If you thought the NBA Draft was madness, the free agency period that is quickly heating up is doing everything it can to maintain the insanity.
A number of deals have already been agreed even before players can sign them. Whether it’s a new contract with the same team or a trade agreement between teams, it seems the Celtics-Nets trade that rocked draft night simply got the ball rolling and now every other team in the league is running with it.
While many of the stories you’ll be reading over the next few weeks will involve the destiny of Dwight Howard other deals are actually being made. Let’s start quickly with the players who will be staying in their current homes.
Chris Paul kicked off things as the first player to re-sign with his current team, inking a deal worth $108 million over the next five years. This ensures that the Clippers have their man and that they can now begin to build the team Doc Rivers wants around the guard, but we’ll get back to that in a minute.
Tiago Splitter, Toney Allen and Martell Webster have each signed new four year deals with the Spurs, Grizzlies and Wizards respectively. Splitter will get $9 million per season to continue developing in the Spurs front court while Allen will continue to patrol the perimeter in Memphis for $5 million per year. Three point threat Webster will serve as a sort of mentor for Otto Porter Jr. in the nation’s capitol although how much he will be paid has gone undisclosed.
Indiana’s core will be intact for a while as the Pacers re-signed David West for the next three years on a $36 million contract. The player who stepped up in such a big way for the Pacers in the postseason will now likely finish his career with the team, partnering with Roy Hibbert to make Indiana a powerhouse in the front court.
TRADES and FREE AGENTS
The trade market has heated up over the last few days with Los Angeles Clippers punching their way back into the headlines. The Clips were part of a three team deal yesterday that sends Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler to Phoenix, two second round picks to Milwaukee and Jared Dudley and J.J. Reddick to L.A. This gives Doc Rivers plenty of perimeter firepower at two guard and another good passer in the backcourt in Redick and a deadly three point threat that can play either the two or three in Dudley.
The Suns are putting a fair bit of pressure on Goran Dragic by bringing in Bledsoe who can play in his place or alongside him and have acquired an $8 million expiring deal in Caron Butler. Milwaukee was going to lose Redick for nothing most likely, so they cashed in and at least got some return on a player that they gave up a promising young talent in Tobias Harris for.
Kevin Martin has landed in Minnesota on a four year deal worth somewhere in the range of $28-30 million. The team re-signed Chase Budinger and now with Martin, the T-Wolves can shore up their three point shooting which was awful last season.
Andre Iguodala has experienced a bit of a circus already concerning his future after receiving a four year $56 million offer from the Sacramento Kings, only to see it pulled from the table hours later after he had to consider whether or not he wanted a move there. Denver declined to match the offer for the 29-year old swingman and with Sacramento’s future still looking a bit bleak, naturally Iguodala needed to consider his options, but the Kings had little patience for him to figure things out.
The Kings may now be reconsidering how to handle Tyreke Evans. The former Rookie of the Year has been offered $44 million by the New Orleans Pelicans who seem hell bent on stockpiling guards at the moment, but Sacramento may now be considering bringing the guard back after whiffing on Iguodala.
How about we round out this report with a bit of speculative stuff? It has been said that the New York Knicks are willing to give up an astonishing amount of material to acquire Toronto Raptors outcast Andrea Bargnani. A reported deal that would send Bargnani to the Knicks includes three point specialist Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, a future first round draft pick and a pair of second round draft choices in the future. Why the Knicks are so Keen on the defenseless Italian is somewhat mind boggling, but a deal for him seems more likely than the rumors that they’re chasing Monta Ellis.