2019 Free Agency
NBA Offseason 2019: June 28 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. In addition, free agency will open at 6 p.m. ET on June 30. Keep up on all the latest news, talks and more as the offseason takes flight:
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Veteran point guard Darren Collison has decided to retire from the NBA after 10 seasons to focus on his family and faith, he wrote in a letter on ESPN’s The Undefeated.
“While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important, which is my family and my faith,” Collison said. “I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and my faith means everything to me. I receive so much joy from volunteering to help others and participate in a worldwide ministry. The joy I feel is unmatched. With that being said, I have decided to retire from the NBA.”
Drafted out of UCLA in 2009, Collison played for the New Orleans Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, LA Clippers and Sacramento Kings.
The 31-year-old was expected to draw interest from several teams in free agency.
— 11:45 p.m.
As many anticipated, Kevin Durant will explore his options and meet with a few teams when free agency opens up on June 30. That list of teams has reportedly been made known. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Warriors superstar “plans to engage” with four franchises: The Brooklyn Nets, LA Clippers, New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors.
Here’s more from Wojnarowski:
There’s expected to be some combination of face-to-face meetings and communications by other means with Durant and his business manager, Rich Kleiman, front-office sources told ESPN.
Durant’s decision-making process could extend well into next week, league sources told ESPN.
— 9:37 p.m.
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported Thursday that Kawhi Leonard is expected to meet with the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers first once free agency opens on Sunday night. Now we know who he hopes to be chatting with. According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Leonard made a personal request that his meeting with the Lakers only include owner Jeanie Buss and former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson.
Kawhi Leonard will speak to the Los Angeles Lakers in the next few days and has made a personal request that only owner Jeanie Buss and Magic Johnson, the team’s former president of basketball operations, be involved in the meeting, sources told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
Leonard did not opt in to the final year of his contract with the Raptors, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Johnson isn’t permitted to be a part of official team meetings with prospective free agents, however, as ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne points out:
Magic Johnson says he will help the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency in any way he can, but he is not permitted by NBA rules to be part of official team meetings with prospective free agents. Johnson said he has not been asked by the Lakers or owner Jeanie Buss to participate.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 28, 2019
— 5:45 p.m.
The Nets have extended a qualifying offer to All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell, making him a restricted free agent, reports The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Sources: Brooklyn has extended a qualifying offer to All-Star free agent D’Angelo Russell, making him a restricted free agent.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 28, 2019
The 23-year-old point guard is coming off a career season in which he averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds. In four NBA seasons, Russell is averaging 16.5 points and 5.1 assists. Russell was also a main reason the Nets landed back in the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15.
— 5:32 p.m.
The Magic are readying a four-year offer to their All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic, according to The New York Times‘ Marc Stein.
The Orlando Magic are preparing a four-year offer believed to be in excess of $90 million to their All-Star center Nikola Vucevic in hopes of completing a deal shortly after Sunday’s opening bell in free agency, league sources say.
Vucevic, who averaged 20.8 points and 12.0 rebounds last season, has averaged 15.7 points and 10.1 rebounds over his eight NBA seasons, the last seven spent with the Orlando Magic.
As Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix points out, Vucevic has been a top priority this summer for the Magic.
Magic have looked inward in preparing for free agency, with Vucevic and super sub Terrence Ross the priorities.
— 4:35 p.m.
Veteran guard George Hill will be waived by the Bucks and become a free agent, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Milwaukee guard George Hill will be waived and become a free agent, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Hill had a terrific finish to the season and will be a sought-after combo guard on the market. Bucks are working to find space to re-sign Hill, too.
The 33-year-old guard averaged 6.8 points in 47 games with the Bucks and 10.8 points in 13 games with the Cavaliers during the 2018-19 season. For his career, Hill has averaged 11.2 points and 3.2 assists.
— 4:16 p.m.
The Warriors plan to offer All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson a five-year, $190 million max contract when free agency opens Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Golden State Warriors are planning to offer All-Star guard Klay Thompson a five-year, $190 million maximum contract when free agency opens Sunday at 6 p.m. ET — which is expected to accelerate the process of general manager Bob Myers and Thompson’s agent, Greg Lawrence, quickly reaching a formal agreement, league sources tell ESPN.
Thompson and Lawrence have indicated throughout the past year that the five-time All-Star guard planned to return to the Warriors if offered the full five-year max deal — and that’s on course to happen now, league sources said.
Thompson has had seven straight seasons with at least 200 3-pointers, tied with Stephen Curry for the most in NBA history. He has eight straight seasons of shooting at least 40 percent from beyond the arc, which is the league’s second-longest active streak in the NBA behind Curry. His 1,798 career 3s are 16th all time. Thompson, the 11th overall pick in the 2011 Draft, is a five-time All-Star and two-time third-team All-NBA player averaging 19.5 points and 42 percent 3-point shooting in his career.
Thompson sustained a torn ACL in his left knee during Game 6 of The Finals and is in the midst of a lengthy recovery process. Recovery times vary, but ACL tears typically take roughly six months to rehab, with additional time after that to regain full strength and mobility.
The Warriors can now likely turn their attention to their other star free agent: Kevin Durant.
— 3:30 p.m.
The Sacramento Kings were on the cusp of the playoffs when they traded for Harrison Barnes last season, only to see that postseason dream fall short. Barnes reportedly declined his option with the Kings for next season, but that doesn’t mean their time is necessarily over.
Per multiple reports, the Kings seem to be planning on offering Barnes a four-year deal worth nearly $90 million once free agency opens on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET. Here’s more from Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee:
Harrison Barnes and the Kings are reportedly working toward an agreement that could keep the free agent small forward in Sacramento for years to come.
