NBA Free Agency 2018: July 1 roundup


NBA free agency is officially open for business and, if you missed it, here are some of the big deals that were reportedly agreed to early Sunday morning:

* George verbally commits to Thunder
* Reports: James, Cavs spoke at 12:01 a.m. ET

* Jordan, Mavs reportedly agree to deal
* Reports: Durant to re-sign with Warriors
* Reports: Paul, Rockets reach four-year deal
* And much more …

As NBA free agency rolls along, keep up on all the latest news and reports from around the league …

* * *

Reports: Several teams pursue big man Booker

Veteran forward Trevor Booker is drawing interest from several teams in free agency, reports Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune and Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.com. The Utah Jazz — whom Booker played for from 2014-16 — are among the teams in pursuit of him, writes Jones (via Twitter):

The Utah Jazz have reached out to unrestricted free agent forward Trevor Booker, league sources tell The Salt Lake Tribune. Booker has previously played for the Jazz

Aside from Utah, the New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves (among others) have interest in Booker, too, reports Kennedy:

The Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans have expressed interest in free agent Trevor Booker, according to league sources. They join the Minnesota Timberwolves, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs (whom I mentioned last night) as possible suitors for the big man.

— 2:49 p.m.

* * *

Aldridge: Capela to meet with Lakers

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela enjoyed a career season in 2017-18, setting personal bests in scoring (13.9 ppg), rebounding (10.8 rpg) and blocks (1.9 bpg). That has made him a hot target in free agency this summer and, per Turner Sports’ David Aldridge, Capela set to meet with the Los Angeles Lakers this afternoon.

Here’s more from Aldridge (via Twitter): 

Lakers, working multiple scenarios, will meet this afternoon with Rockets RFA Clint Capela, per league source.

Certainly makes sense for LA to look into Capela, even if it’s a long shot. Can’t imagine Rockets wouldn’t match any potential offer sheet, but no harm in trying.

Capela was a vital part of Houston’s record-breaking offense in 2017-18, serving as the ultimate roll man after setting screens for James Harden and Chris Paul. Capela, 24, could very well improve over the length of his next NBA contract. 

— 2:36 p.m.

* * *

Report: Mavs likely to re-sign Nowitzki with remaining cap space

The Dallas Mavericks opened free agency by reportedly reaching a deal with former All-Star center DeAndre Jordan. To make room for that agreement to work out, Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki and the team mutually agreed to him opting out of his contract.

There’s no need for Mavs fans to fret, however, about Nowitzki going anywhere this summer. Per Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania (via Twitter), the Mavs are expected to use their remaining salary cap space to get Nowitzki back under contract:

The Dallas Mavericks will likely utilize remaining $5M in salary cap space to re-sign franchise cornerstone Dirk Nowitzki, league sources tell Yahoo. Nowitzki’s $5M team option was declined before start of free agency to give Dallas flexibility.

If Nowitzki does return, he would become the first player to spend all 21 seasons with the same NBA franchise.

The Nowitzki opt-out was designed to create more room under the salary cap, as were decisions to rescind qualifying offers to shooting guard Doug McDermott and center Salah Mejri, making both unrestricted free agents. McDermott reportedly reached an agreement on a deal with the Indiana Pacers overnight. 

— 2:31 p.m.

* * *

Reports: Robinson III, Pistons reach deal

Former Slam Dunk Contest winner Glenn Robinson III of the Indiana Pacers has reached a deal with the Detroit Pistons. According to both ESPN’s Marc J. Spears and Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania, Robinson III has agreed to a two-year deal:

Sources: Robinson will sign a two-year, $8.3M deal with the Pistons, including team option. Robinson has financial security and Detroit gets talented wing.

Free agent Glenn Robinson III has agreed to a two-year, $4 million deal with the Pistons with a team option on the second year, a source told @TheUndefeated

Robinson confirmed the move on Twitter:

Motor city!!! Back in Michigan on a new level!! @DetroitPistons@UMich#overlydedicated

— 2:08 p.m.

* * *

Reports: Jennings deal still not guaranteed

Earlier in this space, we brought you news that the Milwaukee Bucks had reportedly guaranteed guard Brandon Jennings’ contract for 2018-19. That appears to not be the case now and his contract remains a non-guaranteed deal.

