2019 Free Agency
NBA Offseason 2019: June 25 roundup
From NBA Twitter and media reports
The NBA offseason is in full swing, with talk of trades and other player movement starting to bubble up. As well, free agency is set to open at 6 p.m. on June 30. Keep up on all the latest news, talks and more as the offseason takes flight:
* * *
* * *
After coming up short to the Warriors the last two seasons, Houston is reportedly setting its sights on yet another talent upgrade. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski writes that the Rockets are hoping to arrange a sign-and-trade arrangement that will net them four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler.
The Rockets don’t have the salary-cap space to sign Butler, so they’d need the threat of the Sixers losing him for nothing to a team with the available room to motivate Philadelphia into a trade. The Rockets also would potentially need to make this a multiteam deal to satisfy the rules of Base Year Compensation that would cover Butler’s outgoing salary.
A potential Butler departure would come less than a year after Philadelphia dealt Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Jerryd Bayless and a second-round pick to acquire him. Houston, meanwhile, appears intent on making changes even under the weight of its current salary cap situation, which includes max contracts for Chris Paul and James Harden.
— 7:00 p.m.
When free agency opens on June 30, the Mavericks plan on offering Kristaps Porzingis a five-year, $158 million max deal, according to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania.
Restricted free agent Kristaps Porzingis and the Dallas Mavericks will meet when free agency opens on June 30 and the franchise plans to offer Porzingis a full five-year, $158 million maximum contract, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 25, 2019
According to Sports Illustrated‘s Chris Mannix, Porzingis seemed to forge a solid relationship with rookie Luka Doncic last season.
Unclear what contract route Porzingis takes. But I’m told KP forged a strong connection with Luka Doncic in his short time in Dallas and has enjoyed his experience with @mcuban. Seems like a good long term fit.
The 23-year-old Porzingis was acquired by Dallas in a blockbuster deal with the New York Knicks before the trading deadline but hasn’t played for the club. He missed the 2018-19 season after tearing a ligament in his left knee in what turned out to be his final game for the Knicks in February 2018.
— 4:06 p.m.
Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala doubled down in a sense on his hope that Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will be back come 2019-20. Durant can opt out of his deal and Thompson is an unrestricted free agent, yet both players are expected to miss large parts of next season after they suffered serious injuries in The Finals.
In an interview on “The Breakfast Club” podcast with Power 105.1 FM in New York, Iguodala responded as follows when asked if he thought Durant and Thompson would be back: “Pretty sure, pretty sure. I think KD’s coming back. I hope he does. I mean, we want him to come back.”
He was then asked if, prior to Durant rupturing his right Achilles tendon in Game 5 of The Finals, was he feeling the same way about Durant coming back.
“I didn’t know. That’s the hard part of it to. Everyday we had to deal with that, like, the whole year we had to deal with that. ‘Is KD coming back?’ It’s like, ‘man, I hope so, yeah. What you want me to say?’ ” Iguodala said. “But at the same time, it was like, where there’s smoke there’s fire. Well, who’s putting out these reports? Sometimes they’re fake, you don’t know what’s what. That’s the drama of the NBA.”
Iguodala has been promoting his new memoir, “The Sixth Man,” and appeared on Monday’s edition of CNBC’s “Power Lunch”. He offered some insight on Durant and Thompson, while also ribbing/trolling for New York Knicks fans.
“I think they’ll both be back with the Golden State Warriors,” he said. “We’re like brothers, we keep in contact, but regardless of any of that, if both did decide to leave they would still be my brother. I would still keep in contact with them as much as possible. I’m just wishing the best for those guys and they come back full strength.”
After he was told he was crushing the hopes of Knicks fans, Iguodala said: “Nobody is going to the Knicks, sorry.” (It is worth noting, of course, that Iguodala was smiling as he said this and was likely just making a joke.) When asked on “The Breakfast Club” about Durant and Thompson heading to the Knicks, Iguodala — if nothing else — stayed on message.
“I don’t know,” Iguodala said. “I personally think ya’ll are going to strike out.”
— 1:39 p.m.
Point guard Kyrie Irving and center Al Horford were each crucial to the Boston Celtics’ success over the last few seasons. However, both are reportedly not opting into their deals with Boston for next season and seem likely to leave this summer.
