Free agency begins: A recap of the new deals

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency begins: A recap of the new deals

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Free agency begins: A recap of the new deals

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Brooklyn signs Kevin Durant to a four-year, $164 million contract

Superstar forward Kevin Durant sent shockwaves throughout the NBA before free agency had officially even began, as word leaked that the two-time Finals MVP would be leaving Golden State and joining the Nets. A lot of the buzz today had been about Durant and Brooklyn, but the official announcement was shocking nonetheless. Durant will likely miss all of next season due to the achilles injury he suffered late in 2018-19, but nevertheless, this is an absolute coup for the Nets, who should be considered instant contenders as soon as Durant is able to suit up again. Free agency has only just started and the Nets are already the big winners of the offseason.

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Brooklyn sign Kyrie Irving to a four-year, $141 million contract

All of the buzz and rumors tying Kyrie Irving to the Nets ended up being true, as the two sides quickly came to agreement on a contract once free agency opened up. Irving is coming off a somewhat troubling season, but that’s more from a locker-room sense than due to his on-the-court exploits, as the six-time All-Star is still one of the top point guards the Association has to offer. It must be noted: This move likely spells the end of D’Angelo Russell’s time with the Nets. And now, the Nets will pivot towards trying to convince their other top target, Kevin Durant, to join his friend Irving in Brooklyn.

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Boston signs Kemba Walker to a four-year, $141 million contract

The Celtics wasted no time in filling the vacancy left behind by the departing Kyrie Irving, landing another All-Star point guard to take his spot. Walker, who’s renowned for his positive locker-room presence and beloved by teammates, should be a better fit with Boston than Irving was, and could allow the Celtics to maintain their standing as a Top 4 team in the East. Walker is coming off three All-Star appearances in a row.

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Made with Flourish

Philadelphia re-sign Tobias Harris to a five-year, $180 million contract

Without any sort of drama, the Sixers were able to re-sign one of their big 2018-19 midseason acquisitions, Tobias Harris, on a max contract. By doing so, Philadelphia brings back an excellent scoring wing/stretch-4 type who is a perfect match in the frontcourt next to Joel Embiid. Harris’ shooting ability is also important considering the team lost JJ Redick to the Pelicans this free agency. With the team reportedly negotiating an extension with Ben Simmons, the 76ers appear to have their nucleus set for years to come. Now we wait to see what happens with their other big midseason acquisition from last year, Jimmy Butler, who has a number of suitors.

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Miami signs Jimmy Butler to a four-year, $142 million contract

The Heat were once finalists for Jimmy Butler after he made his original trade request from Minnesota, and though a deal came close to being completed then, it fell apart at the two-yard line. Now, Miami finally got its guy. After seasons of competing without an All-NBA-caliber player, the Heat now have one who can push them back into the playoff picture by himself. Butler, a tough-nosed, two-way wing who gives all-out effort on a nightly basis when motivated, should be a great addition to the vaunted Heat culture. Miami will lose fifth-year guard Josh Richardson as part of the transaction.

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Philadelphia signs Al Horford to a four-year, $109 million contract

There was a lot of talk about Al Horford having a mystery suitor in free agency willing to pay him a four-year deal worth nearly the max. As it turns out, that team is the 76ers, who will snatch him away from one of their biggest Eastern-Conference rivals. Legitimately, you could plug Horford into any situation and he would be a great fit, but in Philadelphia, the big man should do some serious damage. Spacing the floor around Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, playmaking for uber-talented duo and playing elite defense, Horford should make the 76ers and even scarier version of the team that came within one crazy shot of dethroning the eventual champion Raptors in 2018-19.

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Dallas re-signs Kristaps Porzingis to a five-year, $158 million contract

You could see this one coming a mile away, as the Mavericks weren’t going to trade for Kristaps Porzingis if they didn’t plan on following that up by giving him a max deal to keep him around for the long haul. With Luka Doncic and Porzingis on board, Dallas should have a strong international nuclear for many years to come… if they Latvian big man can stay healthy. That’s a big if, though, considering Porzingis comes off a very serious injury and the track record health-wise of players of his size in the NBA is what it is.

