NBA Free Agency: 3 point guards re-sign with former teams; Lionel Hollins is new Nets' Coach and C.J. Miles to Pacers
The NBA is just a day old when it comes to this year’s free agency, but it has turned out to be one of the most exciting summers already in recent times, with the number of free agents visiting teams and the number of contracts extension or player signings that have come to a verbal agreement so far.
No news so far from the former Big 3 of the Miami Heat. However, the biggest fish this off-season Carmelo Anthony was busy visiting Texas to listen to the pitch of the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks before meeting up with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
He has already met with the Chicago Bulls on day 1 of free agency and according to sources contrary to his statement, point guard Derrick Rose played a huge part in the team’s pitch to the former New York Knick superstar.
While the buzz is still very much focused on Anthony, there were some other deals that went down on Wednesday. Here’s the top news:
Lionel Hollins takes Kidd’s place as Head Coach of the Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets management made a swift move after Jason Kidd’s departure by appointing Lionel Hollins as their new Head Coach after reaching an agreement with him on Wednesday. Nets and Hollins met twice before finalising the deal. The announcement and introduction of the new Head Coach will be done on Monday.
After Kidd’s departure from Brooklyn to the Milwaukee Bucks for two second round picks, Hollins was the only named frontrunner that the team met with. Hollins known for his defensive approach was formerly the Head Coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, whom he led to the Western Conference Finals in the 2013 Playoffs. Here is what Nets’ General Manager had to say about Hollins:
"If you look at (his) track record and what he did in Memphis, he was able to go in there and take a team, added some veterans and they continually got better. He developed some young guys, (Marc) Gasol, some big guys. If you look at Memphis, they consistently got better every year. All the way to the Western Conference finals."
If the players can remain healthy for the next season, Brooklyn’s roster is well suited for Hollins’ defensive style of coaching, especially with the likes of Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett as his big men. Despite having a successful final season with the Grizzlies where they recorded 56 wins and also registered an NBA low defensive rating of 89.3, the new ownership of the Memphis franchise chose not to renew his contract leaving him with no team to coach for an entire season.
Point guards party
Three point guards Kyle Lowry, Patty Mills and Avery Bradley resigned with their respective former teams.
After leading the team to a surprising Atlantic Division title this season, Lowry has decided to stay with the Toronto Raptors for a four year deal worth $48 million . He averaged career highs of 17.9 points and 7.4 assists as part of two player tandem with All-Star DeMar DeRozan. Being considered as a top point guard in the free agency market, Lowry was reportedly targeted by contenders, the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets.
San Antonio Spurs have taken the first step towards bringing back the same roster in the coming season to defend their title. Spurs came to an agreement with Aussie point guard Patty Mills to a $12 million three-year deal. Mills, who ignited a spark on the court coming off the bench would return to the team only after completely recovering from a shoulder injury that he aggravated while in practice with the Australian national team.
Avery Bradley, a restricted free agent this summer wished to continue with his current team and the Celtics obliged offering him a 4 year deal worth $32 million. Capable of playing either guard spot, Bradley made the most of this season as Rajan Rondo was recovering from a torn knee ligament. He averaged a career-best 14.9 points in 60 games for the Celtics.
Indiana Pacers news
The Indiana Pacers are offering Lance Stephenson a five year deal worth $44 million. According to sources, Stephenson who averaged career highs this season of 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists, believes he is worth more than that. Both parties have reached a deadlock with neither the franchise offering a new contract nor the player making up his mind.
This news surrounding Stephenson was covered so extensively that the news of Pacers picking C.J. Miles from Cleveland on a four year deal was sidelined. The deal which is set to be worth $18 million over a four year period, could potentially cut the team’s flexibility in terms of re-signing starting shooting guard Stephenson.
The Miles signing also means the franchise needs to take a decision on players like Luis Scola and Chris Copeland if the team intend to stay under the luxury tax line after signing Stephenson.