While we’ve witnessed player movement on a grand scale already, there are still many chess pieces left on the board. The NBA’s free agency period is finally here, as teams began courting players at 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1. We are ready for all the fireworks, and you can follow the action here with The Crossover's Rohan Nadkarni and Jeremy Woo.
1:25 a.m.: Carmelo open to Houston, Cleveland
Carmelo Anthony is willing to waive his no-trade clause if he is dealt to Houston or Cleveland, reports Woj. Anthony has two years and over $50 million left on his contract with the Knicks, and had been looking for a buyout from since-fired president of basketball ops Phil Jackson. Anthony’s no-trade clause made it difficult for Jackson to unload the star last year, despite Jackson’s public comments that Anthony didn’t really fit with the future of the team. Anthony willingness to waive his no-trade at this point is not only a nice twist of the knife in Jackson’s back, but opens the door for him to join a contender (with one of his fellow banana boat members to boot.)
What could the Knicks get back in a trade with the Rockets or Cavs? Well, that’s where it gets complicated. The Cavs can offer Kevin Love, but would that really improve the team? Melo would give them perhaps a bit more offensive creativity than Love—and Anthony can be an effective catch-and-shoot player—but Cleveland’s team defense would remain an issue. I think the Cavs should only make the deal if they somehow hold on to Love.
The Rockets’ roster was mostly gutted in the wake of the Chris Paul trade. They don’t really have any attractive assets at this point. I’m sure Houston would love to unload Ryan Anderson, but why would New York take on that contract? Melo would look great on the Rockets, and I think his addition would make Houston the definitive second-best team in the West, and perhaps give them a legitimate chance against the Warriors.
We’ll see if Melo’s change of heart ultimately matters, because the Knicks should still hold out for something decent in return. — RN
11:20 p.m.: Millsap to Denver
The Nuggets are signing forward Paul Millsap to a three-year, $90 million contract, reports Shams Charania. The third year of the deal is a team option. That is...a lot of money. Millsap is one of the most overlooked players in the NBA—he is a legitimate stretch four who can also defend forwards and centers. Still, Millsap is on the wrong side of 30, and his level of play never lifted the Hawks past pseudo-contender. The Nuggets did well to get a team option on the third year. If Millsap declines, Denver can get out of the contract fairly quickly. On court, Millsap should pair very nicely with Nikola Jokic, forming one of the more offensively gifted frontcourts in the league. With everything else going on in the West, the Nuggets are far from being a contender. But the Millsap signing should put them firmly in the hunt for a playoff spot, and at the very least, make them very fun to watch. — RN
10:30 p.m.: Grizzlies signing Ben McLemore
Memphis is signing guard Ben McLemore, reports Woj. Chris Haynes says the deal is for two years and $10.7 million. The No. 7 pick in the 2013 draft, McLemore wasn’t extended a qualifying offer by the Kings, which isn’t a great sign considering the state of Sacramento’s roster. This is a low-risk move for the Grizzlies, who have their own issues building around an aging, expensive roster. McLemore can provide some youth, and maybe just enough outside shooting to find a stable spot in the rotation. At only 24 years old, McLemore still has room to improve his game. Seems like a solid if not eye-popping deal for both sides. — RN
6:00 p.m.: Kings offer Otto Porter max deal
The Sacramento Kings have offered Wizards restricted-free agent forward Otto Porter a max contract, reports ESPN’s Chris Haynes and Marc Spears. Porter is a quintessential 3-and-D guy tailor-made for the modern NBA. He can play both forward positions, defend well at each spot, and he’s a knockdown shooter from the corner. Porter has improved his outside shooting each of his four years in the league, posting a 60.8% effective field-goal percentage last season. It’s a smart play for the Kings, who need talent up and down the roster. Porter will never be a go-to scorer, but any team will typically be better with his presence on the court.