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Golden State signs D’Angelo Russell to a four-year, $117 million contract

In one of the most shocking moments in an action-packed opener to free agency, the Warriors acquired D’Angelo Russell via sign-and-trade with the Nets. Gone as the complementary part of the deal is 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, who will undoubtedly be missed in Golden State. At the same time, the Warriors are acquiring an All-Star talent at guard in Russell, one who will share the backcourt with Stephen Curry this season, and help the team remain relevant in the cutthroat Western Conference. Most predictions had Russell headed either to Los Angeles to rejoin the Lakers or to Minnesota to hook up with his good friend Karl-Anthony Towns. Instead, he’ll take part in revamping a Warriors team that will look much different next year, but still be pretty stacked with talent.

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Golden State re-signs Klay Thompson to a five-year, $190 million contract

Although there was some scuttle about Klay Thompson potentially meeting with both Los Angeles franchises in free agency, that did not turn out to be the case as the Warriors were quick to offer Thompson the max to bring him back. Even with the All-NBA 2-guard suffering an ACL tear in the last game of the season, Thompson is still very much worth a max contract, especially one from the team where he has sacrificed so much over the years, so good on both sides getting this deal done quickly.

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Milwaukee re-signs Khris Middleton to a five-year, $178 million contract

There wasn’t much drama in this one. Not many outside suitors were reported for Khris Middleton over recent weeks, not even after he opted out of the final year of his deal, making it pretty obvious the Bucks were going to do whatever it took to re-sign their All-Star wing. They were able to do so by offering him a max deal as soon as free agency opened up, and now Middleton projects to be a Buck through 2023-24.

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Orlando re-signs Nikola Vucevic to a four-year, $100 million contract

There was talk of center-needy teams going after Nikola Vucevic heading into the summer, but at the end of the day, the big man ended up re-signing with the Magic without much fanfare after the team decided to pony up big time to keep him. Now Orlando will likely work to bring back superb sixth man Terrence Ross, as long as the bidding doesn’t get too high.

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Sacramento re-signs Harrison Barnes to a four-year, $88 million contract

As soon as it was reported that Harrison Barnes was opting out of the final year of his contract, turning down $25.1 million in the process, the common notion was that he had a wink-wink agreement with the Kings to land a longer-term, big-money deal. Barnes just walking away from a quarter of $100 million simply wouldn’t have made sense otherwise. That theory wound up proving very much correct, with Barnes and Sacramento committing to each other for the next four seasons.

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Memphis re-signs Jonas Valanciunas to a three-year, $45 million contract

Memphis has brought back big man Jonas Valanciunas, who excelled as a member of the team over 19 games last season following the Marc Gasol trade. In that stretch, the Lithuanian 7-footer put up 19.9 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest. Valanciunas will now share the frontcourt with two extremely promising young bigs in Jaren Jackson and Brandon Clarke, providing protection for the two up-and-comers, as well as leadership in the locker room.

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Charlotte sign Terry Rozier to a three-year, $58 million contract

Charlotte has acquired their replacement for the departing Kemba Walker, with the task now falling on the shoulders of former Celtics point guard Terry Rozier. Rozier isn’t close to the caliber of player that Walker is, and he’s coming off a unquestionably poor season with Boston, but there are at least some reasons for optimism here. For one, the last time Rozier was tasked with being a team’s starting point guard, back when Irving got injured in 2017-18, Rozier performed admirably, averaging 11.3 points and 4.7 rebounds nightly and helping push the Celtics to within one game of reaching the Finals. Charlotte will have to hope Rozier can tap back into that form as their top ball-handler going forward.

