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2019 NBA free agency rumors: Kevin Durant to make decision Sunday; Kyrie Irving commits to Nets; Kings covet Al Horford

One of the most exciting times of the NBA season has finally arrived as free agency is set to begin in just a couple of hours at 6 p.m. ET. Players will not be able to officially sign contracts with teams until July 6 — when the Moratorium Period has ended — but can still agree to deals with teams.

This year’s free agency is shaping up to be one of the biggest and most eventful in a while. Several marquee free agents could possibly depart from their current teams, including reigning Finals MVP and NBA champion Kawhi Leonard and two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant. Not to mention there will be a second tier of star free agents who will be intensely pursued, including established veteran names such as Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler.

There have already been several big-name free agents committing to deals with teams on Saturday. Here are the latest rumors and updates that you need to know about as we await the start of free agency. 

Durant to make decision Sunday

Kevin Durant’s torn Achilles tendon threw not only the Finals but all of next season into flux, especially considering he’s a free agent. Despite his injury, he’s still expected to get a max deal from some team, and he’ll announce who it is on Sunday night, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Celtics engaging Nets, Hornets in 3-team trade

The Celtics are expected to sign Kemba Walker, while Kyrie Irving seems to be on his way to the Nets. Meanwhile, the Hornets have shown interest in Terry Rozier. With those moves on the horizon, the Celtics are reportedly engaging those two teams on working out a three-way sign-and-trade deal that would help them save some cap space. So far, however, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, the talks are just “exploratory.”

Timberwolves, Russell have mutual interest

D’Angelo Russell will be moving on from the Nets now that they have their sights set on Kyrie Irving, and according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein, Russell has interest in the Timberwolves. The Wolves would need to move some salary to create cap space, but according to Stein’s report they are confident they could take care of that problem. 

Bucks, Middleton heading toward new deal

Khris Middleton is one of the many key players from the Bucks’ Eastern Conference finals team that are up for free agency this summer. While they may have trouble retaining all of them, it appears getting a deal done with Middleton shouldn’t be a problem. Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that the two sides are expected to quickly come to agreement on a new deal. 

Jimmy Butler wants to be in Miami

Jimmy Butler has no shortage of suitors in free agency, but he apparently wants to be in Miami. According to Tim Reynolds of the AP, Butler is expected to tell Heat officials that he wishes to play for them. The Heat don’t have the salary cap space to sign him outright, so they would need the Philadelphia 76ers to participate in a sign-and-trade in order for a deal to get done. 

Valanciunas to stay with the Grizzlies

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, center Jonas Valanciunas is expected to commit to a three-year, $45 million contract to stay in Memphis. Valanciunas was traded to from the Toronto Raptors to Memphis — along with C. J. Miles, Delon Wright and a 2024 second-round draft pick — in exchange for Marc Gasol in February. 

Kings expected to make ‘massive’ offer to Horford 

The Sacramento Kings are expected to make a “massive” offer to veteran forward Al Horford when free agency officially begins on Sunday, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. Horford is reportedly interested in signing with Sacramento, though he will likely have no shortage of other suitors. In fact, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports that the Kings expect him to probably sign elsewhere.

Kings in the market for a center

The Kings are interested in several centers other than Horford. According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, they are also interested in Dewayne Dedmon, and could also be a potential landing spot for Rockets center Clint Capela if he’s relocated in a potential three-team deal for Jimmy Butler. 

Rubio to Pacers a ‘virtual done deal’

Ricky Rubio may have found a new NBA home. According to Tony Jones of The Athletic, Rubio is “highly likely” to sign with the Indiana Pacers in free agency. Marc Stein of the New York Times went a step further by calling it a “virtual done deal.” Rubio is an unrestricted free agent after playing the past two seasons in Utah. After acquiring Mike Conley via trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Jazz made it clear that they were ready to move on from Rubio. 

Cousins open to a return to Sacramento

DeMarcus Cousins is looking for a new NBA home this summer, and the veteran big man is open to a return to the Sacramento Kings, according to a report from The Athletic. The interest in a reunion might be one-sided, though, as the Kings have not expressed any interest in bringing back Cousins. 

