NBA Free Agency Tracker: The Most Important Moves & Rumors So Far

  • Jason Kidd
    Jason Kidd

    It’s not every day that a coach leaves a playoff team for the Milwaukee Bucks. But not every coach is Jason Kidd.

    Kidd has always been different, and that’s continued with his coaching career. He moved straight from the court to the sidelines, becoming a head coach without any previous experience. And now, in what seemed like baseless rumors only days before, Kidd traded in the old legs of Brooklyn for a fresh start in Milwaukee. The trade — the Bucks gave Brooklyn two second-round picks for the coach — was so sudden that the team never even notified its current head coach Larry Drew about the decision.

    While someone needs to shoulder the fault for that, on the other end, Kidd enters a situation with new life. He has Jabari Parker, who could become one of the league’s best forwards by the spring, and he has an assortment of young talent, starting with the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The excitement is finally back in Milwaukee, and Kidd somehow parlayed an average tenure in Brooklyn into a breathable situation.

    The Nets? They rebounded by hiring former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins.

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  • Lance Stephenson

    Is $44 million enough for a 13.8 points per game scorer? Apparently not. Last week, Indiana offered their starting shooting guard a hefty five-year deal, as well as a personal movie and a love letter. It still wasn’t enough. Lance turned them down.

    “Lance and his representatives aren’t sure they’re going to be able to reach an agreement with the Pacers,” a source told ESPN. “It’s clear they want him back and he wanted to go back, but they may not be able to come to terms.”

    Whoa. Now the real game begins. The Pacers need Stephenson back. He’s not a great player, but he’s progressed at such a quick pace that it’s entirely possible he develops into an All-Star talent. At just 23 years old, remember, he was getting All-Star consideration last year.

    The Pacers’ only real identity is what Stephenson provides: toughness, aggressiveness, and a “never scared” attitude. There were questions whether his antics against LeBron and Miami in the playoffs would hurt his stock. That’s been answered with a resounding no.

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  • Marcin Gortat

    You know it’s a new age when basketball players are breaking news before the actual reporters. When Washington’s starting center re-signed with the Wizards, it was John Wall who alerted the Twitter world, tweeting: “Got my man @MGortat back now waitin for my bro @TrevorAriza…Come on !!

    Paying $60 million is a steep price, but the Wizards are trying to win right now and if that means overpaying multiple starters – Trevor Ariza is probably next – then they’re willing to do it.

    At worst, this keeps the Polish Hammer away from the Heat. At best, we see more of the Gortat from Game 5 against Indiana when he was smashing heads (16 rebounds) and taking names (31 points).

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  • Carmelo Anthony

    Imagine you are Jeremy Lin and you wear number 7 for the Houston Rockets. Now imagine that your team is courting one of your former teammates with billboards of the new guy wearing your jersey number.

    Too bad that’s exactly what’s happening this summer. Lin, regulated to the second team last season, has to know his days in Clutch City are numbered. Outside of New York, Houston is one of just four teams, along with Chicago, Dallas, and the Los Angeles Lakers, that Carmelo Anthony agreed to visit. The meeting in Houston reportedly went well, and Anthony appeared receptive to playing with James Harden, Dwight Howard, and, hopefully, Chandler Parsons. The Knicks can still offer the most money on a max deal at $130 million, but as other star players have shown over the last few years – remember how much money Dwight turned down with Los Angeles? – money is not always the bottom line for star players looking to win a title.

    As for Lin, he’ll almost assuredly be dealt to clear up cap space should Anthony choose Houston. And if he doesn’t, the Rockets are going to chase Chris Bosh. In all likelihood, we’re going to have some type of Big 3 in Houston next year.

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  • Kyrie Irving

    Kyrie Irving’s wait for a max contract ended up being next to nothing.

    Once 12:01 a.m. hit to signal the opening of NBA free agency, Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert, general manager David Griffin, coach David Blatt and top assistant coach Tyronn Lue met with their All-Star point guard and offered him $90 million.

    It signaled the start of a new era in Cleveland. With back-to-back No. 1 picks in the fray, and now with their 20-year-old star, the Cavs finally have a future and some hope.

    Irving was a surprise winner of the 2013 All-Star Game MVP last February, proving he is one of the more talented and entertaining players in the world. But was criticized for his defense and leadership throughout the season. The talent is all there. Now, like the rest of the Cavs, it’s about putting it all together. And in the East, anything can happen.

    After it was all over, all Irving could do was dance.

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  • Dirk Nowitzki

    Everyone knew Dallas would eventually give Dirk his final deal in the NBA to bring him back into the fold. Now it’s official. The two sides agreed on a three-year deal worth around $30 million. With Nowitzki at 36 years old, this will most likely be his final contract. It’s a significant pay cut and is a nearly identical contract to the one Tim Duncan recently signed with the Spurs.

    Dallas is in win now mode, doing whatever it can to give the German one final run. They’re going after Luol Deng and Carmelo Anthony, and also have Tyson Chandler back to man the middle. If the team can get one more veteran to pair with Dirk, Chandler, and Monta Ellis, the team that gave San Antonio all it could handle in the playoffs last year could be looking at contender status.

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  • Jason Kidd
  • Marcin Gortat
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Kyrie Irving
  • Dirk Nowitzki

Champions are crowned in June, but their foundations are made in July. Between the NBA Draft in late June and the free agency sweepstakes in July, sometimes your favorite team develops a whole new identity for the fall. In this age of team-ups and salary cuts, it’s not always about who can offer the most. For some players, they need to see more than that. Is there a system in place? Are the current players happy there? Above all else, can they win?

Free agency is always a whirlwind, with rumors, signings, salary matches, and star player sweepstakes. Today, we’re breaking down the biggest moves and shakers of the NBA free agency period so far.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney