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  • The official start of NBA free agency is finally upon us. Follow along for live analysis and reaction.
By Ben Ladner and Scooby Axson
June 30, 2018

Free agency began at midnight on July 1, and after months of rumors, it's finally time to start finding out where players are headed next. While deals can't officially be consummated until July 6, the madness has already gotten underway and will only ramp up in the coming days.

Though the offseason will largely center on LeBron James' decision and a potential Kawhi Leonard trade, there's plenty to monitor around the rest of the league that could alter the landscape of the NBA. James opted out of his deal on Friday, making him an unrestricted free agent and then announced his decision to sign with the Lakers with a press release on Sunday night.

NBA Free Agency 2018: Top 50 Players Available

Here is the latest news from around the league.

11:40 p.m.: Devin Booker in talks with Suns owner

 Suns owner Robert Sarver and GM Ryan McDonough are meeting to discuss Devin Booker's contract extension offer. He could see a max deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

10:59 p.m.: Lakers not done, add JaVale McGee

The Lakers have agreed to a one-year deal with JaVale McGee on a minimum contract, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.

10:54 p.m.: Elfrid Payton finds a home in New Orleans

Elfrid Payton will sign a one-year deal worth $4.5 million with the Pelicans, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

10:24 p.m.: Lance Stephenson teams up with LeBron

Lance Stephenson agreed to a one-year deal with the Lakers worth $4.5 million, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports.

9:51 p.m.: Aaron Gordon Will Return To Orlando

Restricted free agent Aaron Gordon has agreed to a four-year contract worth $84 million to re-sign with the Magic, according to Marc Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated. 

9:08 p.m.: Mario Hezonja agrees to deal with Knicks

The Knicks and Mario Hezonja agreed to a one-year deal worth $6.5 million. Hezonja announced the deal on Twitter with a photo.

8:46 p.m.: Nerlens Noel Narrows His Decision

Center Nerlens Noel is looking to sign with the Wizards, Lakers or Thunder, according to Shams Sharania of Yahoo! Sports. The Thunder are also interested.

8:40 p.m.: Caldwell-Pope returning to Lakers

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope agreed to a one-year, $12 million deal to re-join the Lakers, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports.  

8:05 p.m.: LeBron signs with Lakers

The biggest domino of free agency fell just after 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, with LeBron James agreeing to a 4-year, $154 million deal with the Lakers. James posted to his Instagram story: "Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible 4 seasons. This will always be home."

2:35 pm.: Capela coveted by Lakers

TNT's David Alridge reports that the Lakers will meet with Rockets restricted free agent Clint Capela.

1:30 pm.: GRIII Scores Deal

Free agent guard Glenn Robinson III is finalizing a deal with the Detroit Pistons, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports. Robinson, who will get a two-year deal worth $8.3 million, spent the last three seasons with the Indiana Paceers.

1:30 pm.: ChinaMo money for Speights

Orlando Magic free agent foreard Marreese Speights agreed to sign a six-month, $2M deal with Chinese club Guangzhou Long Lions, according to David Pick. The 30–year–old averaged 7.7 points and 2.6 rebounds for the Magic last season.

1:10 p.m.: Discontent in Phoenix?

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is upset with the front office after the team released friend Tyler Ulis, according to Yahoo! Sports Shams Charania. Ulis started 43 games for the Suns last season.

12:41 p.m.: 76ers scheming to get LeBron and Kawhi

The 76ers plan to pitch idea to LeBron James' representatives that they have the assets to pull off a deal for Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard. (Marc Stein, New York Times)

11:05 a.m.

The Philadelphia 76ers will meet with LeBron James' reps today in Los Angeles. James will not be in attendance. (Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN.com)

The Warriors, Lakers, Pelicans and Thunder are currently in the mix for center JaVale McGee. (David Aldridge, TNT)

10 a.m: Deals, deals, deals

The New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins received phone calls from the Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. (Marc J. Spears, The Undefeated)

LeBron James was in contact with the Cleveland Cavaliers at the beginning of the free agent period. (The Associated Press)

The Toronto Raptors are re–signing Fred VanVleet to a two-year, $18 million deal. (Shams Charania, Yahoo! Sports)

1:49 a.m.: Let's Boogie

DeMarcus Cousins will meet with the Pelicans and Lakers in the near future, Marc Spears reports. The big man received calls from both teams on Saturday night, and is a high priority for both teams.

