NBA

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.

Related items

  • 'Let's make it mano a mano' – Adebayo using criticism as fuel as Heat level Celtics series 'Let's make it mano a mano' – Adebayo using criticism as fuel as Heat level Celtics series

    The Miami Heat are desperate to silence their doubters and are using outside criticism as fuel in their first-round playoff series against the Boston Heat, having levelled it up at 1-1.

    That is according to forward Bam Adebayo, who had 21 points and was nine of 13 shooting in the Heat's 111-101 win at TD Garden on Wednesday.

    Miami buried their hosts under a mountain of 3-pointers in Game 2, setting a franchise record for a postseason game by shooting 23 of 43 (53.5 per cent) from the field.

    Speaking after the game, Adebayo said the way in which the Eastern Conference's eighth seeds have been written off by neutrals was spurring them on.

    "We've been doubted a lot through our playoff runs, people saying we couldn't do a lot of stuff that we eventually did," Adebayo said.

    "So for me and my team, why lose belief now? Our backs are against the wall. Everybody's against us. So just use that as fuel.

    "Our guys believe we can win. So, let's make it mano a mano… a cage fight. Let's hoop!"

    Caleb Martin joined Adebayo on 21 points with five 3s, being booed by the Boston crowd every time he touched the ball following his heavy collision with Jayson Tatum in Game 1.

    Jaime Jaquez Jr. contributed 14 points with three 3s, Nikola Jovic added a trio of 3s and Haywood Highsmith came off the bench to sink three 3s.

    Martin said Miami's new shoot-on-sight mentality was part of a plan drawn up by Erik Spoelstra, saying: "I think it was about realising that being passive hurts us. 

    "We'd just be playing into their gameplan. We're too good of a shooting team to hesitate from 3."

    Spoelstra himself said the Heat had taken the decision to be more proactive after being sunk by Boston's 3-point shooting in Game 1.

    "I understand the math of it," the Miami coach said. "We're not going to shoot 50 of them. That's not realistic."

  • NBA: Heat get even with Celtics; Thunder roll Pelicans for 2-0 lead NBA: Heat get even with Celtics; Thunder roll Pelicans for 2-0 lead

    Tyler Herro had 24 points and 14 assists and hit six of Miami’s franchise playoff-record 23 3-pointers as the Heat defeated the Boston Celtics, 111-101, to even their first-round series at a game apiece on Wednesday.

    Bam Adebayo had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Caleb Martin added 21 points with five 3s for the Heat, who shot 53.5 percent (23 of 43) from long range to break the franchise playoff record of 20 3s, set against Milwaukee in 2021.

    Jaime Jaquez Jr. contributed 14 points with three 3s, Nikola Jovic added a trio of 3s, nine rebounds and six assists and Haywood Highsmith came off the bench to hit three 3s.

    The series shifts to Miami for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday.

    Jaylen Brown scored 33 points and Jayson Tatum added 28 for the top-seeded Celtics, who cut Miami’s lead to 102-96 with three minutes left. But Martin hit a 3 and Herro made a driving layup to essentially seal the win.

    Tatum scored 14 points in the first quarter and showed no ill effects after he was undercut by Martin while going after a rebound in the final minute in Game 1.

     

    Gilgeous-Alexander, Holmgren power Thunder

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 points and Chet Holmgren added 26 to lead the hot-shooting Oklahoma City Thunder to a 124-92 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans and a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round series.

    Jalen Williams had 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Thunder, who shot 59 percent (46 for 78) from the floor and made 14 of 29 (48.3 percent) from 3-point range.

    Game 3 will be Sunday in New Orleans.

    Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and Herbert Jones and Brandon Ingram each added 18 as the Pelicans continued to struggle offensively without injured star Zion Williamson (strained left hamstring).

    New Orleans missed 19 of 26 from beyond the arc and made 33 field goals to 46 for Oklahoma City.

  • NBA acknowledges refereeing errors in 76ers chaotic loss to Knicks NBA acknowledges refereeing errors in 76ers chaotic loss to Knicks

    The NBA has acknowledged numerous refereeing errors after the Philadelphia 76ers were on the wrong end of late decisions in a chaotic defeat to the New York Knicks.

    Nick Nurse, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey all voiced 76ers frustration after the Knicks came back from 101-96 down to win 104-101 on Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final series.

    Philadelphia coach Nurse suggested his timeout calls were ignored on two separate occasions in the frantic finale, while Maxey and Embiid were left aggrieved with foul decisions during the same period.

    In its Last Two Minute Report, the league concurred with the 76ers claims after admitting Maxey was fouled in the build-up to Jalen Brunson's 3-pointer that cut Philadelphia's lead to just two.

    The same report also found that Maxey was illegally felled by Josh Hart, turning over for Donte DiVincenzo missing a decisive go-ahead 3-pointer before making the winning shot with 13 seconds remaining.

    "[Maxey] did his job," Embiid said after the game when asked about the turnover in the closing seconds. "That's on the league. That's on the NBA.

    "That's on the referees. I hate to put the game on them. But I am sure the two-minute report is going to come out and we are going to see what happened."

    Maxey blamed himself and refused to dwell on the matter after the 76ers fell 2-0 down in the best-of-seven series, while Nurse was also left disappointed on the sidelines by the officiating.

    Nurse claimed he twice attempted to call timeout, with the league's report acknowledging one of those should have been granted when 76ers point guard Kyle Lowry was inbounding the ball.

    "I guess I got to run out onto the floor or do something to make sure and get his attention, but I needed a timeout there to advance it," Nurse lamented after the game.

    The Last Two Minutes Report reviewed two other errors in officiating, having missed an Embiid foul on DiVincenzo before Brunson's 3-pointer and a defensive violation by Knicks forward OG Anunoby.

    Though the NBA acknowledged the mistakes, no replay will be granted – a decision the Knicks are all too familiar with.

    New York wanted a replay earlier this season after referee Jacyn Goble made an incorrect call for a foul on Houston Rockets guard Aaron Holiday, though that call was labelled as human error.

    Both teams will be hoping for less drama when Games 3 and 4 come on Thursday and Sunday in Philadelphia.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.