5 players, $1.1 billion: NBA free agency gets off to a great start
The NBA generated more basketball-related revenue than ever last season, with the total number coming in at just under $9 billion.
Business is good. The first night of free agency underscored how good it was.
Nikola Jokic accepted the biggest contract in NBA history, Bradley Beal accepted a deal worth a quarter of a billion dollars, and the money kept flowing. Shortly after midnight Friday in the Eastern time zone, three other players – Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker and Ja Morant – also accepted huge money extensions.
Towns and Booker have agreed to four-year contracts that will begin in 2024 and are worth at least $224 million, said their agent, CAA’s Jessica Holtz. Morant will sign his first rookie extension, one that will be worth at least $193 million and could reach the $230 million range, according to Tandem Sports, which represents him.
These five players – Jokic, Beal, Towns, Booker and Morant – had more than $1.1 billion in money committed to their new deals, highlighting the steps taken on Thursday when the agents’ annual negotiation window opened. NBA freebies.
Jokic agreed to a supermax extension to stay with the Denver Nuggets, with the reigning two-time MVP guaranteed at least $264 million over five seasons starting in the 2023-24 campaign. The final number may increase slightly depending on the league’s salary cap for the 23-24 season and if it exceeds current projections.
Beal will earn $251 million over the next five seasons after re-signing with Washington, a day after turning down $37 million for the upcoming season from the team he spent his entire career with. 10 years.
Towns and Booker got their deals soon after, as did Morant. Other big-budget expansions are coming at some point, especially rookie expansions — Miami’s Tyler Herro and New Orleans’ Zion Williamson among the names on this list.
All of those moves, even the big ones, were overshadowed by non-free agent news that came earlier Thursday when Kevin Durant, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, told the Brooklyn Nets he wanted a Trade. This undoubtedly had some kind of impact on the decisions some teams were making or considering, with the surprise development that one of the world’s elite players is looking for a new place to play.
Jokic and Beal have already signed lucrative contracts. For some, those they receive this summer will be the first.
Jalen Brunson, as had been widely speculated given his deep ties to the Knicks — his father played there, to begin with — has agreed to sign with New York, on a deal that ESPN says would be worth $104 million over four year. He had earned about $6 million in total during his four seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and saw his value skyrocket averaging 21.6 points in 18 playoff games last season.
Anfernee Simons, who had a stellar season for the injury-plagued Portland Trail Blazers last year — taking advantage of his opportunity, then some — has agreed to a four-year, $100 million deal to stay with that club. And Lu Dort, undrafted three years ago and someone who earned about $4 million combined in his three seasons with Oklahoma City, will stay with the Thunder for the next five years on a deal worth nearly $88 million.
The NBA has set the new salary cap, luxury tax and other numbers that will be used this upcoming season and go into effect on Friday.
The cap is $123.655 million, the tax level is $150.267 million. The team’s minimum salary level is $111.29 million and exceptions have been set as well. The mid-tier for non-taxpayers is $10.49 million, the mid-tier for taxpayers is $6.479 million, and the mid-tier for a team with margin below the cap is $5.401 million.
TUCKER IN PHILADELPHIA
PJ Tucker is reuniting with Philadelphia GM Daryl Morey and – assuming he re-signs, as expected – James Harden as well. Tucker agreed to a three-year contract with the 76ers on Thursday for $33 million. Morey, Tucker and Harden were with the Houston Rockets; Harden declared free agency on Wednesday with plans to return to Philadelphia. Tucker won a title with Milwaukee in 2021 and helped Miami advance to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2022.
MCGEE CHOOSES THE MAVERICKS
Dallas and JaVale McGee – a three-time NBA champion and Olympic gold medalist as well – have agreed to a contract for two seasons and a third at McGee’s choice worth around $20 million. McGee has played for eight NBA teams and is heading to Dallas for the second time; he played 34 games there in 2015-16.
PORTIS, ANGLES IN BUCKS
Bobby Portis (four, $49 million) returns to Milwaukee, and the Bucks also add veteran guard Joe Ingles. Ingles is signing a one-year contract, according to his wife, Renae Ingles, who tweeted that “house CEO Renae Ingles is thrilled for Joe and their family.”
Miami will retain Victor Oladipo on a one-year, $11 million contract and Dewayne Dedmon on a two-year contract for approximately $9 million, although the second year carries conditional protections.
THE MAGIC KEEPS HARRIS
Gary Harris has signed with the Orlando Magic, the team said, with the parties agreeing to a two-year $26 million guard. The Magic are also keeping center Mo Bamba on a two-year deal.
Toronto is keeping forwards Chris Boucher (three years, $36 million) and Thaddeus Young (two years, $16 million).
Detroit moved quickly to lock down restricted free agent Marvin Bagley III, agreeing to keep him on a three-year, $37 million deal.
WRIGHT TO THE MAGICIANS
In addition to keeping Beal, the Wizards also agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal with guard Delon Wright.
AP sportswriters Schuyler Dixon and Noah Trister contributed.
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