The Wizards have intimated all along they will match a max deal for Porter, and now it’s time for them to put their money where their mouth is. Is Porter worth a max deal? This is just the reality of economics in the current NBA. And if the Wizards want to keep John Wall happy, they’ll be wise to match Porter’s deal. — RN
5:25 p.m.: Kyle Lowry is staying put
Kyle Lowry is returning to Toronto, the guard announced on The Players’ Tribune. Lowry, 31, is signing a three-year, $100 million deal, according to Michael Scotto. This is a big commitment to an uncertain core by Toronto. Perhaps the Raptors see an opening in the East with players like Paul George and Jimmy Butler being shipped out. Still, bringing back Lowry, Ibaka and DeMar DeRozan doesn’t bring Toronto any closer to the Cavaliers. The Raptors could be even slightly worse than last season, considering they are losing P.J. Tucker and likely Patrick Patterson. Three years for Lowry is a slight win for the Toronto, which was helped by a point guard market that depressed quickly for players. Five years would have been an incredibly risky gamble. With a sky-high payroll, don’t be surprised if Toronto tries to shed some salary in the next few days as well. — RN
5:05 p.m.: Warriors targeting Swaggy P
The Dubs could be looking at signing Nick Young to some portion of their $5.2 million tax-payer mid-level exception, reports Woj. This would be a fun pickup for the Warriors. Young repaired his reputation last season under Luke Walton, shooting over 40% from three while competing defensively. Young would be a nice bench piece for Golden State, and if not extremely impactful, he would be another veteran who can get buckets when the stars are resting. I’d actually like to see Young on one of the Warriors competitors—maybe OKC? Watching Young steal threes meant for Steph Curry, Klay Thompson or Kevin Durant would be exhilarating, though. — RN
4:10 p.m.: Cavaliers retain Kyle Korver
Three-point specialist Kyle Korver is staying in Cleveland on a three-year, $22 million deal, Shams Charania reports. Korver was acquired mid-season from Atlanta, and though he continued his excellent marksmanship from outside, he didn’t really move the needle for the Cavs. You’ll recall that Cleveland didn’t play its basketball during the second half of the regular season, which mostly coincided with Korver’s time on the team. That’s not to say Korver was the reason for the Cavs’ struggles, but he didn’t lift the team to a new height, either. In the Finals, Korver had some moments, but he also lagged defensively. The Cavs don’t really have lots of options because of their cap status, so bringing back Korver makes some sense. I am surprised by the length of the deal.
Elsewhere, Jodie Meeks signed a two-year deal with the Wizards, according to Charania. It’s a cheap contract—only $7 million total—so it’s a worthy gamble for Washington. Meeks has trouble staying healthy, but he’s a good shooter when he can actually play.
And following a snafu due to the over-38 rule, Nene is back with the Rockets on a three-year, $11 million deal after a four-year deal he agreed to fell apart, Woj reports. Solid deal for Houston, which is filling out its roster nicely after the Chris Paul trade. — RN
12:10 p.m.: Ibaka, Gibson sign deals
Serge Ibaka is staying with the Raptors on a three-year, $65 million deal, reports Woj. Meanwhile, Taj Gibson will be reunited with Jimmy Butler and Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota, his agency confirmed. Gibson’s deal is for two years and $28 million, according to Chris Haynes.
Toronto has also been rumored to be bringing back Kyle Lowry, so it’s clear the Raptors still fashion themselves contenders in the East. Frankly, with the way the conference has shipped out stars, Toronto keeping the core together is not a terrible idea. Ibaka’s game has slipped a little bit, but he will be only 28 this season, and contract will only take him through age 30, which isn’t so bad. Perhaps a full year in a competitive environment can re-energize Ibaka’s game. It’s not a terrible deal for Toronto.
