After a very busy first day of NBA free agency on Thursday night, with a total of 38 free agents agreeing to new deals & seven more players either signed or agreed to contract extensions, Day 2 was just as surprising as Day 1.
On day 1, Nikola Jokic, Bradley Beal, Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker signed deals worth over $200 million to stay with their teams, as well as Ja Morant, Anfernee Simons, Bobby Portis, Lu Dort and Tyus Jones all re-upped with their franchises on all-star level contracts as well.
For day two, let’s get started as to what made it so special, and how it will become a day to remember in NBA History:
- Staying Home (Key Re-signings)
Zion Williamson – Day two started off HUGE with news of the third-largest contract in NBA history being agreed to. Despite not playing a single NBA game last season due to injury, Zion has proven he’s an physical force of nature, averaging 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists and shot 61.1 percent over 61 games during the 2020-21 NBA season.
If the 21-year-old Phenom adds a reliable three-point shot, he has a chance to be one of the NBA’s truly elite players on both ends. Williamson collecting the full $231 million is likely based on being named MVP or making All-NBA teams, a safe bet with a marketing sensation like Zion Williamson who can back it up.
Zach LaVine – The star guard agreed to a five-year, $215.2 million maximum contract to remain in Chicago. The deal, announced Friday by agency Klutch Sports Group, includes a player option in the fifth year. Not a big surprise as the move just made the most sense considering that the Chicago Bulls were the only team that could pay him that much. LaVine’s contract is the largest in Chicago Bulls history. Before this season, the Bulls had never signed a player to more than $100 million, this displays trust that the Bulls front offices believes that LaVine can finish his career as a all time team great for Chicago.
Now that the money is coming and all he has to do is focus on basketball, he’ll get to continue his career with the Bulls and try to help bring them back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1998 — Michael Jordan’s iconic “last dance” season with the Chicago Bulls.
Coming off winning a gold medal with Team USA in Tokyo last summer – LaVine averaged 24.4 points, 4.5 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game, LaVine clearly has potential to do the impossible for the Chicago Bulls that hasn’t been done since Michael Jordan himself.
Jusuf Nurkic – The Trailblazers center has agreed on a new four-year, $70 million deal to stay in Portland. The 27-year-old Bosnian played 56 games last season for Portland, averaging 15.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, after injuries limited his potential. If he’s able to stay healthy, this is a steal for such an integral part of the Trail Blazers’ repeated trips to the NBA playoffs over the past years.
“Money” Mitchell Robinson – The New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson reached an agreement on a new four-year contract worth $60 million to stay in the big apple. The big man was able to have averaged 8.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 72 games for New York last season.
Kevon Looney – The NBA champion gets to stay home in the Bay area, resigning for a three-year, $25.5 million deal to return to Golden State. When Draymond Green is having a bad game, Looney is always able to step up for the team, averaging 6.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game. It’s clear that the Golden State Warriors have solid big-man depth for years after this resigning.
- Switching Places (Trades)
Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves – The biggest trade of the NBA offseason easily, as The Timberwolves will send Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, No. 22 pick Walker Kessler and four first-round picks to the Jazz, sources said. Utah will acquire unprotected picks in 2023, 2025 and 2027 and a top-five-protected pick in 2029, multiple sources confirmed.
Pairing Rudy Gobert with Karl Anthony Towns is a scary idea for NBA offenses everywhere. Gobert is essentially a defensive All-Star who has been a franchise cornerstone for a team that has six consecutive playoff appearances. The Frenchman is one of the most decorated players in Jazz history, with three Defensive Player of the Year awards, three All-Star appearances, four All-NBA selections and six first-team All-Defensive selections.
Gobert enters on his second season of a five-year, $205 million contract. Towns agreed to a four-year, $224 million supermax extension at midnight Friday, the first moment he was eligible, and has a total commitment of $295 million over six years. With Rudy Gobert off to Minnesota, the only player from the 2013 NBA Draft that is still on the team they made their debut with is Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Vegas reaction: This move even shook up betting circles, as Odds to win NBA Championship has Minnesota’s chances to win the NBA title moving from 80-1 to 50-1 at Caesars Sportsbook after the trade. Utah’s odds moved from 50-1 to 100-1, Odds might get worse for Utah amid Donovan Mitchell trade rumors escalating.
Malcolm Brogdon to the Boston Celtics – Boston acquired guard Malcolm Brogdon from Indiana for Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan and a 2023 first-round pick.
The deal gives the Celtics a play-making point defensive point guard to join the rotation with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Grant Williams and Robert Williams.
The 29-year-old Brogdon, who averaged 19.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 33 games last season with Indiana. He’s coming into an ideal situation of being a star 6th man talent for a Boston Celtics team that was just a couple games away from becoming the 2021-2022 NBA Champions.
Vegas reaction: Before Brogdon trade: Celtics +650 to win the title, 3rd best odds. After Brogdon trade: +550 making the Boston Celtics the favorites to win the 2022-2023 NBA Finals.
Kevin Huerter traded to the Kings – Atlanta traded Kevin Huerter to Sacramento for Justin Holiday, Mo Harkless and a protected 2024 first-round pick.
Huerter averaged over 12 points, three rebounds and two assists in 74 games for the Hawks last season, A premier 6th man who has potential to be great in this league. Now on the Kings, he’s able to have a much bigger role.
Justin Holiday played only 25 games for Sacramento during this past season after landing in Sacramento as part of the Sabonis trade in February. Harkless averaged four points in 47 appearances with the Kings last season.
- A New Start (free agent signings)
John Wall – John Wall agreed to a two-year, $13.2M deal with Clippers after receiving buyout from Rockets.
Donte DiVincenzo – Free agent Donte DiVincenzo has agreed to a two-year, $9.3M deal with the Golden State Warriors.
2021-2022 stats: 10.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.1 APG, 42% FG, 38% 3FG – A solid depth move for the World Champion Golden State Warriors.
Ricky Rubio & Robin Lopez – Cavs are giving Ricky Rubio a three-year deal worth $18.4 million, including a partial guarantee in the final year, Rubio is coming off a torn ACL he suffered in December. Before the injury, Rubio was having a productive season in his first season in Cleveland. He averaged 13.1 points, 6.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 34 games last season.
The Cavs also signing Robin Lopez agrees to one-year deal; who averaged 8.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG over 14 seasons.
Otto Porter – After winning an NBA title with the Golden State Warriors, the 29-year-old forward is signing a two-year deal with the Toronto Raptors, which includes a player option. Porter averaged 8.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and shot 46.4% from the field last season.
In Conclusion, Day two of NBA free agency began ferociously as soon as the clock struck midnight as several star athletes agreed to record-setting deals to stay the face of their respective franchises.
Day two did not disappoint, with numerous shocking trades and free agent signings that will sure play a big part in a team winning the NBA Finals next season.
To be fair, It doesn’t get bigger than the Wolves’ going all-in on a superstar big man duo of Rudy Gobert & Karl Anthony Towns. Plus, the Celtics may have found their missing piece at 6th man, Zion Williamson got paid big money by the Pelicans while Zach LaVine gets paid to stay with the Bulls, and that’s not even including the possible rumors of Kyrie Irving to the Los Angeles Lakers.
More news coming tomorrow as soon as possible as we head into day 3 of NBA Free Agency – thank you for reading!