HARRISON BARNES AGREES TO 3-YEAR, $54 MILLION DEAL TO STAY WITH KINGS, AP SOURCE SAYS
Harrison Barnes is staying with the Sacramento Kings, agreeing Thursday to a three-year, $54 million contract, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced by the team. ESPN first reported the agreement.
The deal was struck one day before the start of free agency in the NBA. Barnes will be entering his sixth year with the Kings, who went to the playoffs this past season for the first time since 2006.
He averaged 15.0 points last season, fourth-best on the Kings behind De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis and Kevin Huerter.
Barnes also was the only player on the Kings to appear in all 82 regular-season games — making him one of only three players in the NBA to start at least 82 games. Mikal Bridges actually started 83 for Brooklyn and Phoenix, and Nikola Vucevic started 82 for Chicago.
For his career, Barnes — a member of the U.S. Olympic team that won gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games — has averaged 14.2 points in 11 seasons.
KYRIE IRVING AGREES TO STAY WITH MAVS, DONCIC ON A $126 MILLION, 3-YEAR DEAL, AP SOURCE SAYS
DALLAS (AP) Kyrie Irving wants to run it back with Luka Doncic.
The enigmatic guard and the Dallas Mavericks agreed Friday on a $126 million, three-year contract in the opening hour of NBA free agency, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because contracts can’t be signed until Thursday.
The person said the Mavericks also had an agreement on a two-year deal with guard Seth Curry, who is set for his third stint with the club.
Irving, who wouldn’t talk about his future during his partial season with Dallas and declined to meet with reporters after the season, appeared to reference his decision to return in a one-word tweet with “peace” and “love” emojis.
The Mavericks paired All-Star starters for the first time in franchise history by adding Irving in a blockbuster deal with Brooklyn last February, but stumbled down the stretch to miss the playoffs for the first time since Doncic was a rookie in 2018-19.
Dallas was in the middle of the postseason chase when Irving joined the club, but the eight-time All-Star and Doncic, a four-time choice, were just 5-11 together with both missing multiple games because of injuries.
The Mavericks won their first two games with Irving but went 7-18 the rest of the way and couldn’t even make the play-in tournament a year after reaching the Western Conference finals.
Irving originally had been offered an extension by the Nets last summer, before their relationship fell apart and Irving asked to be dealt.
General manager Nico Harrison’s second blockbuster deal for Dallas didn’t provide the spark of his first – a 2022 trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to Washington and gave the Mavs a key playoff contributor in Spencer Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie was one of two players Dallas sent the Nets, as was defensive stalwart Dorian Finney-Smith. Defense was high on the list of reasons the two-month trial of Doncic and Irving didn’t work.
Doncic has three years remaining before the player option on the $215 million rookie max extension he signed two summers ago. He said after the season he wants to see where the superstar pairing can go.
“I wish we could continue that chemistry, relationship,” said Doncic, who finished second in the scoring race at a career-best 32.4 points per game. “It’s not going to happen in a day, in a week. It’s a building process.”
Dallas’ tumultuous season ended under the cloud of an NBA investigation after Irving didn’t play and Doncic was limited to the first quarter when the Mavs still had play-in hopes with two games remaining.
The 31-year-old Irving and Doncic both sat for a meaningless season finale after a loss to Chicago in the game in question eliminated the Mavs a season after they went to the Western Conference finals.
The 0-2 finish helped Dallas retain the 10th pick in the draft, which the Mavs parlayed into a pair of first-round picks in Duke center Dereck Lively II at No. 12 overall and Marquette’s Olivier-Maxence Prosper at 24. Had Dallas dropped to 11th or lower, the pick would have gone to the New York Knicks.
Before the trade, Irving spent three-plus seasons in Brooklyn dealing mostly with self-induced drama.
Irving missed almost all of the home games in 2021-22 because he wouldn’t get vaccinated against COVID-19, and missed eight games early last season after the team suspended him after he tweeted a link to a film containing antisemitic material. Nike ended its relationship with Irving over the tweet.
