Winners and Losers Day One, starring Fred VanVleet and Bruce Brown

Folks, the winners and losers from the first night of NBA 2023 free agency…

The winners

The Rockets’ plan to go after Fred VanVleet, Brook Lopez, and Dillon Brooks was widely known in league circles long before free agency opened, and Houston landed their first on Friday night, guaranteeing VanVleet a maximum cap of $130 million over the next three seasons. Even if the Rockets failed in their attempts to spend a total of $66 million in cap space on Opening Night of free agency, they succeeded.

VanVleet was the only final superstar to change teams on Friday. The 29-year-old brings the table setting (19.3 points per game on 40% 3-point shooting and a 3-to-1 assist ratio to the turnover over the past four seasons), the heroism experience and grit it takes to earn more than $200 million in salary as an undrafted player. For a young Rockets team that hasn’t won more than 22 games in any of the past three seasons.

There’s no doubt that the three recent first basemen, Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr., who have been playing guard Kevin Porter Jr.’s 22-year-old turned first-hitter this season, will benefit from VanVleet sponsoring the team. a crime. VanVleet can also mentor promising rookie point guard Amen Thompson And Play with him. VanVleet won a title with the Toronto Raptors as Kyle Lowry’s backcourt partner.

VanVleet will be an extension of new Rockets coach Ime Udoka’s tough approach that requires toughness on defense and smarts on offense. Brooks and Lopez can also balance out those metrics on a Houston team that needs direction. The Rockets have chosen a path, and VanVleet is the first step on it.

Fred VanVleet, who helped the Toronto Raptors win the NBA championship in 2019, got a max contract from the Houston Rockets on the first night of the freestyle. (Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

Rich Paul, CEO of Klutch Sports

List of Paul’s clients who agreed to deals on opening night in free agency: Jerami Grant ($160 million), VanVleet ($128.5 million), Draymond Green ($100 million), Trey Lyles ($16 million), Troy Brown Jr. ($8 million) and Cam Reddish ($4.6 million). Klutch Sports is also reportedly negotiating an extension for Gary Trent Jr.’s coaching career.

If Paul earns a standard 4% contract negotiation fee, that’s an impressive $17 million in pay. Not bad for a kid it was Selling men’s shirts from the trunk of his car When he met LeBron James.

Even more interesting from the perspective of how hot dogs are made, newscasters made a concerted effort to praise Paul more prominently than ever before. Where reporters once cited anonymous sources without even mentioning agents, recent years have seen journalists attribute new contract reports directly to agents.

For example, Adrian Wojnarowski reported after the clock struck midnight EST on Friday, “Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers have agreed to a maximum five-year contract extension that could be worth up to $260 million, both Dave Spahn and Aaron Mintz from [Creative Artists Agency Sports] Tell ESPN.

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When it came to Paul, he was a partner in the actual decision to agree.

“Draymond Green and Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul have agreed a four-year, $100 million contract to return to the Golden State Warriors, sources tell The Athletic,” Wojnarowski’s rival Shams Al-Shaarani reported.

Same wording with Grant.

in the same vein, Chris Haynes reportedForward Trey Lyles has reached an agreement with CEO Rich Paul of Klutch Sports and agent Lucas Newton to return to the Sacramento Kings, NBA sources report on TNT.

Same wording with Trent.

Following the same script, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported“Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul and agent Josh Hairston have agreed to a multi-year deal for Cam Reddish to join the Lakers.”

There is no doubt who the boss is: Rich Paul, CEO of Klutch Sports.

Big wings

Are you 6-foot-6 somewhere between a very bad and a very good NBA player? Well, you just got paid.

Cameron Johnson, Kyle Kuzma, and Grant — all high-quality wingers who’ve been no better than the fourth or fifth most important member of a serious competitor in their careers — earned a total of $370 million on Friday. Grant earned a guaranteed $31 million more than the highest earner in the market, and these three wingers ranked among the top seven highest-paid players on the first day. The other four are All-Stars.

Wings are the most sought after asset in the modern NBA, but the theoretical ability alone to defend multiple positions and score on smaller defenders from across the court is enough to make you a lot of money.

Julien Champagne, who played 15 meaningless games with the Spurs after they demanded he scrap waivers in February, has received a four-year commitment of $12 million from San Antonio. Cam Reddish, eliminated by three teams in 17 months, has a two-year deal with a player option from the Los Angeles Lakers, who also offered $51 million to Rui Hachimura — a player the Washington Wizards weren’t interested in paying a few months ago.

Carris LeVert and George Niang have been paid $58 million by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are also pursuing Miami Heat guard Max Stross to play more minutes than either of them on the wing.

Compare them to Seth Curry, literally one of them The most accurate shooters to ever live, who only gets a semi-annual exception from the Dallas Mavericks… because he’s 6-foot-2? Oh, to be only a few inches taller.

Joe Ingles, 35, one season removed from a torn ACL that could not be played by the end of the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round playoff loss to the Heat, received $22 million over two years from the Orlando Magic. They’re one of the few teams with limited salary space, and he was the only one who signed them on Friday night.