Matt Velazquez of the Journal Sentinel and ESPN’s Marc J. Spears both report that the guarantee date for Jennings’ contract is next month:

Bucks guard Brandon Jennings was completely under the impression that his $2.2 million contract was guaranteed for next season, a source told @TheUndefeated. But apparently the Bucks are still deliberating to Jenning’s surprise, a source said.

Brandon Jennings’ contract guarantee date has been moved from July 1 to August 1.

— 1:16 p.m.

* * *

Reports: Sixers meeting with LeBron’s reps

What team provides LeBron James with the best chance to win now?

The Philadelphia 76ers have long been thought to be one of a handful of teams with a chance at landing unrestricted free agent LeBron James. To sell LeBron James on landing in Philadelphia, though, the Sixers will apparently have to make their first pitch to him without James actually around.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon report (via Twitter) the Sixers are meeting with LeBron James’ representatives today in Los Angeles. James, however, will not be in this meeting. Here’s more from Wojnarowski on ESPN.com:

A high-level Philadelphia 76ers contingent is meeting with LeBron James’ agent, Rich Paul, on Sunday in Los Angeles, league sources told ESPN.

James isn’t expected to attend the meeting, which is the first significant chance for the 76ers to make case a free-agent case to James, league sources said. Ownership and possibly interim president of basketball operations/coach Brett Brown are expected to lead the meeting with James’ representatives, sources said.

The Sixers have the ability to sign James to a $35.6 million annual max salary, partnering him potentially with two of the NBA’s best young stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

According to The Associated Press’ Tom Withers and ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the Cleveland Cavaliers spoke with James when NBA free agency opened at 12:01 ET Sunday. According to the reports, Cavs general manager Koby Altman spoke on the phone to both James and his agent Rich Paul.

Per Vardon, a source close to James said James would not be involved in any of these initial meetings with teams.

James is an unrestricted free agent and the Cavs are hoping to re-sign the three-time champion, who is weighing whether to change teams for the third time in eight years. James is also being pursued by the Los Angeles Lakers, who have enough salary-cap space to sign him and another star player.

— 12:23 p.m.

* * *

Reports: Knicks reach deal with Kornet

The New York Knicks don’t have much salary cap room after Enes Kanter opted into his deal for 2018-19. However, they will be bringing one of their young big men back next season (according to multiple reports).

Center Luke Kornet, who appeared in 20 games and averaged 6.7 points per game, has agreed to terms on a one-year, $1.6 million deal. Here’s more from Marc Berman of the New York Post on Kornet’s deal:

The Post has learned the Knicks have agreed to terms on a one-year deal for $1.6 million for Kornet, who was a restricted free agent. The $1.6 million stands as more than his minimum, as the Knicks dished out his non-Bird exception.

Kornet, the 3-point-shooting former Vanderbilt star, was on a two-way deal with the Knicks last season after going undrafted. He played in 20 games, mostly late in the season, and shot 35 percent from 3-point range.

Kornet wasn’t certain how long the free-agent process would take, and sources said a couple of teams expressed preliminary interest entering Sunday’s first full day of free agency. The Knicks also drafted project center Mitchell Robinson in the second round, making Kornet a further question mark.

— 11:29 a.m.

* * *

Aldridge: Four teams in mix for McGee

JaVale McGee has two championship rings to his name, earning them as a backup center for the Golden State Warriors the last two seasons. The big man is a free agent this summer and, after proving to be a valued piece of the Warriors’ rotation, has drawn interest from several teams on the open market.

Per our David Aldridge (via Twitter), the Warriors and three other squads are in the mix for McGee:

Warriors, Lakers, Pelicans and Thunder currently in the mix for @JaValeMcGee, per source.

Mark Medina of The Mercury News reports it is unclear if McGee will return to Oakland or seek a big free-agent deal elsewhere:

The Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans are among the teams that expressed interest in McGee, league sources said. Though McGee recently told Bay Area News Group he would consider returning to the Warriors on a veteran minimum’s deal, he would also like to see what offers he receives. Meanwhile, the Warriors are prioritizing bolstering their wing depth and adding young players to complement their top-heavy talent.

How this turns out could become as unpredictable as McGee’s role with the Warriors in the 2017-18 season. Although McGee has attracted interest from Golden State, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles and New Orleans so far, any partnership with any of those teams partly hinge on what other moves they make with their roster.

In 65 games last season, McGee averaged 4.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 9.5 minutes per game.

— 11:02 a.m.