Days after sending Irving to the Mavericks, the Nets traded Kevin Durant to Phoenix in another blockbuster as the celebrated Brooklyn pairing ended with a whimper – and just one playoff series victory.
Curry, the younger brother of Golden State superstar Stephen Curry, kick-started his career the first time he was with the Mavs in 2016-17, three years after entering the NBA as an undrafted free agent.
He averaged 12.8 points in 70 games after playing just 50 games in his career before that, then spent one season in Portland before having another solid year in Dallas.
Curry left again in free agency in 2020, signing with Philadelphia. He then joined Irving in Brooklyn when he was dealt as part of the trade that sent James Harden to the 76ers and Ben Simmons to the Nets in 2022.
REPORT: G DESMOND BANE, GRIZZLIES AGREE TO $207M MAX DEAL
Guard Desmond Bane, one of the Memphis Grizzlies’ cornerstone players, agreed to a five-year, $207 million max contract extension, ESPN reported late Friday night.
Contract agreements with free agents become official July 6, per NBA rules.
Bane, whose $200 million-plus deal is the first in Grizzlies history, is now locked up long term along with teammates Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Bane, 25, who was the 30th overall pick in the 2020 draft, averaged career highs in points (21.5 per game), rebounds (5.0), assists (4.4) and field-goal percentage (48 percent) in 58 games, all starts, in 2022-23. In his three seasons, Bane has averaged 16.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 202 games (151 starts).
Bane, who has improved his averages in scoring, rebounding and assists every season, has also shot at least 40 percent on 3-pointers in each of his three NBA seasons. His 228 buckets from beyond the arc last season set a franchise record.
After having surgery in May to repair a bone in his right big toe, Bane is expected to be fully recovered before the start of the season. The injury, which he sustained in November, cost him 17 games before he returned to action in December.
KHRIS MIDDLETON AGREES TO REMAIN WITH THE BUCKS ON A 3-YEAR, $102 MILLION DEAL, AP SOURCE SAYS
MILWAUKEE (AP) Three-time All-Star Khris Middleton has agreed to terms on a three-year, $102 million deal that will keep him with the Milwaukee Bucks, a person familiar with the situation said Friday.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the signing hasn’t been announced.
This move comes after Middleton, who turns 32 on Aug. 12, had declined a $40.4 million player option for the upcoming season to become a free agent.
“Khris is core to who we are and really all the success we’ve had,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst had said last week during a post-draft news conference. “Our goal is always to sustain our success and continue to compete and (have) a chance to win and be in position to win year in and year out. We hope to have him back.”
The Bucks were hoping to hold on to Middleton and free-agent center Brook Lopez as part of their nucleus alongside two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and All-Star guard Jrue Holiday as they attempt to bounce back from two straight early playoff exits.
Middleton joined the Bucks in 2013 – the same year Milwaukee drafted Antetokounmpo – and they have teamed to give the franchise one of its greatest sustained runs of success. The 2012 second-round pick made All-Star teams in 2019, 2020 and 2022.
“Giannis is arguably the best player in the world, but we have some extraordinary talent on this team as well,” new Bucks coach Adrian Griffin said during his introductory press conference. “Khris, Jrue, Brook – those guys are probably No. 1s on any other team, so I’m excited to just be a part of this team and this culture, and I’m excited to coach them all.”
Middleton helped the 2020-21 Bucks win their first title in half a century and earned a gold medal on the U.S. Olympic team shortly after the NBA Finals.
But he has been dealing with multiple injuries lately.
Middleton sprained his left medial collateral ligament in Game 2 of a 2022 first-round playoff series and missed the rest of the postseason. He played just 33 games last season while averaging 15.1 points, 4.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds.
He missed the first 20 games of the season while recovering from wrist surgery and sat out 18 straight games later in the season due to a sore right knee.
Milwaukee posted the NBA’s best regular-season record this past season but suffered a stunning 4-1 first-round playoff loss to the Miami Heat. That led to the firing of coach Mike Budenholzer, who helped Milwaukee post the NBA’s best regular-season record three of the last five years.
