Month: July 2022

Raptors Sign Thaddeus Young To Two-Year Extension

11:22pm: The Raptors’ new deal with Young is already official, according to NBA.com’s transactions log. That signals that the team technically signed Young to a veteran extension on June 30, rather than waiting for him to reach the open market and signing him to a free agent contract.

For practical purposes, the outcome is the same — the Raptors have locked up Young to a deal reported to worth $16MM over two years. One notable difference is that he’ll become trade-eligible immediately instead of on December 15 like a free agent signee.


5:47pm: The Raptors are re-signing forward Thaddeus Young, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), who hears from agents Jim Tanner and Max Wiepking that Young will get a two-year, $16MM deal that includes incentives.

Toronto held Young’s Bird rights after acquiring him from San Antonio at February’s trade deadline, giving the Raptors the ability to exceed the salary cap to retain him.

Young, who turned 34 on June 21, averaged modest totals of 6.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.0 APG and 1.0 SPG on .518/.354/.469 shooting in 52 regular season games between the two teams last season (16.3 MPG). Still, he was productive on a per-minute basis, and is a smart player on both ends of the court who provides veteran leadership to a fairly young Raptors team.

The 15th pick of the 2007 draft, 2021/22 was Young’s 15th NBA season. He played for Philadelphia during his first seven seasons before bouncing around a little bit, making stops in Minnesota, Brooklyn, Indiana and Chicago prior to last season.

Young holds career averages of 12.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.8 APG and 1.4 SPG on .502/.332/.663 shooting in 1085 games (29.3 MPG). He’s unlikely to find a large role with Toronto over the next couple of seasons, but the Raptors traded their first-round pick in the draft (and got back an early second-rounder) to acquire him, so obviously they made re-signing him a priority.

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets Agree To Super-Max Extension

11:18pm: Jokic’s super-max deal will include a trade kicker, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.


6:40pm: The Nuggets and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic have agreed to terms on a five-year, super-max extension that projects to be the richest contract in NBA history, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Jokic has one year remaining on his current contract, so his new deal will begin in 2023/24 and will be worth 35% of that year’s cap, with subsequent 8% raises.

With the NBA now projecting a $133MM cap for ’23/24, per Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), Jokic is on track to earn a starting salary of $46.55MM and a total of $269.99MM across five seasons.

The contract will include a player option in the fifth year, per Charania. Jokic’s salary for that season (2027/28) projects to be worth $61.45MM.

Jokic, who met the criteria for a super-max extension a year ago when he won his first Most Valuable Player award, wasn’t technically eligible to sign such a deal until this year, when he had seven years of NBA experience under his belt.

He cemented his case for that super-max deal by winning a second MVP award in 2021/22, establishing new career highs in PPG (27.1), RPG (13.8), and FG% (.583) while also averaging 7.9 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game in 74 contests (33.5 MPG).

This extension agreement had long been anticipated. Jokic’s agent Misko Raznatovic said earlier in the year that he anticipated his client would sign a super-max extension, and the center himself confirmed in April that he’d accept the offer if the Nuggets put it on the table.

Grizzlies, Ja Morant Agree To Five-Year Max Extension

The Grizzlies and star guard Ja Morant are in agreement on a five-year rookie scale extension worth the maximum salary, agent Jim Tanner tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The deal will go into effect when Morant’s rookie contract expires in 2023.

Morant’s extension will include Rose Rule language allowing him to earn a starting salary worth 30% of the 2023/24 cap instead of 25% if he makes an All-NBA team again next season.

Based on the NBA’s latest cap projection of $133MM for the ’23/24 season, Morant’s deal would be worth $231.42MM if he meets the Rose Rule criteria next season, or $192.85MM if he doesn’t.

It’s the biggest contract in Grizzlies history, according to Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link), topping the $153MM deal Mike Conley signed in 2016.

Morant, who will turn 23 in August, has improved in each of his three NBA seasons, earning his first All-Star and All-NBA nods in 2021/22 and winning the league’s Most Improved Player award.

The former second overall pick averaged a career-high 27.4 PPG to go along with 6.7 APG, 5.7 RPG, and 1.2 SPG in 57 games (33.1 MPG). He also put up career-best shooting numbers of 49.3% from the floor and 34.4% on threes.

