a mainstay in Portland since he arrived in a 2017 trade from the Denver Nuggets. The “Bosnian Beast” averaged 15 points and 11.1 rebounds per game last season, though his availability was limited by injuries for the third straight season. All told, Nurkic has appeared in just 101 games over the last three seasons combined while playing out a four-year, $48 million deal that he signed in 2018.

Nevertheless, Portland’s lack of established interior players gave Nurkic leverage in these negotiations. The Blazers will hope that both Nurkic and all-star guard Damian Lillard enjoy better health next season, and that forward Jerami Grant, who arrived via trade from the Detroit Pistons, can improve their frontcourt versatility.

New Blazers General Manager M Joe Cronin has been busy this summer, re-signing guard Anfernee Simons, poaching guard Gary Payton II from the Golden State Warriors and selecting guard Shaedon Sharpe with the No. 7 pick in last week’s draft.

By: Ben Golliver

1:23 PM: Clippers and John Wall agree to two-year contract

John Wall’s exit strategy came off without a hitch.

After reaching a buyout agreement with the Houston Rockets earlier this week, Wall agreed to sign a two-year contract worth $13.2 million with the Los Angeles Clippers, his agency, Klutch Sports, announced Friday.

For Wall, the No. 1 pick of the 2010 draft who spent the first 10 years of his NBA career with the Washington Wizards, the move to Los Angeles is a long-awaited fresh start.

Washington traded Wall to Houston in December 2020, but the Rockets quickly entered a rebuilding cycle and opted to shut down the five-time all-star for the 2021-22 season. With a long history of injury issues and multiple years left on a four-year, $170 million extension that started in 2019, Wall didn’t garner much trade interest last year. Wall last played April 23, 2021, and he averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists in 40 appearances for the Rockets that season. Before arriving in Houston, he missed the entire 2019-20 season following an Achilles’ injury.

The Clippers enter next season with title aspirations given Kawhi Leonard’s impending return from a knee injury, and they re-signed Nicolas Batum and Amir Coffey on Thursday. Wall would join a veteran roster that includes Leonard, Paul George, Marcus Morris, Norman Powell and Reggie Jackson. In Los Angeles, Wall, who has shared a long friendship with George, is likely to be cast in a narrower role, given that he has appeared in just 113 games over the past five seasons. But the Clippers can use another capable ballhandler in addition to Jackson, and Wall could help lighten the loads on Leonard and George.

Still, Wall will need to prove he can remain healthy, make open shots on the perimeter, protect the basketball and recommit to the defensive end. In his most recent healthy season, Wall posted a career-low 15.4 Player Efficiency Rating and shot just 31.7 percent on three-pointers.

By: Ben Golliver

1:17 PM: Warriors lose Gary Payton II to Blazers, Otto Porter Jr. to Raptors

The raid on the Golden State Warriors’ championship roster is officially underway.

After first losing Juan Toscano-Anderson to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors were unable to return guard Gary Payton II and forward Otto Porter Jr. in the opening days of NBA free agency.

Payton II, a defensive specialist who returned from an elbow injury to play key minutes in the Finals against the Boston Celtics, signed a three-year contract worth $28 million, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed Friday. The son of Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton averaged 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game off Golden State’s bench last season, providing ferocious on-ball defense and improved three-point shooting.

For the 29-year-old Payton II, the contract represents a payday years in the making. After going undrafted out of Oregon State, Payton II toiled in the G League for years before finally breaking through with the Warriors. When Payton II suffered a fractured elbow when he was knocked out of the air by Memphis Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks during the Western Conference semifinals, the Warriors were worried that the injury might compromise his ability to land his first major NBA contract. Instead, Payton returned to distinguish himself with lockdown defense in the Finals, coming up with three steals apiece in Games 5 and 6.

In Portland, Payton II will feel a long-standing need for point-of-attack defense in a backcourt that is loaded with skilled scorers in Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons.

Meanwhile, Porter, an experienced shooter and defender, signed a two-year contract, according to Yahoo Sports. Porter averaged 8.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while shooting 37 percent from deep, and his presence allowed the Warriors to field wing-heavy lineups filled with versatile defenders. Porter, 29, did see his role reduced slightly as Golden State progressed through the postseason.

The Raptors have prioritized similarly interchangeable lineups in recent years, and Porter will make for a natural fit.

Warriors Coach Steve Kerr promised recently that his team “would be even better next year,” but the defections will require greater contributions from Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, two forwards who just completed their rookie campaigns. Golden State’s top free agency priority, center Kevon Looney, remains unsigned.