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Milwaukee re-signs Brook Lopez to a four-year, $52 million contract

Aside from Middleton, re-signing Brook Lopez was one of Milwaukee’s top priorities heading into the offseason, and they were able to accomplish just that without any drama. Lopez will earn an annual average value of $13 million, a more than fair price for both sides, as few big men league-wide can blend Lopez’s ability to protect the paint and stretch the floor on offense. It’s difficult to find a center who fits better with Giannis Antetokounmpo than the veteran 7-footer, a fact that surely weighed on the minds of the Bucks as they got this deal done.

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Brooklyn signs Garrett Temple to a two-year, $10 million contract

With the Nets’ plans to build around two superstars already in effect, the team needed to target adequate depth to place around their two focal points. Signing Garrett Temple is a step towards that process. Temple is a reliable veteran wing who likes to defend and can knock down open shots while spacing the floor from the outside, making him an excellent fit towards what Brooklyn needs.

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San Antonio re-signs Rudy Gay to a two-year, $32 million contract

San Antonio was the first team to show faith in Rudy Gay following the achilles injury that ended his Sacramento career, and Gay repaid that faith in full with his play over the last two seasons. Now, the marriage will continue for another two years, as both sides have agreed to commit to each other through 2020-21. Gay has shown the ability to play either forward spot as a Spur, as well as a willingness to come off the bench, making him a great locker-room presence.

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Sacramento signs Dewayne Dedmon to a three-year, $40 million contract

Brook Lopez-like big man, Dewayne Dedmon also has the ability to space the floor and protect the rim from the 5-spot, which is what got him paid as soon as free agency opened up this summer. The team that paid him: the Sacramento Kings. Dedmon can take over starting center duties in Sacramento for the almost-certainly-departing Willie Cauley-Stein, and be a good fit playing off of franchise cornerstone Marvin Bagley.

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Chicago signs Thaddeus Young to a three-year, $41 million contract

A somewhat surprising pairing, since the Bulls are in rebuild mode and Thaddeus Young is a vet who would be best-suited on a playoff-caliber club. Nonetheless, Young should be a solid addition for Chicago, as he’s a beloved teammate and a great fit at the 4-spot next to the developing Wendell Carter. Young should be great for the young Duke big man, both on the floor and off of it.

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Detroit signs Derrick Rose to a two-year, $15 million contract

The Derrick Rose comeback tour will continue in Detroit, where the former league MVP will compete for minutes with incumbent point guard Reggie Jackson. Rose, despite continuing to battle injury issues last season, had a resurgent campaign, averaging 18.0 points and 4.3 assists per game while shooting a career-best 37 percent from deep. The Pistons will have to hope Rose can maintain those shooting marks, as he’ll spend a lot of time playing off of Detroit’s All-Star and primary playmaker, Blake Griffin.

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Houston re-signs Danuel House to a two-year, $11.1 million contract

Houston is bringing Danuel House – one of their revelations from last season – back on a short-but-healthy-deal. House, after beginning the season as an under-the-radar signing for the Rockets, had a strong campaign in 2018-19, shooting 41.6 percent from three and playing tough perimeter defense on the wing. With how important the 3-and-D wing archetype is in the modern NBA, Houston did well to re-sign House on such a team-friendly contract.

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Indiana signs Jeremy Lamb to a three-year, $31.5 million contract

There wasn’t much buzz tying these two parties together prior to free agency, and yet a deal got done quickly anyway after the market opened up today. In Jeremy Lamb, the Pacers are landing a bucket-getting wing who has broken out over the last two seasons with Charlotte, pouring in 14.1 points per game while splitting his time starting and coming off the bench. Lamb’s ability to do damage as a starter or reserve will benefit Indiana, who could use him as a wing playing off of Victor Oladipo (once he’s fully fit again) in the starting 5, or in the Tyreke Evans role as a playmaker off the bench.

