With the draft in the rearview, the NBA offseason continues apace with the league now getting ready for free agency.
The free agency moratorium set to open Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, the negotiating period during which free agents and teams can begin discussing and agreeing on contracts. Players cannot officially sign new deals until 12:01 p.m. ET on July 6.
Few teams — and fewer contenders — have the salary cap space to offer max contracts, and not many players in this year’s free agent class can command such a deal. Still, this is the NBA, and the league always finds a way to produce fireworks (Happy 4th of July!) around free agency. It won’t be a surprise to see more of the same this summer.
Who will be on the move for the 2022-23 season? Who will make the biggest splash? Stay with USA TODAY Sports’ NBA crew for the latest news and buzz from around the league as teams begin to strike deals with the biggest names on the market.
Harris to re-sign with Magic
Gary Harris plans to re-sign with the Orlando Magic on a two-year, $26 million deal, a person with direct knowledge of negotiations told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly until the deal is official. Harris just finished his first full season with the Magic after being acquired from the Nuggets at the 2021 trade deadline in the deal that sent Aaron Gordon to Denver.
Lakers agree with Walker
The Los Angeles Lakers have made their first move of the offseason, agreeing with Lonnie Walker IV on a one-year, $6.5 million contract, according to HoopsHype. HoopsHype is part of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group. Walker played his first four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. He averaged 12.1 points per game on 40.7% shooting last season in 70 games.
Bagley re-signing with Pistons
As expected the Detroit Pistons move quickly to lock up their lone restricted free agent, agreeing with Marvin Bagley III on a three-year, $37.5 million contract, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Free Press is part of the USA TODAY Network.
Mills going back to Brooklyn
Veteran guard Patty Mills is returning to the Brooklyn Nets with a slight raise. A day after declining his $6.2 million player option, Mills has agreed with Brooklyn on a two-years, $14.5 million contract, his agent, told ESPN.
Ingles finds new home in Milwaukee
Joe Ingles has agreed on a one-year, $6.5 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, according to Yahoo Sports. Ingles tore the ACL in his left knee in February when he was with the Utah Jazz and missed the rest of the season. Shortly after, he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers as part of a three-team deal. Ingles’ wife Renae also confirmed the news on Twitter:
Toronto to re-sign Young
The Toronto Raptors will bring back Thaddeuus Young on a two-year, $16 million deal, his agents Jim Tanner and Max Wiepking of Tandem Sports + Entertainment, confirmed to USA TODAY Sports.
Beal returning to Washington
As many expected, All-Star guard Bradley Beal will return to the Washington Wizards on a five-year max deal worth about $251 million, a person familiar with negotiations told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly until the deal is official.
Beal has spent his entire 10-year career with the Wizards and had long insisted that he intended to be back on a long-term contract. He was limited by injuries to 40 games last season, but averaged over 30 points per game in each of the previous two years.
Second-tier free agents agree early
Several notable second-tier free agents agreed on new contracts in the early hours of free agency:
♦ Tyus Jones plans to return to the Memphis Grizzlies on a two-year, $30 deal, his agent Kevin Bradbury said.
♦ The Miami Heat plan to re-sign Victor Oladipo to a one-year, $11 million contract, The Athletic reported.
♦ Chris Boucher plans to return to the Toronto Raptors on a three-year, $35 million deal.
♦ Isaiah Hartenstein has reached a two-year deal with the New York Knicks, according to multiple reports.
♦ The Milwaukee Bucks have agreed with Jevon Carter on a two-year deal and with Wesley Matthews on one-year deal, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Journal Sentinel is part of the USA TODAY Network.
♦ Amir Coffee is expected to sign a three-year, $11 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers.
♦ Nic Batum and the Los Angeles Clippers reached a deal on a two-year, $22 million contract, per multiple reports.
♦ Dewayne Dedmon reached a deal on a two-year, $9 million contract to return to the Miami Heat.
Tucker headed to Philly; will he join Harden?