Bucks extend qualifying offer to Brogdon

The Milwaukee Bucks aren’t ready to let Malcolm Brogdon just walk away. According to Chris Hayes of Yahoo Sports, the Bucks have extended a qualifying offer to Brodgon, which makes him a restricted free agent, meaning that the Bucks will have an opportunity to match any outside offers. 

Vucevic to stay with Magic on $100M deal

Nikola Vucevic will reportedly agree to a four-year, $100 million deal when free agency begins on Sunday, according to a report from Shams Charania. The All-Star is coming off his best season, during which he helped the Magic return to the playoffs, and was expected to be in high demand this summer. 

Kings, Dedmon have mutual interest

Another team and player reportedly may have a deal in place despite the fact that free agency is not officially starting for almost an entire day. According to a report from Carmichael Dave, the Sacramento Kings and veteran big man Dewayne Dedmon have confidence that they’ll agree to a deal on Sunday. 

Lakers have reached out to Beverley, Seth Curry

The Lakers are still on the hunt for a third star to join LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but regardless of whether or not they’re able to get someone else, they have plenty of roster spots to fill. In that regard, they’re reportedly interested in two backcourt options — Patrick Beverley and Seth Curry. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers have reached out to reps for both players. 

Durant, Leonard considering playing together

Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard are the two biggest free agents on the market this summer, and they reportedly have interest in teaming up. According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the two teams they both would consider signing with are the Los Angeles Clippers and the New York Knicks. 

Looney to meet with Rockets, Warriors

Kevon Looney made a real name for himself this season and into the playoffs, and his play, along with his toughness, should earn him a nice payday this summer. Along with the Warriors, he’s expected to have interest from at least one other team. According to Marc Stein, Looney has a meeting set up with the Houston Rockets. 

Butler to meet with Heat, Rockets

Jimmy Butler is expected to meet with the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets once free agency begins, in addition to a meeting with the Philadelphia 76ers. Those teams do not have the requisite cap space to sign him, and would have to work out a sign-and-trade with the Sixers. In addition, Butler has interest from the Lakers and Nets, according to Shams Charania. 

Celtics to renounce Rozier

The Celtics are expected to sign Kemba Walker once free agency begins, which means they’ll move on from Terry Rozier. According to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes, the Celtics will renounce their rights to Rozier. The young guard struggled last season after his breakout playoff campaign in 2018, but is still expected to draw interest from numerous teams. 

Rose, Pistons have mutual interest

According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Detroit Pistons will meet with Derrick Rose once free agency begins, and the two sides have mutual interest in a two-year deal. Rose spent last season-plus with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and received votes for Most Improved Player last season. 

Irving expected to sign with Nets for four years, $141M

While nothing will be official until the league’s moratorium period ends, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com is reporting that Kyrie Irving will meet with the Brooklyn Nets in New York on Sunday and both sides are motivated to move quickly on an agreement to a four-year, $141 million contract. With Irving in the fold, the Nets can now set their sights on finding another star player to pair him with.

Walker plans to sign with Celtics for four years, $141M

It appears the Boston Celtics have a replacement for Kyrie Irving. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Kemba Walker plans to sign a four-year, $141 million contract with Boston once free agency opens. Arguably the top guard on the market, Walker has played his entire career with the Charlotte Hornets and was named a starter in the 2019 All-Star Game.

Mirotic walks away from NBA free agency, opts to sign with Barcelona

Nikola Mirotic delivered the first surprise of NBA free agency on Saturday by opting to pass on potential free agency deals which could have reached the $50 million range in order to sign with Euroleague club Barcelona, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Spaniard spent part of the 2018-19 season with the Milwaukee Bucks after the team acquired him at the trade deadline in a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans. Mirotic put together averages of 11.6 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 35.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Lakers confident about landing Kawhi

According to CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter, the Lakers are extremely confident about landing Kawhi Leonard when free agency begins on Sunday. In addition, Marc Stein of the New York Times is reporting that the Lakers are being viewed as the “true threat” to the Raptors in terms of signing Leonard. The star is expected to meet with both the Lakers and Clippers, along with the Raptors.  