Gibson is a useful player, but I don’t like the fit for Minnesota. The Wolves needed someone with more range at power forward, and instead will be looking at a starting five that struggles from outside. Karl-Anthony Towns may end up being the best three-point shooter on this team. Minny was in the Paul Millsap sweepstakes, what happened there? Ibaka would maybe have even been a better fit for this team. The contract itself is reasonable for Gibson, but Thibs is overdoing it with the former Bulls players. The Wolves’ offense is going to be cramped. — RN
12:40 a.m.: Rockets pick up P.J. Tucker
The Rockets are signing swingman P.J. Tucker to a four-year, $32 million deal, reports Shams Charania. That’s a great acquisition for Houston. The Rockets were in the market for a 3-and-D guy, and though Tucker is no Andre Iguodala (see below) he’s a versatile defender who can also knockdown shots from the corner. A Chris Paul-James Harden-Trevor Ariza-Tucker-Clint Capela lineup looks really fun on paper—it should provide plenty of shooting with enough defense to mask Harden’s deficiencies. This probably means Houston is out on Iman Shumpert, but let’s wait and see what happens there. Houston likely still needs one more star to be considered a title threat, but Daryl Morey is having a hell of a summer. He’s not backing down from the Warriors in the slightest. — RN
July 2, 12:05 a.m.: Iguodala returning to Oakland
Andre Iguodala’s leverage play worked. After a whirlwind of meetings with other teams, Iggy is returning to the Warriors, he announced on Twitter. Woj and his (now former) apprentice Shams Charania are reporting the deal is for three years and $48 million. It’s a solid move for the Dubs. Iguodala showed some signs of slowing down last season, and he had some struggles shooting, but he came through in the playoffs, and he remains an important piece of the Death Lineup. With Kevin Durant on the team, Golden State could’ve afforded to let Iguodala walk and find a cheaper replacement. Instead, Bob Myers paid to keep his championship core together, which is a positive sign for the future of the team. Maybe Joe Lacob really doesn’t care about the massive luxury tax bill headed his way. Ben Golliver will ~officially~ grade the deal soon, so keep an eye out for that. (And catch up on all our other big-time free-agent grades here.) — RN
10:35 p.m.: Rudy Gobert sends a message to Gordon Hayward
Rudy Gobert has responded to Hassan Whiteside! Kind of. After Whiteside’s snapstory recruiting Gordon Hayward to Miami, Gobert posted this succinct tweet Saturday night:
If you can’t figure that out, I can’t help you. — RN
9:35 p.m.: Ingles returning to Utah
Joe Ingles is coming back to the Jazz, the forward told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Sam Amick reports the deal is for four years and $52 million. Ingles was a restricted free agent who reportedly drew interest from the Magic, Nets and others. This is a fairly solid move for Utah. Ingles was an unsung hero for the Jazz last season, and he brings a nice dose of three-point shooting to the roster. The contract may be an overpay, but Utah won’t easily find players like Ingles in free agency. With Ricky Rubio arriving via trade and now Ingles back in the fold, the Jazz likely still have a solid chance of bringing back Gordon Hayward. (It should be noted that Ingles and Hayward share an agent.) — RN
9:15 p.m.: LeBron isn’t recruiting anyone to Cleveland
Unlike Hassan Whiteside (see below), don’t expect LeBron James to woo anyone to Cleveland via social media. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports James has not recruited any free agents to join him on the Cavs this summer, a departure from the way James has handled situations in the past. You may recall James’s meeting with Kevin Love in 2015 or phone calls he made to Mike Miller and James Jones in 2014 to help keep/bring those guys to Cleveland. James does have an excuse for at least for the weekend, as he’s in Alabama for the wedding of Eric Bledsoe. (James and Bledsoe share an agent—Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.)
The Cavs are a bit of a mess right now. They have no general manager. They offered their president of basketball ops job to Chauncey Billups, but he’s been waffling on the offer. (Billups has also returned to playing in Ice Cube’s Big3 league, so it’s really unclear if he’s still interested in the Cleveland job.)
The Cavs did sign Jose Calderon (we panned that signing two updates ago) and are apparently interested in Zach Randolph, according to David Aldridge. I love Z-Bo, but a slow-footed forward does not help Cleveland in the slightest.
James, of course, is a free-agent next summer. — RN
9:05 p.m.: Hassan Whiteside is the head of the Miami tourism board
Hassan Whiteside was part of the Heat contingent that met with Gordon Hayward this morning, and then he continued his recruiting of Hayward (and other free agents) with a legendary snapstory chronicling a typical day in Miami. Highlights include Whiteside showering off his feet (while wearing crocs) and coming up with the new tagline for the city of Miami: “Hello, did somebody order a great place to live?”
Your move, Danny Ainge. — RN
8:55 p.m.: Thunder meet with Gay; Cavs sign Jose Calderon
The Thunder are looking to fill out their roster by adding former Kings and Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay. Multiple reports placed Gay in Oklahoma City, while Enes Kanter tweeted out a photo confirming the visit. Gay has potential as a small-ball four, and as long as he’s not being asked to carry the offense (and he certainly won’t be in OKC) he makes a lot of sense as a third option. A starting five of Russ, PG, Roberson, Gay and Steven Adams is a lot more promising on paper than what the Thunder rolled out last season. An unintended consequence of Gay maybe signing with OKC? I think that means it’s more likely Andre Iguodala stays in Golden State.