If that happens, Boston is at a point where it could be severely lacking in backcourt and frontcourt help. One solution to that potential problem would be to purse another top name in free agency, and The New York Times’ Marc Stein reports Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker may be on Boston’s list.
The Celtics, I'm told, are emerging as a stealth suitor for Charlotte Hornets free agent Kemba Walker
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 25, 2019
— 1:09 p.m.
Life is pretty great for the Toronto Raptors, who are not even two weeks removed from winning their first NBA championship. GM Masai Ujiri was the mastermind behind the building of the Raptors’ championship roster and some key player decisions lie ahead this summer.
First and foremost is that of Finals MVP and star forward Kawhi Leonard. He is reportedly declining his option for 2019-20 and will enter free agency with plenty of suitors in tow. Aside from Leonard, swingman Danny Green (an unrestricted free agent) and center Marc Gasol (who has a player option) are among the names Toronto must make decisions on, too.
Ujiri met with the media in Toronto on Tuesday and said Leonard is the top free-agent priority for the Raptors, but he isn’t about to overlook Toronto’s other players from the 2019 title run. He also plans to meet with Pascal Siakam’s agent this summer to discuss a potential contract extension.
Masai's spoken to Danny Green (UFA) and Marc Gasol (PO), said they understand that Kawhi is the first domino, but they all want to run it back. "We're really approaching it like we want to bring everybody back. That's a priority for us."
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) June 25, 2019
"We're approaching (the offseason) like we want everybody back."
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) June 25, 2019
Veteran swingman Vince Carter spent the first 6 1/2 seasons of his career with Toronto (1998-2004) and he and the team have mended fences after a bitter split between them years ago. Carter, who just completed his 20th season, is an unrestricted free agent this summer and Ujiri did not rule out Monday a potential place for Carter with the franchise.
Masai, asked if they have interest in signing Vince Carter: "Let me deal with the No. 1 free agent first, the big one, then we'll deal with the rest."
"There's a place for him here in history, there's no doubt about that. There's nobody that's going to stop that."
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) June 25, 2019
Ujiri also commented on his future with the Raptors, as talk of him pursuing a front-office job with the Washington Wizards bubbled up shortly after the Finals clincher. In short, he sees himself staying in Toronto as long as they will have him.
Masai, asked if he has a long-term future with the Raptors: "Yes. For me it's always been about Toronto. I love it here. My family loves it here. My wife loves it here, which is important. My kids are Canadian. I want to win more… In my mind, I'm here."
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) June 25, 2019
— 12:12 p.m.
The Utah Jazz pulled off the most recent super-trade of the summer, reaching a reported agreement with the Memphis Grizzlies for star point guard Mike Conley. That trade isn’t expected to be officially given the NBA’s OK until July 6.
While Conley isn’t officially a member of the Jazz (yet), he has apparently gotten in a workout with Utah’s other star guard, Donovan Mitchell. Thanks to video from Twitter users @ChrisJHoops (Chris Johnson) and @swishcultures, Jazz fans got an early look at their new backcourt.
(And as eagle-eyed observers will note, he’s also wearing a Jazz “note”-style logo t-shirt during the workout, too.)
Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley Jr. are already building that teammate chemistry 🏀
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 25, 2019
If you missed it at last night’s NBA Awards red carpet show, Conley also talked about the pending deal to Utah and how he learned about it…
— 11:25 a.m.
Free agency doesn’t officially open until 6 p.m. on July 30, but the day beforehand, teams can begin scheduling meetings with free agents starting at 6 p.m. The Golden State Warriors have two of the prime free-agent targets of the summer on their roster and won’t be wasting time getting a meeting in with them.
Warriors GM Bob Myers told reporters on Monday that the team plans to schedule meetings with forward Kevin Durant and guard Klay Thompson. Per The Mercury News, the Warriors have held to Durant’s wishes to not have recruiting tactics, such as putting up billboards in the Bay Area. As for Thompson, The Mercury News reports he is expected to agree to a deal provided it is a five-year, $190 million one the Warriors have said they will offer.
When asked Monday of his level of optimism in keeping both players with Golden State, Myers simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “We’ll see.”
Coach Steve Kerr recently told ESPN’s Nick Friedell that there will be no formal recruiting pitch to either player.