Warriors, Klay plan quick agreement on $190M deal

The Golden State Warriors aren’t going to waste any time with the free agency of sharpshooting guard Klay Thompson. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Warriors plan to offer Thompson a five-year, $190 million contract when free agency opens. Wojnarowski also notes that Thompson is likely going to accept the offer fairly quickly. In addition, both sides reportedly plan to agree to the deal, and that the Warriors’ front office plans to meet with Thompson in Los Angeles over the next 24 hours. 

Wolves to meet with Russell at start of free agency

The Minnesota Timberwolves could be looking to make a big splash when free agency opens on Sunday. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Timberwolves are set to meet with guard D’Angelo Russell when free agency begins. Russell is coming off a career year in which he averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals while shooting a career-high 36.9 percent from beyond the arc. The former second overall pick also made his first All-Star Game as a member of the Nets and helped lead the franchise to their first playoff appearance since the 2014-15 season. 

Nuggets pick up Millsap’s $30M player option

The Denver Nuggets are hanging onto one of their veteran players in advance of free agency getting underway. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nuggets are exercising a $30 million player option on forward Paul Millsap. He would’ve been eligible to enter free agency if the Nuggets declined to pick up his option. The veteran forward is coming off a season in which he averaged 12.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists while shooting 36.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Rockets have suitor for Capela

The Houston Rockets are looking to trade some of their top assets in an effort to acquire Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade from the Philadelphia 76ers. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Rockets have a taker for a trade involving big man Clint Capela, but aren’t going to deal him until they’re sure that they can get a deal done for Butler.

Durant plans to talk with four teams

Despite suffering a torn Achilles tendon in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Kevin Durant is still set to be one of the top players in free agency. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Durant is going to talk with the Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks when free agency opens. All of these teams have the necessary space to sign Durant to a max deal.

Collison retires from NBA

Veteran point guard Darren Collison was expected to be one of the top backcourt options in free agency this summer. However, Collison sent shockwaves through the league on Friday when he announced his retirement from the NBA. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski also noted that Collison was in line to receive $10M-$12M per season from teams.

Barnes set to receive huge offer from Kings

Harrison Barnes declined his $25.1 million player option with the Sacramento Kings earlier this month. However, it appears that a reunion with the Kings could be on the table. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, Sacramento is set to offer Barnes a four-year, nearly $90 million contract when free agency opens.

Davis waives trade kicker to give Lakers max slot

The Los Angeles Lakers made what could be the biggest splash of the offseason when they traded for Anthony Davis. With the deal not becoming official until July 6, the Lakers newest acquisition has agreed to waive to his $4 million trade kicker, which — after the Lakers sent Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones to the Wizards in an addendum to the Davis trade — creates $32 million in cap space and an additional max slot for Los Angeles.

Kawhi plans to meet with Clippers, Lakers

Kawhi Leonard is arguably the most sought-after player in free agency this summer. With that in mind, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Leonard is granting meetings with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers once free agency begins. In addition, Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that Jimmy Butler and Leonard have contemplated the idea of playing together with the Clippers.

Celtics emerge as front-runner for Walker

The Boston Celtics appear to be on the verge of losing star guard Kyrie Irving when free agency begins on Sunday. However, it’s looking like they’re not going to have a problem finding a suitable replacement. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics are emerging as the front-runner to sign Kemba Walker away from the Charlotte Hornets.

Beverley drawing interest from several teams

Veteran point guard Patrick Beverley could be quite the commodity on the free agent market. According to ESPN’s Tim McMahon, Beverley is drawing interest from the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Chicago Bulls in addition to the Los Angeles Clippers. Beverley, who is reportedly looking for an offer in the three-year, $40+ million range, could be a veteran asset that many teams would want to add to their roster.

Rozier could be an option for Knicks

Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier has spent the last two seasons playing in the shadow of Kyrie Irving, but he may not have to do so for much longer. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the New York Knicks are reportedly interested in signing Rozier to a one or two-year deal, especially if the team misses out on a few of their max targets.

