The NBA Free Agency period has begun, starting out with the Los Angeles Lakers making the big splash on Timofey Mozgov, the New York Knicks signing (as expected) Joakim Noah, and there also teams getting the re-signings they want, with the Toronto Raptors keeping DeMar DeRozan and the Charlotte Hornets hanging on to Nicolas Batum.
- The Lakers made the first big move of free agency, with many criticizing them for it. They signed Timofey Mozgov, who last played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, on a four-year deal worth $64 million. Mozgov, 30, had a down year in Cleveland (not that he’s had so many highs in the NBA), averaging only 6.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, playing 17.4 minutes a night. The Lakers believe the Russian center can be of much better use to them, as they try to rebuild from the ashes of the Kobe Bryant era
- As expected, Joakim Noah is signing with the New York Knicks. The 31-year old center had a rough year in Chicago (his ninth with the team), missing 53 games with a shoulder injury, and averaging just 4.3 points with 8.8 rebounds per game in 21 minutes a night, relegated to the bench. The Knicks are hoping Noah can finally give them some much needed rim protection, which they have sorely missed since Tyson Chandler went away. Noah signed a four-year, $72 million deal
- The Washington Wizards hang on to Bradley Beal, which might not have happened had they been given a shot to sign Kevin Durant. Beal, averaging 17.4 points while missing 27 games last season (played over 63 games in a season just once in his career), signed a five-year, $120 million contract, with the Wizards not letting the restricted free agent get any offers from the outside world, keeping the Wall-Beal backcourt intact
- Despite rumors of DeMar DeRozan eyeing a return to Los Angeles (played basketball at USC), he returns to the Toronto Raptors after being part of the franchise’s most successful season. DeRozan, 27, signed a five-year, $139 million contract. He averaged 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4 assists for the Raptors last season, helping them win a franchise record 56 games, make the conference finals for the first time in history, all while making his second All-Star game
- The Detroit Pistons didn’t let Andre Drummond slip away like they did with Greg Monroe. Drummond, a first-time All-Star last season, led the NBA in rebounding with 14.8 per game, scoring 16.2 points a night. His deal is worth around $130 million over five years.
- Besides adding Mozgov, the Lakers made quick work of their Jordan Clarkson negotiations, keeping the restricted free agent on a four-year, $50 million contract. Clarkson averaged 15.5 points and 4.5 rebound per game in his second NBA season, moving to the shooting guard position, which he’ll spend even more time in now that Kobe Bryant is retired
- The Hornets took care of their number one priority in Nicolas Batum, re-signing the French forward (played a lot of shooting guard too last season) to a five-year, $120 million contract. Batum, who missed 12 games last season and parts of the playoffs with injuries that won’t go away, averaged a career high 14.9 points with 6.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. He’ll be turning 28 in December, heading into his ninth NBA season.