By: Ben Golliver

12:56 PM: Zach LaVine re-signs with Bulls on max deal

Despite nagging injury issues and a forgettable postseason debut, Zach LaVine secured a five-year maximum contract worth $215 million, his agency, Klutch Sports, announced on Friday.

LaVine, 27, entered this summer as one of biggest names in free agency thanks to his volume scoring and his reliable three-point shooting. The shooting guard’s return to the Bulls featured little drama, as they were able to offer him a fifth year on his contract that outside suitors couldn’t match. For LaVine, who just completed a four-year, $78 million deal, this new max contract will more than double his annual salary.

LaVine averaged 24.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game for the Bulls last season, shifting into a secondary scoring role to accommodate the arrival of DeMar DeRozan. The 2014 lottery pick still earned his second consecutive all-star selection, though a troublesome knee limited his effectiveness during the first postseason appearance of his eight-year career. LaVine averaged 19.3 points and shot 42.9 percent in a first-round loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, and his defense is bound to face scrutiny in future playoff runs.

After winning 46 games, its most since 2014-15, it’s no surprise that Chicago decided to keep DeRozan and LaVine together. How far, exactly, that tandem can carry the Bulls remains to be seen, with entrenched Eastern Conference powers like the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat all possessing rosters with bigger stars and better defenses.

Questions will probably continue to swirl around center Nikola Vucevic, as the Bulls have been linked as a possible trade partner with the Utah Jazz center for Rudy Gobert. On Thursday, Chicago signed center Andre Drummond to a two-year deal.

So far, this summer’s free agency period has seen most of the big names re-sign with their current teams: LaVine joins Bradley Beal, Nikola Jokic, Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns and Ja Morant, among other all-stars, who elected to return to their incumbent teams on new contracts or extensions.

By: Ben Golliver

1:31 AM: Nikola Jokic, Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns and Ja Morant claim max extensions

When it comes time for the NBA’s rising stars to sign new contracts, there’s usually not much to negotiate.

That was the case for Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant and Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, all of whom inked long-term contract extensions on Friday, just hours after the NBA’s summer free agency period opened.

  • Jokic, a two-time MVP, signed a five-year, $270 million supermax extension. The 27-year-old center was supermax eligible by virtue of being an all-nba selection in each of the past four seasons.
  • Booker, a three-time all-star, added $224 million over four years to his contract with a supermax extension. The 25-year-old guard was supermax eligible after earning all-NBA first team honors this season.
  • Towns, a three-time all-star, inked a four-year supermax extension worth $224 million. The 26-year-old center was supermax eligible after earning all-NBA third team honors last season.
  • Morant, the 2022 most improved player, signed a five-year maximum rookie extension worth at least $193 million and tweeted afterwards, “Memphis is my home.”

All four deals were first reported as finalized by ESPN.com.

By: Ben Golliver

11:28 PM: Notable free agents still left unsigned

The NBA’s free agency period got off to a hectic start Thursday, but many of this summer’s biggest names remain unsigned. Aside from Kevin Durant, who is still waiting to see whether the Brooklyn Nets honor his trade request, here are 10 names to watch Friday and beyond.

1. Zach Lavine (Chicago Bulls); Unrestricted

2. James Harden (Philadelphia 76ers); Unrestricted

3. Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns); Restricted

4. Miles Bridges (Charlotte Hornets); Restricted

5. Collin Sexton (Cleveland Cavaliers); Restricted

6. Jusuf Nurkic (Portland Trail Blazers); Unrestricted

7. Kevon Looney (Golden State Warriors); Unrestricted

8. T.J. Warren (Indiana Pacers); Unrestricted

9. Bruce Brown (Brooklyn Nets); Unrestricted

10. Gary Payton II (Golden State Warriors); Unrestricted

By: Ben Golliver

11:26 PM: Raptors bring back Chris Boucher on three-year deal

While the Toronto Raptors had a relatively quiet start to free agency as expected, they did agree to re-sign backup center Chris Boucher to a three-year contract worth $35.3 million, according to ESPN.com.

The 29-year-old Boucher, a Canadian who went undrafted out of Oregon, averaged 9.4 points and 6.2 rebounds last season. A bouncy center who fits Toronto’s preference for long and athletic lineups, Boucher was able to cash in the first significant payday of his five-year career.

Bigger moves might still be coming for the Raptors, who could extend all-star guard Fred VanVleet. OG Anunoby, a quality shooter and defender, was also mentioned in trade rumors before last week’s draft.

By: Ben Golliver

11:24 PM: Bucks sign Bobby Portis, Wesley Matthews, Jevon Carter and Joe Ingles

As the Milwaukee Bucks hope to get back to their championship heights, they opened the free agency period by retaining a fan favorite, taking a flier on an injured veteran forward and bringing back two experienced guards.