1:26 a.m.: Speights to sign in China

Marreese Speights is closing in on a contract with the Guangzhou Long-Lions in the Chinese Basketball Association, according to Marc Spears. Speights averaged 7.7 points while shooting nearly 37 percent from downtown for the Magic last season. He was also a member of the 2015 Golden State Warriors championship team.

1:09 a.m.: Clippers still angling for Kawhi

The L.A. Clippers are keeping themselves in play for the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes, according to ESPN's Chris Haynes. Leonard has expressed a desire to play in Los Angeles, having grown up near the area, and pursuing him will be "a high offseason priority" for the Clippers.

1 a.m.: Trigger-happy wings find homes

The Spurs inked Marco Belinelli to a two-year, $12 million contract, while Gerald Green will return to the Rockets on a one-year, $2.4 million deal. Belinelli finished last season for Philadelphia after being bought out by Atlanta, and won a championship with the Spurs in 2014. Green, a Houston native, was picked up by the Rockets mid-season and became a valuable piece of their rotation.

12:59 a.m.: Jimmy Butler will be a very rich Wolf

The Wolves have plans to offer Jimmy Butler a four-year max extension on July 9, the day Butler becomes eligible to sign, per Marc Stein. Karl-Anthony Towns can also sign an extension this offseason, and he and Butler are rightfully the Timberwolves' top priorities this summer.

12:50 a.m.: Nearing the 1:00 hour with 1-year deals

Derrick Rose has agreed to a one-year, $2.1 million offer to return to Minnesota, Shams Charania reports. Omri Casspi will sign a one-year deal with Memphis, and Ed Davis will move from Portland to Brooklyn on a one-year, $4.4 million deal, according to Woj.

12:41 a.m.: Ariza blasts off to the Suns

In a surprising twist, Trevor Ariza jumped from Houston, where he's played the last four years of his career, for Phoenix, where he will sign a one-year, $15 million contract (per Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports). The Rockets led the NBA in net rating last season and came within a game of knocking off the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Ariza has had a close relationship with Chris Paul since the two played together in New Orleans.

The Suns, who added plenty of young talent in the draft, will look to take a step closer to making the playoffs next season, and Ariza could be an important on-court contributor and veteran presence on a young team. The 33-year-old wing canned nearly 37 percent of his triples in 2018 and played rugged defense on some of the league's best wings. Time will tell how vital a link he was in the Rockets' system.

12:15 a.m.: Value bigs re-sign

The Thunder appear to be keeping the gang together, as they re-signed Jerami Grant to a three-year, $27 million contract. Grant, a versatile and athletic defender, played both the four and the five for OKC last year and was occasionally an important part of closing lineups alongside Westbrook and George.

Aron Baynes, meanwhile, locked into another two years

12:06 a.m.: DJ gets gets big money

The Mavericks have agreed to a one-year deal that will essentially allow DeAndre Jordan to make up the $24.1 million he opted out of with the Clippers, according to Marc Stein. That's probably a win for the Mavs, who will likely try to compete for a playoff spot next season and will have flexibility to either re-sign Jordan to a long-term deal or let him walk next summer

12:01 a.m.: A big return... and a smaller one

Chris Paul is coming back to Houston on a four-year, $160 max. Paul was eligible for a fifth year because the Rockets acquired him via sign-and-trade last summer, and will be 37 by the end of the contract. He posted this on Twitter following the announcement of his signing:

And Ersan Ilyasova will sign with Milwaukee, where he played the first seven years of his career, for three years, $21 million.

11:43 p.m.: Midnight came early!

