2016 NBA Free Agency: July 1 Recap

It has been a wild first day of free agency, with 12 of our top 20 free agents coming off the board, and nearly half of our top 50 FAs reaching contract agreements with teams around the NBA. None of these deals are official yet, since players can’t formally sign new contracts until the July moratorium lifts on July 7th. Still, it’s highly likely that all of the agreements listed below will become official at some point later this month.

In case you weren’t able to follow along with our updates throughout the first day of free agency, a recap of the day’s highlights can be found below. Going forward, be sure to keep tabs on our free agent tracker for all the latest updates on contract agreements for free agents.

Contract agreements:

* Note: Joe Johnson reached a two-year, $22MM deal with the Jazz early on July 2.

Other notable news/rumors:

And-Ones: Nets, Crabbe, Lue, Waiters, Sixers

The Rockets, who offered a four-year contract worth about the same amount as his deal with the Hawks, were “really, really close” to reaching an agreement with Kent Bazemore, reports Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). While that may be somewhat encouraging for Houston, the Rockets have yet to lock up one of their top free agent targets. Heading into the weekend, the club remains in the hunt for Al Horford and Ryan Anderson.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • The Nets spent plenty of time on Friday weighing whether or not to sign Trail Blazers RFA Allen Crabbe to an offer sheet, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Nets are big fans of Crabbe, but an offer sheet could tie up the team’s cap for three days after the moratorium ends, which could backfire if Portland matches it. The Blazers are probably less likely to match a big offer for Crabbe now that they have an agreement with Evan Turner, but it’s still not out of the question.
  • The Cavaliers and head coach Tyronn Lue have begun discussing a contract extension, per Chris Haynes and Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. As the duo explains, Lue didn’t sign a new deal when he was promoted from his assistant role to replace David Blatt this year, and the gamble paid off. Lue will be in line for a much bigger raise now that he has a championship under his belt than he would have been if he’d signed a new contract earlier this year.
  • The Bulls are among the teams showing interest in Dion Waiters, tweets ESPN’s Chris Broussard. Broussard also reiterates something we’ve heard multiple times over the past couple days, writing that the Kings are very interested in Waiters and will meet with him this weekend.
  • The Sixers have been making some significant offers to veteran free agents in the hopes of landing one or two of them, says Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Philadelphia struck a deal on Friday with Jerryd Bayless, but it sounds like the team has made other offers that exceed Bayless’ $9MM per year.

Jazz, Joe Johnson Agree To Two-Year Deal

The Jazz and Joe Johnson have reached a contract agreement, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com, who reports (via Twitter) that the two sides struck a two-year deal worth $22MM.Joe Johnson vertical

After addressing their point guard spot by agreeing to acquire George Hill in a pre-draft trade, the Jazz have been focused on wing players in free agency. Jared Dudley, Solomon Hill, Maurice Harkless, and Luol Deng had been mentioned as potential targets for Utah, but it’s Johnson who will be joining the Jazz when the July moratorium ends next week.

A 15-year NBA veteran, Johnson has spent time with the Celtics, Suns, Hawks, Nets, and Heat since entering the league back in 2001, earning seven All-Star nods along the way. Although Johnson is no longer the prolific scorer he once was, he continues to be a solid contributor, and saw an uptick in his production after he landed in Miami earlier this year. In 24 regular-season games with the Heat down the stretch, Johnson shot .518/.417/.765 and averaged 13.4 points per contest.

Even after signing Johnson, the Jazz should have a decent chunk of cap space left over to sign another free agent or two. The club could also attempt to land another piece by moving former top-10 pick Trey Burke, who is said to be on the trade block.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Al Horford Met With Four Teams On Friday

10:52pm: While the Hawks remain involved in the Horford sweepstakes, they have yet to offer him the full max, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.

10:30pm: The Hawks committed more than $140MM to Kent Bazemore and Dwight Howard on Friday, greatly reducing the odds of Al Horford returning to Atlanta. For his part, Horford also had a busy July 1st, having held free agent meetings with four teams, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter).

Earlier in the day, we heard that the Celtics were among the teams to meet with Horford in Atlanta today, and Boston was expected to put a maximum-salary offer on the table for the free agent big man. Wojnarowski adds the Rockets and Wizards to the list of teams to meet with Horford today, though the identity of the fourth team isn’t known — it’s possible it was the Hawks, though the Thunder and several other teams are also believed to be in the hunt.

According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Hawks haven’t backed out of the Horford sweepstakes quite yet, even after striking $70MM deals with Bazemore and Howard. Windhorst reports that Atlanta has been involved in trade talks that would help the team clear the space necessary to bring back Horford, if he wants to return, and Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter) that the Hawks’ contract negotiations with Horford have been ongoing.

Windhorst didn’t name any specific players as trade candidates for Atlanta, but I would think Tiago Splitter and his $8.55MM cap hit would be at or near the top of the list. A Paul Millsap deal is a possibility as well. Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com reports (via Twitter) that a trade involving Millsap and Suns draft picks has been “pondered” in recent days.