The Bucks agreed to re-sign Bobby Portis to a four-year, $49 million contract, according to ESPN.com, and then inked Joe Ingles to a one-year deal.

Then, Milwaukee re-signed Wesley Matthews on a one-year contract and Jevon Carter on a two-year contract, according to The Athletic.

Portis, 27, instantly endeared himself to the Milwaukee faithful with his shot-making and rebounding, often receiving “Bobby! Bobby!” chants from the Fiserv Forum crowd during the Bucks’ 2021 title run. The 6-foot-9 big man averaged a career-high 14.6 points and 9.1 rebounds last season while stepping in as a starting center alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo following Brook Lopez’s extended injury.

The 34-year-old Ingles was himself a fan favorite on the Utah Jazz before suffering a torn ACL in late-January. Utah elected to trade Ingles to the Portland Trail Blazers at the February trade deadline, and the Australian forward continues to rehabilitate the injury. Milwaukee is probably trying to play the long game, hoping that Ingles could return in time to give rotation minutes during the 2023 postseason. Ingles, who finished second in the 2021 Sixth Man of the Year race, averaged 7.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game last season.

Matthews, 35, averaged 5.1 points and 1.9 rebounds as a three-point shooter and defensive specialist off the bench.

The 26-year-old Carter averaged 4.2 assists and 1.5 assists per game for the Brooklyn Nets and Bucks in a backup role last season.

By: Ben Golliver

10:59 PM: Clippers re-sign Nicolas Batum, lose Isaiah Hartenstein to Knicks

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said Wednesday that he expected his team to be among the NBA’s top contenders once Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are back on the court together next season.

“I think if we stay healthy next year, we’re going to be having a chance to talk way late in the spring season,” Ballmer told reporters. “We have a great group, great spirit, great energy. … I think the sky is the limit for our team. … Of course, you’ve got to have a little bit of luck to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy.”

During a busy opening to free agency, the Clippers kept a key piece of their title hopes by re-signing veteran forward Nicolas Batum to a two-year contract worth $22 million, per Yahoo Sports. Los Angeles also re-signed guard Amir Coffey to a three-year contract worth $11 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Clippers’ biggest defection came when high-energy center Isaiah Hartenstein signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the New York Knicks.

Batum, 33, has rediscovered his game with the Clippers, averaging 8.3 points and 4.3 rebounds as a starter last season. Back in 2019-20, the versatile French forward appeared to be headed out of the NBA following a disastrous campaign with the Charlotte Hornets. Now, Batum is a key piece to the Clippers’ deep reservoir of long and interchangeable wings that includes Leonard, George, Marcus Morris, Norman Powell and Robert Covington.

Coffey, 25, averaged 9 points and 2.9 rebounds in a bench role last season.

The 24-year-old Hartenstein averaged a career-high 8.3 points and 4.9 rebounds as a backup center, and he should enjoy an expanded role with the Knicks.

By: Ben Golliver

10:53 PM: Bulls tab Andre Drummond to fill out frontline

The Chicago Bulls have been a popular destination for Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert in recent trade rumors, but they added a different all-star center on the opening day of NBA free agency.

Andre Drummond, an unrestricted free agent who spent the stretch run of last season with the Brooklyn Nets, agreed to a two-year, $6.6 million contract with the Bulls, according to ESPN.com. Chicago will be Drummond’s fifth team since 2020.

The 28-year-old center averaged 7.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for the Philadelphia 76ers and Nets last year before seeing his playing time cut considerably during the playoffs. A high-volume rebounder who struggles to defend in space, Drummond averaged just 15 minutes per game during Brooklyn’s first-round sweep against the Boston Celtics.

Chicago’s front line can use all the help it can get after getting pummeled by Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks during the first round of the playoffs. Drummond, who was twice selected as an all-star during his eight-year tenure with the Detroit Pistons, will offer a bigger-bodied alternative to starter Nikola Vucevic. Chicago ranked 28th in rebounding and 23rd in defensive efficiency last season.

Bulls guard Zach LaVine, one of the top free agents in this year’s class, was not among the big name players to quickly announce their decisions on Thursday.

By: Ben Golliver

10:36 PM: Grizzlies retain key bench leader by re-signing Tyus Jones

Sometime soon, the Memphis Grizzlies are likely sign franchise point guard Ja Morant to a maximum contract extension worth more than $200 million over five years.

Before that splashy deal gets done, the Grizzlies took care of an important piece of business Thursday, re-signing backup point guard Tyus Jones to a two-year contract worth $30 million, according to ESPN.

