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NBA

Big moves on the first day of NBA free agency

NBA free agency saw plenty of movement on the opening day with the Warriors, Lakers, Suns, Mavericks and Rockets all in the action.

Estados UnidosUpdate:
Draymond Green, Gabe Vincent, Kyrie Irving, Jerami Grant y Fred VanVleet estelarizaron el primer día de la agencia libre de la NBA.
AFP/Reuters

NBA free agency 2023 started on Friday, 30 June, at 6 p.m. ET and the first few hours were a frenzy as teams committed more than a billion dollars across all reported contracts.

Here’s a recap of the first day of free agency, where Draymond Green, Gabe Vincent, Kyrie Irving, Jerami Grant and Fred VanVleet were all in the limelight.

Draymond Green stays in Golden State

Reports saying Draymond Green would be leaving Golden State came to naught after the four-time champion decided to sign a four-year, $100 million deal with the Warriors.

The Lakers improve their roster

The Lakers were one of the biggest movers on the first day of NBA free agency, adding Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish and re-signing Rui Hachimura. Vincent, now a former Miami Heat player, will pick up $33 million for playing three seasons with the Lakers. The Japanese Hachimura will spend three more years in Los Angeles in exchange for $51 million, according to The Athletic. Reddish agreed to play two seasons for the west coast outfit.

Miami loses two key players

In addition to the loss of Vincent, the Heat released Max Strus to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The guard agreed to a four-year, $64 million deal. However, both franchises are working on a sign-and-trade that benefits all parties involved. To make up for the two departures, Miami added Josh Richardson to a two-year contract and brought back Kevin Love for the 2023-24 season with a player option in 2024-25.

Kyrie Irving will stay with Doncic in Dallas

Any expected drama around Kyrie Irving came to nothing in free agency as he agreed to stay in Dallas to continue the experiment with Luka Doncic. The former member of the Cavs, Celtics and Nets signed for three years and $126 million, though the last year is optional.

Phoenix completes their roster with quality substitutes

After assembling a big three made up of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, the Phoenix Suns only had the option of adding talent with minimum contracts and they did that to the letter. Both Yuta Watanabe and Chimezie Metu will sign with the Suns for the veteran minimum for the 2023-24 season.

Additionally, Damion Lee and Josh Okogie have returned to Phoenix. The former Warriors player, Lee, is on a two-year deal, with a player option in the second season; while the former Timberwolves player, Okogie, signs for just one more season.

Keita Bates-Diop agreed to leave the San Antonio Spurs and be a role player for the Suns for two seasons in exchange for $2 million. The backup center will be Drew Eubanks, who left Portland for Phoenix on a two-year deal at the veteran minimum.

Fred VanVleet, from Toronto to Houston

Fred VanVleet landed the first-ever max contract in free agency, accepting 130 million to play the next three seasons with the Houston Rockets. This contract is the largest in NBA history for an undrafted player (VanVleet went undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft before joining the Toronto Raptors). To replace him, the Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri has hired Dennis Schroder for two seasons.

Fred VanVleet playing for the Toronto Raptors
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Fred VanVleet playing for the Toronto Raptors ANDREW LAHODYNSKYJAFP

Jerami Grant in Portland

The Trail Blazer’s front office wants to build a competitive team around Damian Lillard, and the first step was to give a $160 million, five-year contract to small forward Jerami Grant. The nine-year veteran will be the franchise’s second-highest-paid player.