The Charlotte Hornets completed the acquisition of Gordon Hayward in a sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics, it was announced on Sunday.

Hayward – an unrestricted free agent – moves to the Hornets along with a 2023 and 2024 second-round NBA Draft pick in exchange for a protected 2022 second-round selection.

While terms of the contract were not disclosed, Hayward has reportedly signed a four-year, $120million deal in Charlotte.

Hayward was due to earn $34.2m with the Celtics in 2020-21, but the 2017 All-Star opted to leave Boston after three years.

"We are thrilled to welcome Gordon and his family to the Hornets organisation and Charlotte," said Hornets president of basketball operations and general manager Mitch Kupchak.

"Gordon is an NBA All-Star, a proven scorer and playmaker and a tough competitor that will fit well into the needs of our team.

"We believe that his basketball talent, NBA experience and veteran leadership will make a positive impact on our young, talented team as it continues to develop."

Hayward left the Utah Jazz for the Celtics on a four-year max contract via free agency in 2017, but he endured a difficult time in Boston.

The ninth pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Hayward suffered a gruesome fractured tibia and dislocated ankle in his first game for the Celtics three years ago.

Hayward struggled to recapture his best form the following season, and the 30-year-old sustained a broken bone in his hand in November before suffering a sprained right ankle during Boston's sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers in the opening round of last season's playoffs in Orlando.

He did not return until midway through the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat.

Hayward averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game for the Celtics last season, having averaged 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 2018-19.

Since entering the league, Hayward is averaging 15.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

The NBA's preseason will start on December 11 ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, the league announced.

There will be a total of 49 games during the preseason, which will conclude on December 19.

Each NBA team will play a minimum of two and a maximum of four games – at least one at home and one away – with the 72-game regular season set to tip off on December 22.

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are eyeing back-to-back titles heading into the new season.

The Lakers ended their 10-year wait for a championship after topping the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals inside the Orlando bubble at Walt Disney World Resort amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Lakers' success tied the longest postseason drought in NBA history that a team ended by winning the title, matching the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers.

James also became the first player in NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL history to win the Finals MVP award for three different teams, having also been crowned Most Valuable Player with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Heat, as he celebrated a fourth championship.

Anthony Davis and James became the first pair of team-mates in NBA history to each have 500-plus points and 200-plus rebounds in the same postseason.

Dwight Howard believes Ben Simmons can become one of the greatest to ever play in the NBA as he compared the Philadelphia 76ers All-Star to LeBron James.

Howard will team up with Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia after leaving NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers for the 76ers via free agency.

An eight-time All-Star, Howard won a title alongside Lakers superstar James in Los Angeles and he is relishing the opportunity to play with former number one draft pick Simmons in Philadelphia.

Simmons – an elite defender and creator with unrivalled pace – averaged 16.4 points, 8.0 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game last season before injury cut short his campaign as the 76ers were swept by the Boston Celtics in the opening round of the playoffs.

"Ben Simmons is a young LeBron ... I love the way he plays. I love how unselfish he is, and how mean he can be to other teams, and that's important," Howard told reporters on Wednesday.

"When you have your point guard coming down, dunking on people, flexing, getting big rebounds, talking trash, doing all those things, it drives you to want to be better.

"He has an opportunity to be one of the greatest to ever play the game, and I'm glad I have the opportunity to actually give him some things that can help him along the way."

Howard arrives in the city of Brotherly Love with one thing on his mind – delivering the 76ers their first championship since 1983.

Much has been said about franchise pillars Embiid and Simmons, and their compatibility as the 76ers prepare for life under new head coach Doc Rivers, who replaced Brett Brown.

When Embiid and Simmons play, the 76ers boast a 119-65 win-loss record, per Stats Perform. But without one or both, they greatly suffer (67-94), Embiid's physicality in the paint and Simmons' superior defensive skills vital in Philadelphia.

The 76ers average 111.7 points, 107.5 opposition points, 47.4 rebounds and 26.4 assists per game with Embiid and Simmons involved, a clear improvement compared to when one or both miss a game – 106.7 points, 109.4 opposition points, 44.5 rebounds and 25.0 assists.