NBA TRANSACTION ROUNDUP: HEAT LAND JOSH RICHARDSON
Once the NBA’s free agency negotiation period began Friday, plenty of reported deals — including Kyrie Irving staying with the Dallas Mavericks and Draymond Green remaining with the Golden State Warriors — made the headlines, but there were several other moves worth noting.
The contract agreements with free agents become official July 6, per NBA free agency rules.
Here’s a look at several deals that were reportedly agreed to on Friday:
–The Miami Heat re-signed forward Kevin Love and added guard Jason Richardson, according to ESPN. The Athletic also reported that the Heat were set to trade Victor Oladipo to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Love, who will turn 35 before next season, turned his career around with Miami and played a key role in the team’s run to the NBA Finals.
A second-round pick of the Heat in 2015, Richardson, 29, gives his original team depth after Gabe Vincent reportedly joined the Los Angeles Lakers.
Oladipo, 31, spent 2 1/2 seasons in Miami. He previously played for Oklahoma City in 2016-17.
–Joe Ingles landed a deal with the Orlando Magic.
A key contributor off the bench for the Milwaukee Bucks last season, the 35-year-old forward is getting a two-year, $22 million contract with the Orlando Magic, per ESPN.
–Former MVP Derrick Rose is set to join the Memphis Grizzlies. The 34-year-old guard was a bit-part player for the New York Knicks last season.
–Forward Herb Jones is sticking with the Pelicans. Jones, 24, had declined his option on a minimum salary, opting instead to agree on a four-year, $54 million deal to stay with New Orleans, per an ESPN report.
–Veteran guard Dennis Schroeder is joining the Raptors. After losing star guard Fred Van Vleet to the Houston Rockets, Toronto landed Schroeder, 29, with a two-year deal worth a reported $26 million.
–Guard Reggie Jackson, 33, and center DeAndre Jordan, 34, will stay with the reigning NBA champion Denver Nuggets. Jackson’s deal is reportedly for two years and $10.25 million.
–Seth Curry, 32, is back for a third stint with the Mavericks, landing a two-year contract. The former Nets guard, one of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters, Curry played for Dallas in 2016-17 and again in 2019-20.
–The Minnesota Timberwolves are signing guard Shake Milton and forward Troy Brown. Milton, 26, formerly of the Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal, per an ESPN report. Brown, 23, played for the Lakers last season.
–The San Antonio Spurs retained forward Julian Champagnie with a four-year, $12 million contract. Champagnie, 22, signed with the team in February after he was waived by the Sixers. He averaged 11 points per game for San Antonio last season.
–The Boston Celtics agreed to a deal with forward Oshae Brissett, 25. According to ESPN, Brissett will get a player option for the second year of the contract.
PORZINGIS EXCITED TO JOIN A TALENTED CELTICS ROSTER AS BOSTON CONTINUES TO RETOOL THIS OFFSEASON
Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens vowed that changes were on the way after a season that began with championship expectations ended short of a return to the NBA Finals.
Boston took its first steps to ushering in its latest era with the introduction of Kristaps Porzingis on Thursday.
Porzingis said the team’s faith in him is motivating as he begins his fourth stop in the league.
“It’s the most exciting feeling that you can get,” he said. “Just the idea of that. … It made it super easy. It made (the Celtics) my complete, favorite option.”
The Celtics netted the 7-foot-3 forward from the Washington Wizards the night before the NBA draft, executing a three-team trade that also included Marcus Smart — who’d been Boston’s most-tenured veteran — heading to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The decision to part with Smart, the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year and the team’s vocal leader, was one that coach Joe Mazzulla called “tough.” He said he spoke with Smart shortly after the deal was completed.
“I was able to talk to him, and I just told him that I love him and I appreciate who he is as a person,” Mazzulla said. “You’re never going to replace a guy like him.”
But Boston is hoping the addition of Porzingis, the fourth pick of the 2015 draft coming off one of his best NBA seasons statistically, can bring a different dynamic playing alongside All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They will now constitute the lead trio of a group that also includes veterans Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon and Al Horford, along with fellow big man Robert Williams.