Jones, 26, was a top priority for the Grizzlies, who were one of this season’s most pleasant surprises by winning 56 games and reaching the Western Conference semifinals.

The Duke product averaged a career-high 8.7 points and 4.4 assists per game, proving himself indispensable by captaining one of the NBA’s best bench units and stepping in as a capable starter when Morant was injured. Jones thrives thanks to his ability to make good decisions and protect the basketball, and he shot a career-best 39 percent from deep to further prove his value to an up-and-coming powerhouse.

Also Thursday, the Grizzlies lost forward Jaren Jackson Jr. to a foot surgery and saw backup forward Kyle Anderson agree to sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

By: Ben Golliver

10:33 PM: Timberwolves snag Kyle Anderson from Grizzlies, re-sign Taurean Prince

While few players of consequence changed teams on the first day of NBA free agency, the Minnesota Timberwolves were able to poach veteran forward Kyle Anderson from the Memphis Grizzlies.

Anderson, 28, is a versatile two-way forward known for his “slow-mo” game, and he was a reliable staple for a Grizzlies bench unit that was among the NBA’s best. To pry Anderson away, the Timberwolves offered him a two-year, $18 million contract using their mid-level exception, according to ESPN.

Earlier Thursday, the Timberwolves announced that Taurean Prince had been signed to a contract extension worth a reported $16 million over two years.

Minnesota probably has some work to do to cull its roster under new president Tim Connelly, who arrived last month. Nevertheless, Anderson will add a high-IQ, team-first mentality to the Timberwolves frontcourt alongside franchise center Karl-Anthony Towns.

Memphis, which lost forward Jaren Jackson Jr. for at least four months due to foot surgery, entered the offseason on the defensive given that several key members of their rotation were free agents. Memphis opted to trade De’Anthony Melton to the Philadelphia 76ers on draft night and drafted two forwards, Jake LaRavia and David Roddy, in the first round to prepare for Anderson’s possible departure.

The Grizzlies also reportedly re-signed Tyus Jones, one of the league’s best backup guards, to a two-year contract worth $30 million.

By: Ben Golliver

10:12 PM: Nets agree to keep Nic Claxton, Patty Mills amid turmoil

What will happen with the Brooklyn Nets’ big pieces — Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — remains to be seen.

But the Nets got to work on the opening day of free agency by agreeing to re-sign center Nic Claxton and guard Patty Mills, two of their most prominent free agents.

Claxton, 23, was arguably Brooklyn’s top priority aside from its two superstars. The 6-foot-11 center averaged a career-high 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds as an energetic and versatile big man. Despite persistent struggles at the free throw line, Claxton enjoyed an expanded role in the postseason and will receive a two-year, $20 million contract, according to ESPN.

The 33-year-old Mills, an undersized scoring guard, averaged 11.4 points and 2.3 assists for the Nets after being recruited by Durant from the San Antonio Spurs last summer. Mills will get $14.5 million over two years.

Other notable Nets free agents who remain unsigned include Bruce Brown, Goran Dragic, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Earlier Thursday, Durant stunned the basketball world by requesting a trade, a maneuver that could impact Irving’s future in Brooklyn.

By: Ben Golliver

10:08 PM: Magic re-sign Gary Harris, Mo Bamba

The Orlando Magic announced Thursday that they have re-signed veteran guard Gary Harris.

Harris, 27, has been a bit of a forgotten man in Orlando following his 2021 trade by the Denver Nuggets. After a host of injury issues and shooting struggles, Harris responded by averaging 11.1 points and shooting 38.4 percent for Orlando last season. His new deal is worth $26 million over two years, according to ESPN.

The Magic also re-signed Mo Bamba, a 7-foot center, to a two-year contract worth $21 million, according to Yahoo Sports. The 2018 lottery pick averaged a career-high 10.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in his first season as a full-time starter this year.

Orlando entered the summer as one of a small handful of teams with significant cap space after plunging into a full-scale rebuilding effort last year. Earlier this month, the Magic selected Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 pick in the draft, and the Duke forward will join a young core that includes Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner and Cole Anthony.

By: Ben Golliver

9:52 PM: Lu Dort gets major cash out from Thunder

For much of his three-year career, Lu Dort has been viewed as one of the best values in the NBA. After going undrafted out of Arizona State, the Canadian guard signed a bargain contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder that paid him just $1.8 million last season. Not bad for a well-regarded perimeter defender who averaged a career-high 17.2 points per game last season.

Dort finally got his due on Thursday, when the Thunder agreed to sign him to a five-year contract worth $87.5 million, according to ESPN.