Philadelphia also have a superior field goal percentage (46.9) when Embiid and Simmons both play, with the 76ers shooting just 45.3 per cent without one or both. Opposition numbers also go up in their absence – field goal percentage (44.3 to 46.2) and three-point percentage (34.1 to 35.5).

"There's a lot of things," Howard replied when asked why he thinks the Sixers – who also recruited Seth Curry and Danny Green – can win a title. "You have two great young stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, I'm going to start there. Those guys, to me I watched when Joel lost [to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semi-finals in 2019] and how bad it hurt, he just cried, and I know what that feels like. I've been in that moment before where it's like, 'Man, I gave everything I had. I put it all on the line and I came up short.'

"It doesn't sit well with you, it stays with you for a really long time. So with him I know he has a fire inside of him, and we've all seen glimpses of it all year, and I think this is the year where it's about being focused. I see focus in him, I see focus in Ben, and that's where it starts with our two best players.

"Then you look at the rest of the guys on our team, they've all been hungry, they just never knew how to win. And I think by adding a guy like Danny Green and myself, we just fresh off of winning a championship, and I think we all know what it takes to really get to the next level.

"And I think this is a really great opportunity. You have a coach always talking about winning, how important it is to win, and you have some players who just want it. I think this year with the focus this team will have and the drive that we have to be successful, this will be our year."

Bogdan Bogdanovic has signed for the Atlanta Hawks in free agency after rejecting the opportunity to join Giannis Antetokounmpo at the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks have looked to make big moves this offseason to keep Antetokounmpo on board when he becomes a free agent next year.

A blockbuster move for Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans went through, before Milwaukee looked to have done a deal to bring in Bogdanovic from the Sacramento Kings in a sign-and-trade.

Justin James was also going to move to the Bucks, with Donte DiVincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova and DJ Wilson heading in the opposite direction.

However, Bogdanovic - a restricted free agent attracting attention from Atlanta - rejected the switch.

The Hawks then submitted a four-year, $72million offer sheet for the 28-year-old guard, according to ESPN, and the Kings decided not to match it.

Bogdanovic wrote on Twitter: "Thank you so much @SacramentoKings for welcoming me with so much love to start my NBA career.

"Thank you for allowing me to be myself and giving me the opportunity to follow my dreams!!! Thank you to the fans and the city for welcoming me, and supporting me the whole time!!

"I'm going to miss all my friends, teammates and one of the best fan bases in NBA!!!"

Atlanta confirmed the signing of Bogdanovic, who averaged 15.1 points, 3.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 29.0 minutes for Sacramento last season.

In a busy offseason, the team have also recruited Danilo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo and Kris Dunn.

The Kings' decision not to match the Hawks' offer was made easier when Tyrese Haliburton fell to number 12 in the draft last week.

They are building around 22-year-old guard De'Aaron Fox, who has signed a five-year max contract worth at least $163m.

Last season, in his third year in the NBA, Fox averaged 21.1 points, 6.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 32.0 minutes.

John Wall has become the latest NBA star to invest in the NBL after it was confirmed the Washington Wizards star has purchased a stake in the South East Melbourne Phoenix.

He becomes the fifth past or present NBA player to buy a stake in the team fronted by Los Angeles businessman Romie Chaudhari.

Dante Exum, Zach Randolph, Al Harrington and Josh Childress are all also part of the ownership group.

"I'm so excited to be coming onboard with the Phoenix," Wall said via a statement on the team's website.

"I love the vision that both Romie and [CEO] Tommy [Greer] have shared with me and am really impressed with what they've been able to create over the first season. 

"I know there is plenty I can contribute to the growth of the franchise and I'm especially looking forward to getting down to South East Melbourne and meeting the team and the fans when travel restrictions are lifted."

Wall is a former number one draft pick and has had a nine-year career with the Wizards, becoming a five-time NBA all-star and finishing Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2011.

He signed a four-year, $170million contract extension in Washington in July 2017 - the deal starting in 2019-20 - but has not played since December 2018 due to serious heel and Achilles injuries.