Morant is the first member of the 2019 draft class to reach an agreement on a rookie scale extension, and his new deal is one of several maximum-salary contract extensions agreed upon as the new NBA league year begins. Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Devin Booker have reportedly agreed to super-max veteran extensions tonight as well.

The Rose Rule criteria require a player to earn an All-NBA spot in the season before his rookie scale extension goes into effect to qualify for the 30% max, which is why Morant will have to make it again next year despite claiming a spot on the Second Team this spring.

Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns Agree To Super-Max Extension

Karl-Anthony Towns has agreed to sign a four-year, super-max extension with the Timberwolves, agent Jessica Holtz tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

The deal will begin in 2024/25 and will be worth 35% of that season’s salary cap, with 8% raises in subsequent seasons. Since the ’24/25 cap figure isn’t yet known, neither is the amount of Towns’ extension, but Wojnarowski projects it to be worth about $224MM over four years.

The signing is something of a no-brainer for a Minnesota club on the rise. Towns, still just 26, enjoyed something of a comeback season with Minnesota in 2021/22. Though his stats in recent years remained impressive, the team had been mired in middling lottery-bound purgatory for three straight seasons prior to 2022.

In 2022, the 6’11” center made his first All-Star team since 2019 and his first All-NBA Team since 2018. Towns also won the NBA Three-Point Contest during the 2022 All-Star Weekend, a rarity for a big man. During 74 games last year, Towns averaged 24.6 PPG, 9.8 RPG, and 3.6 APG, with guard-like shooting splits of .529/.410/.822.

The three-time All-Star’s offensive prowess was a big reason the Timberwolves returned to their first playoff berth in four years. Led by Towns and second-year phenom Anthony Edwards, plus guards D’Angelo Russell and Patrick Beverley, the seventh-seeded Timberwolves pushed the second-seeded Grizzlies in a tough, physical first-round series. Minnesota would ultimately fall to Memphis in six games.

A super-max contract extension for Towns, an exceptional offensive talent just reaching his prime, had previously been considered the top priority for Minnesota’s front office this summer.

So far in free agency, the team has also added veteran small forward Kyle Anderson and re-signed tweener forward Taurean Prince to a two-year extension. The team also exercised non-guaranteed team options for 2022/23 on Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell.

In the draft, the Timberwolves added several intriguing young players. Auburn big man Walker Kessler, the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year, and Duke small forward Wendell Moore, were selected in the first round. Memphis drafted Memphis swingman Josh Minott and Vanoli Cremona shooting guard Matteo Spagnolo in the second round.

Trail Blazers Eyeing Gary Payton II, Bruce Brown

The Trail Blazers are pursuing free agent guard Gary Payton II with an offer in the range of $8MM, but there’s still mutual interested in a return to the Warriors, sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Fischer adds that the Blazers are also eyeing Bruce Brown, another free agent guard, who has been with the Nets the last couple of seasons.

After bouncing between the G League and the NBA in his first five seasons and never finding a consistent home or role, Payton had a terrific season for the Warriors in 2021/22, appearing in 71 regular season games (16 starts) while averaging 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals on .616/.358/.603 shooting. Though he averaged only 17.6 minutes per night, his impact was clear when he had opportunities, showcasing jaw-dropping athleticism, a knack for the ball, hustle, and excellent defense.

The 29-year-old played a key role during Golden State’s championship run, averaging 7.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals in five Finals contests (18.5 minutes per night) after returning from a fractured left elbow. In his first six playoff games (18 minutes) prior to the injury, he averaged 7.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1 steal on .727/.750/.667 shooting.

Like Payton, Brown is one of the better perimeter defenders in the league, and the Nets trading for Royce O’Neale was viewed as an indication that Brown was unlikely to return to Brooklyn. In 71 regular season games (24.6 minutes) last season, Brown averaged 9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals on .506/.404/.758 shooting.

Despite being swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, Brown was arguably Brooklyn’s most consistent postseason performer, averaging 14 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals on .568/.429/.800 shooting.

