The first day of NBA free agency has been a frenzy. A number of deals have been agreed to, but the biggest prize of the year, LaMarcus Aldridge, is still available. Thus far, most of the big names on the market have opted to stay in place and take the larger contracts their teams can offer. However, there have been a few big moves that could shake up the league next year.
One of the biggest players on Day 1 were the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs locked up 2014 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard with a max contract, and then re-signed Danny Green in short order. San Antonio then traded C Tiago Splitter to the Atlanta Hawks, clearing cap space to make a run at LaMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs are considered the front runners to snag the Portland power forward and supposedly impressed him with their presentation.
Phoenix leapfrogged the field and became contenders in the Aldridge sweepstakes thanks to some big moves of their own. The Suns nabbed Tyson Chandler from Dallas on a 4 year, $52 million contract. LaMarcus Aldridge wants to play next to a strong Center so he can play his natural position, which is Power Forward. Phoenix reportedly had Chandler in the room when they made their pitch to Aldridge today. The Suns also re-signed Brandon Knight for $70 million.
Cleveland perhaps made the most surprising signing, inking Kevin Love to a 5 year, $110 million contract. During the past season, most believed Love would bolt Cleveland as soon as possible. A poolside meeting with Lebron James was apparently enough to change the Power Forward’s mind. Cleveland now has both Love and Kyrie Irving locked up long term, and Lebron James has indicated he is not going anywhere either.
The Los Angeles Clippers lured Paul Pierce back to his hometown with a 3 year, $10.5 million contract. The Clippers still have unfinished business, as Center DeAndre Jordan is a free agent, and has already had meetings with Dallas. If LA can re-sign Jordan, the Pierce signing may put them over the top in the stacked Western Conference.
Free agent activity might now slow down until LaMarcus Aldridge signs. He is the key target on a number of teams, and once he picks one these teams will move on to other players like Greg Monroe and Robin Lopez. Aldridge’s signing will cause numerous dominoes to fall as teams scramble to fill out their rosters in preparation for the 2015-2016 season.
Players Staying Put
Anthony Davis – 5 years, $145 million – New Orleans Pelicans
Damian Lillard – 5 years, $120 million – Portland Trail Blazers
Kevin Love – 5 years, $110 million – Cleveland Cavaliers
Goran Dragic – 5 years, $90 million – Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler – 5 years, $90 million – Chicago Bulls
Paul Millsap – 3 years, $59 million – Atlanta Hawks
Brandon Knight – 5 years, $70 million – Phoenix Suns
Kawhi Leonard – 5 years, $90 million – San Antonio Spurs
Danny Green – 4 years, $45 million – San Antonio Spurs
Players On The Move
DeMarre Carroll – 4 years, $60 million – Toronto Raptors
Paul Pierce – 3 years, $10.5 million – Los Angeles Clippers
Tyson Chandler – 4 years, $52 million – Phoenix Suns
Brandon Wright – 3 years, $18 million – Memphis Grizzlies