Porzingis said the success of the current group and history of the Celtics franchise is what excited him most about the trade.
“The opportunity to play for a really good team already, and to be able to add to that and hopefully to help these guys make their lives even easier … made it extremely easy for me to make that decision,” Porzingis said.
The Celtics also are likely not done, despite already having entered into luxury tax territory by signing Porzingis, who exercised his $36 million player option for next season prior to the trade.
Stevens said he’s been given the “green light” by team owners to make necessary tweaks to the roster in free agency.
The team will also need to try to figure out a possible extension for Porzingis as he enters the final year of his current deal. In addition, on July 6 Brown will also be eligible to receive a contract extension worth $295 million.
“We’re trying to win and everybody is very supportive of that from the top down,” Stevens said. “We’re going to try to put our best foot forward and do that. The required part is the right talent to build around it. We’re very fortunate to have a lot of talented players. … We’ve got guys under contract here that are really good players. Building a team that fits around that in the best way we can is what we’re trying to do.”
JAMES HARDEN PICKS UP $35.6 MILLION OPTION WITH THE 76ERS, AP SOURCE SAYS
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — James Harden picked up his $35.6 million contract option for next season with the Philadelphia 76ers, with the franchise exploring trades to move the veteran scorer, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.
Harden informed the 76ers of his choice Thursday ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline to pick up the option, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the decision was not made public.
The 33-year-old Harden could have declined the option and decided to try for free agency. The Sixers had the right to offer him a $210 million, four-year deal, $8 million more overall than any other team.
But the person who talked to the AP on anonymity Thursday said it while it wasn’t definite Harden would be traded, the player nicknamed The Beard expressed a desire to win a championship — which he has yet to do in his career that dates to his 2009 rookie season — in Philadelphia or with another contender.
The 76ers, per league rules, could not talk contract with Harden’s representatives before Friday and they were set to abide by the terms after they were found guilty of tampering last offseason and ultimately stripped of second-round draft picks.
The stage, though, seems set for yet another blockbuster Harden trade after he forced his way out of Houston and Brooklyn.
Nick Nurse, hired last month as Philadelphia’s coach, has stumped for Harden’s return.
“James has a decision to make, and I’d be very happy if he came back,” Nurse said this month.
Sixers forward Tobias Harris, himself in a bit of a contract quandary this summer and a perfect package fit in a Harden trade, said this week he wanted Harden back on the team.
“There’s not many guys that can go out and drop 40 in a playoff game. I think that goes under the radar a little bit too much,” Harris said. “I think James is a phenomenal player, somebody who works his tail off, and somebody’s who’s an overall great leader. Of course I want him back.”
But it appears playing as the second option behind NBA MVP Joel Embiid and chasing a championship in Philly is no longer seriously on the table.
Harden led the NBA in assists last season with 10.7 per game but it was his wildly fluctuating offense that frustrated Sixers fans and helped doom them in the Eastern Conference second-round loss to Boston.
Harden, acquired at the 2022 trade deadline from Brooklyn for Ben Simmons, scored 45 points in Game 1 and 42 in Game 4 victories against the Celtics. Harden, who turns 34 in August, and was 0 for 6 on 3s in Game 2 and Game 6 losses. He scored only nine points in Game 7, and he went scoreless in the second half.
Harden blossomed into an insolation superstar in Houston but has largely deferred to Embiid with the Sixers.
Team president Daryl Morey, who traded to bring Harden to Houston a decade ago, needs to get a big return in any deal with the Sixers in win-now mode. The Sixers have limited salary cap space, making it all but impossible to sign a quality free agent, especially one with Harden’s pedigree.
So now they’ll look to get assets in a deal — a common factor in Harden’s career. If Harden is traded, per NBA rules, he would have to play under his 2023-24 contract and would not be eligible for free agency until next season.
Harden is a 10-time All-Star but essentially forced his way with trades out of Houston and Brooklyn.
The Rockets traded Harden to the Nets in January 2021 where he was expected to form a championship trio with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. When the Big 3 fizzled, Harden was sent a year later to the Sixers for the disgruntled Simmons.