Still just 23, Dort projects as a core piece for the Thunder as they continue through a rebuilding effort centered on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 2021 lottery pick Josh Giddey and 2022 No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren.

By: Ben Golliver

9:50 PM: NBA sets salary cap at $123.7 million for 2022-23 season

The NBA announced Thursday that the salary cap for the 2022-23 season will be set at $123.655 million, up from $112.414 million for last year.

Additionally, the 2022-23 luxury tax line will be $150.267 million and the minimum team salary will be $111.290 million.

The mid-level exception for teams that are under the luxury tax will be $10.490 million. Taxpaying teams will have a $6.479 million mid-level exception, while teams that have room under the salary cap will have a $5.401 million mid-level exception.

By: Ben Golliver

9:49 PM: To fill rotation, 76ers eye former Rockets forwards

As the Philadelphia 76ers and James Harden proceed toward an anticipated multiyear agreement, team president Daryl Morey has targeted several of Harden’s former Houston Rockets teammates in free agency.

The 76ers have offered P.J. Tucker a three-year contract worth $33.2 million and Danuel House a two-year contract worth $8.5 million, according to The Athletic.

Harden, Tucker and House were all teammates on the 2018-19 Rockets, who won 53 game and advanced to the Western Conference semifinals.

Tucker, 37, was a difference-maker for the Miami Heat in their second-round series victory over the 76ers in May, drawing praise from Philadelphia star Joel Embiid. While he only averaged 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game for the Heat, Tucker was a valuable defensive piece and hustle player. Before his lone season in Miami, Tucker emerged as a playoff starter for the Milwaukee Bucks en route to their 2021 championship.

Philadelphia has minutes available on the wings after trading guard Danny Green to the Memphis Grizzlies last week following his torn ACL in the playoffs. Sixers forwards Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle have also been rumored as possible trade pieces in recent weeks.

By: Ben Golliver

9:36 PM: Mavericks agree to sign veteran center JaVale McGee

In the wake of the expected loss of guard Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks, the Dallas Mavericks reportedly turned their attention to the interior by agreeing to sign veteran center JaVale McGee to a three-year, $20.1 million contract.

The generous agreement, first reported by ESPN, follow a recent trade with the Houston Rockets for center Christian Wood. After utilizing a “five-out” spacing lineup around franchise star Luka Doncic throughout their run to the Western Conference finals, the Mavericks have added a more traditional big man in McGee.

Last season, the 34-year-old McGee averaged 9.2 points and 6.7 rebounds as a backup for the Phoenix Suns, where he served as a pick-and-roll target and rebounding specialist.

By: Ben Golliver

9:33 PM: Lakers retool with new cast of free-agent additions

Losing Malik Monk to the Sacramento Kings hurt, but the Los Angeles Lakers wasted little time Thursday replenishing their roster with a host of free agent agreements.

The Lakers gave their $6.5 million taxpayer mid-level exception to Lonnie Walker IV, a scoring-minded guard who spent four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs after being a first-round selection in the 2018 draft. Walker averaged a career-high 12.1 points off the bench last season, and he will be asked to help replace Monk’s second-unit scoring. However, the 6-foot-4 guard is a subpar defender and is coming off a season in which he shot just 31.4 percent from deep.

Additionally, Los Angeles signed forward Juan Toscano-Anderson, center Damian Jones and forward Troy Brown to veteran’s minimum contracts.

Toscano-Anderson averaged 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds while playing sparingly for the Golden State Warriors, though he became the first player of Mexican descent to win an NBA championship. The 6-foot-11 Jones averaged 8.1 points and 4.4 rebounds off the bench for the Kings, while Brown averaged 4.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in a minor role for the Chicago Bulls.

The Lakers continue to be linked to interest in Kyrie Irving should the Brooklyn Nets agree to Kevin Durant’s trade request.

By: Ben Golliver

7:12 PM: Blazers ink Anfernee Simons to $100 million contract

Damian Lillard’s injury proved to be Anfernee Simons’s reward.

The Portland Trail Blazers agreed to sign restricted free agent guard Anfernee Simons to a four-year contract worth $100 million, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Simons, 23, averaged a career-high 17.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game in his fourth season with the Blazers, taking advantage of an expanded opportunity in the wake of Lillard’s season-ending abdominal injury.

The 2018 first-round pick finished eighth in Most Improved Player voting, as he proved to be a dependable scorer while shooting 40.5 from deep. Although his lack of size limits him defensively, Simons projects as a core piece for Portland, which is attempting to retool around Lillard following the February trades of veterans CJ McCollum, Norman Powell and Robert Covington.

