Free agency trend: Stay home, or sign short deals
For those seeking the trend in NBA free agency this year, it’s this: Most players are either staying put, or taking short-term deals that allow them to hit the market again next summer.
Such was largely the case Tuesday.
Utah kept two of its free agents, agreeing to extensions with Dante Exum (three years, $33 million) and Raul Neto (two years, $4.4 million). Avery Bradley, in a deal that was struck late Monday night, is also staying put – coming to terms with the Los Angeles Clippers on a two-year contract worth $25 million.
Most of the other known deals that were made on Day 3 of free agency were all of the short-term variety.
Tyreke Evans got $12 million to spend next season with the Indiana Pacers. Jeff Green agreed to terms on a $2.4 million, one-year deal with Washington – which is expected to seek another one-year pact with Dwight Howard later this month when he finalizes his Brooklyn buyout – and Michael Carter-Williams got a veteran’s minimum deal to play in Houston next season.
All the deals were confirmed to The Associated Press by people familiar with the negotiations, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because the NBA offseason moratorium on signings does not end until Friday.
The Jazz have quietly crossed off many items on their summertime wish list, with general manager Dennis Lindsey going into free agency saying he wanted to keep all three of his team’s internal free agents.
Check. Check. And check. The deals with Exum and Neto came one day after Utah agreed to keep Derrick Favors on a two-year, $36 million deal.
Evans will give Indiana’s offense a lift. He’s a proven scorer, someone who expanded his 3-point ability last season when he averaged 19.4 points per game with Memphis.
Green fills a big-man void, after the Wizards traded away starting center Marcin Gortat – the hole that Howard conceivably will fill – and losing backup power forward Mike Scott to free agency. Green, who turns 32 in August, spent last season with the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Carter-Williams gives Houston some guard depth behind MVP James Harden and Chris Paul, and Houston gives Carter-Williams yet another chance to restart what was a very promising career. He was the NBA’s rookie of the year for Philadelphia in 2013-14 when he averaged 16.7 points per game. But his scoring average has dropped each year since, and the Rockets will be his fifth team in six seasons.
With LeBron James being a very obvious exception – getting four years to leave Cleveland for the Los Angeles Lakers – most of the biggest signings so far have been players staying home. Those include Paul staying with Houston, Nikola Jokic with Denver, Paul George with Oklahoma City, Aaron Gordon with Orlando, Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Denver’s Will Barton.
Outside of James, the biggest-money deal that involves someone filing a change-of-address card is Dallas’ $24.1 million agreement with DeAndre Jordan. But even that one falls into the short-term trend, since that’s just for next season.
AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich in London contributed.
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