The news of Wall's investment continues a familiar trend of NBA stars investing in the NBL, with Kevin Martin among a consortium who own the Brisbane Bullets.

Andrew Bogut has a 10 per cent ownership in the Sydney Kings, while Victor Oladipo last week confirmed the purchase of a minority stake in the New Zealand Breakers.

Where will James Harden be playing in 2020-21?

The Houston Rockets superstar reportedly wants to be traded to Brooklyn Nets, where he would reunite with Kevin Durant and team up with Kyrie Irving.

Harden is also considering Eastern Conference contenders the Philadelphia 76ers, while there have been rumblings about the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors.

As the Nets and 76ers reportedly vie for the 2018 MVP, we look at where Harden would be best suited and what he would bring, using Stats Perform data.

 

Brooklyn Nets

A super team featuring Harden, Durant and Irving at the disposal of first-year coach Steve Nash?

Harden has called Houston home since 2012 and signed a contract extension through to the 2022-23 season in 2017, but the sharpshooter reportedly turned down a new deal and wants to leave the Rockets in pursuit of a maiden championship.

The eight-time All-Star was team-mates with Durant at the Oklahoma City Thunder between 2009 and 2012.

Harden would bring a high volume of three-point and free-throw attempts to Brooklyn, not to mention a dominant scorer, which the Nets have rarely had.

He attempted the most three-pointers in 2019-20 with 843, and he also topped the free-throw attempts category at 800. Taurean Prince topped Brooklyn's 3PA list with 431, while Spencer Dinwiddie stepped to the line on 446 occasions.

In terms of individual seasons averaging 30.0-plus points, Harden boasts three seasons, while Durant has two. The Nets? 0. John Williamson's high of 29.5 points per game in 1977-78 (in just 33 games) is the closest.

In each of the past three seasons, Harden has earned the NBA scoring title. Durant – yet to play for Brooklyn following an Achilles injury – has claimed four honours, compared to the Nets' all-time haul of 0 after Keith Van Horn finished fifth in 1998-99. Harden and Durant have won seven of the past 11 scoring crowns.

Harden would also bring a resume with a lot of wins and postseason experience, as did Irving and Durant as former NBA champions with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Warriors respectively – the Nets have lost in the first round in back-to-back seasons, while not since 2003 have they featured in the Finals.

Harden boasts a team win percentage of 64.9 in regular-season games in which he has played, while he has amassed 128 playoff appearances.

The issue of Harden signing for the Nets would be centred on possession and distribution, given he, Durant and Irving are ball carriers.

Looking at the highest usage percentage – an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor – since 2014-15 to get an idea of how the Nets could make it work with the trio, and Harden (second, 35.3 per cent), Durant (eighth, 29.6 per cent) and Irving (ninth, 29.4 per cent) rank in the top 10. The NBA average is 20.0 per cent.

 

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers-Harden link is obvious – Daryl Morey.

Morey spent 13 years as general manager in Houston, where he prised Harden from the Thunder, before joining head coach Doc Rivers and the 76ers as president of basketball operations in Philadelphia ahead of the 2020-21 season.

Despite a humiliating first-round series sweep at the hands of Eastern Conference rivals the Celtics, the 76ers remain committed to building around All-Star duo Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons – evident by the arrivals of Seth Curry, Danny Green and Dwight Howard.

Just like the Nets, it remains to be seen how the 76ers will facilitate a trade, but the championship hopefuls – without a title since 1983 – are believed to be still pursuing a deal.

It appears as though Morey and the 76ers are focused more on three-pointers, an area Philadelphia have struggled in since JJ Redick's exit in 2019. Last season, the 76ers ranked 22nd in the NBA with 31.6 three-point attempts per game, but they have acquired Curry and Green, and if they lure Harden to the city of Brotherly Love, that would give them yet another good long-range shooter.

Morey's teams were also known for getting to the free-throw line frequently, and that could be the case again if Harden swaps Houston for Philly. Harden (first, 7.6) and Embiid (fifth, 6.8) both rank in the top five for most career free throws made per game since the 1976-77 merger.

