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NBA free agent tracker: Jalen Brunson to Knicks highlights Day 1, several top names still available

NBA free agency started with the usual flurry of moves, but after the first day, some of the best players are still available. And one player who isn’t even a free agent overshadowed everything.

The free agency moratorium began on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. This is the time when free agents and teams can start talking about contracts and coming to an agreement. Teams can’t officially sign new contracts with players until July 6 at 12:01 p.m. ET, but that didn’t stop them from agreeing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars.

Many of Thursday’s biggest deals involved players going back to their original teams. Bradley Beal signed a five-year, $251 million deal with Washington, Anfernee Simons signed a four-year, $100 million deal with Portland, Lu Dort signed a five-year, $87.5 million deal with Oklahoma City, and Bobby Portis signed a four-year, $49 million deal with Milwaukee.

There were still a few splashes that stood out. Guard Jalen Brunson signed a four-year, $104 million deal with the New York Knicks, and defense whiz P.J. Tucker signed a three-year, $33.2 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Everything that happened on Thursday paled in comparison to the news that Kevin Durant asked the Brooklyn Nets to trade him just hours before free agency started. The bombshell sent shockwaves through the league because Durant’s availability could change the free agency scene in a big way.

If you missed any of the moves made on Thursday and Friday, DFS Player Stats has a rundown of all the contracts signed in the first 24 hours of free agency:

Williamson gets a lucrative new contract

Zion Williamson and New Orleans agreed to a designated rookie extension for five years and about $193 million. If Williamson meets certain incentives, the money could go up to $231 million. Williamson has only played in 85 games in his three seasons, and he missed all of last season because of a foot injury. But when he’s healthy, he’s an All-Star, and the Pelicans hope to do better than last year when they made the playoffs.

The Knicks keep Robinson.

ESPN said that Mitchell Robinson agreed to a four-year, $80 million deal to stay with the Knicks.

Nuggets land versatile wing

Bruce Brown is planning to sign a two-year, $13 million deal with Denver. This will give the Nuggets a good two-way player on the perimeter.

Rubio finds a way to rejoin the Cavs

HoopsHype said that Ricky Rubio will go back to Cleveland on a three-year, $18.4 million deal.

Payton leaves Warriors for Blazers

The Athletic said that Gary Payton II is leaving Golden State for Portland on a three-year, $28 deal.

Extension time

Once the clock hit 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1, many of the best players signed the huge contract extensions they were eligible for.

A person familiar with the contract talks reports that Nikola Jokic and Denver have agreed to a five-year, $270 million supermax extension. Jokic has won the MVP award twice. The person asked to remain anonymous because, until the contract is signed, they were not allowed to talk about it in public. The deal, which is the biggest in NBA history, starts in 2023–2024 and pays Jokic $303 million over the next six seasons, including the $33 million he is due to earn in 2022–2023.

Minnesota All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns plans to sign a new deal with the Timberwolves for four years and $224 million, his agent told ESPN. This keeps the Wolves on track to build around Towns and Anthony Edwards, who are getting better.

His agents told ESPN that Devin Booker and Phoenix agreed to a four-year, $224 million contract extension. Booker has been an All-Star three times and is one of the best scorers in the league. Jessica Holtz, an agent at CAA, works for Booker and Towns. She had a very interesting evening.

His agent, Jim Tanner of Tandem Sports + Entertainment, said that Memphis’ Ja Morant will sign a five-year, $193 million designated rookie extension to stay with the Grizzlies. If Morant makes one of the All-NBA teams next season, the deal could go up to $231 million.

Bamba staying in Orlando

Several sources say that Mo Bamba has agreed to return to the Orlando Magic on a two-year, $21 million deal. Last season, Bamba started to find his place with the Magic. He played in 71 games and averaged 10.6 points and 8.1 rebounds.

Lakers agree with Toscano-Anderson

Several sources say that Juan Toscano-Anderson is leaving the defending champion Golden State Warriors for the Los Angeles Lakers. Last season, Toscano-Anderson played in 73 games for Golden State. He also played in 14 playoff games. He played for the Warriors’ G League team for the last three years after making it through a local tryout. Before that, he spent four years at Marquette and then played professionally for three years in Mexico.