By: Ben Golliver

7:05 PM: For Wizards, Bradley Beal’s new deal represents three types of risk

The Washington Wizards know well the many potential perils of inking a veteran guard to a massive new contracts.

Even so, Ava Wallace of The Washington Post reported that the Wizards inked Bradley Beal to a five-year maximum contract worth $251 million just minutes after the start of the NBA’s free agency period on Thursday, marking the richest deal in franchise history. Washington’s expensive and doomed marriage with John Wall, which eventually led him to be traded in 2020, clearly didn’t scare them away from taking the plunge with Beal. Their calculus: paying Beal every last penny was far better than a life without Beal.

The 29-year-old guard averaged 23.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game last season, one year after he nearly captured the NBA scoring title. A three-time all-star, Beal is set to enter his 11th season in Washington, despite years of trade rumors linking him to potential contenders. Loyalty is worth a lot in the NBA, especially to teams like the Wizards who haven’t enjoyed much postseason success in recent years.

Beal’s new contract, which runs through the 2026-27 season, will make him one of the NBA’s highest-paid players. If that sticker shock isn’t enough, consider these three potential risk factors:

1) Health and miles: Beal has so far avoided the serious injuries that befell Wall, but he was limited to just 40 games last season due to a wrist injury. His new contract will carry him through his age-33 season, and he spent several consecutive seasons ranking among the NBA’s leaders in minutes played in his mid-20s. A rested Beal should be poised for a bounce-back year in 2022-23, but it’s fair to wonder whether he will still be an all-NBA caliber performer in the latter stages of this contract.

2) Cap impact: A salary with an average annual value of $50 million is no laughing matter. If a player with that type of contract performs like Stephen Curry did in the playoffs, no one will bat an eyelash. However, a similar payout for someone like Russell Westbrook can single-handedly doom a team’s financial flexibility.

The Wizards cycled through both Wall and Westbrook in recent years, and had little forward progress to show for it. Beal has never been a consensus top-10 player in the NBA, and his salary will make it challenging for Washington to acquire an A-list co-star. If his game slips after he turns 30, Washington could find itself boxed in.

3) Trade threats: In the old days, signing a star to a long-term max extension bought a franchise years of freedom from trade rumors. No longer. Top-level players have enough leverage in the modern NBA to sign contracts with their incumbent teams and pivot to a trade request at a moment’s notice.

Anthony Davis pushed his way out of New Orleans well before his contract’s expiration date, James Harden asked out of Houston with two years left on his deal and Kevin Durant just requested a trade from Brooklyn with four years remaining on his contract. Beal has remained patient with the Wizards to this point, but he could make life difficult for the franchise if he decided he was ready to chase a title in a year or two.

By: Ben Golliver

6:37 PM: Malik Monk to bolt Lakers for Kings

One of the few bright spots from the Los Angeles Lakers’ dreadful 2021-22 season is headed north.

Unrestricted free agent guard Malik Monk has reportedly opted to sign a two-year, $19 million with the Sacramento Kings rather than return to the Lakers.

Monk, 24, signed a one-year contract with Los Angeles last summer after garnering little interest following four years with the Charlotte Hornets. The scoring-minded guard averaged a career-high 13.8 points and 3.4 rebounds off the bench for the Lakers, who unexpectedly tumbled out of the Western Conference’s playoff picture. With big contracts on the books for LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, the Lakers were limited in their ability to retain Monk.

In Sacramento, Monk pencils in as a second-unit scoring specialist behind franchise guard De’Aaron Fox and defensive stopper Davion Mitchell. The Kings hired former Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Brown to be their new coach in May.

The Athletic first reported the terms of Monk’s agreement.

By: Ben Golliver

6:28 PM: Bradley Beal signs five-year max contract with Wizards

On June 18, Bradley Beal celebrated the unveiling of a pair of basketball courts he helped pay to refurbish in Washington’s Columbia Heights neighborhood. His logo adorned the blacktop as did a quote attributed to him, painted in white along one baseline.

“Cement your legacy,” it read.

Beal took his own advice. Minutes after free agency opened Thursday evening, the Washington Wizards announced that the 29-year-old guard had agreed to a maximum contract. The contract will pay him $251 million over five years and cement him as the cornerstone of the franchise that drafted him third overall in 2012. The deal will be made official on July 6 when the league moratorium ends.

The contract will pay Beal roughly $43 million in the 2022-23 season.

Beal’s signing signals his commitment to the franchise and his approval of President and General Manager Tommy Sheppard’s stewardship of the team. The guard has been clear for the past two years as questions about his future with the Wizards grew louder: Beal wants to win. He clearly believes in Washington enough to help them get there.