“There’s no recruiting,” Kerr said. “We’re not doing any videos and tours of the city. Basically it’s a ‘We want you back and we hope you decide to come back and see what happens,’ but we’re at a different place now,” Kerr said. “But any time you’re trying to retain your own players, I think the song and dance, the pomp and circumstance is unnecessary and I actually think it’s unnecessary even for other players. You just got to do what you got to do, but with our group it’s just — conversation.”
— 11:02 a.m.
As difficult as the 2018-19 season was for the Washington Wizards at large, it was a solid one individually for guard Bradley Beal. He posted career highs in scoring (25.6 points per game), rebounding (5.0 per game), assists (5.5 per game), steals (1.5 per game) and minutes played (3,028). Washington, however, was not as successful as injuries to John Wall, Dwight Howard and others left the team with a 32-50 record.
Beal was in Santa Monica, Calif., last night for the 2019 NBA Awards, where he claimed the NBA Cares Community Assist award. He just missed out on qualifying for a supermax contract extension after not making one of the 2019 All-NBA teams. Beal told The Washington Post last night he was “definitely” open to discussing a contract extension with the team.
“I have thought about it but I haven’t really full-out processed it,” he said, in an interview at the Barker Hangar following his award presentation on Monday. “I still have two years left. We just drafted Rui [Hachimura] and I want to see what we do in free agency before I make the ultimate decision. I haven’t even been offered it officially. Until that happens, I’ll wait and think about it. I’ll have an ample amount of time to process everything and make a decision when the time is right.
“I’d be naive to say I wouldn’t be [interested in extension talks]. Washington is where I’ve been the last seven years, going on eight. It would be great to play in one place forever. But at the same time, you want to win and make sure you’re in a position to do so. I’m definitely going to evaluate who we hire as the GM and who we pick up on the team. All that plays a factor.”
After such a rough season overall, trade rumors swirled about the Wizards and Beal’s name came up in some rumors. Beal said Monday that he has been assured by Washington’s owner (Ted Leonsis), its interim GM (Tommy Sheppard) and his coach (Scott Brooks) that he will not be traded.
“They’ve been very transparent and that’s been great,” Beal told The Washington Post. “They’re not keeping me in the dark about anything, even about the trade rumors. … It’s great having that peace of mind.”
— 10:42 a.m.
Over the last 12 years, the Houston Rockets have proven they are not a team to stand pat under general manager Daryl Morey’s watch. After falling short of their stated dream — a trip to The Finals — for a second straight season, Morey doesn’t think his team is about to fall back in the Western Conference.
Quite the contrary, actually. Morey spoke at the 2019 NBA Awards last night in Santa Monica, Calif., and made it clear he still believes his team is among the best of the best in the NBA. Per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Morey sounded confident that not only would his core players from last season be back come 2019-20, but more talent could join their mix.
“I think we’re going to have our starting five, plus a top-level mid-level. Maybe we’ll do better than that,” Morey said. “We’re going to be the favorites in the West, for sure. We were the best team down the stretch with that group and that’s without adding one more quality player like we’re going to do. Most teams are scrambling to keep their starting unit together. We got ours next year.”
Morey said the free agent competition for the top players appears unusually wide open. But he strongly indicated that his free agency game plan is built around winning the recruiting battle for a free agent that would play for a mid-level exception, to be worth $5.7 million in the first season.
“I don’t like the moves to open up cap room,” Morey said. “Makes it harder for me. I like the moves that make it harder to get people. All the moves have been cap-related. That probably worked against us the past couple days. But hey, it’s a competition. There’s going to be a competition.
“There are a couple real top guys, but it seems wide open. It seems more wide open. There’s a couple of guys you pretty much know where they are going. The rest are a mystery. They keep their circle real tight.”
Aside from that, Morey also shot down talk of a rift between star guards James Harden and Chris Paul, with Paul reportedly wanting out of Houston. Paul told the Houston Chronicle on Sunday he is “very happy” to know he will be back with the team next season. Morey added Monday that he had recently spoken with Paul about next season and playing for the Rockets.
“The discussion should be we are favorites next year and let people beat that up. That’s been really strange for me. It just started and kept going.
“The lines of communication are good. I just left a meeting with Chris.”
— 10:30 a.m.
* * *