Gasol opts in, will remain with Raptors

Marc Gasol had a player option worth $25.6 million for next season, and on Wednesday afternoon he reportedly decided to exercise it, which means he’ll remain with the defending champions for at least one more season. This was expected all along, as Gasol is already 34 years old and wasn’t going to find a contract in free agency that would pay him that much money. 

Lakers favorites for Carmelo

If Carmelo Anthony decides to return to the NBA next season, there’s a good chance it will be with the Los Angeles Lakers. According to a report from Ian Begley, the Lakers are expected to be the favorites to land Anthony this summer. The veteran is clearly diminished on the court, but is a close friend of LeBron James

Russell atop Lakers’ wish list

It looks like the Los Angeles Lakers have a familiar name atop their free agency wish list. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers have serious interest in bringing back former draft pick D’Angelo Russell. He’s coming off his first All-Star campaign after leading the Brooklyn Nets to a playoff berth this past season. However, with reports that Brooklyn has interest in acquiring Kyrie Irving in free agency, Russell will likely be left to test the waters this summer.

“The Lakers have some options here, but D’Angelo Russell is at the top of that list,” Wojnarowski said. 

Durant declines player option, to become UFA

Kevin Durant will officially become an unrestricted free agent on June 30. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Durant has opted out of his 2019-20 deal with the Golden State Warriors to become a free agent. The option was worth $31.5 million for the upcoming season. The two-time NBA champion suffered an Achilles injury during Game 5 of the NBA Finals that will likely sideline him for the entirety of the upcoming season.

Durant could still re-sign with the Warriors for the max at five years and $221 million.

Lakers expect to ‘factor’ into race for Kawhi

Although they’re considered long shots — especially after acquiring Anthony Davis and having as little as $23.7 million remaining in cap space for the 2019 free agency period — the Lakers consider themselves in the running for the reigning Finals MVP, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.  

Leonard won’t have any shortage of suitors. However, it was largely expected that there would be two teams as the front-runners for his services — none other than the Raptors and hometown Los Angeles Clippers

Rockets pursuing Butler in sign-and-trade

Jimmy Butler is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in a couple of weeks, and while the Philadelphia 76ers can offer Butler the most lucrative deal, the Houston Rockets have reportedly emerged as another option for his services. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets are going to try to recruit Butler to potentially force a sign-and-trade deal with the Sixers. 

The report also mentions that the Sixers are going to be “aggressive” in an attempt to re-sign Butler. Philadelphia could offer Butler a five-year, $190 million deal to remain with the team or a four-year, $146.5 million contract if they so choose. If Butler were to land in Houston, he’d be signing a four-year, $140 million contract. Center Clint Capela and guard Eric Gordon would reportedly have to be on the move from Houston for a Butler deal to work. 

Celtics, Mavs at ‘front of the line’ for Kemba

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that the Boston Celtics along with the Dallas Mavericks are now at the “front of the line” of teams trying to sign Walker away from the Hornets. Boston’s future is very much up in the air with it looking more and more like star guard Kyrie Irving isn’t planning on re-signing with the team. In addition, veteran forward Al Horford recently opted out of his deal for next season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Walker has blossomed into one of the most dangerous guards that the NBA has to offer. In eight seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, Walker has put together averages of 19.8 points, 5.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 35.7 percent from 3. 

Booker wants Suns to add close friend Russell

As the Brooklyn Nets reportedly have strong interest in signing Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer, it likely means that they won’t bring back their own All-Star guard, D’Angelo Russell. If the Nets let Russell walk, Suns star Devin Booker says he would like to see his friend sign with the Phoenix Suns, according to a report from Zach Lowe of ESPN. Phoenix, however, might not be able to oblige due to its salary cap situation.

Lakers interested in Jordan, Vucevic

The Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of roster holes to address this summer and it looks like they’re targeting two proven veterans to help fill out the roster. According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN (H/T RealGM), the Lakers are being linked to DeAndre Jordan because of the belief he could be had on a cheaper deal and due to the fact that Jordan wants to return to Los Angeles. Jordan spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Clippers before signing with the Dallas Mavericks prior to the start of last season.

They are also being linked to Orlando Magic big man Nikola Vucevic, who is entering unrestricted free agency following his first All-Star season after leading the Magic to their first playoff berth since the 2011-12 season.  

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