Point guards were the immediate focus when the NBA’s free agency window opened Monday night, with Kyle Lowry headed to the Miami Heat, Lonzo Ball on his way to the Chicago Bulls while Chris Paul and Mike Conley landed lucrative deals to remain with their current teams.
Lowry and the agency that represents him, Priority Sports, said he was headed to the Heat. A person with knowledge of the deal said he would be signing a three-year contract worth nearly $30 million annually in what will become a sign-and-trade that sends Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa from Miami to Toronto.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because nothing had yet been approved by the league.
“Miami Heat X Kyle Lowry Let’s Goo!!” Lowry wrote on Twitter, followed by five fire emojis.
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 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.
Conley agreed to a $73 million, four-year deal to remain with the Utah Jazz, the team that finished last season with the NBA’s best regular-season record and expects to bring back most of the same core for another run this season. Conley confirmed the signing on Twitter; a person confirmed the terms to AP.
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.
And Miami isn’t done: Not only is this the summer where Bam Adebayo’s five-year, $163 million contract agreed to last fall kicks in, but the Heat plan to finalize an extension that would be worth an average of roughly $45 million annually with Jimmy Butler later this week. Butler and the Heat cannot begin those talks until Friday at the earliest by league rule.
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.
Mavericks bring back Tim Hardaway Jr.
The Dallas Mavericks are bringing back shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. on a $72 million, four-year contract, a person with knowledge of the deal said Hardaway came to the Mavericks from the New York Knicks before the 2019 trade deadline in a deal headlined by Kristaps Porzingis.
The son of former NBA player Tim Hardaway became a consistent scoring threat alongside star point guard Luka Doncic.
After struggling from 3-point range in the weeks after the trade, Hardaway had the two most accurate seasons of his career in his first two full seasons with Dallas. Hardaway shot 39.8 percent during the pandemic-interrupted 2019-20 season and 39.1 percent last season.
Hardaway will have a new coach in Jason Kidd after moving in and out of the starting lineup under Rick Carlisle, who resigned a day after former general manager Donnie Nelson was fired in June. Nico Harrison replaced Nelson.
Harrison’s first move as GM was trading Josh Richardson, one of Hardaway’s replacements as a starter, to the Boston Celtics. While that would appear to make room for Hardaway, the Mavericks might not be finished with free agency or trades.
Hardaway was the 24th overall pick by the Knicks in 2013. He was traded to Atlanta two years later and rejoined New York as a free agent in 2017. Hardaway has career averages of 13.9 points and 1.8 assists.
Nuggets reach deal on Barton, Green
The Denver Nuggets reached two-year agreements with a pair of their free agents, guard Will Barton and forward JaMychal Green, a person with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed to The Associated Press. Barton’s deal is for $32 million and Green’s for $17 million. Barton’s return maintains some experience in a Denver backcourt that’s missing star Jamal Murray (ACL) and includes Monte Morris, Facu Campazzo, P.J. Dozier and rookie Bones Hyland, the 26th pick in last week’s NBA draft. The Nuggets also reached an agreement with free agent forward/center Jeff Green on a two-year, $10 million deal, which includes a player option in the second year . . . The NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks are keeping Bobby Portis for next season, with a player option for 2022-23 . . . Free agent Kelly Olynyk agreed to a three-year, $37 million deal with the Detroit Pistons, his agent Jeff Schwartz told ESPN . . . The New York Knicks retained two players, bringing back guard Alec Burks on a three-year $30 million deal and center Nerlens Noel on a three-year, $32 million deal . . . Gary Trent Jr. agreed to a three-year, $54 million deal to return to the Raptors. The deal includes a player options on the third year . . . Long-range shooter Doug McDermott agreed to a three-year, $42 million deal with the San Antonio Spurs . . . The Indiana Pacers signed guard T.J. McConnell to a four-year, $32 million deal to remain with the team and signed free agent forward Torrey Craig to a two-year, $10 million deal . . . Kiki VanDeWeghe, as the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations since replacing Rod Thorn six years ago, will become a special adviser to Byron Spruell, president of league operations.