In other news, the Cavaliers signed point guard Jose Calderon. It’s a move that doesn’t even register on whatever scale the needle is supposed to move on. Calderon won’t be playable in a potential Finals matchup with the Warriors. He’s kind of fine as a backup point guard, though it’s kind of incredible the Cavs can’t find a consistent option behind Kyrie Irving. Where’s the player development in Cleveland? The Cavs need to be better at mining young talent if they hope to keep LeBron and their capped-out roster. — RN
6:10: p.m.: Philly makes another smart move
The 76ers are signing Amir Johnson to a one-year, $11 million deal reports Marc J. Spears. Another shrewd move by Bryan Colangelo. Like the Redick signing, the one-year deal helps the Sixers move closer to the cap floor while still giving them flexibility to round out the roster next summer. Johnson is a good defender at his position, and Brett Brown is finally getting players that will allow him to mix and match his rotations. Oh, and Philly still has about $15 million in cap room. Not too late to enter the Dion Waiters sweepstakes! — RN
6:05 p.m.: Suns going young
The Suns are pivoting their free-agent plans and focusing on the future, reports Woj. Phoenix had been linked to all number of high-priced veterans when free agency opened, most notable Paul Millsap. According to Woj, Phoenix will now look to make trades to gather assets. The Suns can absorb bad contracts into their cap space, and thus can probably nab a first-round pick or two. The Suns are also willing to part with their own veterans, according to the report. Could that mean Eric Bledsoe is on the move? Bledsoe is still an extremely talented player, and he would be a great addition to a contending team. (Maybe OKC can somehow get in the mix?) Whatever happens with Bledsoe, this seems like the right plan for the Suns. Acquiring Millsap didn’t guarantee them a spot in the playoffs let alone make them a contender. Phoenix is better off looking ahead a few years, although it’s becoming an especially long drought in the desert. (Wow, see what I did there?) — RN
5:00 p.m.: Shumpert, Iguodala news
The Cavs could be unloading Iman Shumpert to Houston for a draft pick, according to reports by Woj and Brian Windhorst. Houston has been on the market for a 3-and-D type, though Shump would be a significant downgrade from rumored target Andre Iguodala. Speaking of Iggy, after receiving a contract offer from the Rockets, he has canceled the rest of his meetings and will now discuss a contract with the Warriors, who are prepared to offer him a three-year deal, reports Marcus Thompson. Iggy could be staying in the Bay after all, and it appears his leverage play worked—Thompson reports his deal could start as high as $15 million in the first year. — RN
4:15 p.m.: Redick trusts the process
J.J. Redick is going to the 76ers on a one-year, $23 million deal, says Woj. Redick confirmed the signing in a tweet. This is a great deal for Philly. They use their gobs of cap space to bring in a sharpshooting vet who can mentor their young guys, all while maintaining their flexibility for the future. It’s pretty surprising Redick would take a short-term deal, but he can re-enter the market again next summer and likely still get a couple years. In the long-run, it’s a little bit of a gamble, but Redick should come out ahead financially. — RN
3:45 p.m.: Iguodala cancels meetings
Shams is reporting that Andre Iguodala won’t take anymore free-agent meetings, this coming off the heels of a report that Iggy received a contract offer from the Houston Rockets. Iguodala has also been linked with the Spurs and Kings. I’m not totally sure what to make of this situation. It feels to me like Iggy is serious about considering offers outside of Golden State, and maybe he’s really intrigued by joining the Rockets? We’ll see. Iguodala is hard to read, and it wouldn’t be shocking if this was all an elaborate troll that has him ending up back with the Warriors. But if he really is leaving? Hmmmm. The West gets more interesting by the hour. — RN
3:20 p.m.: LeBron speaks
And he’s not wrong. The players drive the industry. The salary cap helps business, but even Curry, about to sign the richest deal in league history, will be a market inefficiency on the business end given the value he’s provided for the Warriors. It doesn’t take a ton of economic understanding to see that.
As for LeBron, well, he’ll have to wait until next summer.
It’s been an eerily quiet afternoon as players take meetings around the league. Keep your ear to the ground (and this post). - JW
1:30 p.m.: The Clippers went a little too far
The Clippers panicked a little bit by giving Blake Griffin a five-year, $175 million deal, and it appears they really went all out to keep Griffin in L.A. From Marc Spears, here’s a shirt Clippers employees wore in their meeting with Blake, which basically compares him to icons such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama. Seriously! Look at this insane shirt:
The only person missing from this group is Kendall Jenner. — RN
12:40 p.m.: Nene back on the market!