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By: Ava Wallace

6:25 PM: Nikola Jokic re-signs with Nuggets on record supermax extension

Reaping the rewards of back-to-back MVP campaigns, Nikola Jokic has reportedly re-signed with the Denver Nuggets on a five-year supermax extension worth a record $264 million.

Jokic, 27, has long expressed his loyalty to the Nuggets, and his desire to return didn’t waver following the departure of longtime executive Tim Connelly to the Minnesota Timberwolves last month. The Athletic first reported the terms of Jokic’s extension, which will run through the 2027-28 season.

With their four-time all-star in the middle, Denver projects as one of the Western Conference’s top teams next season if guard Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are able to return from extended injury absences. The Nuggets lost to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs this year.

Jokic averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game, leading Denver in all three categories.

Earlier this week, the Nuggets swung a deal with the Wizards to acquire Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith in exchange for Monte Morris and Will Barton.

By: Ben Golliver

6:02 PM: Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. undergoes foot surgery

There’s no better time to bury bad injury news than the start of free agency.

Minutes before the NBA’s free agency period opened Thursday, the Memphis Grizzlies announced that forward Jaren Jackson Jr. underwent surgery to address a stress fracture in his right foot. Jackson is expected to miss 4-to-6 months, putting into his question his availability for the start of the 2022-23 regular season.

Jackson, 22, averaged 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and a league-best 2.3 blocks per game for the Grizzlies, who advanced to the Western Conference semifinals for the first time since 2015. The No. 4 pick in the 2018 draft earned all-defensive first team honors and finished fifth in the defensive player of the year race.

By: Ben Golliver

5:54 PM: If Nets trade Kevin Durant, will they move on from Kyrie Irving too?

As the Nets weigh their options in response to Kevin Durant’s trade request, they will surely take a fresh look at their options regarding Kyrie Irving.

Irving, who earlier this week picked up his $36.5 million player option to return to Brooklyn for the 2022-23 season, had repeatedly expressed his desire to play with Durant. If that superstar partnership is broken by a Durant trade, the Nets and/or Irving could have good reasons to split.

For the Nets, moving on from Irving would represent a full culture reset that they have desperately needed following a tumultuous season defined by his refusal to get vaccinated. Brooklyn could seek to trade Irving’s expiring contract or negotiate a buyout agreement that would free him to leave. Given Irving’s salary, personality quirks and injury history, Brooklyn should expect a narrow pool of interested trade partners.

The Los Angeles Lakers were reportedly interested in acquiring Irving before he opted in, and a reunion with LeBron James would give Irving a better shot at a deep playoff run than returning to the Durant-less Nets.

Although it would add layers of complication given their large salaries, the Nets could also try to trade Durant and Irving to the same destination.

If Irving returned to the Nets without Durant, he would be tasked with leading a reshaped roster that would include Ben Simmons and whichever pieces come back in a Durant trade package. In that scenario, Irving would be playing with the significant baggage that accumulated throughout Brooklyn’s ill-fated 2021-22 season.

By: Ben Golliver

5:36 PM: Jalen Brunson expected to spurn Mavericks, sign with Knicks

After a week of cap-clearing wheeling and dealing, the New York Knicks are closing in on their top target of the summer, unrestricted free agent guard Jalen Brunson.

Brunson, 25, is reportedly set to leave the Dallas Mavericks and sign a four-year contract worth up to $110 million with the Knicks when free agency opens Thursday. The agreement, first reported by The Athletic, would give New York the new starting point guard that it has coveted for months.

Knicks executives showed up courtside at a Mavericks playoff game in April and then hired Brunson’s father, Rick, as an assistant coach in early June. During the draft, New York traded its lottery pick and dumped Kemba Walker’s salary in a trade to increase its spending power in pursuit of the Dallas guard and other targets. The Knicks then offloaded Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks to the Pistons on Wednesday in another precursor move aimed at creating sufficient cap space to make their generous offer to Brunson.

Brunson averaged a career-high 16.3 points and 4.8 assists in his fourth season with Dallas, and he was a key contributor throughout the Mavericks’ run to the Western Conference finals.

While Dallas was highly motivated to retain him as a key sidekick to Luka Doncic, New York offered Brunson the opportunity to serve as a lead ballhandler. The Knicks’ offer was also nearly double the four-year, $55.5 million extension that the Mavericks opted against offering Brunson last summer.

By: Ben Golliver

5:26 PM: Team to watch: Golden State Warriors

Shortly after winning his fourth title in eight years, Warriors Coach Steve Kerr told a San Francisco radio station that he thought Golden State would “be even better next year.” That’s not exactly a hot take: Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson barely played together during the 2021-22 regular season; 2020 No. 2 pick James Wiseman never saw the court because of his lengthy injury rehabilitation; and promising rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody will have another season to mature.

