As expected, shortly after the NBA free agency period began at 5 p.m. Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks and restricted free agent Kristaps Porzingis agreed to a historic five-year, $158.253 million maximum-salary contract, the Dallas Morning News reported.
It’s the largest contract in the Mavericks’ 39-season history — in total, by season average and in a single season.
Kevin Durant is headed to the Brooklyn Nets, leaving the Golden State Warriors after three seasons.
His decision was announced Sunday at the start of the NBA free agency period on the Instagram page for The Boardroom, an online series looking at sports business produced by Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman.
Durant won titles with Golden State in 2017 and ‘18 then was injured for much of the postseason this year as the team lost the NBA Finals in six games to the Toronto Raptors.
A ruptured right Achilles tendon could keep him out the entire next season, and whenever he returns it will be in the Brooklyn black.
ESPN first reported Durant’s decision, saying he had agreed to a four-year deal worth $164 million. Durant could have gotten five years and about $221 million to remain with the Warriors.
Durant, a 10-time All-Star who just completed his 12th NBA season, was leading all postseason scorers at 34.2 points per game when he strained his right calf on May 8 in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets. He had seven 30-point performances during the recent playoffs.
It’s unclear how he will play whenever he can return, but the Nets were willing to take a chance with a team on the rise.
Brooklyn finished 42-40 this season and lost in the first round of the playoffs, then got a huge victory Sunday when it beat out the Warriors, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers for Durant.
Durant, who grew up in the Washington area and spent one college season at Texas, played his first year with the Seattle SuperSonics before they departed for Oklahoma City, where Durant played eight seasons with the Thunder before joining the Warriors in 2016.
He was heavily criticized for that move, seen as taking an easy route by joining a team that had just won an NBA-record 73 games. But it worked out for Durant and the Warriors, as he was the NBA Finals MVP in their championships in both 2017 and 2018.
This season was filled with talk of his future, though for much of the season it was focused on the Knicks if he decided to leave. But the Nets became a more attractive option with young talent that should help them be competitive next season even while Durant recovers.
Porzingis, 23, was acquired by the Mavericks from the New York Knicks on Jan. 31 in a blockbuster seven-player trade in which Dallas also sent New York its first-round picks in 2021 and 2023 (top 10-protected).
Assuming 7-foot-3 Porzingis plays in October’s season-opener, it will have been 20 months since he played in an NBA game, as a Knick, on Feb. 6, 2018. That was the night he sustained an ACL tear in his left knee, requiring major surgery.
At the time of the injury, Porzingis was averaging 22.7 points and 6.6 rebounds and had been named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
His 7-foot-6 wingspan and prodigious talent were why the Mavericks, despite the injury, pounced on the opportunity to acquire him. Dallas also ran the minor risk that Porzingis might sign a one-year, $4.9 million qualifying offer this summer and enter unrestricted free agency next summer, but bypassing a guaranteed $158 million payola never made much sense.
Porzingis won’t actually sign the contract until the Mavericks complete most of their free agency maneuvering and go over the salary cap, which then will enable them to sign Porzingis without consuming salary cap space.
Until now, the largest single Mavericks contract was the four-year, $94.438 million deal that Harrison Barnes signed on July 7, 2016.
Dirk Nowitzki made about $255 million during his Mavericks career, but that was spread over 21 seasons and multiple contracts.
The Mavericks’ franchise record for a single-season salary was $25 million, earned by Nowitzki in the 2016-17 season, followed by Barnes’ $24,793,702 million salary last season, before he was traded to Sacramento.
Porzingis is scheduled to make $27,285,000 this upcoming season, with eight-percent raises ($2,182,800) in each of the ensuing four seasons of his deal: He’ll make $29,467,800 in 2020-21; $31,650,600 in 2021-22; $33,833,400 in 2022-23; and $36,016,200 in 2023-24.
Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, the maximum starting salary Porzingis could earn was 25% of the NBA salary cap. When the NBA on Saturday night raised the 2019-20 cap from a projected $109 million to $109,140,000 it gave Porzingis a slight first-season salary bump and a $203,000 boost over the five year life of his contract.
The Mavericks and post Dwight Powell will reportedly agree on a 3-year deal worth $33 million, according to the New York Times‘ Mark Stein.
Powell averaged 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 59.7% from the field last season. He was unquestionably one of the Mavs’ most productive players off the bench all season.
His ability to stretch the floor with an improved perimeter stroke has made him all the more valuable as Dallas ushers in this new era of basketball without Dirk Nowitzki and with young stars Luka Doncic and Porzingis.
The Mavericks are officially diving into free agency, the Morning News reported. Goran Dragic will be joining the Mavericks as part of a reported three-team trade with the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers. The entire trade has not yet been disclosed.
The Mavericks will now have two players from Slovenia on the roster with Dragic joining Doncic.
The move comes as a bit of a surprise as Dragic had reportedly picked up his 2019-20 player option worth $19.2 million to remain with the Heat earlier this month.
Dragic has spent 11 years in the NBA, including the last four with the Heat. The 33-year old averaged 13.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game last season. He has awarded the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2013-14 and was in the 2018 All-Star Game.
