NBA: Love to stay in Cleveland; Pierce to reunite with Doc in LA
Kevin Love has unfinished business in Cleveland and Tyson Chandler will make Phoenix a new contender in the NBA’s tough Western Conference.
The first full day of NBA free agency featured skyrocketing salaries and a flurry of moves, though no decision yet from Portland star LaMarcus Aldridge. Players and teams agreed to more than $1 billion worth of deals on Wednesday.
Love made his decision quickly, opting to stay with the Cavaliers on a five-year deal that could be worth more than $110 million. He revealed his decision in a piece in The Players’ Tribune, former baseball star Derek Jeter’s new sports digital venture.
“We have unfinished business and now it’s time to get back to work,” Love wrote.
Jimmy Butler and Mike Dunleavy also stayed put in Chicago for around $115 million combined, and Slovenian guard Goran Dragic is remaining in Miami. But plenty of players were on the move with salaries soaring ahead of next year’s new TV contracts that might make Wednesday’s action seem tame next summer.
“I LUV that the players are bank rolling, capitalize and seize the moment,” NBA Hall of Fame guard and television analyst Reggie Miller wrote on Twitter. “Trust me the owners and the league are making money, so should you.”
Chandler will get his pay rise in Phoenix, taking $52 million over four years to leave Dallas, while Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll agreed to a deal with Toronto for $60 million over four years.
Paul Pierce will also be reunited with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers after agreeing to a three-year, $10 million deal to join the Los Angeles Clippers
Deals can only be agreed to during the first week of free agency. They can’t be signed until July 9, after next season’s salary cap is set.
Aldridge was busy meeting with teams for a second straight day while he decides whether to leave Portland. His representatives wrote on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon that he had made no decisions, even following reports that the Lakers had been eliminated.
The Spurs were among the teams hoping to land him and were making moves to entice him. They dealt Tiago Splitter to Atlanta to clear cap space and re-signed guard Danny Green, who got $45 million for four years.
Aldridge was among the top big men available when the market opened early Wednesday morning, considered by many the best one who might consider moving. The Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan was another top center on that list.
There had been speculation that Love might leave after one season in Cleveland, though he had said repeatedly he planned to stay. He said he had been in contact recently with the Cavs management and his teammates, alluding to spending time poolside with LeBron James.
“Yeah, of course I’ve heard the free agency rumors,” Love wrote. “But at the end of the day, and after meeting with Sent from my iPhone
Among the guards on the market, Dragic accepted a five-year deal that will ultimately be worth between $85-90 million to stay in Miami and Brandon Knight agreed to a five-year, $70 million deal with Phoenix — where he took over the ballhandling duties that Dragic handled before he was dealt to the Heat.
Khris Middleton also received $70 million to remain in Milwaukee following his strong season. He and Carroll were two of the top wing players available and the Raptors paid well to get the latter, though they also lost forward Amir Johnson to Boston.
Pierce spent this past season with the Washington Wizards, and they wanted him back for a second year. But the lure of playing for Rivers again was apparently too strong to ignore.
Next season will be Pierce’s 18th, the first 15 with Boston. Rivers coached him for nine of those Boston seasons, and they helped the Celtics win the 2008 NBA title.