LeBron James and his new deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers controlled the NBA headlines Thursday, with the four-time MVP agreeing to a two-year, $46.9 million contract with the Cavs. The 30-year-old was expected to re-sign with Cleveland, but reportedly wanted to hold back on any talks until the Cavs worked out deals with power forwards Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. Yet as we’ll see soon, the latter’s deal isn’t quite done.
Aside from the Cavs, a number of teams made waves in the very busy free agency period, with players now free to sign contracts after the league-wide moratorium was lifted Thursday.
Let’s delve into today’s roundup.
-Continuing with the Cavs and Thompson, the 24-year-old stud emerged as a force during Cleveland’s run to the Finals by averaging a double-double in the last two series of the postseason. Thompson was a clear priority signing for the Cavs, and the hope was a deal would be reached before James’.
However, according to USA Today, while Thompson is still expected to stay in Cleveland its “notable” that a deal wasn’t struck before James.
-Going back to Love, the smooth shooting forward told the Associated Press that an "honest" sit-down between he and James in Los Angeles played a significant role in his re-signing with Cleveland.
Love was a free agent target for the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, among others, but ultimately chose another run with the Cavs, a decision that flew in the face of myriad rumors during last season stressing Love and James weren’t getting along.
-The fallout of DeAndre Jordan backing out of his verbal agreement with the Dallas Mavericks to instead turn back to the Los Angeles Clippers also owned league-wide chatter Thursday, and created myriad ripple effects in the process.
For starters, Mavs owner Mark Cuban wound up in a Twitter spat with ESPN NBA reporter Chris Broussard over the validity of his reports regarding Jordan’s last minute switch. Broussard tweeted Cuban was “frantically” driving around Houston trying to track down Jordan, and cited sources who claimed Cuban was calling them to find out Jordan’s address.
Cuban denied everything and eventually fired back that if Broussard could prove anything he would donate $100,000 to a charity of his choosing. As of now, Broussard’s yet to respond to the challenge.
Cuban also took to message app CyberDust to explain to Mavs fans that Jordan never got back to him in the previous 48 hours, that he reassured free agent guard Wesley Matthews, and that he didn't’ think it was the “right time” to divulge any more details about the fiasco.
And lastly, Dallas forward Chandler Parsons, who actively recruited and technically helped secure Jordan for the Mavs, spoke out against Jordan’s decision. He specifically questioned Jordan’s character and his word in comments to ESPN and also said Jordan was "scared" to be a franchise player.
-Staying in the Western Conference, Oklahoma City Thunder restricted free agent Enes Kanter agreed to sign a five-year, $70 million offer sheet with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to Yahoo Sports.
The Thunder must now decide if they will match the offer, though the move could considerably eat into their salary cap space. Grantland’s Zach Lowe estimated that the Thunder are currently $2.5 million under the luxury tax penalty threshold, but matching Kanter’s offer sheet could cost OKC $40 million in penalties.
-Tim Duncan already announced earlier this week that he was coming back for one more year with the San Antonio Spurs, but now its official. Yahoo reported Duncan agreed to a one-year deal worth $5 million to play in his 20th NBA season.
Duncan essentially took half of what he made last season, but considering he’s made in excess of $234.7 million in contracts throughout his career, he evidently decided to allow San Antonio cap space to re-sign Kawhi Leonard and land power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.