Report: Jennings won’t be waived by Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks used the first few hours of free agency to reach a reported deal with former Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova. Hours later, the Bucks have reportedly decided to not part ways with another player from their recent past.

ESPN’s Marc J. Spears reports (via Twitter) that the Bucks are not waiving guard Brandon Jennings, thus guaranteeing his contract for next season.

The Bucks will not waive guard Brandon Jennings at the deadline today thus making his $2.2 million contract guaranteed for next season, a source told ESPN’s The Undefeated.

Jennings was signed to a multi-year deal in early April after playing on two 10-day deals with the team. He averaged 5.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in 14 games with the Bucks last season.

Before joining Milwaukee, Jennings played for the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks’ G League affiliate. He also played for Shanxi Zhongyu in the Chinese CBA before his G League stint. In the 2009 Draft, the Bucks selected Jennings with the 10th overall pick. He was traded by the team to the Detroit Pistons on Feb. 16, 2016.

— 10:57 a.m.

* * *

Reports: VanVleet returning to Raptors

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has apparently gotten his summer payday. According to both Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania and The Athletic’s Michael Scotto, VanVleet has agreed to return to the Raptors on a two-year, $18 million deal.

Here’s more from Scotto on the deal (via Twitter):

The Toronto Raptors and Fred VanVleet have agreed to a two-year, $18 million deal, league sources told The Athletic. No options are included in the deal. VanVleet was a finalist for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award.

The deal was also reported via Twitter by Turner Sports’ David Aldridge.

Last season, VanVleet averaged 8.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game — all of which were career highs — as he emerged as one of the top backup guards in the NBA.

— 10:39 a.m.

Report: Knicks reach out to Johnson

Veteran big man Amir Johnson could be on the New York Knicks’ free-agency radar. New York does not have much salary cap room this summer after center Enes Kanter opted in. But per Ian Begley of ESPN (via Twitter), Johnson could be a name New York pursues to round out its frontcourt for 2018-19 …

From earlier: The Knicks are one of the teams that’s reached out to veteran forward Amir Johnson on the first night of free agency, per ESPN sources. New York has been consistent in telling agents it strongly prefers to sign players to one-year deals this summer.

The Knicks may not be the only ones after Johnson, though. Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports via Twitter that L.A.’s two teams have interest in Johnson as well:

Can confirm reports that Lakers and Clippers both have interest in Amir Johnson, per source. Both teams will talk with him today.

Additionally, Begley reports (via Twitter) that former Orlando Magic swingman Mario Hezonja had the Knicks at the top of his free-agent wish list

Shortly before midnight, several league execs were under the impression that Mario Hezonja saw the Knicks as his top choice in free agency. It will be interesting to see if a longer contract offer from another suitor impacts negotiations here.

— 8:43 a.m.

* * *

Nuggets reportedly want meeting with James

Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck shares his viewpoint on LeBron James and more.

Will Barton and Nikola Jokic — two incumbent standout players on the Denver Nuggets — reportedly got their respective paydays yesterday. Now, it seems, the Nuggets are wanting a crack at reeling in an even bigger fish this summer.

While Denver doesn’t have much cap room left after those deals, it hasn’t stopped them from trying to secure a meeting with LeBron James, too, writes Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports:

The Denver Nuggets are aggressively pursuing a meeting with star free-agent forward LeBron James, a league source told Yahoo Sports, hoping to convince James that Denver’s talent makes the Nuggets an ideal short-term fit.

Denver has been in contact with James’ agent, Rich Paul, and has doggedly tried to position the team as James’ best option, the source said. Paul George’s decision to re-sign with Oklahoma City has taken a potential James teammate in Los Angeles off the board, and thus far the Lakers’ talks with San Antonio for Kawhi Leonard have gained no traction.

The Nuggets were busy on Sunday, agreeing to terms with Nikola Jokic on a five-year, $147 million deal and with Will Barton on a four-year, $53 million contract. Denver doesn’t have the cap space to sign James, but the Nuggets have several sizable expiring contracts that could be off-loaded to teams that want to clear cap space for the summer of 2019.

The Nuggets are eager for an opportunity to sell James on a frontcourt pairing with Jokic, a 23-year-old franchise center and one of the NBA’s best passing big men. A Jokic-James pairing would instantly make Denver one of the best playmaking teams in the league.

Paul reportedly talked with the Cavs’ general manager, Koby Altman, at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday — the moment free agency opened across the NBA.

— 7:26 a.m.

