Al Horford has signed for the Philadelphia 76ers, who also officially confirmed Tobias Harris will be remaining with the franchise.

Veteran center Horford has reportedly inked a four-year deal worth $109million after declining his $30.1m player option with the Boston Celtics last month.

Horford was originally expected to return to the team on a three-year deal before negotiations fell apart.

"We're excited to welcome one of the NBA's best frontcourt players in Al Horford to Philadelphia," Sixers general manager Elton Brand said in a statement. 

"He has built his reputation around hard work and a tradition of winning, which are the same qualities that have formed the foundation of the 76ers.

"Al's playmaking, elite defensive talents and veteran leadership confirm why he is a crucial addition to our roster. 

"We have gained a championship-level team-mate that will not only complement our current make-up but will help grow our young core as we strive for the highest level of success."

In further good news for the 76ers, Harris is staying in Philadelphia. His agent and father, Torrel, told The Athletic he has signed a five-year, $180m contract.

Philadelphia acquired Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers at the trade deadline earlier this year. He averaged 18.2 points and 7.9 rebounds in 27 regular-season games with the 76ers.

Harris has bounced around the NBA and has played for five teams in eight seasons, averaging 15.4 points per game while shooting 36.4 per cent from three-point range in 546 career appearances.

"Signing Tobias and solidifying him as a foundational piece of our core for years to come was a top priority for our organisation this summer," Brand said. 

"His impact in our city extends far beyond his elite talents on the floor. He has ingrained himself in the community and established himself as a leader and driver of positive change. 

"Tobias is a fierce competitor with a tireless work ethic and embodies all of the qualities of a franchise cornerstone. I couldn't be happier to welcome Tobias and his entire family back to the 76ers and we all look forward to continuing our quest to win a championship for this city and our amazing fans.”

Kawhi Leonard has officially joined the Los Angeles Clippers, but has reportedly made a surprising decision regarding his contract.

The three-time All-Star is rumoured to have signed a three-year, $103million deal with a player option in 2021-22, rather than the four-year, $141m contract he initially was expected to sign.

Such an agreement would allow Leonard to become an unrestricted free agent alongside his co-star Paul George – whose arrival from the Oklahoma City Thunder was also ratified on Wednesday – in two seasons, which puts pressure on the Clippers to be successful.

Leonard, the 2019 NBA Finals MVP, declined his player option with the Toronto Raptors after their championship run and elected to return to his home state of California. 

The ruptured Achilles Kevin Durant suffered in Game 5 of this year's title series made Leonard the most sought-after free agent on the market. He made things interesting by orchestrating a blockbuster deal.

The Clippers, at Leonard's request, sent Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and a staggering five future first-round picks to the Thunder for George, making them the favourites to win the championship in 2020.

They went from an eighth seed in the Western Conference to a powerhouse with two All-NBA talents and a strong supporting cast featuring Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell.

The Clippers have come back stronger than ever after a first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, but their window to win it all could be smaller than what many thought it would be.

Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson said the Nets were "humbled" by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving's decision to join the team.

The Nets signed NBA All-Star duo Durant and Irving to go with the likes of DeAndre Jordan, Garrett Temple and Wilson Chandler.

Atkinson, who has been at the helm since 2016, said the signings were huge for Brooklyn.

"I use the word humbled that guys of that calibre would choose to play with us," he told a news conference on Tuesday.

"The biggest credit goes to our returning players – Joe Harris, Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert.

"I think, at the end of the day, all our free agents, Garrett Temple and DeAndre, they looked at it and [said], 'man, those are guys we want to play with'."

While Durant is set to miss most, if not all, of the 2019-20 season due to an Achilles injury, the Nets look well-placed to reach the playoffs for the second straight campaign.

Brooklyn finished 2018-19 with a 42-40 record before losing to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs.

Atkinson believes the Eastern Conference will again be tough after several big moves in the offseason.

"I think we've added some really good players and our goal is just to continue that rise," he said.

"I think there are going to be a lot of good teams in the east, I think there is going to be a lot of parity, that's my gut.

