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That didn’t take long at all.
The NBA free agency period began Friday morning at 12:01 a.m. and plenty has happened in the first 12 hours – in the Eastern Conference.
All deals are agreed upon in principle until July 7th, when the league’s free agent moratorium period ends and deals can be officially signed.
Here are the highlights as of 11:30 a.m.:
- Hassan Whiteside is staying with the Heat. The league’s leading shot blocker from this past season announced via SnapChat and The Players Tribune that he’s done being hoops vagabond and wants to make Miami his home.
“I’ve played on eight teams since college,” Whiteside wrote in the brief article. “From Reno to Sioux Falls to Sichuan, China. I am not ready for there to be a ninth.”
While the official terms of the deal haven’t been released, reports are saying that Whiteside’s deal is for the max – likely in the $20 million a year range.
Signing Whiteside for max money doesn’t necessarily mean that the franchise is out of the Kevin Durant sweepstakes. Miami is one of the few teams that actually secured a meeting with the former league MVP, so it would still very much want to put its best foot forward in the pitch.
If Whiteside’s deal is in the $22 million range, Miami would be left with just under $20 million in cap space. The team would still have to agree to terms with Dwyane Wade – the likely lynchpin in any plan to lure the “Durantula” to South Beach.
The team could try to move point guard Goran Dragic and his $15.9 million salary to create more cap space.
But the outlier remains the health of All-Star forward Chris Bosh. Thursday reports said that Bosh was making progress in recovery from the blood clots, but the status of a potential return remains unknown.
- Jeremy Lin has signed a three-year, $36 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets. Lin averaged 11 points, three rebounds and three assists this past season with the Charlotte Hornets.
This will be the second time that “Lin-sanity” heads to the state of New York. And, perhaps, Nets mega-rich owner Mikhail Prokhorov saw endless marketing opportunities in pairing Lin with center Brook Lopez.
The “Brook-Lin” Nets.
- The Charlotte Hornets did keep one of its better players Friday, agreeing to a five-year, $120 million deal with forward Nicolas Batum.
Paying Batum $24 million dollars annually seems a bit over the top – even if he did post career highs in points (14.9), assists (5.8) and rebounds (6.1) this past season.
The Hornets did win 48 games during the regular season and took the Heat to seven games before falling out of the first round of the playoffs.
- The New York Knicks reclamation project continues.
The Knicks are close to agreeing to a four-year, $72 million deal with former Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah. Noah, a New York native, played just 29 games in 2015-16 – missing time with a pair of significant shoulder injuries.
If the sides agree to a deal, it would reunite Noah and former Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who the Knicks traded for a week ago.
- A trio of young stars re-signed with their respective ball clubs in the early wave.
Washington agreed to a five-year contract approaching a total of $130 million with guard Bradley Beal. The 23-year-old Beal did average 17.4 points per game this past season, but he only played 55 games – having to miss time with a stress reaction in his right fibula. Also, Beal has had to deal with injuries over the course of his four-year career and has never played more than 73 games in a season.
The Toronto Raptors locked up All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan, agreeing to a five-year, $139 million-plus deal shortly after the free agency period began.
Reports out of Detroit are saying that the team is close to agreeing to a five-year max contract with center Andre Drummond. The Pistons also agreed in principle to sign former Philadelphia 76ers guard Ish Smith. Smith averaged 14.7 points, 7.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 50 games for the 76ers this past season.