A source told Brad Townsend of the Morning News that Dragic will be taken “in space,” no compensation from the Mavericks. Space either being part of Mavs’ $30 million cap space OR the $21.2 million Harrison Barnes trade exception. Mavs can decide which.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations says Jimmy Butler, a former Tyler Junior College star, has agreed to a $142 million, four-year contract and will be traded to the Miami Heat by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Miami and Philadelphia were still working out some aspects of the swap, such as the addition of Dallas as the third team, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the move had not been finalized. The Heat will be sending Josh Richardson to Philadelphia and were in talks to trade Dragic to Dallas as part of the move.
A person with knowledge of the situation says that former Charlotte guard Kemba Walker has told the Boston Celtics he will sign a four-year, $141 million contract to join them.
The person also says that it’s likely that Walker will be part of a trade that would send Terry Rozier from Boston to Charlotte on a three-year, $58 million deal. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press Sunday because the moves have not been finalized.
Walker spent his first eight NBA seasons in Charlotte. He would become the Celtics’ replacement at the point guard spot for Kyrie Irving.
The Milwaukee Bucks are confirming that they are keeping Khris Middleton.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press earlier Sunday that Middleton will sign a five-year deal worth nearly $179 million. Bucks general manager Jon Horst did not confirm the terms, though was permitted to say that the team is keeping the top running mate to NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Horst says, “we intend to enter into a player contract with Khris once the moratorium period has ended.”
Teams are permitted to announce their intentions to enter into deals even during the moratorium. None can be executed until that period ends Saturday.
A person with knowledge of the situation says the Orlando Magic are keeping both All-Star forward Nikola Vucevic and guard Terrence Ross on four-year deals that were agreed to quickly once free agency opened Sunday evening.
Vucevic will earn $100 million and Ross is guaranteed $54 million, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because of the league moratorium that prevents those contracts from being signed until Saturday.
Keeping those two players was Orlando’s top priority in free agency. Vucevic was an All-Star for the first time last season and averaged nearly 21 points per game, a career-best. Ross also had a career-best scoring season, averaging 15.1 points off Orlando’s bench.
A person familiar with the situation says Terry Rozier will be heading to the Charlotte Hornets via a sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics.
Rozier will receive $58 million over three years, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because the deal is not finalized.
Rozier is part of a changing of the guard for the Hornets with the franchise’s all-time leading scorer Kemba Walker agreeing to a four-year, $141 million with the Celtics.
Rozier has spent all four seasons in Boston, averaging nine points and 2.9 assists per game last season. His best year came in 2017-18 when he averaged 11.3 points per game and shot 38 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
Rozier has started only 30 games but is now set to be the No.1 point guard in Charlotte.
A person with knowledge of the situation says Ricky Rubio is going to the Phoenix Suns on a three-year deal worth $51 million.
Rubio was intrigued by the chance to play for new Suns coach Monty Williams and alongside shooting guard Devin Booker, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because the contract cannot be signed until the league’s summer moratorium ends Saturday.
The Athletic first reported Rubio’s agreement with Phoenix.
Rubio averaged 12.7 points and 6.1 assists last season for the Utah Jazz, with whom he spent two seasons. Rubio’s first six seasons were with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
A person with knowledge of the situations says Bojan Bogdanovic is signing a four-year deal with the Utah Jazz that will be worth $73.1 million.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Sunday because the deal cannot be signed until the NBA’s moratorium ends Saturday. Bogdanovic is coming off a year where he averaged a career-best 18 points per game for the Indiana Pacers.
Utah becomes Bogdanovic’s fourth team, after stints with Brooklyn and Washington preceded his two years with the Pacers. Bogdanovic missed only three games over his two Indiana seasons.
He joins a team that is adding point guard Mike Conley and already has rising star Donovan Mitchell.
Two people familiar with the situation say the New Orleans Pelicans and free agent JJ Redick have agreed on a two-year contract worth about $26.5 million.
The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Sunday evening because new contracts cannot become official under NBA rules until Saturday.
The 35-year-old Redick has shot just better than 41 percent from 3-point range during his 13-season career season.
The 6-foot-4 shooting guard out of Duke has averaged 12.9 points per game, but his past two seasons with Philadelphia have been his best as a scorer. He averaged 18.1 points this past season.
The Pelicans entered free agency in need of a proficient perimeter shooter to help spread defenses and create more space inside for top overall draft choice Zion Williamson, a 6-foot-7 power forward who also played at Duke.
Redick spent his first six NBA seasons with Orlando, followed by short stints with Toronto, Milwaukee, the Los Angeles Clippers and Sixers.
A person with knowledge of the situation says Jonas Valanciunas has agreed to a $45 million, three-year deal to remain with the Memphis Grizzlies.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Sunday because the deal cannot be signed until the NBA’s moratorium ends Saturday. Valanciunas joined the Grizzlies late last season as part of the trade that sent Marc Gasol to the Toronto Raptors, who went on to win the NBA championship.
Valanciunas averaged 19.9 points in 19 games with Memphis last season. For his career, he’s averaged 12.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.