"Jimmy [Butler] going to Miami, geez that makes them better, Philly with all their big guys and shooting, Boston sign Kemba [Walker], we all know Kemba. I see a lot of parity in the east."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he expected the changes at Boston after their 2018-19 NBA season.

Boston lost star guard Kyrie Irving, along with forward Al Horford, in free agency, but acquired Kemba Walker in a sign-and-trade with the Charlotte Hornets.

Stevens addressed the team's recent moves when he met with reporters on Tuesday.

"Anytime you go through a year like we went through, where you don't necessarily meet expectations, there's probably going to be some change," Stevens said, via The Boston Globe.

Irving, who ended up signing with the Brooklyn Nets, had a rough stint in Boston.

He was reportedly unhappy and had issues with team-mates as well as the coaching staff.

"I don't know if there's anything anyone individually necessarily feels like they should have done or could have done [to keep Irving]," Stevens said.

"That's part of free agency. You can go where you want at the end of the day. I enjoyed Kyrie. I like Kyrie, and I wish him nothing but health and success. I don't fault him one bit for choosing to follow whatever he wants to do. That's his right."

Horford was a vital member of the Celtics' rotation last season. He declined his $30.1million player option with Boston last month and was originally expected to return to the team on a three-year deal. But, the sides were reportedly far apart on a new contract and negotiations fell apart.

The 33-year-old then went on to ink a four-year contract, reportedly worth up to $109m, with the Philadelphia 76ers.

"We loved Al, we wanted him back," Stevens said. "Again, it's his choice. He can go do what he wants to do and there's a lot of factors that end up helping these guys make those decisions. But he's a heck of a player and did a great job here in the three years he was here."

Walker, meanwhile, has been an All-Star in each of the past three seasons and was named to the All-NBA third team in 2018-19.

"[Walker] is a great player," Stevens said. "And he's been able to continue to get better and better and better as his career has gone on. He's made himself into an excellent shooter, he's great off pick and rolls, he's got incredible speed, can see the game, can read the game. He's an awfully good player, and we're excited he decided to come to Boston."

The Celtics entered the season as the favourites to win the East but finished with a 49-33 record and were eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks in five games in the conference semi-finals.

Boston also brought in center Enes Kanter while Marcus Morris is reportedly reconsidering his commitment to the San Antonio Spurs and may end up landing with the New York Knicks.

The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved two big changes that will affect the upcoming season.

The league will now allow a coach's challenge and give replay centers the ability to prompt instant replay.

Coaches will now be able to challenge personal fouls charged to their respective team, a called out-of-bounds violation as well as goaltending and basket-interference violations, the NBA announced on Tuesday.

The replay center, along with the refs calling the game, can ask for instant replays involving whether a shot is a two- or three-point field goal, and if it was made before or after the shot clock expired.

"These initiatives further strengthen our officiating program and help referees make the right call," NBA president, league operations Byron Spruell said in a statement.

"Giving head coaches a voice will enhance the confidence in our replay process among teams and fans and add a new, exciting strategic element to our game.

"Enabling the NBA Replay Center to trigger instant replay will improve game flow and provide real-time awareness of any adjustments to the score."

A version of the coach's challenge has been in effect in the G League for the past two seasons and is being used at this year's Summer League. It will be adopted in the NBA on a one-year trial basis during the 2019-20 season.

Some key points to the coach's challenge, outlined by the league, include:

- To initiate a challenge, a team must immediately call a legal timeout and the head coach must immediately signal for a challenge by twirling his/her finger toward the referees.
- If a team attempt to challenge an event with no remaining timeouts, the team are charged an excessive timeout, for which the penalty is a technical foul, and no challenge will take place.
- If a team call a timeout to challenge an event that may not be reviewed, the team will be charged a timeout but retain their challenge.
- As with other replay reviews, in order to overturn the event as called on the floor, there must be clear and conclusive visual evidence that the call was incorrect.

The NBA had already taken steps to be more transparent in the officiating process last season by having centralised replay center make the "last two minute" reports on officials public.

Brooklyn Nets recruit Kyrie Irving is "misunderstood" and a "great team-mate", insisted Joe Harris.

