Sports

2020 N.B.A. Free Agency Updates: Trades and Signings

The N.B.A. off-season this year may be defined just as much by which players teams are able to get as by the ones they are able to keep.

The trade market opened Monday with Chris Paul going to the Phoenix Suns, and now free agency is here, with all eyes on Houston and Milwaukee — teams hoping to bring in sufficient talent to satisfy the expectations of their biggest stars.

Teams were allowed to begin negotiations with free agents at 6 p.m. Eastern time Friday, but the new contracts cannot be signed until 12:01 p.m. Sunday.

Check back here for updates on some of the notable transactions. Follow Marc Stein on Twitter @TheSteinLine for more.

ImageGiannis Antetokounmpo is looking for his Milwaukee Bucks to make moves that allow the team to better contend for an N.B.A. championship.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is looking for his Milwaukee Bucks to make moves that allow the team to better contend for an N.B.A. championship.Credit…Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Montrezl Harrell is staying in Los Angeles — with the Lakers.

The Lakers keep making moves — to get younger and more dynamic. The latest seemed to come as a surprise to many, including some players around the league. Montrezl Harrell, the league’s reigning sixth man of the year, is joining the Lakers on a two-year, $19 million deal, according to Rich Paul, his agent at Klutch Sports.

Harrell, a bruising, high-energy forward, isn’t moving far — in fact, he won’t need to move at all. He spent last season with the Clippers, averaging 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds a game, both career highs. The Lakers and the Clippers, of course, both play at Staples Center.

Patrick Beverley, Harrell’s now-former teammate, appeared to express his displeasure with the news on Twitter: “what,” he wrote, bracketing the word with an emoji of a man smacking his forehead and another of an emoji cursing. Beverley followed that up by tweeting that he was happy for Harrell.

The Lakers now have last season’s top reserves. Harrell and Dennis Schroder, the point guard whom the Lakers acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a trade this week, finished first and second in voting for the sixth man of the year award.

Schroder is likely to start for the Lakers this season. Harrell could continue to come off the bench. Either way, he will give the team added toughness. A second-round pick of the Houston Rockets in 2015, Harrell has also developed a reliable offensive game from the low post.

Bucks fans are confused right now. With good reason.

The N.B.A. has opened an investigation into the Milwaukee Bucks’ reported attempt to trade for Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Sacramento Kings, according to a person with knowledge of the probe.

The league is looking into whether the reported transaction violated its anti-tampering rules, according to the person, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly. The N.B.A. will seek to determine if the Bucks and Kings, as ESPN first reported early Tuesday, had already reached an agreement on a sign-and-trade deal that would bring Bogdanovic to the Bucks — several days before free-agent discussions were allowed to start.

The Bucks and the Kings declined to comment.

Adam Silver, the N.B.A. commissioner, pledged in September 2019 that the league would enforce its anti-tampering rules more stringently after numerous free-agent deals in June 2019 became public within minutes of the start of free agency, suggesting that they had been negotiated in advance. The maximum penalty for a tampering violation was raised to $10 million from $5 million and set at $6 million for teams making unauthorized agreements with players, with Silver adding that penalties could also include voiding contracts, suspending team executives and forfeiting draft picks.

Goran Dragic will re-sign with the Miami Heat.

Dragic told The Associated Press that he had agreed to a two-year deal to remain with the Miami Heat after helping lead the team to the N.B.A. finals last season.

“Happy to be back,” Dragic told the A.P. “That was my plan, to come back, but in this crazy business you never know.”

Dragic, 34, had a terrific season in Miami, averaging 16.2 points and 5.1 assists a game — mostly off the bench. He excelled as a starter in the postseason, averaging 19.1 points a game as the Heat made a deep run in the bubble. But he injured his foot in Game 1 of the N.B.A. finals, and his absence at point guard went a long way toward derailing the Heat’s title hopes against the Los Angeles Lakers.

What does Klay Thompson’s injury mean for the Warriors?

Bob Myers, the general manager of the Warriors, recalled getting the bad news from one of Thompson’s agents. It came in the form of a text message:

Klay might have hurt himself. Call me.

It was only hours before Wednesday’s draft, and the news quickly circulated among Thompson’s teammates and friends around the league, and among fans who had been rooting for the Warriors to reassemble the pieces needed this season for another title chase.