The last time an NBA team had two players average 6.0-plus free throws made per game apiece in the same season (minimum 70 per cent of team games played) was in 2010-11, when two duos did so – LeBron James and Dwyane Wade for the Miami Heat and Durant and Russell Westbrook for the Thunder.

Where this team could be different than in past Harden-led sides would be rebounding. In 2019-20, Brett Brown's 76ers were great at rebounding – ranked second in the NBA for average rebound margin with plus-3.6. Houston, on the other hand, were 26th in the league with minus-3.6, having turned to small ball.

Embiid would be arguably the best big man Harden has played with. In his NBA career, Harden has never played with a team-mate who averaged 20.0-plus points and 10.0-plus rebounds per game in a season.

Fred VanVleet is relishing the fact the Toronto Raptors are being overlooked, just like they were before Kawhi Leonard's arrival, after re-signing with the NBA franchise.

VanVleet will remain in Toronto after the Raptors announced a new multi-year contract on Tuesday, reportedly worth $85million over four years.

The 26-year-old guard has established himself as a key member of the Raptors roster, having helped the team to their first championship in 2019.

Leonard headlined Toronto's success last year before leaving for the Los Angeles Clippers and amid doubts over the Raptors heading into 2020-21, VanVleet is excited.

"I'm excited about what we've got," VanVleet – undrafted out of Wichita State – said during Tuesday's virtual news conference.

"I think we're kind of headed back in the direction of where we were pre-Kawhi, where people are overlooking us again, which is not a bad place to be in.

"We've got a lot of work to do and we've got to get a lot better as individuals, and then we'll go out there and see what we can do. I'm excited. I can't wait to get back to work."

A playoff hero in Toronto's 2019 title run, VanVleet assumed a larger offensive role last season, starting 54 games and averaging career highs with 17.6 points and 6.6 assists per game as the Raptors reached the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

VanVleet was averaging under 5.0 points per game as recently as 2016-17. Now, his scoring is up to 17.6 (+14.7). No players in the NBA have had a bigger scoring increase since then, with New Orleans Pelicans star Brandon Ingram (23.8ppg from 9.4ppg – +14.5), Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics (20.3ppg from 6.6ppg – +13.7) and Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (20.6ppg from 7.3ppg – +13.3) coming closest.

"All of the individual accolades that you could ever think of – though I don't really share those publicly because that's not what I'm into – but I've got a lot on the table that I want to get done," VanVleet said, with the Raptors to begin their season in Tampa, Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"But now I'm just locked in on that next championship. That feeling of winning a championship, it trumps anything I've ever done in my life, in my career. Besides my kids, that's right up there, as far as personal journeys and accomplishments that you can make.

"So trying to chase that next championship, that's what I'm locked in on."

Bam Adebayo has agreed a five-year maximum contract extension following the Miami Heat's memorable run to the NBA Finals.

Adebayo's new deal could rise to $195million after his agent Alex Saratsis confirmed the contract to ESPN on Tuesday.

Heat star Adebayo enjoyed the best season of his career following All-Star selection for the first time, helping fifth seeds Miami to the Finals at Walt Disney World Resort.

Adebayo, though, was hampered by injury in the showpiece against the Los Angeles Lakers, who claimed their first championship since 2010 in October.

The 23-year-old big man averaged career highs in points (15.9), rebounds (10.2) and assists (5.1) per game last regular season.

In the playoffs, Adebayo averaged 17.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists for the Heat, who became the fourth team in history seeded fifth or worse to reach the NBA Finals, following the Houston Rockets (sixth seeds in 1995 and 1981) and New York Knicks (eighth seeds in 1999).

Since entering the league as the 14th pick in 2017, Adebayo has a career average of 10.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

Heat team-mates Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard already committed to Miami earlier in free agency, while Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless have joined the franchise via the Lakers and Knicks respectively.

New Orleans Pelicans All-Star Brandon Ingram has agreed a five-year, $158million maximum contract extension with the NBA franchise.

Ingram's agents Jeff Schwartz and Jordan Gertler confirmed the new deal to ESPN on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old forward was part of the blockbuster trade that sent Anthony Davis to LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers at the start of 2019-20.