It’s good to be tall and maybe good in the NBA.

Therese Halliburton

Sure, the Indiana Pacers gave the 12th overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft a maximum rookie metric that could go to $260 million, but more importantly it turns out that Haliburton is good at memes.

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losers

Daryl Morey

The head of basketball operations for the Philadelphia 76ers waited months to trade All-NBA All-NBA guard Ben Simmons, sacrificing half of the 2021-22 season in an effort to pair another star with Joel Embiid, Morey He made an offer to welcome James Harden on a private jet After February 2022 trade.

Sixteen months later, Harden is seeking a third deal in as many years, and the Sixers have done little more than hit the Eastern Conference Semifinals cap they set prior to Morey’s arrival. Harden is who we thought he was – mercenary, a slower step and lower qualifying level – not who Morey thought he was.

Now, the Sixers are facing the prospect of turning Harden into a payroll package titled… Norman Powell of the Los Angeles Clippers? in Hardin Trading, Philadelphia maybe Get ready first-round picks packed for a one-time MVP, but draining the talent from who Simmons was at the time of the deal (the 25-year-old is a three-time All-Star) means anything they’ll get as Harden is troubling, especially when you consider the Kings’ offer. sacramento halliburton vs. simmons, According to Jake Fisher of Yahoo Sports.

(The Sixers also dealt Seth Curry in the Harden trade. Curry was an exceptional complement player to Embiid and just accepted Short money deal from the Dallas Mavericks to help promote Luka Donjic.)

Morey’s infatuation with his reunion with Harden, with whom he reached the Western Conference Finals twice in their stint together on the Houston Rockets, now threatens to alienate Embiid. The Sixers star just won the league’s Most Valuable Player award, and his team could take a huge step back in its quest to build a competitor around him. Ambiid has three years remaining on his Sixers contract, and the clock is ticking.

Challengers of the Boston Eastern Conference

Not only will the Sixers lose Harden, but the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat could suffer as well.

The Rockets were expected to go after Bucks center Brook Lopez at the start of free agency, and word came Friday that their offer could exceed $40 million over two years. A loss to Lopez — Defensive Player of the Year runner-up and a reliable 5th stretch — could cripple Milwaukee’s championship hopes.

The Bucks also re-signed Khris Middleton for $102 million over the next three seasons, tying his schedule with that of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Middleton will turn 32 in August and has started just 19 of his team’s last 92 games. That period includes a left MCL sprain, left wrist surgery, and right knee surgery. The Bucks better be confident Middleton can bounce back at All-Star level, because if he drops a $34 million a year player And Bucks lose Lopez, Antetokounmpo may one day spoil Milwaukee.

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Similarly, the Eastern Conference champion Heat lost their starting point guard, Gabe Vincent, to a three-year, $33 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. Fisher report That the Cleveland Cavaliers were in the process of orchestrating a signing and trade for Heatwing Max Strauss was met with this message from Miami main man Jimmy Butler on Instagram: “Peace be upon her“The writing’s on the wall…or his compendium.

Miami managed to keep 34-year-old Kevin Love and reunite with Josh Richardson on Friday night, and the Heat are hoping Damian Lillard will demand a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers and make his way to South Beach. Miami also traded Victor Oladipo’s expired $9.5 million contract, creating a trade exception with the same amount that could be used for more assists. However, the loss of two vital members in an already shallow playoff run could upset the close chemistry that carried the Heat to the NBA Finals.

Meanwhile, the Celtics have reached an agreement with newly acquired one-time All-Star Kristaps Porziņģis on a two-year, $60 million contract extension that could keep him in Boston through the 2025-26 season. Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens hopes his trusted third-scoring option will raise the bar for a team led by Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who have reached all four conference finals together and the 2022 NBA Finals. Perhaps that job could have been made a little easier if The start of free agency was indicative of this.

Denver Nuggets

At the championship parade, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone informed hundreds of thousands in attendance and millions more watching on television that Bruce Brown Jr. would be re-signing in free agency.

“Tell me all, does Brucey B go anywhere? Hell no,” Malone asked and replied. “Let’s restart this s***.”

in the same vein, Brown said to the crowd“I have another question. Another year?”

It looked as though the Browns might follow the path laid out by Bobby Portis after winning a title with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021. The Browns could have re-signed with the Nuggets for $7.8 million this season, and a handshake agreement would have guaranteed him a starting salary of more than $12 million in 2024.

Well, the Pacers were ready to offer Brown a two-year, $45 million contract, and with a hangover in the back bidding, he agreed within minutes of opening free agency, tripling his career earnings in one night.

Brown has been instrumental in raising the Nuggets to the top of the NBA, serving as a versatile, hard-working defender and as an enforcer for MVP Nikola Joki both cutting edge and spacing to the 3-point line. His title win at the end of Game 4 of the NBA Finals was the perfect example of the complementary basketball brand he displayed in the playoffs for both the Nuggets and Brooklyn Nets.

The Nuggets hope that second-year winger Christian Brown assumes 26.5 minutes per game the Browns play in the postseason, but they risk missing the lead between contender and favorite.

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