Per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), the Celtics had apparently hoped to secure an agreement with Horford and then bring him to their meeting with Kevin Durant on Saturday. However, it doesn’t appear Horford will decide on his destination tonight — Wojnarowski says that decision will likely happen over the weekend sometime.

Bulls, Others Have Interest In Rajon Rondo

10:34pm: Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated tweets that the Kings aren’t out of the mix for Rondo yet, and also adds the Sixers to the list of teams with interest.

8:24pm: According to Scott Kushner and Brett Dawson of The Advocate (Twitter links), there’s nothing to the Pelicans’ reported interest in Rondo.

8:08pm: After trading a three-time All-Star point guard in June, the Bulls are now eyeing a four-time All-Star point guard in free agency, according to multiple reports. K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune tweets the Bulls have had contact with Rajon Rondo, with Marc Stein and Marc J. Spears of ESPN confirming (via Twitter) that Rondo had a meeting today in Chicago with the Bulls.

The Bulls sent Derrick Rose to the Knicks last month in a five-player trade, leaving an opening at the point guard spot. While Chicago could enter the season with Jose Calderon manning the point, it appears the team is exploring an upgrade, and Rondo is arguably the best point guard left on the market now that Mike Conley has re-upped with the Grizzlies.

Rondo, 30, enjoyed a bounce-back season with the Kings in 2015/16 after his time with Dallas ended poorly last year. The longtime Celtics point guard led the league with 11.7 assists per game, and also chipped in 11.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest. He even shot a career-best 36.5% from three-point range.

The Nets, Knicks, and Kings have been the teams most frequently linked to Rondo this summer, but the Nets have reached an agreement with Jeremy Lin, the Knicks have acquired Rose, and we heard earlier today that the Kings appear unlikely to bring back the free agent point guard. That could open the door for the Bulls or another club to strike a deal with Rondo.

One of Rondo’s other suitors is the Pelicans, according to Chris Mannix of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that New Orleans has expressed interest in the Kentucky product.

Hawks To Re-Sign Kent Bazemore

The Hawks have secured one of their own free agents, according to Michael Scotto of The Associated Press, who reports (via Twitter) that Atlanta and Kent Bazemore have agreed to terms on a four-year, $70MM contract, which will feature a player option on the final year.Kent Bazemore vertical

It’s the second big-money deal the team has struck today — the Hawks also reached an agreement with Dwight Howard on a three-year contract worth $70.5MM. The two deals for Bazemore and Howard will almost certainly take Atlanta out of the running for Al Horford, meaning he’ll likely find a new home within the next few days.

Bazemore, who went undrafted out of Old Dominion, emerged as a reliable three-and-D player for the Hawks last season, averaging 11.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game, while shooting 35.7% from beyond the arc.

We heard early in free agency that it might take an offer in the $19-20MM-per-year range to land Bazemore, and the Hawks will ultimately pay a little less than that — his reported deal averages $17.5MM annually. According to David Aldridge of NBA.com (via Twitter), Bazemore turned down four-year, $72MM offers from the Lakers and Rockets to return to Atlanta.

In addition to Los Angeles and Houston, the Bucks, Grizzlies, Nets, and Pelicans were among the rival suitors for Bazemore, and were in touch with him before he made his decision, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical. There had been speculation that Bazemore would take a few days before deciding on his team — instead, he agreed to a contract with the Hawks on the day of his 27th birthday. Not a bad gift.

The value of Bazemore’s new deal is right in line with the four-year, $70MM deal agreed to by Evan Turner and the Trail Blazers earlier today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks, Joakim Noah Agree To Four-Year Deal

9:41pm: As expected, the Knicks and Noah have agree to a four-year, $72MM deal after their meeting today, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. It will be a fully guaranteed contract with no options, per Michael Scotto of The Associated Press (Twitter link).Joakim Noah vertical

FRIDAY, 2:42pm: Noah has posted a photo on Instagram that shows him wearing a Knicks cap, which is a pretty strong signal that he’ll sign with the team when the moratorium ends next week.

THURSDAY, 11:58pm: Noah and the Knicks are nearing an agreement on a four-year deal worth around $72MM, sources tells Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

11:11pm: With free agency now open, the Knicks are discussing the framework of a deal that would be in the four-year, $70MM range, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter links). The two sides will continue negotiations during their Friday afternoon meeting, per Charania.

7:05am: The Knicks are the strong favorites to land longtime Bulls big man Joakim Noah when the free agent period opens in July, according to multiple reports. Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post, ESPN’s Marc Stein and Ian Begley, Shams Charania of The Vertical, and Sam Amick of USA Today all independently reported late on Wednesday night that the Knicks are in the driver’s seat in the Noah sweepstakes.

According to Charania and Amick, Noah has a meeting set up with Phil Jackson and the Knicks after free agency formally gets underway at 12:00am on July 1st. Marc Berman of The New York Post clarifies that the meeting between the two sides is expected to happen during the day on Friday, rather than late at night, but he also suggests that the Knicks are the prohibitive favorites for Noah. There’s belief on both sides that an agreement could come quickly, says Charnia.