But that calculus had all changed by Thursday, when tests revealed that Thompson — one of the great shooters of his generation and a key cog in three championship runs — would miss the season after tearing his right Achilles’ tendon during a workout in Southern California.

Thompson, 30, missed all of last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the 2019 N.B.A. finals. Back-to-back seasons for a player in his prime: Gone.

“Watching his journey, watching his growth — nobody deserves this,” Myers said in a news conference Thursday. “This is a guy that loves basketball. He bleeds basketball.”

Of course, the cupboard is not entirely bare for the Warriors. Stephen Curry should be back to full strength after missing all but five games last season with a broken left hand. Draymond Green is no slouch. And the Warriors bulked up their post presence by using the second overall pick in the draft on James Wiseman, a center from the University of Memphis.

But Thompson’s absence looms large — especially in the Western Conference. The Los Angeles Lakers just won a championship. The Los Angeles Clippers want one of their own. The Denver Nuggets are emerging as a perennial threat.

The Warriors wasted no time trying to compensate — a little, at least — by agreeing to trade for Kelly Oubre Jr., a 24-year-old forward, from the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday in exchange for a future first-round draft pick, according to two people familiar with the deal who were not authorized to discuss it publicly. Oubre spent last season in Phoenix, where he averaged a career-best 18.7 points a game while shooting 35.2 percent from 3-point range.

Wesley Matthews agrees to a 1-year deal with the Lakers.

The Lakers made a splash at the start of free agency by agreeing to a one-year deal with Wesley Matthews for $3.6 million, according to a person briefed on the deal who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Matthews, a 34-year-old wing, started for the Milwaukee Bucks last season, averaging 7.4 points while shooting 36.4 percent from 3-point range.

The Lakers could be getting a small discount as the defending champions. Matthews likely wants a ring, and the Lakers are gearing up for another title run.

The Sixers are bringing in shooters.

Less than three weeks into his job as the Philadelphia 76ers’ president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey is already addressing an area that he clearly wanted to upgrade: the team’s perimeter shooting.

On Thursday, the 76ers worked out a trade for Seth Curry after moving toward a deal for Danny Green. The two are veteran guards who figure to help the team space the floor around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. There is no doubt that Simmons and Embiid are ascendant stars. But they have not quite figured out how to put it all together when it matters most, a problem that was especially glaring when the 76ers got swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs a couple of months ago.

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Seth Curry should help the Sixers space the floor after shooting a career-best 45.2 percent from 3 last season in Dallas.Credit…Pool photo by Kevin C. Cox

Perhaps playing with some teammates who can make 3-pointers will help. Last season, the 76ers ranked just 22nd in the league in 3-point attempts.

To that end, Morey made a couple of bold moves. First, he agreed to send Al Horford to the Thunder as a part of a package for Green, according to ESPN. Hobbled by a hip injury last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Green was largely ineffective in the postseason — but when healthy, he is a reliable perimeter threat.

Later, Morey sent Josh Richardson and the rights to the No. 36 draft pick, Tyler Bey from the University of Colorado, to the Dallas Mavericks for Curry, who averaged 12.4 points a game last season while shooting a career-best 45.2 percent from 3-point range. Curry, whose older brother, Stephen, stars for the Warriors, also happens to be the son-in-law of 76ers Coach Doc Rivers.

The Nets hang on to Joe Harris.

Long-range shooting is a valuable commodity. Ask Joe Harris.

The Nets are re-signing Harris to a four-year deal worth a whopping $75 million, according to a person briefed on the deal who was not authorized to discuss it publicly. Harris’s agency confirmed that he had reached an agreement with the team.

After barely playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in his first two seasons in the league, Harris was recovering from foot surgery in 2016 when the Cavaliers traded him to the Orlando Magic, who promptly waived him.

He eventually landed on the Nets, who signed him to the league minimum. He quickly developed into a dependable 3-point shooter, then continued to expand his game. In 2018, he signed a two-year deal worth $16 million.

Last season, Harris averaged 14.5 points while shooting 42.4 percent from 3-point range, which put him among the league leaders. He set up himself up well for free agency. The Nets were not about to let him get away.

A former second-round pick, Harris will space the floor for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving this season, and his importance is reflected in his new contract.