LeBron James is not officially a Los Angeles Laker yet, but the team did announce deals for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rajon Rondo on Friday, the first official day free agents are permitted to sign new contracts.
Caldwell-Pope re-signed on a one-year, $12 million deal after joining L.A. last summer on a one-year, $18 million pact. Rondo is also on a one-year deal, worth $9 million.
“We are excited to bring KCP back,” general manager Rob Pelinka said in a statement. “He is a true ‘two-way’ player, which is very important for our team DNA. We think he will multiply his successes from last year as we move forward with roster continuity.”
He added of Rondo: “We are thrilled to have Rajon bring his off-the-charts basketball IQ to the Lakers. He has a proven ability to play at an elite level during playoff and championship runs, and that is a highly valued skill. Rajon is also respected around the NBA as an extremely hard worker and relentless competitor and that mentality is key to how we want build our roster.”
—The Golden State Warriors announced they have officially signed their newest big-name get, center DeMarcus Cousins. While terms of the deal have not been disclosed, the two sides reportedly agreed on a one-year contract worth $5.3 million.
Cousins, who turns 28 in August, is recovering from a torn left Achilles tendon sustained in January, and a timetable for his return remains in question. Before his injury, Cousins was averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per game through 48 games with the Pelicans, figures that have never been reached by one player in a single season in NBA history.
The Los Angeles Lakers were believed to be a leading suitor for Cousins, but after news of his agreement with the Warriors broke, reports surfaced that the Lakers passed on Cousins because they did not want to wait “until January or February for Cousins’ return from injury,” as the New York Times’ Mark Stein reported.
—The Dallas Mavericks avoided a repeat of history and officially signed center DeAndre Jordan to the reported one-year, $23 million deal the sides agreed upon early in free agency. Three offseasons ago, Jordan and the Mavs agreed to a deal, but the free agent changed his mind before signing and returned to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jordan last week declined his $24.1 million option with the Clippers to become a free agent. The 29-year-old is a Houston native and played at Texas A&M.
—The Oklahoma City Thunder officially put the city at ease, announcing the signing of forward Paul George. In his first season in Oklahoma City, George averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.04 steals (second in NBA). It was long believed the Southern California native would sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, but decided to stay in OKC on a reported four-year, $137 million max contract.
The club also announced the signing of Nerlens Noel to what was reported to be a two-year deal with a player option for the second year. In five seasons, Noel has averaged 9.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 223 games (158 starts). He played in just 30 games (six starts) with Dallas last season, averaging 4.4 points and 5.6 rebounds, missing significant time because of a torn ligament in his left thumb that required surgery in early December.
—The Charlotte Hornets’ trade of center Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets for Timofey Mozgov and two second-round picks was officially completed, Charlotte announced.
Howard was expected to be bought out by the Nets and join the Washington Wizards as a free agent. ESPN reported Friday that the buyout is now complete, and Howard will sign a two-year, $11 million deal in D.C.
The Hornets also announced the completion of a draft-day trade to acquire a 2019 second-round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder for the rights to Hamidou Diallo, the 45th pick in the 2018 draft.
—The Philadelphia 76ers announced the official re-signing of JJ Redick and acquisition of former Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler via trade.
“Our ability to retain JJ is big for us and his obvious shooting skills are only a part of his importance to our team,” head coach Brett Brown said in a statement. “His leadership and professionalism add to the overall special package that he brings to our team, and all of this makes him incredibly valuable.”
Brown added of Chandler: “Wilson’s veteran experience in the NBA, along with his inherent skill package, makes him a tremendous acquisition for our young team. He is a modern-day player, takes tremendous pride in playing defense and his ability to shoot from the perimeter is exactly what we are looking for.”
—The Indiana Pacers announced the official signings of guard Tyreke Evans and forward Doug McDermott.
Per multiple reports, Evans’ one-year contract is worth $12 million, while McDermott will make $23 million fully guaranteed over three seasons.
“The upside for us with Doug and Tyreke for our team at this time is obvious: they both can score,” president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said. “In Doug’s case, we were looking for elite shooting, but we were also impressed with how he moves without the ball and his spot-up shooting. With Tyreke, we thought we needed a secondary ball-handler to not only compliment Victor, but he can turn it downhill and make plays for others. We think both are very solid basketball players.”
—The Phoenix Suns announced the official signing of former Houston Rockets swingman Trevor Ariza.
Ariza left the Rockets to sign a one-year, $15 million deal with the Suns, more than double his salary from last season ($7.4 million).
“We are excited to have Trevor join the Suns franchise,” general manager Ryan McDonough said. “Trevor is a talented two-way player who will bring defensive versatility, shooting and leadership to our organization. He has played a big role on a lot of successful teams and we think he will have a tremendous impact on our club, both on and off of the court.”
—The Toronto Raptors re-signed guard Fred VanVleet to a two-year contract, reportedly worth $18 million. The Sixth Man of the Year finalist is an added playmaker behind stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, averaging 8.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 76 games last season.
“They wanted me back, I wanted to be back,” VanVleet said at a news conference. “For me, it was a super easy decision.”
—The Utah Jazz announced they re-signed guards Dante Exum and Raul Neto, as well as forward Derrick Favors. General manager Dennis Lindsey made the announcement at a news conference with all three players.
Favors (two years, $36 million), Exum (three years, $33 million) and Neto (two years, $4.4 million) will hope to help the club improve upon its 48-34 record last season, which was good enough for the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
—The Orlando Magic re-signed forward Aaron Gordon, a restricted free agent. The deal is reportedly for four years and in the neighborhood of $84 million. Known for his above-the-rim brilliance since entering the league as the fourth overall pick in 2014, Gordon averaged career highs of 17.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists last season.
—Field Level Media