Anthony Slater and Sam Amick of The Athletic report that both Kevon Looney and Payton are searching for more money than the Warriors are willing to offer, thus increasing the chances that Payton, in particular, bolts in free agency. Both players want to return to Golden State, but at the right price, which is where the separation currently exists, according to The Athletic’s duo.

The chance of a reunion between Otto Porter and the Warriors is still possible, per Slater and Amick, who say that Porter is contemplating whether to return on a minimum deal or take a larger offer elsewhere.

Mike Muscala To Return To Thunder

Veteran center Mike Muscala will return to the Thunder on a one-year veteran’s minimum contract, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (via Twitter).

The club declined its $3.5MM team option on Muscala prior to the start of free agency. The veteran’s minimum for a player with nine years of NBA service is projected to be $2,641,682.

Initially drafted by the Hawks with the No. 44 pick in 2013 out of Bucknell, Muscala eventually evolved into a modern floor-spacing power forward/center. He split the 2018/19 season between the Sixers and Lakers. Muscala first signed with the Thunder in 2019.

The longtime vet, who turns 31 tomorrow, has spent his last three seasons with Oklahoma City. In 43 games last year for a rebuilding Thunder club, Muscala averaged 8.0 PPG and 3.0 RPG during 13.8 MPG. On offense, the 6’10” big man has carved out a niche as a bench shooting threat, boasting a career three-point conversion rate of 37.7% on 2.5 tries a game. Last season, he connected on 42.9% of his 3.8 looks a night.

Muscala joins fellow re-signed OKC veteran Luguentz Dort in returning to a rebuilding Thunder club loaded with present and future young assets.

Oklahoma City enjoyed one of the most active drafts among any NBA team this year, selecting Gonzaga power forward/center Chet Holmgren, NZ Breakers wing Ousmane Dieng, and Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams in the lottery. Ever the completist, team president Sam Presti also grabbed Arkansas power forward Jaylin Williams with the No. 34 pick in the second round. They join a team loaded with other exciting young players in Dort, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Tre Mann, and Darius Bazley.

Latest On Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving

Kevin Durant‘s trade request increases the chances of a Kyrie Irving trade to the Lakers, Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic report.

A straight Irving for Russell Westbrook swap would not work financially, so the Nets would either have to add another contract or include a third — and perhaps fourth team — for salary-matching purposes. Irving would be a better fit for LeBron James and Anthony Davis than Westbrook, providing better spacing offensively.

A potential deal could also lead the Lakers to part with first-rounders in 2027 or later.

If the Nets don’t want Westbrook’s salary, a third team could take that contract, with one of the Lakers’ picks and potentially Talen Horton-Tucker and/or Kendrick Nunn being involved.

A source told the Athletic that the chances of the Lakers landing Durant in a deal involving Davis is “zero.” Their focus, apparently, is on Irving.

We have more on the Durant/Irving situation:

  • The Nets don’t appear to be interested in Deandre Ayton, sources told John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link). Thus, a potential trade with the Suns may not include the restricted free agent or it would have to involve a third team.
  • Irving is “fully supportive” of Durant’s trade request, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (hat tip to RealGM). Irving knew Durant trade request was possible when he opted in to the final year of his contract.
  • Ben Simmons would be the major impediment to the Nuggets getting involved in the Durant sweepstakes, Mike Singer of the Denver Post notes. League rules stipulate that teams can’t have two players on a rookie scale max extension that have been acquired via trade. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. would both fit that description.
  • In the days before Irving’s choice to opt-in, sources close to Ayton raised the possibility of an Ayton-Mikal Bridges deal with the Nets, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. It was unclear at that time whether or not Durant was going to ask for a trade.
  • In the same piece, Alex Schiffer says he’s heard the Nets want multiple All-Stars in any deal for Durant.

Warriors, Nets, Clippers Top Taxpaying Teams For 2021/22

The 2021/22 NBA season was a record-setting one for luxury tax payments.

According to data from Albert Nahmad of HeatHoops.com and Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype, the league’s previous single-year record for total luxury tax payments was $173.3MM, back in 2002/03.

This season, the Warriors‘ tax penalties alone nearly matched that league-wide record. And they were joined by six other taxpayers whose combined end-of-season bills shattered the previous record even without Golden State’s help.