Report: Pelicans, Lakers talk to Cousins early on

Which team might would provide the best fit for DeMarcus Cousins?

Former All-Star center DeAndre Jordan is reportedly already off the free-agent market. But there’s still another big free-agent center to be had — and he has no shortage of suitors. 

DeMarcus Cousins of the New Orleans Pelicans got attention as free agency opened last night, fielding calls from both his incumbent team as well as the Los Angeles Lakers. ESPN’s Marc J. Spears reports face-to-face meetings between Cousins and both teams could happen sometime today:

New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins received phone calls from the Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers on the first day of NBA free agency on Sunday, a source told ESPN’s The Undefeated.

Cousins, a four-time All-Star, could meet with the Pelicans and Lakers on Sunday, but it is uncertain if such meetings would take place in person or over the phone. Cousins is currently in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.

A first-time unrestricted free agent, Cousins might be a stronger target for the LeBron James-seeking Lakers after free-agent guard Paul George decided to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Cousins could be re-signed by the Pelicans to a two-year deal. The Lakers, however, are a team that Cousins expressed interest in being traded to during his latter years with the Sacramento Kings.

A source close to Cousins said it might be time for him to play on a big-market stage after playing in Sacramento and New Orleans.

Cousins averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds in 48 games, during which New Orleans went 27-21. He suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in late January, but the Pelicans still managed to advance to the Western Conference semifinals behind the play of All-Star big man Anthony Davis and two-way guard Jrue Holiday.

— 7:12 a.m.

* * *

Warriors reportedly reach out to Looney

Reserve forward Kevon Looney is perhaps one of the under-the-radar free agents to watch this summer. According to a recent report, thought, the incumbent Golden State Warriors let Looney know they’d like him to stay with them going forward.

Per Mark Medina of the Bay Area News Group, the Warriors got in touch with Looney shortly after free agency officially opened at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday:

The Warriors contacted Looney shortly after free agency began on Saturday to express interest in retaining him, league sources told Bay Area News Group. But just as the Warriors had feared after declining to make his $2.3 million contract for next season guaranteed, Looney is expected to field interest elsewhere.

The Warriors and Looney would both like to extend their partnership together after the third-year, 22-year-old forward achieved a potential turning point in his young NBA career. After playing only a combined 58 games through his first two seasons because of overlapping hip injuries that required surgery, Looney posted career-highs in points (4.4), shooting percentage (58.0), rebounds (3.3), minutes (13.8) and games played (66). But Looney had missed only one game attributed to an ailment (flu-like symptoms).

Yet, both the Warriors and Looney have their own reasons for possibly parting ways.

The Warriors can only pay Looney up to $2.3 million per year, while Looney would like to entertain what offers he might receive elsewhere. Looney would like to return to the Warriors because of the team’s championship culture, and how he has developed under coach Steve Kerr and his All-Star teammates. The Warriors would like Looney to return because of his defense, work ethic and knowledge of NBA personnel. While the Warriors hope he does not attract too much outside interest because of his limited offensive game, the 22-year-old Looney would like long-term security and a chance to grow his role.

— 7:20 a.m. 

* * *

Reports: Stauskas, Blazers reach deal

Guard Nik Stauskas, who shot a career-best 40.4 percent on 3-pointers last season, is apparently headed back to the Western Conference.

According to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian and ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Stauskas has agreed to a 1-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. Last season, the Blazers saw their 3-point shooting take a significant downturn in the playoffs — making just 33.1 percent of their attempts (second-worst in the playoffs) after ranking 11th in that category (36.6 percent) during the season

Here’s more from Freeman on the deal with Stauskas:

The Blazers on Saturday agreed to a 1-year deal with unrestricted free agent Nik Stauskas, according to agent Mark Bartelstein, adding the 6-foot-6 former lottery pick to a bench that will look significantly different next season.

Stauskas, who was drafted with the No. 8 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, has averaged 7.0 points and 2.1 rebounds during a four-year NBA career that has also included stops in Philadelphia and Brooklyn.

He last played for the Nets, who acquired him in a multi-player deal before the 2018 trade deadline but elected not to tender him a qualifying offer after the season.

Stauskas’ best season came with the 76ers in 2016-17, when he averaged 9.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists — all career-highs — while shooting 37 percent from three-point range. He played in 80 games, including 27 starts, that season.

— 6:55 a.m.

* * *

East Player Movement | West Player Movement | Free Agent Tracker

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