VanVleet leaving Toronto for Houston; Irving, Green, Grant, Middleton stay put

By Sports Desk June 30, 2023

It didn’t take long for some of the NBA’s top free agents to come off the board.

Point guard Fred VanVleet is leaving the Toronto Raptors after agreeing with the Houston Rockets on a three-year maximum contract totalling $130million, according to multiple media outlets.

The NBA's negotiating period began Friday at 6 p.m. EDT. Deals will not be made official until the end of the league's annual moratorium on July 6.

Undrafted out of Wichita State, VanVleet broke out during the Raptors’ 2019 title run and was a coveted prize in this year’s free agent class.

VanVleet averaged 19.3 points and a career-high 7.2 assists last season.

The Rockets entered this free agency period with the most salary cap room in the NBA, an estimated $68million.

The Raptors responded by adding Dennis Schröder on a reported two-year, $26million deal as they look to build around Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes. Toronto was also able to retain center Jakob Poeltl on a four-year, $80million deal.

Irving stays paired with Dončić

Kyrie Irving has agreed to a contract to remain with the Dallas Mavericks and stay paired with superstar Luka Dončić, multiple media outlets reported Friday at the dawn of free agency.

The deal is reported to be worth $126million over three seasons, with a player option for the final year.

The Mavericks acquired Irving at last season’s trade deadline for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and draft compensation, but Irving reportedly explored other options in free agency.

Irving had been eligible for a maximum contract of up to five years and $272million with Dallas, but he landed at a shorter deal after playing about 40 games per year over the last four seasons.

The Mavericks also came to terms with sharp-shooting guard Seth Curry on a two-year deal.

Blazers keep Grant on 5-year deal

As a busy NBA offseason moves forward, Damian Lillard and his future with the Portland Trail Blazers continue to steal the spotlight.

Forward Jerami Grant and the Trail Blazers agreed on a five-year, $160million deal to keep him in Portland, multiple media outlets reported Friday.

The implications of Grant’s new deal on Lillard’s situation remain unclear, but a total tear-down to build solely around No. 3 overall pick Scoot Henderson appears less likely with Grant signed through the 2027-28 season.

Acquired from the Detroit Pistons for a draft pick a year ago, Grant averaged 20.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 63 games with the Trail Blazers last season.

Even after retaining Grant, Portland projects to be about $15million under the luxury tax threshold, with a key decision still to come on restricted free agent Matisse Thybulle.

Draymond Green staying with Warriors

The Golden State Warriors kept their core intact, agreeing with Draymond Green on a new four-year, $100million contract, according to multiple media outlets.

Green had declined a $27.6million player option earlier this offseason.

An 11-year NBA veteran, Green has spent his entire career with the Warriors, winning four championships and being named to an All-Defensive Team eight times.

Bucks retain Middleton on 3-year deal

The Milwaukee Bucks also kept a key player from a championship team, agreeing with Khris Middleton on a three-year contract worth $102million.

Earlier this offseason, Middleton turned down a player option for next season at $40million.

Middleton, a three-time All-Star, helped the Bucks win a title in 2021. A right knee injury limited him to 33 games last season.

Veteran center Brook Lopez remains an unrestricted free agent.

Kuzma cashes in with Wizards

Kyle Kuzma became one of the big winners early in free agency, agreeing with the Washington Wizards on a four-year, $102million deal.

Kuzma’s contract comes after he turned down a $13million player option earlier this offseason.

After making $13million in each of the last two seasons, Kuzma will make $22.8million next season.

Kuzma is coming off a career year in which he averaged 21.2 points and 7.2 rebounds for the Wizards.

Johnson gets $108M from Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Nets and restricted free agent Cam Johnson have agreed on a new four-year contract worth $108million.

A key part of the trade that sent Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns last season, Johnson scored a career-high 15.5 points per game last season, including 16.6 per game in 25 contests with the Nets.

Brown leaves Denver for Indiana

After helping the Denver Nuggets win their first NBA title, Bruce Brown is headed to the Indiana Pacers on a two-year, $45million contract.

Brown played a key role for the Nuggets off the bench, averaging a career-high 11.5 points during the regular season, plus 12 points per game on 51.1-percent shooting in the playoffs.

Vincent headed to Lakers

Also cashing in on a strong postseason run was Gabe Vincent, who left the Miami Heat for the Los Angeles Lakers on a three-year, $33million deal.

The undrafted guard averaged 12.7 points and shot 37.8 percent from 3-point range during Miami’s run to the NBA Finals.

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