Before the Warriors can repeat as champions, though, they will need to sort through a long list of free agents, including starting center Kevon Looney, backcourt defensive specialist Gary Payton II and veteran wings Otto Porter Jr. and Andre Iguodala. Looney, 26, should be the highest priority; his interior defense and rebounding proved vital throughout their title run.

To keep the band together, Golden State could wind up exceeding $425 million in payroll, luxury taxes and repeater taxes in 2022-23, according to a CBSSports.com estimate. To put that unprecedented level of spending into context, the NBA’s salary cap was $112.4 million last season. There’s no need to shed tears for owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber — Forbes pegged the Warriors’ franchise value at $5.6 billion in October, the second highest in the NBA behind that of the Knicks.

By: Ben Golliver

5:15 PM: Team to watch: Los Angeles Clippers

The Warriors hadn’t even held their championship parade before the Clippers emerged as a popular pick to unseat them in 2022-23. On paper, there’s a lot to like with a veteran roster headlined by Leonard and Paul George plus a supporting cast loaded with shooters and switchable defenders. The Boston Celtics’ wings and frontcourt athletes gave the Warriors trouble in the NBA Finals, and the Clippers, if healthy, would present similar challenges.

Importantly, Steve Ballmer is the rare owner willing to try to keep up with the Warriors in a spending arms race. The billionaire former Microsoft executive took on major salary at the trade deadline, and he will surely be eager to retain forward Nicolas Batum, the Clippers’ top free agent. Another intriguing option is John Wall.

Wall and the Houston Rockets agreed to a buyout Monday that allowed the point guard to become an unrestricted free agent. Wall, 31, is expected to sign with the Clippers once free agency officially opens Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed Monday night.

By: Ben Golliver

4:48 PM: Team to watch: Los Angeles Lakers

Russell Westbrook proved to be an awful fit during his first season with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, yet the Lakers have given every indication they expect him back for the final year of a contract that will pay him $47.1 million. First-time head coach Darvin Ham, who was hired in May, went so far as to call Westbrook “one of the best players our league has ever seen,” adding that the 33-year-old guard “still has a ton left in the tank.”

Regardless, the Lakers must seriously explore all options to trade Westbrook, who posted a career-low Player Efficiency Rating last season. If they can’t find a suitable deal, the Lakers will find themselves with a top-heavy cap sheet and huge holes at the wing positions. Cycling through veteran-minimum stopgaps didn’t work last season, and they are bound to be a less desirable destination for free agents after cratering to 11th in the West.

It’s also worth noting that James, 37, is eligible for an extension this summer. In February, the four-time MVP flirted with the possibility of returning to Cleveland and teaming up with his teenage son, Bronny, down the road. Whether James agrees to the two-year, nearly $100 million extension will shed significant light on whether he plans to retire with the Lakers or seek greener pastures in July 2023.

By: Ben Golliver

4:30 PM: Team to watch: New York Knicks

It doesn’t exactly take a code breaker to decipher New York’s intentions. Knicks executives showed up courtside at Mavericks playoff games in April and then hired Brunson’s father, Rick, as an assistant coach in early June. During the draft, New York traded its lottery pick and dumped Kemba Walker’s salary in a trade to increase its spending power in pursuit of the Dallas guard and other targets.

Brunson, 25, would plug in nicely as New York’s starting point guard, and he is coming off a career season in which he averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 assists. Yet Brunson’s strong showing in the playoffs — he averaged 21.6 points and poured in 41 during a first-round win over the Utah Jazz — will make Dallas highly motivated to keep him. How high, exactly, are the Knicks willing to go to get their man?

By: Ben Golliver

3:50 PM: Kevin Durant requests trade from Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets’ season of disarray has pushed their franchise centerpiece to seek greener pastures.

Three years after arriving in Brooklyn to form a superstar partnership with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant requested a trade by the Nets hours before the NBA’s free agency opened Thursday, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The 12-time all-star is eyeing a move to the Phoenix Suns or Miami Heat, among other possible destinations.

Durant’s trade request was first reported by the Athletic, and his interest in the Suns and Heat was first reported by ESPN.com. Yahoo Sports reported that Durant’s preference is Phoenix.

Durant, 33, has reportedly kept his distance from Nets management this summer in the aftermath of a humbling first-round sweep by the Boston Celtics. Last summer, Durant inked a four-year, $164 million contract extension that seemingly solidified his position with Brooklyn for the remaining of his prime.

Read the full story

By: Ben Golliver

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