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Indiana signs Malcolm Brogdon to a four-year, $85 million contract

The Pacers weren’t finished there, though. They were also able to land their starting point guard of the future, and their replacement for the recently retired Darren Collison, in Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon, a career 40.8 percent three-point shooter, is adept at handling either guard spot, but excels as an off-ball guard playing off of a high-volume playmaker. He’ll have that main option to play off of once Oladipo gets back healthy, and Indiana will have an outstanding, complementary backcourt. Also noteworthy: The Pacers and Bucks agreed to a sign-and-trade here, a deal that will cost Indiana one first-round pick and two second-rounders.

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New Orleans signs JJ Redick to a two-year, $26.5 million contract

After drafting Zion Williamson in June, and acquiring Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram as part of the Anthony Davis trade, the Pelicans needed to find some shooting in free agency. They were able to accomplish that with aplomb, landing arguably the best shooter on the market in JJ Redick, who has hit a ridiculous 42.9 percent of his triples over the last five seasons. Redick will also be a great locker-room mentor for what will be one of the youngest cores in the league next season.

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New Orleans signs Nicolo Melli to a two-year, $8 million contract

New Orleans didn’t only scour the NBA free-agent market for more shooting; they also went after one of the best shooting big men in EuroLeague, and were successful in landing him. Nicolo Melli, a 6-foot-9 Italian power forward who lasted played for Fenerbahce in Turkey, hit 38.5 percent from beyond the arc last season, and should provide the Pelicans with solid shooting off the bench. In certain lineups, he could even play the 4 next to Williamson at the 5, giving New Orleans a dynamic, floor-spacing frontcourt.

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New York signs Julius Randle to a three-year, $63 million contract

After striking out on all of their top targets, the Knicks were finally able to get on the board by agreeing to terms with former Pelicans big man Julius Randle. Randle is coming off the best season of his career, one in which he averaged 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. He should continue to post solid numbers as the Knicks’ likely No. 1 option next season. Whether that leads to an improved product on the floor or more wins, however, remains to be seen.

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Utah signs Bojan Bogdanovic to a four-year, $73 million contract

According to reports, the Jazz were going to target Nikola Mirotic to join their frontcourt this offseason. But after Mirotic pulled a stunner and decided to continue his career back in Europe, they diverted their attention to Bojan Bogdanovic, and were successful in their recruiting efforts. Bogdanovic, a 41.3 shooter from deep over the last two seasons, was one of the best shooting wings on the market, and will really help balance Utah’s offense around Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

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Orlando re-signs Terrence Ross to a four-year, $54 million contract

The Magic made the playoffs for the first time in six years last season, and will now bring back the entire core of the team that accomplished that feat. After first agreeing to terms with their All-Star big man Vucevic, Orlando then shifted gears towards talks with super-sub Terrence Ross, ultimately agreeing to terms with the seven-year vet on a four-year deal. Ross had the best season of his career last year, averaging 15.1 points and 3.5 boards per game, and hitting 38.3 percent of his threes.

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Phoenix signs Ricky Rubio to a three-year, $51 million contract

After years of having the position in complete flux, the Suns were finally able to go out and land a serviceable starting point guard. Ricky Rubio joins Phoenix after two years with the Jazz, and immediately becomes the team’s best floor general since the days of Eric Bledsoe. Rubio’s playmaking should mesh well in creating for Devin Booker, as well as running the pick-and-roll with burgeoning center prospect Deandre Ayton. He may not be an elite outside shooter, but Rubio provides a lot with the other aspects of his game, and should be a positive addition to the Suns locker room and starting 5.

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Orlando signs Al-Farouq Aminu to a three-year, $29 million contract

Orlando didn’t settle with just bringing back their core from last year. They also went out and added one of the top defensive-minded wings on the market in Al-Farouq Aminu, plucking him away from the Blazers. Aminu is an up-and-down outside shooter, but an elite rebounder from the wing as well as a tenacious defender. On a Magic team that loves length, Aminu should be a great fit. It’ll be interesting to see what the addition of Aminu does to former lottery pick Jonathan Isaac’s minutes, since he shares similar strengths and weaknesses to the newly signed veteran.

