Love stays, Chandler moves, dollars fly in NBA free agency
Kevin Love has unfinished business in Cleveland and Tyson Chandler will be conducting his in Phoenix.
The first full day of NBA free agency featured skyrocketing salaries and a flurry of moves, though no decision yet from LaMarcus Aldridge. Players and teams agreed to more than $1 billion worth of deals.
Love made his choice 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.
"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, Goran Dragic is remaining in Miami and Paul Millsap will stick with Atlanta.
But Paul Pierce and plenty other 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," Hall of Fame guard and TNT analyst Reggie Miller wrote on Twitter. "Trust me the owners and the league are making money, so should you."
Chandler will get his 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. Pierce then left Washington to reunite with former Boston coach Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers on a $10 million contract.
Terms of all the deals were confirmed to The Associated Press by people with knowledge of the details. They were granted anonymity because contracts 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.
Millsap was rewarded for his strong play in Atlanta with a three-year deal worth about $59 million, as the Hawks made sure not to lose both starting forwards after Carroll's departure.
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 big man on that list.
There had been speculation Love might bolt after one season in Cleveland, though he had said repeatedly he planned to stay. He said he had been in contact recently with 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 my teammates (it turns out pools are great meeting places) and with the front office, it was clear Cleveland was the place for me. We're all on the same page and we're all in."
In a market filled with big men, the little guys were also getting theirs. That includes around $90 million for Dragic in Miami and $70 million for Brandon Knight in 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.
AP Basketball Writers Jon Krawczynski and Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.