With LeBron James and Marc Gasol likely re-signing with their respective teams, all eyes are on LaMarcus Aldridge – the best obtainable free agent. While he is still weighing his options, other moves were made today that changed the landscape of the NBA.
Basketball Insiders has been tracking all of the news and rumors in our 2015 Free Agency Diary, but here’s a recap of what occurred on Friday.
DeAndre Jordan agrees to terms with the Dallas Mavericks
The big domino to fall today was former Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan agreeing to terms on a contract with the Dallas Mavericks. While of course nothing can be signed until July 9, the Mavericks quickly replaced Tyson Chandler (who will join the Phoenix Suns) by adding Jordan on a four-year deal reportedly worth $80 million deal.
The Mavs certainly upgraded the position, though it cost them a pretty penny to do so. Jordan’s $80 million contract is significantly bigger than the $52 million Chandler will receive from Phoenix. Though somewhat simplified, Jordan is essentially a younger version of Chandler. Both players are good at defending the paint, rebounding on both ends of the court, being the roll man in the pick-and-roll, shooting a high field-goal percentage and, of course, throwing down dunks. The biggest difference is Chandler is 32 years old while Jordan is just 26.
Jordan leaving the Clippers puts them in a pretty unfortunate position. The only power forward or center they have on the roster is Blake Griffin and they don’t have much money to get another quality big. A trade may be their only option.
Wes Matthews agrees to sign with the Mavericks
Earlier in the day, former Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Wes Matthews agreed to terms on a four-year, $57 million contract (which likely impacted Jordan’s decision). Matthews is coming off a torn Achilles last season, but is a big addition for the Mavs, who lost guard Monta Ellis to the Indiana Pacers.
Matthews will have to stay healthy, but as a two-way player who can space the floor on offense and guard other twos, he’ll help improve the Mavericks on both ends and join the Mavs’ talented core, which also includes Jordan, Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki among others.
Rajon Rondo and Marco Belinelli agree to deals with the Sacramento Kings
The enigmatic point guard Rajon Rondo has agreed to a one-year deal with the Sacramento Kings worth $9.5 million. During this past postseason, Rondo was basically dismissed by Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle after he struggled on the court and the two had at least one confrontation.
He now goes to an already volatile situation, where Kings head coach George Karl has advocated trading franchise cornerstone center DeMarcus Cousins and reportedly upset the owner and front office by trying to turn people against Cousins. It will certainly be an interesting year in Sacramento.
Sharpshooter Marco Belinelli also agreed to terms with the Kings on a deal that is valued at $19 million over the next three years. Rondo had asked for Kings management to get a shooter and they obliged with Belinelli.
Tobias Harris agrees to four-year deal with Orlando Magic
One of the shockers of the day was Tobias Harris agreeing to terms on a four-year, $64 million contract to re-sign with the Orlando Magic. There had been talk that the Magic might not bring Harris, who was a restricted free agent, back if the bidding for him got too expensive. However, it appears they wanted to keep him in town as part of their talented young core. This is good money for Harris, who is still just 22 years old and has plenty of room for improvement.
Robin Lopez agrees to terms with the New York Knicks
Following the Knicks having their meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge canceled and missing out on some other premier free agents, Phil Jackson and the Knicks decided to lock up a center to anchor their defense. They went with former Portland Trail Blazers big man Robin Lopez, who agreed to a $54 million contract over four years.
Lopez will be a solid addition for the Knicks, who were not a good team last year and now have bolstered their roster alongside Carmelo Anthony by adding Lopez, Arron Afflalo as well as draft picks Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant.
Patrick Beverley and Corey Brewer both return to the Rockets
Both Beverley and Brewer spurned the Kings, who were offering heftier contracts, to return to the Houston Rockets. Both are smart, pesky defensive players, who play with heart, hustle a ton and were a big part of the Rocket team that made the Western Conference Finals (though Beverley was injured for the playoffs).
Beverley agreed to a $18 million deal over the first three years and a $5 million non-guaranteed fourth year, while Brewer’s contract is worth $23.4 million over three years.
Richardson Jefferson agrees to a veteran minimum contract with the Mavericks
Throwing so much money at Jordan and Matthews, while already having a significant amount invested in Parsons and Nowitzki, Dallas needed some depth. They knew this, and so they reached an agreement to retain Richard Jefferson on a one-year, veteran minimum deal. He will end up backing up the newly acquired Wes Matthews at the shooting guard position.
Gary Neal agrees to a deal with the Wizards
After losing former All-Star Paul Pierce to the Clippers, Washington is bringing in Jared Dudley (via trade) and now sharpshooter Gary Neal. Neal has agreed to a one-year deal with the Wizards worth $2.1 million.
The latest of the LaMarcus Aldridge free agency saga
According to Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the San Antonio Spurs and the Phoenix Suns are the two frontrunners for power forward LaMarcus Aldridge’s services. His final decision should come in a few days.
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