Harden declined his $47.4 million player option with the 76ers for last season and instead agreed to a two-year deal that will paid him $32 million in 2022-23. It included a player option for this coming season. He opted out of an old deal ahead of last season to stay with the 76ers and made about $14.5 million less last season than he could have earned under his previous contract.
The seven-time All-NBA player is a member of the league’s 75th anniversary team.
BRADLEY BEAL ENTERS HIS 30S WITH THE SUNS, SAYS HE’S READY TO ‘CHASE THIS RING’
PHOENIX (AP) — Bradley Beal was drafted on his 19th birthday and spent his entire 20s with the Washington Wizards, where he scored a lot of points, enjoyed a little team success, but also suffered through plenty of painful losses.
On Wednesday, he turned 30. Not a bad time for a new chapter in the three-time All-Star’s life and basketball career.
Beal was introduced as a member of the Phoenix Suns on Thursday at the Footprint Center, more than a week after he waived a no-trade clause that allowed him to be sent to the desert in exchange for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet and a package of future draft picks.
“I feel refreshed, I feel rejuvenated,” Beal said. “This is an exciting moment for me. This is an awesome team.”
Beal is now part of one of the NBA’s most star-packed starting lineups, including 13-time All-Star Kevin Durant, three-time All-Star Devin Booker and former No. 1 draft pick Deandre Ayton. They’ve also got a new coach in Frank Vogel, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to a title in 2020.
“Bradley Beal is one of the best players in the NBA,” Vogel said. “We’re thrilled to have him be a Phoenix Sun with KD and Book. That forms a trio of three of the most prolific scorers in the game. A great two-way center, one of the best two-way centers in the game.
“These pieces are a great foundation for what we hope will be a championship run for this franchise.”
Beal’s arrival marks the latest big move for new owner Mat Ishbia, who has had an extremely eventful tenure since purchasing the franchise from the embattled Robert Sarver in February. Almost immediately after he was introduced, he approved the team’s big deal to land Durant at the trade deadline.
A few months later, he got into a brief sideline spat with Nuggets star Nikola Jokic during a playoff game. (The two have since made up.)
Now Ishbia and general manager James Jones have swung a deal that brings Beal and his big scoring numbers across the country. The three-time All-Star has averaged at least 20 points per game in each of the past seven seasons, including a career-high 31.3 points per game during the 2020-21 season.
Beal never got past the second round of the playoffs with the Wizards, but still has plenty of fond memories of his tenure in the nation’s capital.
“I have a lot of emotional ties to that city, my family was established there,” Beal said. “So I just want to take a moment to thank the city of D.C., thank the organization for allowing this partnership to happen.”
But Beal also admits he’s excited about his new challenge. The sharpshooting guard was often the Wizards’ main scoring option, but in Phoenix, he’ll be sharing the load with several other stars.
The Suns are trying to win their first championship since coming to the NBA in 1968. They’ve lost in the Finals three times — in 1976, 1993 and 2021.
“I’m excited to play with two Hall of Famers, I’ve never done that,” Beal said. “I’m excited what that brings. They’ll push me in ways I’ve never been pushed and hopefully I’ll do the same.”
Beal’s arrival also means the Suns will have to engage in some salary cap gymnastics to fill out their roster. The foursome of Durant, Beal, Booker and Ayton will make more than $160 million next season.
A summer of bargain hunting on the free agent market awaits, but that’s a problem to worry about another day.
For now, Beal and the Suns are relishing a roster that looks like it will be among the very best in the league during the upcoming season.
“Hopefully, we can chase this ring,” Beal said.
REPORT: TRAIL BLAZERS WAIVING F TRENDON WATFORD
The Portland Trail Blazers are set to waive forward Trendon Watford, ESPN reported Friday.
Watford, 22, averaged 7.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 62 games (12 starts) in 2022-23.
The 6-foot-9 Watford becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Undrafted out of LSU in 2021, Watford averaged 7.6 points and 4.1 boards in 48 games (10 starts) as a 2021-22 rookie.