Irving – a six-time All-Star and 2016 NBA champion – swapped the Boston Celtics for Eastern Conference rivals the Nets via free agency.

Harris and Irving were team-mates with the Cleveland Cavaliers and will be reunited once again in Brooklyn.

Irving will be joining the Nets after a rough stint in Boston, where he was reportedly unhappy and had issues with team-mates as well as the coaching staff.

Harris, however, defended Irving after telling the New York Post: "Kyrie, he's got a big personality. He's one of these guys that's misunderstood.

"The way that he's construed in the media is probably going to paint him in a light that is not necessarily true. I'd say you could ask a lot of people that played with him and they'd all say that he's a great team-mate and a good guy to be around."

Harris said he enjoyed his time playing with Irving and was looking forward to sharing the court with him again.

"None of us are perfect all the time," Harris said. "We're all going to have ups and downs throughout the course of the season. …  For him, unfortunately, he's just in one of these scenarios where there's so much more attention on him and people are paying much more attention to when he does have an off day.

"I have off days all the time, too, but nobody really cares when I have an off day. People care when Kyrie does."

Irving averaged 23.8 points and 6.9 assists for the Celtics last season.

"He's one of these guys where he's very much must-see," Harris said. "We all know the talent, but I got to see it for a year and a half every day. … He really is that talented. He's a top-10 talent."

The Nets also added star Kevin Durant and center DeAndre Jordan this offseason. Meanwhile, they sent D'Angelo Russell to the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade.

Harris poured in a career-high 13.7 points per game and shot 47.4 per cent from three-point range for Brooklyn in 2018-19.

Willie Cauley-Stein said he could not turn down the opportunity to join the Golden State Warriors.

Cauley-Stein signed a one-year deal with Golden State shortly after he became an unrestricted free agent when the Sacramento Kings rescinded his qualifying offer in early July.

The 25-year-old center said the Warriors' stars helped recruit him to the team, who lost the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors.

"Got the phone call and I just don't know how you could turn that down," Cauley-Stein said. "Talking to [head coach] Steve [Kerr], Draymond [Green], Steph [Curry], they were all really excited. It was pretty easy on me."

Cauley-Stein said before 2018-19 he was "ready to get paid" this offseason. But, his contract with the Warriors is reportedly worth about the veteran's minimum of $1.7million.

"It honestly just came down to situation," Cauley-Stein said. "I know I had said something about getting paid at the beginning of the year. But by the end of it, it was no longer about getting paid. It was about staying secure and building off that security… I think the Warriors are probably the best at doing that in the league. It was a really easy decision on me and my team's part."

Cauley-Stein averaged 11.9 points and 8.4 rebounds for the Kings last season.

He was originally selected by the Kings with the sixth pick in the 2015 draft, however, Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac said in June that Cauley-Stein still needed to prove he can be consistent.

"I don't really look at it like inconsistency," Cauley-Stein said. "Numbers don't lie. I think it's pretty cut and dry what consistency is. But I think it goes both ways. Being more vocal, I think that's something as a professional you have to be really good at. You have to be able to speak your mind."

The Warriors also added D'Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade after star Kevin Durant decided to join the Brooklyn Nets.

The Oklahoma City Thunder appear to have entered rebuild mode - and Russell Westbrook could be the next star out the door.

With Kawhi Leonard having persuaded Paul George to leave the Thunder and join him at the Los Angeles Clippers, eight-time All-Star Westbrook is understood to be open to the idea of ending his stay with the franchise.

The 30-year-old point guard, who has undergone a series of operations on his right knee, could prove difficult to move on, though. He has four years and over $160million remaining on the mammoth contract extension he signed in September 2017.

Still, we take a look at the teams that could offer Westbrook a new home.

 

New York Knicks

After trading away franchise player Kristaps Porzingis, losing out on top free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to the Brooklyn Nets and missing the chance to draft Zion Williamson, the Knicks will no doubt be keen to get a star on board.

They would have to wait until December to put together a package including players who they have recently signed, however.

 

Miami Heat

Having already signed Jimmy Butler in free agency, Miami is understood to be a destination that appeals to Westbrook.