Ingram has flourished in New Orleans, where he earned All-Star selection for the first time and was named the league's Most Improved Player.

The second pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Ingram enjoyed a career season with the Pelicans.

Ingram set personal highs by averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game for the Pelicans (30-42), who missed out on the playoffs despite reaching Walt Disney World Resort amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The max contract comes as the Pelicans acquired star center Steven Adams, veteran point guard Eric Bledsoe and two future first-round picks in a four-team deal with the Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Adams arrives from the Thunder, while Bledsoe swaps the Bucks for the Pelicans after New Orleans sent Jrue Holiday and the draft rights to Sam Merrill to Milwaukee.

"Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe are not only fiercely competitive and driven to succeed at the highest levels, they are proven winners with a team-first mentality," said Pelicans executive vice-president of basketball operations David Griffin.

"As we continue to build toward the sustainable success our ownership demands and our fans so richly deserve, we are grateful to be able to do so with such high-quality team-mates and human beings."

Adams, who has spent his entire seven-year career in Oklahoma City, boasts a career average of 9.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game, having averaged 10.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 2019-20.

Bledsoe teamed up with NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, where he averaged 14.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists for Eastern Conference champions the Bucks last season.

Three-time NBA All-Star Marc Gasol has joined the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 35-year-old center has reportedly signed a two-year deal with the champions, who did not disclose terms of the deal.

Spaniard Gasol was drafted by the Lakers before his rights were traded to the Memphis Grizzlies 12 years ago.

The veteran started all but one of his 44 games for the Toronto Raptors last season, averaging 7.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 26.4 minutes per game.

Gasol played 839 times for the Grizzlies and Raptors combined, averaging 14.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 blocks in 33.0 minutes.

The 2013 NBA Defensive Player of the Year has featured in 94 playoff games, playing his part in the Raptors' historic 2019 title triumph.

He is one of just six players in the league to claim over 6,000 rebounds, 1,100 blocks and 350 three-pointers.

Gasol has also experienced success for his country, winning gold medals at the FIBA World Cup in 2006 and last year, as well as Olympic silver medals in 2008 and 2012.

The arrival of Gasol comes a day after the Lakers sent JaVale McGee and a future second-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Alfonzo McKinnie and Jordan Bell.

Montrezl Harrell also joined the Lakers in what has been a busy start to the week.

Steph Curry insists the Golden State Warriors are ready to adapt to their new role "chasing" the Los Angeles Lakers despite Klay Thompson's latest season-ending injury.

The Warriors reached five straight NBA Finals between 2015 and 2019, winning three titles, but slumped to a 15-50 record at the bottom of the West in 2019-20.

Golden State lost Thompson and Kevin Durant to long-term setbacks in their Finals defeat the previous season, before the latter departed for the Brooklyn Nets.

Curry's own injuries limited him to just five games last term as Thompson sat out the entire season and the team suffered.

The Warriors were expected to return to contention this season, challenging the champion Lakers, but Thompson will again be absent due to a major Achilles blow.

Talk of writing off another campaign is premature, however, according to Curry.

The two-time MVP told ESPN's The Undefeated: "We've been waiting seven months to get back out there.

"Not seeing [Thompson] on the court, at first, is going to be weird. But I think we've done a really good job in the offseason with James [Wiseman, the second overall pick] and our draft picks and in the free agency pool to put together a really solid roster.

"We're going to have to learn a lot really quickly, and we will need a full commitment from everybody.

"We know we can compete with anyone in the league. It's kind of crazy. We know how great Klay is - don't get me wrong - but we hear the chatter. 'It's the end for us', 'This year is a wash', 'What are we going to do in the future?'.

"But we are in the moment right now.

"It's kind of refreshing being in that category as guys that are chasing. We know [the Lakers] are the defending champs. We've got to beat them. We're ready for it."

Curry described news of Thompson's new injury as "a gut punch, for sure" and said it prompted "a lot of tears".

But Golden State are hoping to eventually welcome back the five-time All-Star who Curry still considers the best shooting guard in the league.

