The dust has barely settled on the NBA Finals, but the business of the NBA is in full throttle this summer as the league attempts to get back on schedule after it was derailed from normal proceedings by the coronavirus pandemic last spring. Indeed, the 2021 NBA draft is already in the rear view mirror and it’s merely a matter of days before free agency’s gets to take its turn in the spotlight.
Do not forget to keep track of the NBA odds for the teams that are making key moves ahead of free agency.
Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul was one of the NBA stars that was at the centre of much speculation, but as he’s reportedly agreed to terms with the Suns, it looks like he’s staying put in Arizona.
Paul reportedly declined his player option with the Suns, which was worth $44.2 million, in order to broker a better deal through free agency. The Suns complied and are reportedly set to offer Paul a four-year deal worth up to $120 million according to ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Suns are coming off a standout season in which they finished runners-up to the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals. Paul’s decision to stay with the team is a positive. He’s a big character in the locker room according to teammates and staff and his veteran leadership was instrumental in the side’s 2020-21 campaign.
Equally, speculation regarding Jimmy Butler HYPERLINK “https://www.nba.com/news/report-jimmy-butler-expected-to-ink-max-extension-with-miami-heat”’s future was squashed this weekend when news of an imminent deal with the Miami Heat surfaced on social media.
The Miami Heat are expected to agree to terms with Butler in the next few days that are in the region of four years and $184-million, effectively removing the All-Star from the free agency catwalk.
Shams Charania of The Athletic tweeted the news on Sunday, “Breaking: Five-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler is expected to agree to a maximum contract extension with the Miami Heat when the league year opens on Aug. 6, sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski.”
Butler, at 31 years of age, averaged 21.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game on 49.7 per cent shooting in 52 games with the Heat last season. He also led the team to the NBA Finals in 2019-20, though the Heat lost to the Lakers in the end.
Staying with the Miami Heat, it appears that they’ve made another big move. All-star guard Kyle Lowry looks to be headed to the Heat in a sign-and-trade deal.
Lowry, who spent nine years with the Toronto Raptors and played a pivotal role in the Canadian team’s championship run in 2019, was expected to leave this summer when his contract expired. Lowry’s deal with Miami is reported to be a 3-year deal worth $90 million.
Lowry announced the move on social media with a simple post, “Miami Heat X Kyle Lowry, Let’s Go!”
Another former Toronto Raptor that appears to have done well is Norman Powell, who has reportedly to sign a five-year deal with the Portland Trailblazers worth $90 million. Powell split his season between the Raptors and Trail Blazers, averaging 18.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists through 69 games. He joined the Trail Blazers in a trade at last year’s deadline, but declined a $11.6 million player option with the Trail Blazers to become a free agent.
Arguably, one of the biggest spending splashes in recent days involves the Atlanta Hawks and their prized, rising star point guard Trae Young. The Hawks and Young have reportedly agreed to a max extension on his rookie deal worth up to $207 million.
Young was a standout during the playoffs this season and the driving force behind Hawks’ run to the Eastern Conference finals. Young’s outstanding play helped the Hawks upset the Philadelphia 76ers before giving the Milwaukee Bucks a right run for their money. Overall, Young averaged 28.8 points and 9.5 assists during Atlanta’s playoff run.
Lonzo Ball, who is a restricted free agent, is heading to the Chicago Bulls on a four-year deal worth $85 million in a sign-and-trade agreement as per ESPN’s Adam Wojnarowski. The Pelicans will part with Ball in exchange for Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple and a second-round pick as per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
One team that’s yet to make an impact in the offseason is the LA Lakers. The Lakers’ title defense campaign came to an abrupt end in the first round of the playoffs when they were upset by the Phoenix Suns, although the fact that they were plagued with injuries over the course of the season and entered the postseason hobbled likely played a part in their untimely demise.
If there was one thing that became glaringly obvious this season, it’s that the Lakers need to bolster their attack around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Towards that end, the Lakers so far have only picked up veterans like Trevor Ariza and Wayne Elington – both on one-year deals that are yet to be disclosed. As well, Dwight Howard returns for a third stint on a one-year deal that’s yet to be disclosed.