Drummond is going to play for the Chicago Bulls. According to multiple reports, he has agreed to a two-year, $6.6 million deal with the team. Drummond started last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, but he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for James Harden and Ben Simmons. Drummond is still only 28, but he is still one of the best rebounders in the game.

Brunson was on his way to New York.

His agents told ESPN that guard Jalen Brunson has agreed to a four-year, $104 million deal with the New York Knicks. This does not come as a surprise to anyone. Brunson was one of the most wanted players on the market, and the Knicks made it clear what they wanted to do by making sure they had enough salary cap space in the days before Brunson’s free agency. They also brought Brunson’s father on as a coach.

Brunson was due for a big raise after his best season, when he averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game, all of which were career highs. Then, in the playoffs, Brunson scored 21.6 points per game, which helped the Dallas Mavericks get to the Western Conference finals.

Wright heading to Washington.

Delon Wright will sign a two-year, $16 million deal with the Washington Wizards. The person asked to remain anonymous because they were not allowed to talk about the deal in public until it was finalized. Wright has been in the NBA for six years and has played for seven different teams. In his career, he has made 35.4% of his 3-point shots.

Mavericks and McGee are both right.

The Athletic reports that veteran center JaVale McGee has signed a three-year, $20,1 million deal with the Dallas Mavericks. During the 2015–16 season, McGee played in 34 games for Dallas. Since then, he has been a key backup player for several teams that have been in the running for championships. He has won three championships, two with the Golden State Warriors in 2017-18 and one with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020.

Slo-mo is on its way to Minnesota

Several sources say that Kyle Anderson and the Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed to a two-year, $18 million deal. Anderson played for the Memphis Grizzlies for the last four years. Before that, he played for the San Antonio Spurs for four years.

Harris will sign again with the Magic

A person with direct knowledge of the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports that Gary Harris plans to sign a two-year, $26 million deal to stay with the Orlando Magic. The person asked to remain anonymous because they were not allowed to talk about the deal in public until it was finalized. Harris just finished his first full season with the Magic. He came from the Nuggets in a trade that sent Aaron Gordon to Denver at the end of the 2021 season.

Lakers go with Walker

HoopsHype reports that the Los Angeles Lakers made their first move of the offseason when they signed Lonnie Walker IV to a one-year, $6.5 million deal. . Walker’s first four years in the NBA were spent with the San Antonio Spurs. He shot 40.7% of the time and scored 12.1 points per game on average in 70 games last season.

Bagley will sign with the Pistons again.

The Detroit Free Press says that the Detroit Pistons moved quickly to sign their only restricted free agent, Marvin Bagley III, to a three-year, $37.5 million deal. This was expected. The USA TODAY Network includes the Free Press.

Mills is returning to Brooklyn.

Patty Mills, a veteran guard, is coming back to the Brooklyn Nets with a small pay raise. Mills and Brooklyn have agreed to a two-year, $14.5 million deal, his agent told ESPN. This comes a day after Mills turned down his player option for $6.2 million.

Milwaukee becomes Ingles’ new home.

Yahoo Sports says that Joe Ingles and the Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to a one-year, $6.5 million deal. Ingles tore the ACL in his left knee in February when he was playing for the Utah Jazz. He missed the rest of the season. Shortly after that, he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers as part of a three-team deal. On Twitter, Renae, who is married to Ingles, also confirmed the news:

Toronto is going to keep Young.

Thaddeus Young will return to the Toronto Raptors on a two-year, $16 million deal, according to his agents Jim Tanner and Max Wiepking of Tandem Sports + Entertainment.

Beal will go back to Washington.

All-Star guard Bradley Beal will return to the Washington Wizards on a five-year max deal worth about $251 million. This is what most people expected.

Beal has played for the Wizards for his entire 10-year career, and he has said for a long time that he wants to come back on a long-term deal. He could only play in 40 games last year because of injuries, but in the two years before that, he averaged more than 30 points per game.

Last season, Bradley Beal could only play in 40 games because of injuries.
Free agents in the second tier agree early

During the first few hours of free agency, several important second-tier free agents signed new deals:

The Athletic reported that defending champion Gary Payton II will leave the Golden State Warriors to sign a three-year, $28 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Tyus Jones plans to sign a two-year, $30 million deal to return to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Athletic said that the Miami Heat plan to re-sign Victor Oladipo to a one-year, $11 million deal.