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Portland re-signs Rodney Hood to a two-year, $16 million contract

Rodney Hood, playoff hero for Portland in 2018-19, will be back with the Blazers next season. After losing Aminu to Orlando, the team couldn’t afford to lose another wing from the roster, so they made it a priority to get Hood back in the fold for 2019-20. Hood’s off-ball scoring prowess and shooting ability should make him an important piece for a Portland team built around its elite backcourt going forward.

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Milwaukee re-signs George Hill to a three-year, $29 million contract

A strong showing in the playoffs, coupled with Brogdon going to Indiana, probably sealed George Hill’s fate as far as remaining with the Bucks, and that’s exactly what wound up happening. Hill’s low-usage, knockdown-shooting brand of basketball makes him an excellent fit for a Milwaukee team that has two star wings in Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

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New York signs Taj Gibson to a two-year, $20 million contract

In acquiring Taj Gibson, the Knicks were able to get a fantastic leader and locker-room addition for one of the youngest rosters in the NBA. In addition, under Gibson’s tutelage, promising young big man Mitchell Robinson will learn a lot about the grind of life as a professional, and continue to develop his elite defensive potential.

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Philadelphia re-signs Mike Scott to a two-year, $9.8 million contract

One of the few positive-impact reserves for the Sixers last season, Mike Scott will be back with Philadelphia next year. The bench big is shooting 40.2 percent from three over the last two seasons, a skill-set that will be vital for the 76ers going forward considering how many high-usage studs they have on the roster.

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Brooklyn signs DeAndre Jordan to a four-year, $40 million contract

Once it was known that the Nets had a legit shot at Durant and Irving, one rumor that kept popping up was about the duo wanting veteran big man DeAndre Jordan to join them in Brooklyn. As it turns out, that rumor proved to be very much true, to the point that Durant and Irving took less than the max to make it happen. Jordan likely won’t start for the Nets with Jarrett Allen being their center of the future, but he could be an impactful piece off the bench.

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Sacramento signs Trevor Ariza to a two-year, $25 million contract

A team with exciting young talent but lacking veteran experience, the Kings decided to acquire some of the latter in the form of Trevor Ariza. Even in his advanced age, Ariza can still defend well enough on the perimeter and knock down open triples, making him a good piece to have around a pacy playmaker like De’Aaron Fox.

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San Antonio signs DeMarre Carroll to a two-year, $13 million contract

In typical Spurs fashion, there was next to no scuttle regarding San Antonio’s plans for free agency, to the point many believed they would be having a quiet summer. That wasn’t exactly the case. The Spurs, in acquiring DeMarre Carroll, are getting a no-nonsense, 3-and-D wing who can fill either forward spot. For a team that was lacking some size and depth on the wing, Carroll should be a smart, relatively inexpensive addition.

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Utah signs Ed Davis to a two-year, $10 million contract

One of the best teammates and most underrated role players league-wide, Ed Davis is headed to a Jazz team that’s making a ton of positive changes this summer. In the now-departed Derrick Favors‘ role backing up Gobert, Davis should excel, providing Utah with toughness on the glass, excellent paint defense and tidy finishing near the basket.

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Washington re-signs Thomas Bryant to a three-year, $25 million contract

Still just 21 years old and coming off his best season, the Wizards did well to re-sign Thomas Bryant to such a team-friendly contract. Bryant averaged 10.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in 2018-19, and led the league in two-point shooting among qualified players at 68.5 percent. An elite finisher and improving rebounder, Bryant now has the chance to blossom into a serviceable starter for Washington.

