In the first 24 hours of free agency, Indiana dealt Paul George, and Blake Griffin got a new contract. Now, teams are scrambling for their chance to sign Paul Millsap and Gordon Hayward, like bread before a storm. We’ll be keeping track of the Sunday updates here, bunkered down with wheat, white, and Dion Waiters.
Sacramento has reportedly offered restricted free agent Otto Porter Jr. a max deal, and the rules are the rules: Washington, which likely would’ve offered it anyway, must now match the asking price to keep him.
Porter, Bradley Beal, and John Wall weren’t enough to make it to the Eastern Conference finals, but the Wizards front office doesn’t have a lot of choices. Less than 24 hours ago, Wall was offered the designated-player extension — a supermax of four years, $170 million. He’s yet to accept the deal.
For a guy who has often felt he hasn’t be given his due, Wall’s silence is worrisome. That offer, and the four years, $106.5 million that Washington will match for Porter, makes for a lavish offseason. But if the Wiz were intent on keeping the 24-year-old from the start, the Kings just made it easier: Now the Wizards front office can match and only offer four years versus five.
Free agent Nick Young is a "serious candidate" for Golden State’s exception of $5.2 million. Even if the Warriors offer him the entire exception, it would still be a pay cut from what Young would have made had he opted in with the Lakers.
Swaggy P will likely have flashier offers, but none come with such promise at a title. If Steve Kerr can win both JaVale McGee and Nick Young a ring, this era of dominance might just be worth it.
The Vets get paid, kinda
Thirty-six year-old Kyle Korver re-signed with the Cavaliers for three years and $22 million, while 34-year-old Nene Hilario re-signed with the Rockets for half that, agreeing to $11 million over the same span.
Nene’s original proposition from Houston — $15 million over four years — was nixed by the league thanks to a CBA addition that states that players who will turn 38 at any point in a contract can only signs deals shorter than three years.
Korver’s deal has a screwy aspect to it, too. With his payday, Cleveland’s luxury tax for next season jumps to a whopping $42.7 million from $20.4 million, which, you know, is already TWENTY POINT FOUR MILLION.
Korver played in 35 regular season games for Cleveland and shot nearly 50 percent from the 3 during that stretch. In his 18 playoff performances, that figure dipped to 39.1 percent, and Korver contributed just 1.5 deep makes a game while simultaneously giving the team one of its worst defensive ratings while he was on the floor.
The Cavs now have 10 guaranteed contracts on the books for next season, and haven’t been moving much of anything in free agency, though reportedly not for lack of trying, as both Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert have being reportedly shopped. Houston seemed interested in 27-year-old Shump, then signed P.J. Tucker on Saturday, which "significantly stalled" any discussion with Cleveland.
The Cavs still don’t have a general manager, and they’ve been short their best recruiter. According to ESPN, "LeBron James is not actively recruiting free agents on behalf of the Cavs as the franchise zeros in on its targets." The King has been hanging out at Eric Bledsoe’s wedding for most of the weekend. When he gets back to his team, he’ll likely find a lot of familiar faces.
Gordo is meeting with Utah, far away from Utah
Utah’s front office has a meeting with Gordon Hayward … in San Diego. General manager Dennis Lindsey, president Steve Starks, and head coach Quin Snyder are reportedly sitting down with Hayward in Southern California.
Maybe all four value the offseason as vacation time, maybe Gordon wants to break the news that he’s Miami-headed by a beach, or maybe he’s asking for more outside of Utah to show what he could have outside of Utah. Either way, it’s a meeting, and not the only one in free agency that’s off-location.
One other interesting Hayward note: The Heat brass are headed west to woo Dion Waiters. The Heat had their meeting with Hayward over the weekend, but Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra will be in the vicinity, in case he has any follow-up questions or needs to see Pat Riley’s rings again. The Heat have indicated they would like Waiters to return to South Beach next season, along with free agent James Johnson, who said he’ll wait out his decision pending Hayward’s.
Thibs is Doc Rivers–ing (this time, it’s Taj Gibson)
For the small price of $28 million over two years, the Wolves are staging a Bulls reunion. Taj Gibson has reportedly agreed to those terms with Minnesota, after eight seasons with Chicago (and a short stint with the Thunder for half a season).
The Wolves were also reportedly in the running for Paul Millsap, but that’s unfeasible now. Tom Thibodeau is known to favor his former players, something he learned from working for Doc Rivers, perhaps. There was never a Karl-Anthony Towns or Andrew Wiggins in Chi-town, though, and Taj’s veteran presence and defense will be of use.
At 32 years old, Gibson’s last two seasons have also been his best in terms of shooting, ending this campaign with a 51.5 percent mark from the field. Millsap would’ve been a game-changing get in that department: His offense has never been better, averaging a career-high 18.1 points this season. This is a team thirsty for good shooting — no one on the Minnesota roster shot 40 percent from deep, and its closest threat, Zach LaVine (38.7 percent) is now in Chicago.
I mention shooting because the Wolves need it, badly. You wouldn’t call Jeff Teague, Jimmy Butler, Wiggins, Gibson, or Towns a marksman. This reunion could fall short in the playoffs like Thibs’s Bulls teams did, but any postseason at all is welcome in Minnesota.
Serge Ibaka will stay and Toronto will pay
Serge Ibaka will stay a Raptor, reportedly having agreed to a three-year, $65 million contract after being traded up north from the Magic for Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-rounder. Ibaka averaged 14.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 31 minutes over his 23 games in Toronto. The news, less than 24 hours after P.J. Tucker left for Houston, stabilizes the Toronto frontcourt.
The big question facing the Raptors heading into free agency was whether they could retain their good-but-aging free agents Ibaka and Kyle Lowry. They locked up Ibaka, and shortly after, Lowry followed. Earlier, Zach Lowe reported that the Raptors would be paying out an estimated $130 million in guaranteed contracts if Lowry did return, a sum that doesn’t include free agent Patrick Patterson. If the Raptors can’t dump contracts, they’ll be over the luxury tax by $11 million.
Masai Ujiri is already working on that. The Raptors are reportedly in talks with Indiana to trade Cory Joseph. The point guard proved valuable last season when Lowry was injured, winning 15 of the 22 games he started in Lowry’s place. Joseph has two years left on his four-year, $29.9 million deal, though he has a player option next summer.
In Indy, he could fill a potentially scraped backcourt. With Teague gone and C.J. Miles on the market, the ball is left to Lance Stephenson, Aaron Brooks, and Monta Ellis, the latter who is suspended for five games to start the season.
Mr. Meeks goes to Washington
Jodie Meeks and the Wizards agreed to a two-year, $7 million deal on Sunday, likely bringing an end to the Brandon Jennings experiment in Washington. Some depth, especially someone who can shoot, will benefit the Wizards.
Meeks’s eight-year stretch in the league feels much longer because of the 29-year-old’s extensive injury history (something Washington can relate to). He averaged 9.1 points last season shooting over 40 percent for the Magic, though played in just 36 games.