Paul George has re-upped with the Thunder, per a Woj Bomb dropped late Saturday night (Woj later reported the deal was for four years, $137 million with a player option for the fourth season). George has developed a close friendship with Russell Westbrook over the course of the last year, and the two appear committed to competing for championships for the foreseeable future. "I'm here to stay," George said at Westbrook's Saturday night house party. "We can bring it home." The signing comes exactly a year after George was traded from Indiana to Oklahoma City. With George, Westbrook, and Steven Adams locked in for the long term, OKC is currently slated to spend $156 million on 11 salaries and $130 million in luxury taxes next season. Cost-cutting roster moves could be forthcoming.

Some other notable pre-midnight signings: Rudy Gay will come back to the Spurs on a one-year, $10 million deal, according to Shams Charania; the Pacers will ink Doug McDermott to a three-year, $22 million deal with Indiana; the Nets will bring back Joe Harris for two years and $16 million.

11 p.m.: Barton to return to Denver

Will Barton will sign a 4-year, $54 million contract with the Nuggets once free agency officially begins, Chris Mannix of Yahoo reports. The fourth year will be a player option, per Zach Lowe. The deal won't look quite as rich by the end of the term if current cap projections hold, but snagging a $50 million contract with a player option before free agency officially begins is a win for Barton, who is right in the middle of his prime.

A microwave scorer and unabashed gunner, Barton averaged a career-high 15.7 points and 33 minutes per game last season. With him now back on the books, Denver will likely be a player in the trade market to shed money and avoid excessive tax bills. Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, Darrell Arthur, and Mason Plumlee could all be trade candidates, per Marc Stein.

10:47 p.m.: Could Boogie end up in L.A.?

The Lakers are rumored to make a run at DeMarcus Cousins in free agency, the Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reports. With Paul George apparently off the market, L.A. may view Cousins as a piece that could help attract LeBron to Los Angeles.

Cousins missed the final 34 games of last season and the playoffs due to a torn Achilles tendon. When healthy, he was one of the most dominant players in the NBA, averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game next to Anthony Davis. The Pelicans are also expected to try and retain Cousins, likely also on a short-term contract.

10:30 p.m.: Baynes likely to stay in Boston

Aron Baynes hasn't scheduled meetings with any teams outside of Boston, and the two sides are hoping to agree to a deal that keeps Baynes a Celtic, per Keith Smith. Baynes started 67 games and averaged six points last season, and is one of the best defensive centers in the NBA. Though he'll likely come off the bench full-time next season as Gordon Hayward returns from his injury, Baynes should be an important piece of Boston's rotation nonetheless

9:30 p.m.: Durant will stay in the Bay, at least for now

Kevin Durant is expected to re-sign with the Warriors just after midnight on July 1. The deal is expected to be for one year, $30.5 million with a player option for $31.5 in the second season.

This will allow Durant to re-enter free agency as early as next summer and the Warriors to save millions in luxury tax payments. Golden State will only get more expensive and will likely be faced with re-signing Durant and Klay Thompson next summer.

June 30, 9 p.m.: The Stage Is Set

Before things kick off at midnight, a quick roundup of the rumblings around the league leading up to July 1:

• The NBA officially set the salary cap for 2019 at just under $101.9 million, with a tax line of $123.7 million per Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania.

• LeBron James arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday and reportedly will not meet with the Cavaliers in person, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin. Cleveland will do everything it can to keep James around next year. LeBron's interest in returning, however, remains unclear.

• Paul George appears to be leaning toward a return to Oklahoma City, according to the New York Times' Marc Stein. ESPN's Royce Young also reported that George will be in Oklahoma City for a party thrown by Russell Westbrook (according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Mannix, Thunder front office members will also be at Westbrook's shindig). George is not eligible for the Designated Player Extension, and his eight years of NBA service prevents him from earning the 10-year maximum salary. With a two-year deal (or one-year agreement with a player option), he could hit the market again in 2020 after his 10th season with a chance to earn a max contract.

Aside from James, George may be the best player on the market this summer, and a partnership between the two on the Lakers had been rumored for some time leading into free agency. That possibility seems less likely, though George could theoretically reverse course for Los Angeles should he so desire. Still, George's barber has hinted at a return to OKC. If that isn't binding, what is?

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