Free agency: Latest buzz, rumblings and reports
NBA free agency officially begins on July 1, but news, rumors and rumblings are already flowing in about the league’s top free agents and trade targets. Keep it here for the latest across the Association.
Key offseason dates
June 24: Deadline for restricted free agents to exercise player options
June 29: Deadline to exercise player, team or early-termination options
July 1: Free agency begins after midnight ET
July 6: Moratorium ends at noon ET; signings and trades can be made official
July 13: Deadline to withdraw qualifying offers to restricted free agents
June 24 updates
1:00 p.m. ET: Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Muscala has exercised his $5 million player option, a source tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Muscala, who turns 27 on July 1, averaged 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds last season for the Hawks. Atlanta is now projected to enter the offseason with $20 million in available cap space, according to ESPN Front Office Insider Bobby Marks.
12:40 p.m. ET: With the deadline passing Saturday, Carmelo Anthony did not exercise the early termination option on the final year of his contract to join the 2018 free agent class. Anthony, officially a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder again next season, will earn $27.9 million in 2018-19 to complete the five-year, $120 million contract he signed with the New York Knicks in 2014.
12:26 p.m. ET: Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler will exercise his player option for the 2018-19 season, league sources tell ESPN’s Chris Haynes. Chandler, 31, is opting into a $12.8 million salary instead of entering free agency this summer.
June 22 update
1:20 a.m. ET: San Antonio Spurs GM R.C. Buford stated the franchise’s desire to keep disgruntled All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard in the fold Thursday after the NBA draft but said the club “will explore all of our options.” Leonard wants to be traded to Los Angeles, preferably to the Lakers, sources have told ESPN.
June 21 updates
4:51 p.m. ET: The Los Angeles Lakers contacted the San Antonio Spurs after Kawhi Leonard‘s public trade request last week but immediately felt the Spurs had no intention of engaging in any dialogue, sources close to the situation told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. As one Lakers source put it, “They basically shut the door on us.”
4:33 p.m. ET: Dwight Howard and the Brooklyn Nets have mutually agreed to enter into buyout talks for his $23.8 million expiring contract. Howard, 32, would then enter free agency this summer. On Wednesday, the Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn agreed to a trade that will send Howard to the Nets in exchange for center Timofey Mozgov, two second-round picks and cash, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
June 20 updates
9:16 p.m. ET: New York Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn has declined his $4.2 million contract for the 2018-19 season to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. O’Quinn averaged 7.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 58 percent shooting in 18 minutes per game for the Knicks in 2017-18.
9:48 a.m. ET: The Charlotte Hornets have agreed to send center Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets for center Timofey Mozgov, two future second-round picks and cash, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Hornets will receive the Nets’ second-round pick (No. 45) in Thursday’s NBA draft and a 2021 second-round pick, league sources said.
7:41 a.m. ET: San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich traveled to Southern California on Tuesday and met with Kawhi Leonard, league sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski. Leonard wants a trade to Los Angeles — preferably the Lakers — but the Spurs are unlikely to be motivated to facilitate a deal to L.A., league sources said.
June 19 update
1:02 p.m. ET: ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said during an NBA draft preview show Monday night that Rockets guard Chris Paul will return to the team and is putting all his focus into recruiting LeBron James to Houston.
June 18 update
4:28 p.m. ET: San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay is declining his 2018-19 player option to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, league sources tell ESPN’s Chris Haynes. Gay, 31, is turning down a salary of $8.8 million in order to hit free agency.
June 16 update
11:57 a.m. ET: Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio, league sources told ESPN’s Chris Haynes. Leonard has Los Angeles — preferably the Lakers — at the center of his preferences for a trade destination, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, but a source with the Spurs said Leonard hasn’t asked them for a trade.
June 13 updates
10:33 a.m. ET: ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that a meeting — or a series of them — will be set between Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and star forward Kawhi Leonard about whether a lasting trust and partnership can be rebuilt. Leonard is eligible to receive a five-year, $219 million contract extension this summer, but his future in San Antonio has come into question after his relationship with the franchise became strained last season.
8:45 a.m. ET: League sources told ESPN’s Chris Haynes that Warriors All-Star forward Draymond Green will turn down Golden State’s three-year, $72 million extension when it’s offered. That’s because if he earns MVP, Defensive Player of the Year or All-NBA Team honors next season, he will be eligible for a super-max contract of five years, $226 million.
June 12 updates
5:14 p.m. ET: Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving said Tuesday that a contract extension this summer doesn’t make sense for him, and his sole focus is on getting healthy for next season and helping Boston take another step toward title contention.
4:55 p.m. ET: Two-time reigning Finals MVP Kevin Durant could sign for as long as four years and about $160 million this offseason, and Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers is prepared to give him “whatever he wants.”
3:45 p.m. ET: Jodie Meeks exercised his $3.5 million contract option to return to the Washington Wizards for the 2018-19 season, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Meeks will serve the remaining 19 games of a 25-game suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy to start the season. Meeks, 30, played 77 games for the Wizards last season, averaging 14.5 minutes and 6.3 points a game.
10:15 a.m. ET: Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young is seriously contemplating declining his $13.7 million player option for the 2018-19 season and becoming an unrestricted free agent, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Young, 29, has until June 29 to make a decision on the option.