Thanks to a weird quirk in the CBA, Nene appears to be back on the open market, reports Marc Spears. The center agreed to a four-year, $15 million deal with the Rockets as free agency opened, but such a contract would actually be illegal for Nene to sign. That’s because of the NBA’s over-38 rule, which basically prevents teams from signing players to contracts past their age-38 season. (This rule exists so teams don’t hand out long-term deals to players they know will retire as some sort of cap circumvention. I think. It's all kind of complicated.) Houston instead had to offer Nene a three-year deal worth over $10 million, but he’s not happy with that, so he’s looking for more on the open market. Nene was a very solid backup for the Rockets last year, and they need center depth after losing Montrezl Harrell. Definitely a situation to keep your eye on. — RN
12:25 p.m.: Raptors running it back?
Michael Grange of Rogers Sportsnet is reporting the Raptors are close to bringing back both Kyle Lowry AND Serge Ibaka, but are less hopeful about P.J. Tucker. Lowry coming back makes sense, especially after the point guard was depressed thanks to the Russell & Rubio trades + the quick Jeff Teague signing. I’m a little surprised Toronto would bring back Ibaka, though we’ll have to wait on the price. At this point in their careers, I’d probably rather have Patrick Patterson, who will probably be slightly cheaper. The Raps likely won’t be a title contender, but in the quickly disintegrating East, it makes sense to keep your team as competitive as possible right now. One LeBron ankle sprain could put you in the Finals.
We haven’t heard much on where Tucker will end up. Don’t think the money would work, but I would love to see him on OKC. Speaking of the Thunder, one report has them interested in C.J. Miles, which would actually be a perfect pickup for that shooting-deficient roster. — RN
10:45 a.m.: Things are pretty quiet
Hassan Whiteside and Udonis Haslem joined Heat brass to meet with Gordon Hayward this morning, reports Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Last year, Miami met with Kevin Durant with no players involved, so this is a positive sign for the Heat. Winderman also reports Whiteside will try to bond with Hayward over their love of video games! I love free agency. Miami has pulled out all the stops for Hayward, including a photo of him in a Heat jersey outside the arena.
I’d honestly be surprised if Hayward didn’t sign with Miami at this point, with a lot of wind being taken out of Boston’s sails after the C’s failure to acquire a star.
Otherwise, not much has changed since Woo updated y'all earlier today. Some ramifications from last night’s dealings that have been bouncing around my mind, though...
- I like Jrue Holiday a lot, and I’m glad he got his money, but I really don’t like that contract for New Orleans. I'm really not sure how the Pelicans are ever going to properly fill out a roster around Anthony Davis and Boogie Cousins. They are still in desperate need of consistent outside shooting, and somehow have over $30 million committed to Solomon Hill, Omer Asik and E’Twaun Moore. Could The Brow be a flight risk? Boogie is also a free agent after next season. What’s this team’s plan for contention? (Shameless plug alert: Check out this fashion video and Q&A we did with Davis.)
- A lot of people have caped up for the Celtics, saying Danny Ainge made all kinds of ridiculous offers to acquire Paul George. I don’t buy it. Boston may have, at some point, objectively made a better offer for George than OKC. That’s not really saying much. If the Celtics wanted George, it’s obvious he was there for the taking. If Boston doesn’t get Hayward, this off-season will have been a complete failure. Stars have almost been never cheaper to acquire, and the C’s were sitting on the most assets in the league. It makes no sense.
- Will Paul George be recruiting Russell Westbrook to join him in L.A. in 2018?
- Do yourself a favor and throw some songs from the new Calvin Harris album onto your July 4 barbecue playlist. — RN
7:45 a.m.: While you were sleeping
Morning, everybody. Here’s what broke overnight: Jrue Holiday is staying put in New Orleans, the Raptors are trying to keep Kyle Lowry and the Wizards would also like to keep Otto Porter. What to watch for today: Gordon Hayward’s developing free agency, which Western Conference team really wants to win the sweepstakes for 32-year-old Paul Millsap, and what will happen with Andre Iguodala, who’s met with the Kings and Spurs and will soon meet with the Rockets per reports — but not the Warriors.
If you need help keeping things straight, we rounded up rumors here. Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney are grading all the moves here. As for me, I am going to find some coffee and breakfast as soon as possible. -JW
2:15 a.m.: The Iguodala backup plan
Should the Warriors lose Andre Iguodala in free agency, Rudy Gay could be his replacement in Oakland, Woj said on ESPN. Gay is tight with Kevin Durant from their days back in D.C., and Durant is apparently helping recruit Rudy to the Bay in the event Iggy leaves. Iguodala asked for a meeting with the Spurs, and is also reportedly being chased by the 76ers. The Dubs could blanch at a huge deal for Iguodala—after giving Curry the supermax, the Warriors are looking at a massive payroll the next few years if they want to keep their four All-Stars.
Gay is certainly not Iggy. He’s a solid consolation prize, but he’s nowhere near as impactful a defender, and he can hijack an offense at times. A death lineup with Gay in the place of Iggy certainly seems less scary on paper. Even with all the craziness in the West, the biggest threat to the Warriors supremacy could be losing Iguodala. — RN
1:50 a.m.: Clippers building around Blake Griffin
The Clippers are focusing on Danilo Gallinari or Joe Ingles to help fill out the roster with a shooter, Woj said on ESPN. L.A. seems a little panicky right now, handing out deals that will keep them mediocre in a conference that's loading up to a ridiculous degree. But with the Clips already committed to Blake Griffin, both Gallo and Ingles are solid players that will help keep the team somewhat respectable in the post-Paul era.
Woj also dropped an update on Kyle Lowry—the Raptors have at least considered the idea of going young and letting Lowry walk, but Toronto could be more comfortable bringing back their core now that the East has been gutted through trades. I loved when the Raptors went all-in at the trade deadline in February, but I’m weary of them running it back with the same group. I'd like the team a lot better if they could find a taker for DeRozan... — RN
1:30 a.m.: Awaiting the Rondo – LaVar Connect Four deathmatch
Both Ramona Shelburne and Woj reported the Lakers reached out to (gulp) Rajon Rondo already. This would not be the worst cheap veteran pickup for Los Angeles, who are leaning on rookie Lonzo Ball heavily at present for point guard minutes. He will be thrown to the wolves (the figurative ones, not the Minnesota ones).
But more importantly, Rajon Rondo must realize this is an opportunity to win over the hearts of America by holding court with LaVar Ball. The notoriously competitive and occasionally combative Rondo is the only player in the NBA who I’m confident could and would beat LaVar Ball in literally any possible activity. This would be my favorite new Lakers subplot, with Rondo and Nick Young being my second favorite (if Young comes back). Who can eat more saltine crackers? Who can try more types of bubble tea? Who can make more three-pointers? (Ok, maybe LaVar has a chance).
Just wait until LaVar starts talking about Connect Four. Blood will be spilled (spilt?). Man vs. Ball. There’s a free reality show idea for you.
1:15 a.m.: Melo to the Rockets?
Brian Windhorst mentioned on ESPN that Houston is still looking into ways to add Carmelo Anthony. Melo may not get the buyout he wants from the Knicks, but Houston could still put together a trade offer for the 10-time All-Star. I would love this move for Houston. Carmelo Anthony as a third option? Olympic Melo? The defense would certainly be an issue with James Harden and Anthony on the court at the same time, but a Paul-Harden-Melo trio would be insane offensively. Someone photoshop Daryl Morey onto the movie poster for that Jonah Hill-Miles Teller movie about weapons dealing. — RN
1 a.m.: Where in the world is Gordon Hayward (going)?
Woj just said on TV (yep, this is a thing now) that Gordon Hayward will meet with the Heat Saturday, Celtics Sunday and Jazz on Monday, making visits to each city before making a decision. The Jazz will get the final meeting and a chance at keeping their star forward in place. Utah’s move for Ricky Rubio was apparently made with the knowledge that Hayward’s camp wanted some stability at the point going forward, with incumbent George Hill also on the market. Safe to say, Hill won’t be back in Utah.
Will that really matter for Hayward? Who knows. Brad Stevens sure is a nice guy. Pat Riley has a big ol’ bag of rings he isn’t afraid to aggressively drop on the table. The Heat, due to Florida’s state tax situation, can actually offer him more money under a 3+1 deal structure (as Brian Windhorst noted on ESPN). But Hayward has meant a lot to the Jazz franchise and is basically their key to long-term relevance. Hayward is the biggest chip left on the board.
Oh, also, if you missed it earlier, Ron Baker is literally the only person excited to remain a Knick right now. — JW
July 1, 12:25 a.m.: It's all happening!
Rohan Nadkarni checking in for Jeremy Woo here, let's go over the deals that broke shortly after midnight.
