Point guards were the immediate focus when the NBA’s free agency window opened Monday night, Lonzo Ball on his way to the Chicago Bulls while Chris Paul and Mike Conley landed lucrative deals to remain with their current teams.
Paul agreed to a contract to remain with the Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns, another person with knowledge of that deal said.
It would be worth nearly $120 million US if all four years are completed and would push Paul’s career earnings past the $400 million mark. He turned down a $44.2 million option for this coming season to negotiate a longer deal, and after the success the Suns had this season in their run to the NBA Finals it seemed doubtful that he would look to play elsewhere.
The NBA’s window for talks opened at 6 p.m. EST, and as has become tradition, it did not take long for handshake deals to commence. No new contracts can be signed until noon Eastern on Friday. The league set the salary cap for this coming season at $112.414 million, with the tax level at $136.606 million.
Miami made the biggest early splash, not just landing Lowry but agreeing to terms with 3-point specialist Duncan Robinson on a deal that would be worth nearly $90 million if all five years are completed. Robinson, a person with knowledge of the deal said, agreed to a contract where four years are guaranteed and the fifth is only so partially.
Lowry is leaving Toronto after nine seasons there and helping the Raptors win the 2019 NBA championship. Considered by many the greatest Raptor ever, it’s fitting that his last move with the team amounts to another assist — a sign-and-trade to make sure Toronto got some assets back instead of just seeing him leave as a free agent.
Ball will be acquired by the Bulls from New Orleans in a sign-and-trade deal worth $85 million, Klutch Sports announced. The deal, according to ESPN, also included sending Tomas Satoransky and Garrett Temple from Chicago to the Pelicans.
Other deals struck Monday and confirmed to AP by people with knowledge of the agreements:
- The Toronto Raptors agreed to a three-year, $54 million contract Monday with restricted free agent Gary Trent Jr., according to ESPN.
- The NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks are keeping Bobby Portis for next season, with a player option for 2022-23.
- The Denver Nuggets reached two-year agreements to keep guard Will Barton and forward JaMychal Green. Barton’s deal is for $32 million and Green’s for $17 million.
- The Dallas Mavericks agreed to a four-year, $74 million deal to retain Tim Hardaway Jr.
- The Indiana Pacers agreed to a four-year deal to keep point guard T.J. McConnell, with ESPN reporting that deal would be worth roughly $9.5 million annually.
Busy Lakers invite Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza to return
An ongoing overhaul of the Los Angeles Lakers will reportedly turn up a few old friends when free agency kicks off on Friday.
Center Dwight Howard and swingman Trevor Ariza agreed to terms with the Lakers, according to multiple reports Monday, and shooting guard Wayne Ellington also is joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Howard, an eight-time All-Star who turns 36 in December, would embark on a third stint with the Lakers. He was on the 2019 NBA title team and is close friends with James. He came off the bench for the Philadelphia 76ers last season, averaging 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in his 17th season.
Ariza was with the Lakers in 2009 when the team won the title. The 36-year-old has played for six other teams since 2018 and was a member of the Miami Heat last season, playing 30 games and averaging 9.4 points per game.
Ellington averaged 9.6 points per game with the Detroit Pistons last season.
Ellington, 33, entered the NBA in 2009 and is a career 38.2 percent shooter from 3-point range.