Here’s the complete breakdown of the seven taxpaying teams, courtesy of Eric Pincus of SportsBusinessClassroom.com:

  1. Golden State Warriors: $170,331,194
  2. Brooklyn Nets: $97,711,261
  3. Los Angeles Clippers: $83,114,692
  4. Milwaukee Bucks: $52,037,160
  5. Los Angeles Lakers: $45,117,195
  6. Utah Jazz: $18,833,260
  7. Philadelphia 76ers: $13,876,624

All told, the seven teams paid a staggering combined total of $481,021,386.

Half of that total will be dispersed to the league’s non-taxpayers, which means that 23 teams will receive $10,456,987 each. The league will get the remaining $240,510,693 to help fund its revenue sharing program, says Pincus.

These numbers make it more obvious why a team like the Celtics made a concerted effort to get out of luxury tax territory at the trade deadline. A tax bill of $2MM or so wouldn’t break the bank for Boston’s ownership group, but the C’s generated more than just $2MM in savings by ducking below the tax line — they’re now one of the 23 teams that will receive a $10MM+ windfall.

Having said that, the Celtics gladly would have paid the tax penalty had they won the championship — Jaylen Brown would have received a bonus in that scenario, which would have pushed them over the line.

It’s worth noting that the Warriors are the only one of these seven taxpayers who were subject to “repeater” penalties this season, so it’s not as if those more punitive repeater penalties fueled this year’s record-setting totals. Even without the repeater penalties, the Dubs would have owed approximately $131MM in taxes.

The majority of these teams project to be taxpayers again in 2022/23.

Bulls To Sign Andre Drummond

The Bulls will add veteran center Andre Drummond to bolster their frontcourt, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports (Twitter link) that Chicago will ink Drummond to a two-year, $6.6MM contract, with a player option for 2023/24. A two-year deal at the veteran’s minimum would be worth $5.95MM, so presumably the Bulls – who don’t have the bi-annual exception available this season – are dipping into their mid-level to complete the signing.

The Drummond deal is the first reported free agent addition for Chicago during the 2022 offseason. The team is still hoping to re-sign two-time All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine, an unrestricted free agent. Unsigned veteran free agent forward Danilo Gallinari has also been mentioned as a possibility for Chicago.

Additionally, the Bulls have a $5MM trade exception left over from a Daniel Theis sign-and-trade during the 2021 offseason it must use (or lose) by July 7.

Drummond, 28, is coming off an impressive bounce-back season split between the Sixers and Nets, and Chicago no doubt hopes he can help shore up the team’s frontcourt depth.

Selected by the Pistons with the ninth pick out of Connecticut in 2012, the 6’10” Drummond blossomed into a two-time All-Star for Detroit. Drummond agreed to a five-year maximum-salary contract with Detroit in 2016. He was eventually traded to the Cavaliers, before signing a one-year veteran’s minimum deal with the Lakers ahead of the 2020/21 season.

Playing as a reserve behind Sixers All-Star Joel Embiid to start the 2021/22 season on another minimum deal, Drummond saw limited touches on offense, but was still able to feast on the glass in limited minutes. Across 18.4 MPG, he averaged 6.1 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.1 SPG and 0.9 BPG in 49 contests with Philadelphia.

The Sixers included Drummond to the Nets as part of the team’s trade package for All-Star guard James Harden. With Brooklyn, Drummond enjoyed an expanded offensive role. He started in all 24 of his games with the Nets, averaging 11.8 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.0 BPG and 0.9 SPG during 22.3 MPG.

Nuggets To Give Davon Reed Standard Two-Year Contract

The Nuggets are re-signing Davon Reed to a standard two-year deal, Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets.

Reed appeared in 48 regular season games with Denver last season, including five starts. He averaged 4.4 PPG in 13.9 MPG.

He was on a two-way contract and received a qualifying offer this week, making him a restricted free agent. The terms of his new contract aren’t yet known.

Reed couldn’t play in the postseason because of the two-way deal. However, he earned high praise from coach Michael Malone.

“Every time Davon Reed has gotten a chance to play this year, he’s found a way to help this team,” Malone said late in the regular season.

The 6’5” guard has made 39.1% of his 3-pointers in his 79-game NBA career.