The Heat have already got Hassan Whiteside off their books and could offer the favourable contracts of talented duo Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow, but a lack of draft capital to offer may prove troublesome.

 

Detroit Pistons

A move for Westbrook would likely require the Pistons' All-Star center Andre Drummond to head the other way. Still, Detroit's issue is the other salaries they could use in any deal; those contracts run for longer than the Thunder will surely have in mind for any new arrivals.

However, combining the former MVP with Blake Griffin would offer them a greater chance of success in a much-changed Eastern Conference.

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves reportedly narrowly missed out on signing D'Angelo Russell, who joined the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade deal that sent Durant to the Nets.

Exchanging Andrew Wiggins' contract, which has four years and more than $120m remaining, for Westbrook undoubtedly presents them an improved chance of contending this season.

Yet such an agreement would again rely on significant draft picks being offered.

 

Other contenders

Putting Westbrook on a team with two other ball-dominant players in James Harden and Chris Paul sounds like a crazy idea, but that has not stopped the Houston Rockets reportedly taking an interest. The Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to trade Kevin Love and focus on a rebuild at some stage, though they could scrap that and pair him with Westbrook to make themselves relevant once again.

Zion Williamson insists his absence from the New Orleans Pelicans NBA Summer League schedule is precautionary.

The Pelicans announced Williamson sustained a knee-to-knee hit with an opponent during Friday's 80-74 win against the New York Knicks that would rule him out of their remaining games in Las Vegas.

A statement said the number one overall draft pick would "move forward from this incident without issue" and Williamson seemed to confirm as much when he spoke to reporters after his new team-mates overcame the Chicago Bulls 109-72.

"It was more precautionary," he said.

"Now I just hone my craft and get ready for the season.

"It's very frustrating. You know me, I'm a competitor. Whenever I can play, I just want to play."

Despite being restricted to nine minutes on court against the Knicks, it was an experience the 19-year-old relished.

"The energy was high and it was actually my first taste of playing against NBA players, so it was great," Williamson added.

The Pelicans wrap up their Las Vegas commitments on Wednesday when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

D'Angelo Russell is surprised he ended up with the Golden State Warriors.

The 23-year-old guard had been linked to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers, among others, this offseason but was acquired by Golden State in a sign-and-trade after the Brooklyn Nets landed Kevin Durant.

Russell discussed the deal when he met with reporters during his introductory news conference on Monday.

"It was a lot of surprises, just all around, throughout free agency," Russell said, via The Athletic. "So, I think it's just one to add to it. I knew it was an opportunity, I knew it was something that could possibly be true. We had to wait until a few other pieces did what they did."

Russell is expected to slot into the Warriors backcourt next to star Stephen Curry next season as Klay Thompson continues to recover from the torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) he suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

"I think it's something that, you have guys that can shoot, dribble and play make for others. That's a dangerous combo," Russell said. "A guy like [Curry], who gets hot anytime throughout the game, it's something that gives you an advantage throughout the game. To add another guy that can possibly do that, consistently, I think that's just an extra piece."

Russell had a career year for the Nets last season, averaging 21.1 points and seven assists while shooting 36.9 per cent from three-point range. He made his first All-Star team, as well.

Russell inked a four-year max contract, but many have speculated the Warriors may look to move him for another asset once Thompson returns healthy.

"That's the business of it. It is what it is," Russell said. "You put yourself in position to go somewhere for a long period of time and it may not be what it is a year later. That's the business. I've come to the realisation of that, I understand that. Whatever situation I'm in, I know the business side of it. We'll just see. I can't predict it."

The Warriors traded Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies in order to create salary cap space to add Russell.

Magic Johnson is a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers' newest addition, Avery Bradley.

The former Lakers executive said getting Bradley will make Los Angeles "almost unbeatable".

Johnson also praised Bradley's defense and perimeter shooting, calling the 28-year-old guard an "outstanding pick".

Bradley is heading to LA on a two-year, $9.7million contract once he clears waivers, his agent Bill Duffy told ESPN.

Bradley was waived by the Grizzlies on Saturday after he started the 2018-19 season with the Clippers. He was traded to Memphis in February for JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple.

