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NBA free agency is now officially underway with negotiations between teams and players happening all around the National Basketball Association. Players can begin start officially signing deals on July 6.
For now, Teams are allowed to negotiate with free agents which began on June 30th, at 6 p.m. ET, also known as the moratorium period. The top players to watch include James Harden, Collin Sexton, Miles Bridges, and Deandre Ayton.
Jalen Brunson’s deal with the New York Knicks was confirmed as the major free agent signing to start the Moratorium period, scheduled to be signing a 4 year contract, worth $104 million dollar deal – A reported 26 million dollars per year.
With that being said, The NBA free agency frenzy is officially here as there was over 30 deals in just day one alone. Can the Lakers get a deal done for Kyrie Irving? What will be the fallout from Kevin Durant’s shocking trade request? What’s the biggest moves of free agency so far? Let’s report what happened on such a big day for NBA Basketball:
- Guess who’s back? (Re-signings)
#1: Bradley Beal reportedly signed for a five-year, $250 million max contract with the Wizards according to his agent Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports. Beal, 29, has played his entire 10-year career with the Wizards, has now committed himself to the franchise for the duration of his prime.
Last year’s stats: 23.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 6.6 assists in 40 games for Washington last season before undergoing wrist surgery in February.
#2: The Phoenix Suns All-NBA guard Devin Booker will finalize a four-year, $224 million supermax contract extension that he’s set to sign as soon as early next week. Devin Booker already had two years and roughly $70 million left on his original rookie extension, which would bring the total commitment the Suns are making to Booker up to around $284 million over six years altogether. He will also be the cover athlete for NBA 2K23, per sources.
Last year’s stats: Averaged a career-high 26.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, & 4.8 assists per game to help lead the Suns to a 64-win season.
#3: Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves have agreed to a four-year, $224M super max extension. The extension is in addition to the $70 million Towns is owed over the next two seasons.
Last year’s numbers: KAT averaged 24.6 points (on 53/41/82 shooting splits), 9.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.1 combined blocks and steals in 33.5 minutes per game last season.
#4: Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to a five-year, $193M rookie max contract extension that could be worth up to $231M due to incentives. The deal also includes a 15% trade kicker according to Ja Morant’s agent, Jim Tanner of Tandem/YouFirst Sports. From Rookie of the Year, to NBA All-Star starter, to All-NBA Second Team and Most Improved Player – The sky is the limit for young Ja Morant.
Last year’s numbers: At 22 years old, averaging 27.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists, Ja Morant has earned the right to receive this amount of money.
#5: Denver Nuggets two-time MVP Nikola Jokic has agreed to the richest contract in NBA history – a five-year, $270M super maximum contract extension, his agents Jeff Schwartz and Mike Lindeman of Excel basketball. The deal includes a player option and a trade kicker. The contract will kick in during the 2023-24 season at $46.6 million and climb every season until 2027-28, when Jokic is set to make $61.5 million per year!
Last year’s numbers: The back-to-back NBA MVP averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists in 74 games for the Nuggets last season, beating Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid to win the league’s top individual honor for a second straight season, becoming the 15th player to win at least two MVP awards in their career and the 10th to win them in back-to-back seasons.
- New Team, Who Dis?
#1: Kevin Durant & Kyrie Irving are reported to have requested trades to leave the Brooklyn Nets. For Kevin Durant specifically, His desire to get out of town is reportedly so serious that he delivered the news “directly” to team governor Joe Tsai, along with a list of preferred landing spots headlined by the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns.
Kyrie Irving is on the fence at the moment, he loves Brooklyn because it’s essentially his hometown, only 1 hour away from New Jersey. Irving is “fully supportive” of Durant’s trade request, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Irving knew Durant trade request was possible when he opted in to the final year of his contract. It’s only rumors right now, but a big rumor that could change the landscape of the NBA.
#2: The Lakers made some small signings to help LeBron James this upcoming season. After the Spurs pulled their qualifying offer, Lonnie Walker IV is joining the Lakers on a one-year, $6.5 million contract. The Lakers have also agreed to a two-year deal with center Damian Jones, and a minimum contract with Troy Brown Jr.
#3: Free agent center Andre Drummond is joining the Chicago Bulls on a two-year deal worth $6.6 million with a player option. The two-time all-star is expecting a significant role on the Bulls this season.
#4: PJ Tucker’s career will continue next season with the Philadelphia 76ers. Tucker will receive a fully guaranteed deal worth $33.2 million over three years – Not bad for the 37 year old veteran.
- What’s next? (My top 2 predictions on free agent landing spots)
#1: DeAndre Ayton to The Toronto Raptors – Current betting odds have the Detroit Pistons as the favorite (+150) to get DeAndre Ayton through a sign-and-trade, I personally disagree with that statement considering that the Pistons not only drafted a project center in Jalen Duran for the NBA Draft last Thursday but also agreed last Tuesday to acquire big man Nerlens Noel, along with guard Alec Burks, from the New York Knicks.
On the Toronto Raptors, it’s a perfect move to pair the likes of Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, and Ayton together that could turn the Raptors back into title contenders again. In 2022, Ayton averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds a game, with a 63.4% field goal percentage and 30 double-doubles. That’s in the top 10 for centers in terms of points, rebounds, and field goal percentage. With numbers like that, it makes the most sense to give him a superstar role with a great supporting cast around him like the Toronto Raptors.
#2: Miles Bridges potentially to the Detroit Pistons – After being arrested on June 29th for Domestic Violence charges, Miles Bridges chances with the Charlotte Hornets are likely to not work out as Bridges was looking to make the max during free agency. This is where the Detroit Pistons come in to play, as they need a power forward, and Bridges is the best option there. Unless you really think that a starting frontcourt of Isaiah Stewart/Marvin Bagley III will make the Pistons a playoff team, which it won’t.
Last year’s numbers: Miles averaged a career-high 20.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. The Pistons fanbase will hate this move at first due to the action of his crimes from Wednesday night, but the move makes the Pistons a playoff contender, and gives Cade Cunningham his first real NBA all-star level teammate.
In conclusion, more news will be reported tomorrow for Day 2 of NBA Free Agency. The speculation and rumors that surround free agency are what make this time of the year truly entertaining. This summer may not have some of the biggest names available on the free-agent market, but it’s still going to be a hectic offseason. Thank you for reading!