"He can come back strong. He's a guy that loves the game so much," Curry said. "He is going to do whatever it takes to get back out there on the floor and be himself.

"That's what we hope and that's the confidence that we have. Two and a half years of rehab is tough for anybody. But we're hoping for the best."

DeMarcus Cousins has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Houston Rockets.

Hit by injuries in recent years, the four-time All-Star will try to revive his career in Houston, ESPN reported on Monday.

Cousins, 30, has played just 78 regular-season and eight playoff games since the start of 2017-18 following numerous injuries.

The center ruptured his left Achilles in early 2018 while with the New Orleans Pelicans before joining the Golden State Warriors later that year.

Cousins tore his left quadriceps late in the 2018-19 season, but did return as the Warriors lost to the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals.

He signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers last year, but tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in August and was waived in February 2020.

The Lakers went on to win the NBA championship last month.

Cousins has averaged 21.2 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists in the regular season during an NBA career that started with the Sacramento Kings in 2010.

Houston have made the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons, but are seemingly set for a rebuild with James Harden and Russell Westbrook reportedly seeking trades.

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has reportedly agreed a max rookie contract extension worth up to $195million.

Tatum's new five-year, $163m deal in Boston could rise to almost $200m, according to ESPN.

The 22-year-old – the third pick in the 2017 NBA Draft – led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, while earning his first All-Star appearance.

It was a coming of age for Tatum in 2019-20, much to the delight of the Celtics and all those connected with the team.

Tatum cemented himself as one of the best players in the league by averaging 23.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game – up on his 2018-19 averages of 15.7ppg, 6.0rpg and 2.1 apg.

The Celtics forward also enjoyed a fine playoff campaign, becoming only the third player in NBA history to average 25.0-plus points, 10.0-plus rebounds and 5.0-plus assists per game in a single postseason with 15 or more games played.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James (in 2014-15 and 2019-20) and Boston's Larry Bird (in 1983-84 and 1986-87) are the only other players to reach the feat.

NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly agreed to sign Toronto Raptors star Marc Gasol via free agency.

A free agent in Toronto – where he won the title in 2019 – Gasol is set to sign a two-year deal with the Lakers, according to ESPN.

After trading JaVale McGee and his contract to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the deal will also see Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie head to the Lakers on non-guaranteed contracts.

Gasol was initially drafted by the Lakers in 2007 but his rights were traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008 in a deal that sent his older brother Pau to Los Angeles.

Marc Gasol joined the Raptors from the Grizzlies last year, and the Spaniard enjoyed immediate success.

The 35-year-old averaged 9.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game following his February switch in 2019 – Toronto, led by Kawhi Leonard, capturing their maiden championship.

Last season, Gasol averaged 7.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game as the Raptors lost in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Gasol joins a Lakers side who ended their 10-year wait for a title in October's NBA Finals.

LeBron James and the Lakers have already recruited Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell from city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency, having seen Dwight Howard depart for the Philadelphia 76ers.

On Sunday, the Lakers also confirmed the signing of shooting guard Wesley Matthews, who played for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2019-20.

Donovan Mitchell has agreed to a five-year max extension potentially worth $195million with the Utah Jazz, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The All-Star guard has become a key component for the Jazz since the franchise moved up to draft him with the 13th pick in 2017.

Mitchell was named the NBA's Rookie of the Year following a spectacular debut season that saw him lead the team in scoring as they reached the playoffs.

The 24-year-old helped oust the Oklahoma City Thunder before losing in five games to the Houston Rockets. While Utah has made the postseason in the two years since then, they have failed to make it beyond the first round.

Still, Mitchell averaged a career-high 24 points and 4.3 assists in a 2019-20 campaign that saw him earn his first All-Star appearance for the Western Conference.

The season was completed in the NBA's Orlando bubble due to the coronavirus pandemic, Utah going down 4-3 to the Denver Nuggets at the end of an epic series, during which Mitchell averaged 36.3 points.

His new deal is the designated rookie max extension and follows on from De'Aaron Fox, a fellow first-round pick in 2017, agreeing a five-year deal worth $163m to keep him with the Sacramento Kings.

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