NBA free agency doesn’t start until Thursday at 6 pm and news has already started coming out. Nets guard Kyrie Irving decided to opt into his $36.5 million player option for the 2022-2023 season keeping him in Brooklyn for the season.
The Knicks have been trading away players and draft picks to clear up cap space to go after free agent Jalen Brunson. Big names like Bradley Beal ($36.4 million) and James Harden ($47.4 million) have both declined their player options making them free agents.
Will Deandre Ayton move on from the Suns? Will Beal and Harden stay in their respective places? After days of rumors that Irving was interested in joining the Lakers, Irving has decided to stay put with the Nets.
If Irving did leave he would’ve had to take a $31 million dollar pay cut and sign a $6 million deal with the Lakers. Irving has a lot to prove this season. His reputation is taking a hit because of the games he has missed over the years. This is the biggest reason the Nets will not give him an extension. He doesn’t play enough and he will have to show his commitment this season in order to put some of his past behind him.
Patty Mills has declined his $6.2 million option and will become a free agent. He has not ruled out a possibility of returning to the Nets. It would be a blow to lose him after he shot 40% from three last season.
The Knicks seem to be full go on Jalen Brunson. During the draft last week they traded away their No. 11 pick and traded away Kemba Walker. Then proceeded to trade Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks a couple of draft picks and cash to the Detroit Pistons. This was to free up cap space for Brunson. It looks like they are planning to pay him a max deal somewhere around $20 million a year.
Bradley Beal has declined his $36.4 million player option making him a free agent. He could sign a five-year max deal with the Wizards if he decides to return or a four-year deal anywhere else. The Wizards look like they are trying to keep Beal as they traded away Ish Smith and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for Denver Nuggets Will Barton and Monte Morris. These are great additions to their team. Barton can get a bucket on his own and plays good defense. Morris held it down for Denver while Jamal Murry was out for the season. Two additions that can help Beal with the scoring load.
In Philadelphia James Harden has declined his $47.4 million player option. It seemed like a no-brainer to pick up the option because Harden did not finish the season off right. Harden could negotiate for a new deal and can help the Sixers as they try to build a team around him and Joel Embiid.
The biggest news so far is the Atlanta Hawks trading Danilo Gallinari and three first-round draft picks and a future pick swap to San Antonio for All-Star guard Dejounte Murray. He will pair up with Trae Young in the backcourt giving him some much-needed help so he can play off the ball some more.
After a run to the finals in 2021 and a meltdown this past season Ayton could be looking to leave the Suns. Ayton wanted to sign an extension last season after their finals run but the Suns did not want to commit to him. He can opt-in to play a one-year deal to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. If the Suns do let go of Ayton the biggest question will be who can they get to replace him?
So much has happened before the free agency actually starts. These are the biggest deals and trades that have happened so far. Stay tuned for more as this will be an eventful summer for all NBA fans.