While with the Grizzlies, Bradley averaged 16.1 points and four assists per game. He shot 40.8 per cent from the field and 35.1 per cent from three-point range on the season.

He will join a number of newly acquired stars the Lakers landed, including Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins among others.

"Avery Bradley is an outstanding pick up for the Lakers with his incredible defense and ability to hit the three-point shot," Johnson tweeted on Monday.

"Laker Nation, I'm dreaming about the fourth quarter Lakers team with LeBron, AD, Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and Kyle Kuzma. That's almost unbeatable!"

The Lakers went after multiple players since missing out on Kawhi Leonard. LA signed Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Quinn Cook,  Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso.

Leonard announced he was joining the Clippers over the weekend after long speculation he would return to LA, however, rumours originally placed him with the Lakers. His move, along with Paul George who helped sway Leonard to chose the Clippers, makes the city the new basketball powerhouse, according to Johnson.

"LA has just become the king of basketball," Johnson tweeted on Saturday. "It's going to be awesome to watch NBA basketball in LA this season!"

Jabari Parker is reportedly heading to Atlanta.

The forward signed a two-year deal worth $13million with the Hawks, Yahoo Sports reported on Monday. According to the report, the second year includes a player option.

Parker, 24, became a free agent after the Washington Wizards declined the last year of his two-year, $40m contract in June.

According to reports, the two sides expected to work something out before Parker decided to leave for Atlanta.

He was drafted second overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2014 and remained with the team until 2018, when he signed a $20m contract with the Chicago Bulls. He was traded to the Wizards before the deadline in February.

While talented, two severe knee injuries have derailed Parker's career. In 25 games with the Wizards, he averaged 15.9 points and 7.2 rebounds.

Golden State Warriors have traded Damian Jones to Atlanta Hawks, bringing in Omari Spellman in exchange, the NBA teams have announced.

Beaten finalists last season, the Warriors - who have lost Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets and Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies - are looking to bolster their bench ahead of the new campaign.

Jones was 30th pick in 2016, and was promoted to a starter at Golden State in 2018-19, though he was sidelined after 22 games due to a pectoral tear.

Spellman, meanwhile, was also the 30th pick in the 2018 draft, but he only featured in 46 games in his rookie season, averaging 5.9 points and 4.2 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game.

And it was confirmed on Monday that the players had been traded, with the Warriors also handing the Hawks a second-round pick for the 2026 draft.

With Durant and Iguodala gone, the Warriors are also preparing to be without Klay Thompson due to a torn ACL.

By getting Spellman, the Warriors can pad their bench while the Hawks receive another utility man.

The San Antonio Spurs have re-signed forward Rudy Gay, the team announced on Monday.

The terms of the new contract were disclosed by the Spurs, but The Athletic reported previously the deal would be for two years and $32million.

Gay, who turns 33 in August, is one of two players in the NBA – along with LeBron James – who has at least 15,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 1,000 steals and 500 blocks since he was drafted in 2006.

The 13-year veteran appeared in 69 games last season and averaged 13.7 points with a career-high 6.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 26.7 minutes. He also shot career-bests 50.4 per cent from the floor and 40.2 per cent from three-point range.

The new contract marks the third time the unrestricted free agent has signed with the Spurs after originally joining San Antonio in July 2017 and re-signing last year on a reported one-year, $10m deal.

Avery Bradley is set to join the Los Angeles Lakers after leaving the Memphis Grizzlies as a free agent.

The guard plans to sign a two-year, $9.7million contract with the Lakers on Monday once he clears waivers, Bradley's agent, Bill Duffy, informed ESPN.

Bradley, 28, was waived by the Grizzlies on Saturday, and his Lakers deal will reportedly include a second-year player option.

He started the 2018-19 season with the Los Angeles Clippers but was traded in February to the Grizzlies for JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple.

The latest Lakers signing will boost their bench further after the team added Danny Green and re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

He will also join, among other newcomers, All-Star Anthony Davis, who has been presented with the number 23 jersey by LeBron James, and DeMarcus Cousins.

In 14 games with the Grizzlies, Bradley averaged 16.1 points and four assists.

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