Amick indicates within his report that Noah is still expected to consider multiple teams besides the Knicks, but those clubs have yet to line up a formal meeting with the 31-year-old. Sources tell Stein and Begley that a few teams with interest in Noah have “all but conceded” that the Knicks are No. 1 on his wish list by a sizable margin — the two-time All-Star has expressed strong interest in signing in New York in recent days, since teammate Derrick Rose was traded to the club, per the ESPN duo.

Assuming Noah and the Knicks do indeed work something out, his starting salary may end up in the range of $18MM, according to Bontemps. That would be a significant investment from the Knicks, who are expected to have over $30MM in cap room, and would likely take the team out of the running for some mid-tier free agents, in addition to max-salary players.

Noah underwent surgery on his separated left shoulder back in January, and while he should be ready to go for the 2016/17 campaign, he hasn’t played a game since that procedure. In 2015/16, he appeared in just 29 games, averaging 4.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 21.9 minutes per contest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Suns Reach Agreement With Jared Dudley

After spending four years in Phoenix earlier in his NBA career, Jared Dudley is returning to the Suns. According to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link), the Suns and Dudley have reached an agreement on a three-year, $30MM deal. The pact will be fully guaranteed, tweets Michael Scotto of The Associated Press.Jared Dudley vertical

Dudley, who will turn 31 later this month, was one of the more talented outside shooters available in free agency this summer. For his career, Dudley has made more than 700 three-pointers, shooting at a 39.9% clip. He made 42.0% of his shots from downtown this past season for the Wizards, averaging at least one three-pointer per game for the seventh straight year.

While Washington reportedly had interest in re-signing Dudley, Phoenix’s primary competitors for the veteran’s services appeared to be the Nets and the Jazz. Brooklyn reportedly made a two-year, $18MM offer to Dudley, while Utah spoke to him multiple times.

For the Suns, Dudley will provide a young team with veteran leadership, and will help make up for some of the outside shooting that was lost when Mirza Teletovic reached an agreement with the Bucks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pelicans, E’Twaun Moore Agree To Deal

The Pelicans have reached an agreement with free agent guard E’Twaun Moore, reports Scott Kushner of The Advocate (Twitter link). According to Kushner, Moore will sign a four-year, $34MM deal with New Orleans when the July moratorium ends. The deal won’t include any option years, Kushner adds (via Twitter).E'Twaun Moore vertical

In recent days, the Pelicans have been linked to several guards and wings, including Evan Turner, Jeremy Lin, and Tyler Johnson, among others. The team has now added a player at both positions — after reaching an agreement with forward Solomon Hill earlier today, they’ve now struck a deal with Moore, a combo guard.

Moore, 27, started a career-high 22 games for the Bulls, and was solid in that role, averaging 12.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in his starts, while shooting 46.2% on three-pointers. He’ll probably be a bench option in New Orleans, but the Pelicans front office is high on Moore, who met with GM Dell Demps today, per Kushner (Twitter link).

The Wolves were among the other teams to reach out to Moore today, though the Bulls had been viewed as the favorites to retain him until the Pelicans swooped in with a four-year offer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

At Least Four Teams Pursuing Dwyane Wade

With teams around the league sensing that there’s tension between Dwyane Wade and the Heat, a handful of clubs are pushing to lure the veteran guard away from Miami, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Wojnarowski reports that the Bulls, Mavericks, Nuggets, and Bucks are courting Wade, with multiple multiyear offers in the $20MM-per-year range on the table for the Heat star.

Wojnarowski suggests that the Heat have been reluctant to offer a deal in the $20MM range so far, and Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post echoes that sentiment, tweeting that Miami’s opening offer was closer to $10MM. While the Heat will probably willing to increase that offer eventually, especially if Kevin Durant doesn’t choose Miami, it still makes sense that Wade would explore the market. Even if he doesn’t sign elsewhere, there’s so much cap space available around the league that he could improve his leverage by fielding offers from other teams.

Earlier tonight, we heard that the Bucks and Knicks were looking to set up meetings with Wade, and while Wojnarowski confirms Milwaukee’s interest, he doesn’t mention New York. ESPN’s Marc Stein reports (via Twitter) that the Knicks have made a four-year offer to Courtney Lee, and the club is also reportedly in the mix for Eric Gordon, so Wade may be a backup plan for Phil Jackson‘s club.

As for Milwaukee, Wojnarowski suggests that the Bucks don’t currently have the cap space to make Wade a competitive offer, and the team isn’t sure whether to fully commit to pursuing him. While Wade did attend Marquette University, it’s still hard to imagine him returning to Milwaukee at this stage in his career.

Meanwhile, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune confirms (via Twitter) that the Bulls are in talks with Wade’s reps, adding that the two sides are discussing a two-year deal. According to Wojnarowski, Chicago and Denver have been the most aggressive suitors for Wade so far.

Finally, the Mavericks may be a long shot to add Wade, but after missing out on their top two targets – Hassan Whiteside and Mike Conley – it makes sense that they’d at least kick the tires on other top-tier free agents.

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