The NBA takes over the Summer
In its annual Summer approach, the NBA stole the show on Sunday, June 30 as multiple free agent players gained the headlines by signing with new teams.
At the top of free agency, players such as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, D’Angelo Russell, Klay Thompson and Tobias Harris all joined or re-signed with new teams and left basketball and sports fans around the world scrambling for opinions.
In the time before free agency, which officially moved up its start time this year to 6 p.m. on June 30, Durant and Irving immediately stole the headlines by joining forces in Brooklyn with the Nets. The duo, from months of speculation, finally agreed to come together and play with each other. Durant signed a four-year deal worth $164 million while Irving signed on a four-year $141 million deal.
Both players took a pay cut on their salaries in order for the Nets to sign a good friend of both, Center DeAndre Jordan on a four-year $40 million deal. The move allows them to eventually form a three-way led team to compete in the NBA once Durant gets back from his Achilles injury suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Jimmy Butler and Kemba Walker both joined new teams. Butler completed a sign-and-trade with his former team, the Philadelphia 76ers, in order to join the Miami Heat who, take on his new four-year $142 million deal. Walker joined the Boston Celtics on a four-year $141 million deal following the departure of Irving to the Nets and Terry Rozier to Walker’s old team, the Charlette Hornets.
Butler joins a team that will likely enter a rebuild scenario unless a deal is done for Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal within the coming weeks. Walker joins an already established Celtics group that will follow under the All-Star’s direction. Both players were eligible for the “max contract”, a contract only gained if a player makes any All-NBA team during the current year of the season, but chose to go other directions.
Players such as Klay Thompson and Tobias Harris stayed with their current teams. Thompson, who didn’t qualify this year for the supermax extension granted to a returning player who qualifies, signed a five-year, $190 million deal to continue his run with the Golden State Warriors. Tobias Harris pay day granted him a five-year, $180 million deal to return to the 76ers.
The Warriors would also steal the show with a move that was highly unexpected amongst the common fans. They are on the verge of completing a sign-and-trade that would allow All-Star D’Angelo Russell to join the Warriors on a four-year, $117 million deal that allows the Warriors to acquire the guard to go along with former MVP Stephen Curry, Thompson, and Draymond Green.
With other major sports like MLB and USWNT currently playing, the NBA stuck again dominating the headlines and will continue to look to take over the week as the last big name, Kawhi Leonard, has yet to give a commitment.