NBA freeagent frenzykicks off


The summer free agent period is heating up for the NBA.

Some of the player salaries have been higher than analysts had predicted. In fact, ESPN is reporting that NBA Finals surprise Draymond Green has reached an impasse on his new contract because he now feels he should get a bigger cut of the pie — and that pie is supposed to get bigger next year when a new television contract kicks in.

ESPN’s Royce Young reported that a source said that the market for players has been “surprising” and Green is looking for a deal that is in line with the five-year, $70 million deal the Milwaukee Bucks reportedly gave Khris Middleton.

As a second-round pick from 2012, Green has been one of the league’s biggest bargains the past three seasons, making only $915,243 this year. He averaged 11.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists with a PER of 16.43.

• After all the speculation and intrigue surrounding Kevin Love’s foray into the free agent market, the star power forward ended up right where he said he would all along — in Cleveland.

Love announced Wednesday that after his uneven first season ended with a serious shoulder injury, he is coming back to help LeBron James finish what they started together last season.

Love agreed to terms on a maximum contract of five years that could be worth more than $110 million, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details have not been released. No NBA contract can be signed until July 9.

A year ago, Cleveland sent the previous two No. 1 overall selections — Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett — to Minnesota in the three-team deal to bring Love in and form new power trio aimed at ending the city’s 50-year championship drought.

• Jimmy Butler bet on himself and won big.

The Chicago shooting guard turned down a four-year, $44 million offer before last season. Instead, he played for less than a third that amount, $3.2 million.

Butler and the Bulls have an agreement in place for a five-year maximum contract that could be worth $90 million and includes a player option for the final year. The total value of the contract could wind up being a little higher depending on the salary cap figure for next season, which will be set on July 9.

The deal comes on the heels of a breakout season in which Butler made his first All-Star team and was selected the NBA’s Most Improved Player.

The Bulls also agreed to terms with Mike Dunleavy on a three-year, $14 million deal.

• LaMarcus Aldridge will not be signing with the Los Angeles Lakers because he was not impressed by their Tuesday night presentation, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Aldridge considered the Lakers to be part of a “two-horse race” with the San Antonio Spurs and “wanted to be wowed” but was actually turned off by the lack of analytics on the basketball side of their presentation, according to the person.

Aldridge engaged with the Lakers’ pitch team, asking numerous questions throughout the two-hour meeting, but was noncommittal about a future with the Lakers when it ended. They would have given him a maximum four-year, $80-million contract.

San Antonio is seen as the front-runner to land Aldridge, but the Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers are still in the mix.

• Minutes after free agency opened at midnight Eastern on Wednesday, the Spurs locked up Kawhi Leonard with a five-year, $90 million max extension, then turned their attention to Aldridge, one of the biggest stars on the free-agent market.

Those two acts seemed to be a signal that the Spurs might not have cap room to retain Danny Green, the former UNC guard from the 2009 NCAA title team.

Not so fast.

One of the top shooters and perimeter defenders on the market has agreed to terms with the Spurs on a four-year contract worth $45 million. Green averaged 11.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and shot 41.8 percent from 3-point range for the Spurs last season.

“Now all we need is the one last piece and it could get interesting,” Green tweeted in a recruiting pitch to Aldridge. “Lol … (at)aldridge12.”

• Goran Dragic and the Miami Heat wasted little time in agreeing on a five-year deal that will ultimately be worth between $85-90 million. The sides came to an agreement in principle only a few hours after the NBA’s free agency shopping period opened Wednesday.

Dragic averaged 16.6 points on 50 percent shooting in 26 games with the Heat.

Now the Heat are left waiting for Dwyane Wade to decide if he will return to Miami for a 13th season or go elsewhere.

• Orlando Magic officials reportedly have offered a four-year, $80 million deal to All-Star power forward Paul Millsap, who appears poised to decide between joining the Magic and re-signing with the Atlanta Hawks.

Millsap, 30, would be a huge upgrade for the Magic at power forward. Last season, he averaged 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists and earned his second consecutive Eastern Conference All-Star nod.

With Millsap helping to lead the way, the Hawks finished with a 60-22 record, the second best in the NBA.

• One Hawks teammate already has split.

Forward DeMarre Carroll will play for the Toronto Raptors, with a deal reportedly for four years and $60 million.

Carroll told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I just felt like this was the best opportunity. They are a playoff team and they said they can’t get past the first round. They feel like having me, the way I performed last year in the playoffs, will help them get past the first round. It’s a great opportunity for me. I am really excited to play alongside DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.”

• With Aldridge expected to leave Portland, the Trail Blazers had cash to spend.

The team has offered a four-year, $30 million deal to former Wake Forest forward Al-Farouq Aminu.

This reunites Aminu with the executive who picked him at No. 8 overall in the 2010 draft.

Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey was the general manager of the Clippers five years ago.

Following the agreement, Aminu took to Twitter to tweet: “Headed to Portland with my guy Neil Olshey, who believed in me since day one. Much love.”

Aminu isn’t the only Maverick to leave Dallas. Center Tyson Chandler agreed to a four-year, $52 million free-agent contract with the Phoenix Suns. Shooting guard Monta Ellis opted out of his contract last week to test the market.

In order to restock the cupboards, Dallas has been trying to woo center DeAndre Jordan and shooting guard Wesley Matthews. Former Mav center/forward Brandan Wright has shown interest in returning to Dallas.

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