It’s midnight, Pacific time (3 am Eastern) July 1. Free agency is officially underway and has been for the past three hours. In the battle of the conferences, the West is best in the early moments of NBA free agency.
Western Conference Dominating NBA Free Agency
The Defending Champs Made Noise
Priority one for the defending champion Golden State Warriors was simple. Re-sign superstar point guard Stephen Curry. The Warriors agreed to pay Curry the first “Supermax” contract. At 12:14 am EST ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted this message.
Stephen Curry has agreed to a 5-year, $201M deal with Golden State, agent Jeff Austin of Octagon tells ESPN. No… https://t.co/v8sOh909y7
Moments before Wojnarowski’s tweet, Chris Haynes also of ESPN tweeted on other Warriors point guard Shaun Livingston. Livingston was a key component to the Warriors success since joining them three seasons ago. Re-signing Livingston was also a priority.
Golden State, Shaun Livingston reach agreement on 3-years, $24 million, league sources tell ESPN.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Superstar forward and NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant won’t sign a new deal with the Warriors until later in July. Durant is very happy in Oakland will re-sign when he chooses. Fellow free agent Andre Iguodala is currently exploring his options and is taking meetings.
Spurs Are Not Backing Down
Perennial contenders San Antonio Spurs showed their intentions in early free-agency as well. Point guard Patty Mills was a top priority and he was taken care of.
Free agent Patty Mills has agreed to a 4-year, $50M deal to stay with San Antonio, league sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/K9ZzMOnDzR
Houston is a Problem
Days after the earth-shaking deal for Chris Paul from the L.A. Clippers, the Houston Rockets continue to flex its muscle in an attempt to improve the roster. General Manager Daryl Morey continues to push for more assets. Remember in the press conference following the Paul trade, Morey said, “It’s a weapons race in the NBA. You’re either in the weapons race or on the sidelines. We felt like this is, with James Harden in his prime and Chris Paul in his prime, this gives us a real shot to chase the juggernaut teams that are out there.”
Houston continues its ultra aggressive approach and has now secured a meeting with free-agent Andre Iguodala, league sources tell ESPN.
Recap of the Chris Paul Trade to the Rockets
REPORTS: LA Clippers trade Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets (via @WojVerticalNBA)
Minnesota Timberwolves Made Moves as Well
Tom Thibodeau, President and Head Coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves showed a fearless streak. Hours before free agency commenced the Timberwolves traded point guard Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz. Needing a point guard, the Timberwolves then agreed to sign free agent point guard Jeff Teague.
The Biggest Move of the Night
Oklahoma City Thunder General Manager Sam Presti pulled off an impressive coup. Paul George to the Thunder was not a possibility discussed by NBA scribes, experts or analysts. However, Presti got his man. Though George drew interest from no fewer than five teams, Presti and the Thunder most importantly, had the solution to sway the Indiana Pacers front office. Many stories and explanations are expected and warranted on this. Even the Oklahoma City Police Department had an investigation. Here are their official report and finding.
Thanks for the tweets reporting the "theft" of Paul George by @okcthunder.
Our investigative findings: totally legal & very savvy.
George combined with newly minted league MVP Russell Westbrook makes the Thunder immediate threats in the Western Conference.
Clippers Secured Their Prized Asset
With Chris Paul traded to the Rockets, the L.A. Clippers needed to keep the superstar Blake Griffin in Clipper-land. Brad Turner of the L.A Times broke the story.
Can confirm Blake Griffin cancelled meetings with Phoenix/Denver, per source
Blake Griffin met with Steve Ballmer, Doc Rivers, Jerry West today at Staples Center, "meeting went well. Expected to sign a deal."
Griffin and Clippers close to finalizing a five-year, max deal of $175 million for him to remain with team.
The biggest acquisition the Clippers made was not re-signing Griffin, but convincing front office maestro Jerry West to join the team. This is especially relevant as the Clippers have minimal salary cap space left.
The Clippers will likely only have the $8.4m mid-level exception after the Blake Griffin max contract. Los… https://t.co/OX5vRoR4nc
Free agent JJ Redick is meeting with the 76ers, league sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/pRKukjMkON
Beautiful Music is Playing in Utah
The Utah Jazz acquired Ricky Rubio from the Minnesota Timberwolves as stated earlier. While the Jazz has questions about key players, they remain optimistic the all-star forward Gordon Hayward re-signs with the team. However, it appears that the Jazz is resigned to the fact that George Hill is gone.
Other Teams to Look At
Among the FAs the Lakers called tonight: Iggy, Rondo & Ben McLemore
Hearing Andre Iguodala and Rudy Gay among the first meetings for Sacramento Kings free agency. Kings taking hard look at everyone
Kings free agency meetings tonight, I'm told: Andre Iguodala and Patrick Patterson.
NBA Free Agency 2017: Bogdan Bogdanovic to sign a 3 year, $36 million contract with Kings https://t.co/lUwCEmVtVD
League sources: Growing resignation among interested teams that New Orleans comes to terms quickly with Jrue Holiday on rich five-year deal
Finally, it must be noted that this is less than six hours into the NBA free agency period. Many more deals shall occur over the next few days. Most noteworthy, there is a seven-day moratorium period. During this period players can teams come to agreements, however deals will only be signed after the moratorium ends on July 7.