It was expected that this year’s NBA free agency would be chaotic, and the opening day of the feeding frenzy did not disappoint.
In Sunday’s biggest news, two of the biggest players available on the market — Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — are both headed to the Brooklyn Nets. Durant confirmed his agreement on his Instagram site, Boardroom. His deal is a four-year, $161 million contract, while Irving’s is a four-year, $141 million contract with a player option on the final year. The Nets are said to have also added center DeAndre Jordan and guard Garrett Temple, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
In the biggest shocker of the day, the Warriors rebounded from losing Durant by executing a sign-and-trade late in the evening to acquire guard D’Angelo Russell from Brooklyn, with the young point guard agreeing to a four-year, $117 million deal. To clear the cap space for Russell, Golden State had to deal former Finals MVP Andre Iguodala to Memphis.
Meanwhile, two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who just led the Toronto Raptors to their first-ever championship, has not yet decided on a team. He is expected to choose between the Raptors, the Clippers, and the Lakers.
As the night wore on, several of the bigger names available finally settled on their new destinations. Jimmy Butler, a midseason acquisition of the Sixers last season, became enamored with Miami this summer and ultimately wound up with the Heat via sign-and-trade.
Philadelphia had no trouble finding takers for its money, though. Tobias Harris, a player the Jazz had been interested in, but ultimately deemed too difficult to get given salary constraints, ultimately elected to re-sign with the 76ers, who acquired him last season before the trade deadline. He will earn $180 million over five years. Philly also agreed to a four-year, $109M deal with big man Al Horford, giving the team a curiously large lineup.
Former Weber State star and current Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard agreed to a four-year supermax extension with his current team, worth $196 million. That will begin at the end of his current contract, so Lillard is slated to make $257 million over the next six years, including $54.25 million in the final year of the contract. The Athletic’s Shams Charania was first to report the deal.
Knicks fans distraught over not landing Durant and Irving did not come away totally empty-handed, at least, as the team wound up settling for young power forward Julius Randle (inking him to a three-year, $63 million contract) and old power forward Taj Gibson (two years, $20M).
Dallas was able to retain restricted free agent forward Kristaps Porzingis — who has yet to play a game for the Mavericks after the team acquired him midseason — with a five-year, $158 million deal.
Milwaukee was able to retain two of its most important players: Khris Middleton signed a five-year, near-maximum contract worth $178 million to stay with the team, while shooting center Brook Lopez stayed with a somewhat below market, four-year, $52 million deal.
However, the Bucks are losing restricted free agent guard Malcolm Brogdon, who is headed to Indiana in a sign-and-trade deal. The Pacers will send a future first-round pick and two future seconds to Milwaukee in exchange for Brogdon, who is said to be getting an $85 million deal. The Pacers added to their backcourt with a three-year, $31.5 million deal for Jeremy Lamb.
It had been rumored that former Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio was Indiana-bound, but with the Brogdon deal occurring, he pivoted and landed a three-year, $51 million deal with Phoenix, according to Charania.
Orlando is keeping a pair of its players around. Nikola Vucevic signed a four-year, $100 million deal to stay after making it to the All-Star game last season, while Terrence Ross signed a four-year, $54 million contract to stay with the Magic. Al-Farouq Aminu, formerly of Portland, signed a three-year, $29 million deal to join the Magic as well.
Center Jonas Valanciunas also agreed to a new contract with his current team, the Memphis Grizzlies, with a three-year, $45 million deal.
The Sacramento Kings had a busy day, which began with re-signing forward Harrison Barnes for four years and $85M. Then, Atlanta Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon came to a three-year, $40 million agreement, The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported. The Kings also signed wing shooter and defender Trevor Ariza on a two-year, $25 million contract.
As Kemba Walker looks to sign with the Boston Celtics, the Charlotte Hornets gave a three-year, $58 million dollar contract to Terry Rozier, a deal that will have to be completed through a sign-and-trade with Boston. San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay signed a two-year, $32 million agreement to stay with his team.
Thaddeus Young, who had reportedly been a player of some interest to the Jazz, agreed to a three-year, $41 million deal with the young Chicago Bulls, Yahoo Sports reported. Former league MVP Derrick Rose is leaving the Timberwolves to sign a two-year, $15 million contract with the Detroit Pistons.
Former Pacers forward Thaddeus Young jumped to the Chicago Bulls for three years, $41 million, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
Some of the day’s more minor moves included several former Jazzman: Rodney Hood, agreed to stay with the Blazers, agreeing to a two-year, $16 million contract; DeMarre Carroll agreed to join the Spurs for two years and $12 million; and postseason sparkplug George Hill re-upped in Milwaukee for three years, $29M.
Elsewhere, Danuel House signed a three-year, $11.1 million contract to stay with the Houston Rockets; restricted free agent center Thomas Bryant remained with the Wizards for three years, $25 million; Mike Scott re-upped in Philadelphia for two years, $9.8 million; and Nerlens Noel is staying in Oklahoma City.
As for other undecided free agents, some of the top uncommitted players remaining besides Leonard include DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Beverley, and Danny Green — plus Klay Thompson, the injured Warriors sharpshooter assumed to be signing a max extension to remain with Golden State, but who had not technically come to terms yet.