Reports surfaced Friday that the Kings were working on an extension that would pay Barnes $88 million to $90 million over four years. KHTK radio host Carmichael Dave Weiglein was the first to report those figures.
The Kings acquired Barnes in February in a deal that sent Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph to the Dallas Mavericks on the eve of the trade deadline. Barnes recently chose to decline a $25.1 million player option for next season, but Kings general manager Vlade Divac made it clear he would try to sign Barnes to a long-term extension.
“Harrison Barnes is a player who can score, who plays a position of need, somebody we’re looking to have a long future (with),” Divac said in February. “… I see him as a player who is going to help us go to the next level.”
The New York Times‘ Mark Stein also reports via Twitter that a similar pact may be in the works between the sides. Teams and players can set up meetings with each other starting June 29 at 6 p.m. ET.
Although Sacramento was 28-26 at the time it traded for Barnes, it sputtered down the stretch of the season and finished 39-43, nine games behind the No. 8-seeded LA Clippers. After averaging 17.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game with the Mavs (in 49 games), Barnes wasn’t quite as productive with the Kings, averaging 14.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 1.9 apg (in 28 games).
Barnes was a restricted free agent in 2016 and signed an offer sheet with the Mavs, which the incumbent Golden State Warriors could not match on the restricted free agent after they signed Kevin Durant.
— 2:18 p.m.
At the time of the Kawhi Leonard mega-trade last summer, swingman Danny Green was seen as a player thrown into the deal to make the salaries match. Yet Green was a vital contributor to the Toronto Raptors’ run to the 2019 championship (and Leonard was too, of course, garnering Finals MVP honors).
Like Leonard, Green enters this summer as a free agent — although decidedly not as big of a target as Leonard is. In an interview with HoopsHype.com’s Alex Kennedy, Green shared some insight into what he’s looking for this summer in free agency:
What are the top factors you will consider as you make your decision in free agency?
DG: For me, my biggest thing, my biggest mantra, is winning. I want to be in a situation where I can play, be effective and win. I want to be in an organization that is a contender, so I’m looking at a lot of places that have a really good foundation.
If Toronto brings everyone back, I think we have a really good shot of coming out of the East again. So why would I not want to be there? But things change and things move. [If the Raptors can’t bring everyone back], there are going to be other teams who are in the running and I want to see what those situations are. Obviously, I want to maximize on the dollar, but I also want to maximize on the situation. I know I’m not an All-Star or star player, but I want to be remembered as a great role player who won a lot of games and leave my mark in the league.
Do you have any preference in terms of the length of the deal that you will sign?
DG: This is the time where I’m getting older now, so I think I probably want to get as many years as possible. Because as I get even older, I don’t think there will be many teams offering me that kind of longevity or as much money. I think this is the time where I need to maximize the dollars on the longest amount of years that I can do. I would definitely love to get four years, ideally. But, obviously, I’m 32 years old now, so some teams may not want to offer a four-year deal. But I’d love a three-year or four-year deal.
— 9:15 a.m.
Kawhi Leonard is the reigning Finals MVP and just took the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA championship. He is also a player expected to command a lot of attention in free agency this summer.
It is unclear exactly which teams Leonard will speak with at this point. What does seem clear at this point — per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski — is that Leonard is expected to let the Raptors go after all the other teams in terms of making their pitch to him.
Here’s more from Wojnarowski:
Free agent Kawhi Leonard is expected to allow the Toronto Raptors to make the final presentation among the teams meeting with him in Los Angeles next week, league sources tell ESPN.
The incumbent often prefers to go last in trying to convince a player to stay with the team.
Raptors president Masai Ujiri said earlier this week that he texted with Leonard as recently as Monday and talked to Leonard’s uncle and adviser, Dennis Robertson, on Tuesday. Ujiri said he’s “confident” Leonard will decide to return to Toronto.
“We’ll wait. He’s our player and he’s a superstar on our team and we’ll wait on that,” Ujiri said.
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported yesterday that Leonard is expected to meet with the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers first once free agency opens on Sunday night.
— 7:29 a.m.
In the past day or so, the Boston Celtics have emerged as the reported leader to snag Kemba Walker in free agency. Whether or not that happens once free-agent talks open on Sunday is another story.
For the Charlotte Hornets, the thought of Walker (who has played his entire eight-season career with the franchise) leaving is an unpleasant one for a variety of reasons. How, exactly, did Charlotte get to this point with a player who has said he’d take less than the supermax to stay put?
Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer says it comes down to some simple numbers — and some difficult past contract decisions — that have paved this road:
If it comes down to losing Kemba Walker or paying luxury tax, the Charlotte Hornets will lose Walker.
The Hornets will not pay the NBA’s tax at the end of next season, and that makes it very dicey Walker, the Hornets’ all-time leading scorer, will re-sign. The Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers will have the salary cap space to assemble four-year, $140 million offers for Walker when free agency begins Sunday evening.
The Hornets have the option under NBA rules to pay Walker far more than any other team: up to $221 million over five seasons. But an informed source says the Hornets’ offer won’t come close to $221 million. Owner Michael Jordan will not sign off on a contract that would push the Hornets into tax jeopardy.
Aside from those facts, the re-signing of Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams to rich deals in 2016 tied up the Hornets’ future salary cap space. The contracts Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller sport are also steep, while last summer’s trade of Dwight Howard for Timofey Mozgov (who was then dealt for Bismack Biyombo) didn’t help matters, either.
In short, the Hornets have a tough road ahead if they plan to re-sign Walker … if they have a shot at all.
— 7:03 a.m.
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