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Portland signs Mario Hezonja to a two-year, $3.6 million contract

The Blazers are taking a swing for the fences signing former Top-10 pick Mario Hezonja to a two-year deal at the minimum. Hezonja hasn’t pieced it all together consistently enough in the NBA, but he still has upside thanks to his size, ball-handling and athleticism on the wing. If Hezonja isn’t able to figure things out in a culture like that of the Blazers, and under a coaching staff as strong as Portland’s, then his chances of succeeding in the Association are likely done for good.

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Milwaukee signs Robin Lopez to a two-year, $10 million contract

For the first time since they shared the frontcourt at Stanford, both Lopez brothers will play for the same team. Robin Lopez will now back up his brother in Milwaukee, in a pairing that should be among the most entertaining league-wide in the media room. The newly acquired Lopez won’t space the floor like his twin brother, but he will provide the Bucks with decent defense, paint scoring and rebounding in their second unit.

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New York signs Bobby Portis to a two-year, $31 million contract

For the third time today, the Knicks have signed a player whose primary position is power forward. With the addition of Bobby Portis, New York has now shelled out $112 million in combined salaries to three power forwards, a decision that can only be described as a head-scratcher. Portis has promise as a floor-spacing big man who gets after it on the glass, but is a questionable defender, and probably isn’t the best fit in the Knicks’ already-crowded frontcourt rotation.

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LA Clippers re-sign Patrick Beverley to a three-year, $40 million contract

After some speculation about Patrick Beverley interest coming from the Lakers and other point-guard needy teams, the defensive-minded floor general ended up re-signing with his original team, the Clippers, after they decided to pay top dollar to keep him in the fold. Beverly acclimated wonderfully to life in Los Angeles last season, being a rock at lead guard for Doc Rivers’ team, playing elite defense and hitting open triples. The Clippers will likely now turn their attention to trying to sign Kawhi Leonard.

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New York signs Reggie Bullock to a two-year, $21 million contract

At least it’s not another power forward. The Knicks pulled off a late Sunday-night signing and acquired one of the best shooters on the market in Reggie Bullock. Bullock may have somewhat flopped as a member of the Lakers, but overall, he’s still knocking down 40.4 percent of his beyond-the-arc attempts over the last four seasons, one of the most accurate marks among all high-volume outside shooters in that span. Newest Knicks draftee RJ Barrett will need shooting around him to really excel as a professional, and between Bullock and Portis, New York has gotten two guys who can do just that.

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Sacramento signs Cory Joseph to a three-year, $37 million contract

Although it’s understandable why a team like Sacramento feels the need to overpay, since that’s the only way free agents actually consider signing with them, the line has to be drawn somewhere – and that line should probably be located somewhere before you get to offering Cory Joseph a deal with an annual average value of $12.3 million. Joseph is a more-than-serviceable backup point guard to be sure, one with good playoff experience who will be a positive influence on a young Kings team, but he’s coming off a year where he averaged 6.5 points and 3.9 assists, and shot 32.2 percent from three. That money probably could have been better used elsewhere, unless Sacramento’s office truly believes their team is on the cusp of a playoff berth. In a loaded Western Conference, it’s tough to forecast that quite yet, even with the internal improvements the Kings have made.

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Washington signs Ish Smith to a two-year, $12 million contract

A stopgap pickup at point guard for the Wizards until John Wall gets healthy. Smith struggles as an outside shooter, but is a lightning quick playmaker who will perform well alongside Bradley Beal. On such a cheap deal, this is a solid investment for Washington.

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Chicago signs Tomas Satoransky to a three-year, $30 million contract

Once Wall went down and Tomas Satoransky was tasked with full-time starters duties, his play really picked up. From Dec. 1 through the end of 2018-19, Satoransky averaged 10.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists per contest, shooting 49.0 percent from the floor and 40.1 percent from three. Great work by the Bulls signing another perimeter playmaker, a spot they were in which they sorely lacking last season, as Satoransky can be trusted to start some games as lottery pick Coby White develops, or to back up Chicago’s point guard of the future. The Bulls also really needed a shooter, and Satoransky fills that need as well.

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