Patty Mills is going back to the Spurs on a four-year, $50 million deal according to Woj. That's a nice move for San Antonio, who have some uncertainty at point guard after Tony Parker’s injury during the playoffs. (The deal probably puts the kibosh on a George Hill reunion, though.) The Spurs played better with Mills on the court over Parker for much of last season, and Mills will probably max out his ability under Pop. It's also a much cheaper deal than the one Jeff Teague signed with Minnesota.
Speaking of Teague, he is taking Ricky Rubio’s spot on a three-year, $57 million deal with a player option at the end, according to multiple reports. Minny is now reportedly looking at adding Paul Millsap, who would perfectly fill a hole at power forward (as well as reunite him with his former Hawks teammate Teague.) A stretch four is exactly what the Wolves need to fill out their starting five, which is still in need of shooting.
The Nuggets are also in the mix for Millsap, as well as George Hill, according to Shams Charania. Denver has been itching to pay someone the last couple off-seasons, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they priced some contenders out of the market.
J.J. Redick is meeting with the 76ers, per Woj, and he’s also been rumored as a target for the Rockets. Woj mentioned on ESPN that definitely won’t return to L.A. Philly may offer Redick a one-year deal worth over $20 million, but he’s looking for a longer term deal, and the Wolves are in the mix there as well.
Tony Snell is getting $46 million over four years to stay in Milwaukee. And at least one member of the Warriors bench is coming back: Shaun Livingston is signing a three-year, $24 million deal to stay in Golden State, the AP reports. That's a steal for the Dubs—Livingston likely could have made more on the open market. — RN
11:30 p.m.: Stephen Curry is going to be very rich
In obvious-yet-notable news, Marc Stein reports the Warriors are going to give Stephen Curry the five-year supermax extension worth $201 million. It’s good to be Stephen Curry. Maybe better than being Klay Thompson in China. Maybe. — JW
11 p.m.: Take a deep breath, guys
Some odds and ends: Jeff Teague is probably signing with the Timberwolves, particularly given Indiana’s likely youth movement. Earlier today, Ricky Rubio got traded to the Jazz, who had expiring cap space. The Wizards are trying to give John Wall all of their money.Rajon Rondo got cut by the Bulls (whew). We’ve got an hour until free agency officially opens. — JW
• GOLLIVER: Grading Pacers’ Paul George deal
10:30 p.m.: Wait, that’s the real George trade?
Alright, let’s process this again for a second. Paul George is going to the Thunder. That’s big. Props to Sam Presti, who is now almost certainly definitely not going to the Knicks. He is a wizard. If OKC can keep PG around with Russell Westbrook, that’s a minor miracle.
This all begs another question: where you at, Celtics? ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported that Boston offered the Pacers three first rounders (not the Nets one or the Lakers/Kings one) and two starters, one of whom was Jae Crowder. The Celtics have a bajillion assets. They couldn’t part with one of those two highly-valuable picks to get Paul George? Were they waiting for Gordon Hayward? There was obviously a reason, but at some point even those of us who praise Danny Ainge for sticking to his long game (well, we assume there is one) have to raise some eyebrows. Maybe they were sure George wouldn’t stay in Boston. That’s probably what the company line will be.
Well, Indiana legend Victor Oladipo, Arvydas Jr. and no draft picks was ultimately what it took to pry George away from the Pacers. That is what it took. A portion of the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka deal (remember that?). The Pacers wanted real live basketball players and not future spec plays. This is probably more reflective of how scared everyone was about retaining George than it is a comment on Indiana’s front office.
Keep your superstars happy, everyone. — JW
• GOLLIVER: Clippers swing big with Griffin deal
June 30, 10 p.m.: Midnight means nothing
It’s early, but the midnight deadline really doesn’t mean anything, as evidenced by the flurry of news already leaking out. Chief among them was Blake Griffin’s return to the Clippers on a five-year, $173 million max deal, as reliably reported by multiple outlets. It seems after trading away Chris Paul, the Clippers were determined not to fall apart next season. They have succeeded. BUT WAIT. NO.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported the first true shocker of the week: Paul George is headed to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
This is a brain-melter, first and foremost. Paul George will play with Russell Westbrook next season. The Thunder will try and keep him long term. PG and Russ get to take on Kevin Durant and the Warriors (and everyone else). The NBA is bananas. It is our bunch of bananas. Will Paul George even stay in OKC for more than a year? Tune in next time on Dragon Ball Z.