Chris Boucher plans to sign a $35 million, three-year deal to return to the Toronto Raptors.

Multiple sources say that Isaiah Hartenstein has signed a two-year deal with the New York Knicks.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that the Milwaukee Bucks have signed Jevon Carter to a two-year deal and Wesley Matthews to a one-year deal.

Amir Coffee is expected to sign a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers for three years and $11 million.

Several sources say that Nic Batum and the Los Angeles Clippers have agreed to a two-year, $22 million deal.

Dewayne Dedmon and the Miami Heat agreed on a two-year, $9 million deal for him to come back to the team.

Tucker is going to Philadelphia. Will he play with Harden?

Tucker and the Sixers have agreed to a three-year, $33.2 million deal. This means that Tucker will be moving to Philadelphia. Tucker will play for the Sixers for the fourth time in four years. Tucker played for the Rockets from 2017-18 to 2020-21, when the Sixers’ general manager, Daryl Morey, was in charge. Tucker played with James Harden for more than three years, and Harden is expected to re-sign with the Sixers even though he turned down his player option on Wednesday.

In Philadelphia, James Harden and P.J. Tucker might be able to play together again.

OKC gives Dort a big contract extension.

Lu Dort has agreed to stay with the Thunder for another five years and $87.5 million.

A $100M deal brings Simons back to the Blazers.

Anfrenee Simons and the Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to a four-year, $100 million deal for him to come back. His agent, Bill Duffy, confirmed this to USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt. Simons is a restricted free agent, which means that he could have signed an offer sheet with any other team, but Portland would have had the right to match the offer and keep Simons. The guard has been in the NBA for four years, and last year was his best. He went from scoring 7.8 points per game on average to 17.3 points per game.

Reserve guard Malik Monk is leaving the Los Angeles Lakers for the Sacramento Kings.

He signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Kings after one season with the Lakers. Monk, who was picked 11th in the 2017 draft, played for the Charlotte Hornets for his first four seasons.

Portis re-signs with the Milwaukee Bucks

Bobby Portis got the big contract he wanted when he turned down his player option for the 2022–2023 season. Portis has agreed to a four-year, $49 million deal to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks. He turned down his $4.6 million option on Wednesday in hopes of getting a good long-term deal, and he was right to bet on himself. The 6’10” forward has been an important part of the Bucks’ rotation for the past two seasons, including during their run to the 2021 title.

Durant asks for a trade hours before the start of free agency.

When Kevin Durant asked the Brooklyn Nets to trade him in the hours before free agency, it sent shock waves through the NBA. The request gives a team the chance to make a big move for Durant, which could give the Nets a big return on their assets.

Yahoo and ESPN say that two of Durant’s favorite places to go are Phoenix and Miami.

Who are the best free agents that teams can sign?

  • James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers (no restrictions): Harden was supposed to use his player option for $47.3 million, but he chose not to. Instead, he reportedly chose to work with the Sixers on a new deal that would give the team more financial flexibility.
  • Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (restricted): Things seem to have gone downhill in Phoenix since the Suns didn’t sign Ayton to a long-term deal when they could have. Ayton is still only 23, so there will be teams interested in him, but the Suns can match any offer.
  • Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets (restricted): Bridges is set to get a big raise after having his best season yet. He and the Hornets couldn’t agree on an extension before last season, so they didn’t have a deal in place.

How players choose to use their options affects how free agency works.

On the last day of their contracts, two NBA superstars turned down the player options so they could become unrestricted free agents.

But teams with a lot of money probably shouldn’t expect to sign James Harden or Bradley Beal to a big contract when free agency starts. Both look like they will go back to their old teams.

Harden, Beal, and others had to decide on their player options by Wednesday. After that, they would be free agents. Harden turned down the $47.3 million option so that he could reportedly work with the Sixers on a new deal that would give the team more money to use this offseason to improve its roster. Beal turned down his $36.4 million player option, which most people thought would make it possible for the three-time All-Star to sign a five-year max deal with the Wizards.

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