Highly-sought forward P.J. Tucker is heading to Philadelphia after agreeing to terms on three-year, $33.2 million deal with the Sixers, his agent Andre Buck told USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt. The Sixers will be Tucker’s fourth team in four seasons. Tucker played in Houston from 2017-18 to 2020-21 when current Sixers GM Daryl Morey ran the Rockets. Tucker was teammates for three-plus seasons with James Harden, who is expected to re-sign with the Sixers after declining his player option Wednesday.
Dort gets big extension from OKC
Defensive whiz Lu Dort reportedly has an agreement on a five-year, $87.5 million extension with the Thunder, according to ESPN.
Simons returns to Blazers on $100M deal
Anfrenee Simons has agreed on a four-year, $100 million contract to return to the Portland Trail Blazers, his agent Bill Duffy confirmed to USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt. Simons is a restricted free agent and could have signed an offer sheet with any other team, but Portland would have retained the right to match and keep Simons. The four-year guard is coming off his best season as a pro in which he upped his scoring average from 7.8 to 17.3 points per game.
Monk leaving LA for Sacramento
Reserve guard Malik Monk has agreed on a two-year, $20 million contract with the Sacramento Kings after playing one season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Monk, the No. 11 pick in the 2017 draft spent his first four seasons with the Charlotte Hornets.
Portis re-signing with Milwaukee
Bobby Portis is getting the big contract he hoped for when he declined his player option for 2022-23. Portis has agreed to re-sign with the Milwaukee Bucks on a four-year, $49 million deal. He declined his $4.6 million option Wednesday in the hopes of landing a lucrative long-term deal, and the bet on himself paid off. The 6-10 forward has been a key rotation player for the Bucks the past two seasons, including during their run to the 2021 championship.
Durant requests trade hours before free agency opens
Kevin Durant sent shockwaves around the NBA in the hours leading up to free agency when he requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. The request opens up the possibility for a team to make a major move for Durant, which could yield a significant return on assets for the Nets.
Phoenix and Miami are two of Durant’s preferred destinations, according to Yahoo and ESPN.
FULL STORY: Kevin Durant requests trade from Brooklyn Nets
Who are the top free agents available?
1. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (unrestricted): One of the game’s elite shooters and scorers, LaVine is in line for a max deal of five years and about $212 million from the Bulls or four years and about $157 million from other teams.
2. James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers (unrestricted): Harden was expected to exercise his $47.3 million player option but elected to decline it to reportedly work on a new deal with the Sixers that would give the team more financial flexibility.
3. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards (unrestricted): Beal declined his $36.4 million player option in a move widely expected to clear the three-time All-Star to re-sign with the Wizards on a five-year max deal. But could he finally change his mind and look to play elsewhere?
4. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (restricted): The situation appears to have soured in Phoenix after the Suns elected not to extend Ayton last offseason when they had the chance. Still only 23, Ayton will have suitors, but the Suns can still match any offer.
5. Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets (restricted): Coming off a career year, Bridges is set for a substantial raise after he and the Hornets couldn’t reach terms on an extension before last season.
6. Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks (unrestricted): Brunson is also set for a big pay raise after a breakout season, and the Knicks are expected to make a big offer. But look for the Mavs to made every effort to re-sign Brunson.
FULL LIST: Best free agents available in 2022 offseason
Player option decisions impact free agency landscape
On the eve of NBA free agency, a pair of superstars declined the player options on the final years of their contracts to become unrestricted free agents.
However, teams with money to spend probably shouldn’t get their hopes up about signing James Harden or Bradley Beal to a big, splashy contract once free agency opens. Both appear likely to return to their old teams.
Wednesday was the deadline for Harden, Beal and others to make decisions on their player options ahead of free agency. Harden declined his $47.3 million option to reportedly work with the Sixers on a new deal that would give the team more financial flexibility to make improvements to the roster this offseason. Beal declined his $36.4 million player option in a move widely expected to clear the three-time All-Star to re-sign with the Wizards on a five-year max deal.