NBA free agency officially began on Friday afternoon at 6 p.m. EST and it didn’t take more than a couple of minutes for all hell to break loose in typical NBA offseason fashion.
This offseason’s batch of available players isn’t exactly star-studded, but there are plenty of valuable targets out there who have already earned significant deals across the last few days. As far as the BBNBA goes, several former Kentucky Wildcats have received new contracts, including the likes of Nerlens Noel and Rajon Rondo. The craziness hasn’t been restricted to free agency, either. Trade rumors surrounding John Wall’s status with the Wizards are consuming the D.C. media airwaves while Eric Bledsoe and Darius Miller were shipped off as smaller pieces of a larger deal. De’Aaron Fox signed a massive maximum contract extension to stay in Sacramento, too, and DeMarcus Cousins could be on his way back into the league.
If you need a quick refresher of all the free agents for this offseason with UK connections, you can click the link here. Otherwise, continue along and we’ll quickly breakdown all of the offseason news thus far.
Nerlens Noel and Rajon Rondo sign short-term deals
If you’re looking for a new NBA team to follow now that the New Orleans Pelicans of 2018–which featured as many as five former Wildcats–have been disbanded, reach no further than the New York Knicks, but pledge allegiance at your own peril. Nerlens Noel signed a one-year deal to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder where he will head to the Big Apple to play for the New York Knicks. The one-time Wildcat will receive $5 million for the upcoming season to play alongside Kevin Knox, Julius Randle, rookie Immanuel Quickley, and former assistant coach Kenny Payne.
Free agent C Nerlens Noel has agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Knicks, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 22, 2020
As for Rondo, the 14-year veteran took advantage of his value after he helped the Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA Title a couple of months ago. Coming off his second career championship, the former ‘Cat is going down to Atlanta where he’ll help shore up a weak defensive backcourt while hopefully taking rising superstar Trae Young under his wing. And Rondo cashed out, too; he’ll earn $15 million over the course of the next two seasons for the Hawks.
Rondo’s defensive presence next to recently signed point guard Kris Dunn will ideally mask some of Young’s deficiencies on defense while helping train the youngster in the area. The Hawks now have playoff aspirations after adding veteran sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari, putting Rondo in another position to show us the famous “Playoff Rondo” who stole our hearts down at the Orlando Bubble.
John Wall wants out of D.C.?
The rumor mill is churning out the idea that Washington Wizards point guard John Wall wants out of the nation’s capitol, according to Shams Charania. The Wizards and Rockets have reportedly been in discussion for a trade that would send Russell Westbrook to D.C. and Wall to the Houston Rockets, which led to a report just three days later that Wall wants out.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 21, 2020
The Wizards have been adamant about forgoing a long-term rebuilding process, keeping budding star Bradley Beal off the trading block while re-signing sniper Davis Bertans to a massive four-year deal. Wall, who has not played in an NBA game since Dec. 2018 due to various injuries and recently turned 30 years old, is on the backend of his career, but could still provide significant value over the coming seasons. It’s been proven time and time again that no contract is “untradable”, so Wall still having three years and roughly $130 million on his deal isn’t a backbreaker. If Washington wants to trade him–and it sounds like both sides want that at this point–it’s going to happen. And now that it would appear Wall has asked out, it’s only a matter of time before it happens.
Wall in Houston would be an interesting partnership as the Rockets could be on the cusp of a rebuild if they go through with trading away James Harden.
Darius Miller and Eric Bledsoe involved in Jrue Holiday trade
New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday was shipped off to the Milwaukee Bucks as the latter’s front office tries to bolster its roster so they can secure a long-term commitment from two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. To make all of the financial intricacies work, multiple teams were involved and two former ‘Cats were moved in the process: Eric Bledsoe will go from Milwaukee to the Pelicans while Darius Miller was sent from NOLA to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Denver Nuggets were also a part of the deal.
Bledsoe has been figured to be on his way out of Milwaukee since the Bucks were eliminated from the 2019-20 Playoffs and, for now, he’ll team up with Lonzo Ball in the Pelicans backcourt. As for Miller, he sat out the entirety of last season with an Achilles injury, altough should be ready to go for the upcoming year. But the better news? He received a tidy bonus of $7 million just for being traded. In OKC, Miller will play next to a trio of ‘Cats in Nerlens Noel, Hamidou Diallo, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
It's your luck day, Darius Miller. Just got a $7M bag to be a trade throw-in for a cap purposes.
— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) November 21, 2020
Enes Kanter returns to Portland
After opting into his $5 million player option with the Boston Celtics, Enes Kanter was shipped back to the Portland Trail Blazers as a part of a three-team deal. The former ‘Cat played with the Blazers during a short stint in 2019, consisting of just 23 regular season and 16 impressive playoff outings. Kanter was lauded for his ability to play through injury for the Blazers and was a major reason they were able to make it to the Western Conference Finals in 2019. He became a fan-favorite player despite spending such a small amount of time in Portland.
Home Sweet Home ???
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) November 20, 2020
Anthony Davis taking his time on new deal
Everyone expects Anthony Davis to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers after helping lead them to a ring, but the process isn’t expected to be quick. It’s being reported that he wants to wait and see how the Lakers go about free agency before he inks a new maximum contract deal. So if you were hoping that Davis might jump ship and take his talents elsewhere, don’t get too high on that idea. He has a perfect situation in L.A. and the Lakers will surely pay him whatever amount of money he can earn.
It’s just a matter of time at this point.
De’Aaron Fox got PAID
The first player to earn himself a maximum contract for the 2020 offseason was none other than the Sacramento Kings franchise point guard, De’Aaron Fox. If he can manage to hit a couple of personal targets (winning MVP or DPOY or being named to an All-NBA roster), Fox could see his extension jump up to as much as $195.6 million. But even if he doesn’t the one-time ‘Cat will still make $163 million over the next five years.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 21, 2020
Other newsy notes
- Willie Cauley-Stein is officially a free agent after opting out of his player option with the Dallas Mavericks.
- Patrick Patterson is returning to the Los Angeles Clippers on a one-year deal worth $2.3 million.
- DeMarcus Cousins, who has suffered several injuries over the last two years, is receiving interest among various NBA teams, although no deal has been struck yet.
- The OKC Thunder have reportedly decided to exercise his $1.6 million team option to keep Hamidou Diallo around for at least one more season.
- Future Hall-of-Fame point guard Chris Paul has been traded to the Phoenix Suns, where he’ll team up with rising superstar Devin Booker.
The news isn’t going to slow down, either. Plenty of valuable free agents are still available, young and old, including a couple of former Kentucky guys: Skal Labissiere and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. As always, we’ll keep you updated as soon as any new deals or trades come through.