NBA clubs keep their aces with bumper deals

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (right) shoots against Boston Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko during the second half in game three of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (right) shoots against Boston Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko during the second half in game three of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • The early hours of the National Basketball Association free agency on Wednesday featured plenty of lucrative deals without much player movement.

Several stars, including Cleveland's Kevin Love, opted to stay with their teams, who chose to spend freely as the league waded into a new era of inflated payrolls.

Love, an offence-minded forward and (briefly) one of the top free agents in the market, announced his decision to re-sign with the Cavaliers by writing an essay for The Players' Tribune. He said he had "unfinished business" after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in the first round of the play-offs.

"I'm going back to Cleveland," he wrote, adding: "At the end of the day, and after meeting my team-mates (it turns out pools are great meeting places) and the front office, it was clear Cleveland was the place for me."

LOVE AFFAIR CONTINUES

I'm going back to Cleveland. At the end of the day, and after meeting my team-mates and the front office, it was clear Cleveland was the place for me.

KEVIN LOVE, who has opted to stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers

Love, who recently met Cavaliers' superstar LeBron James in Los Angeles, agreed to a five-year extension worth nearly US$110 million (S$148 million).

James, who also chose free agency, is expected to remain with the Cavaliers. Iman Shumpert will re-sign with the team for four years and US$40 million.

No deal can become official until July 9, when the league's moratorium on signings and trades ends.

There had been speculation that many players would opt for shorter contracts to take advantage of an influx of revenue next summer, when the league's new television deal takes effect.

The salary cap is expected to jump by US$20 million or more for the 2016-17 season.

There were reports that Anthony Davis had agreed to a five-year extension worth about US$145 million with the New Orleans Pelicans.

The deal, which would kick in at the start of the 2016-17 season, would be the richest in the history of the league.

The Chicago Bulls helped keep their core intact by reaching a five-year deal with 25-year-old swingman Jimmy Butler worth a reported US$95 million.

Paul Pierce, who spent last season with the Washington Wizards, joined the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Brooklyn Nets, as expected, made deals to re-sign centre Brook Lopez (US$60 million across three years) and forward Thaddeus Young, who will get US$50 million over four years.

The San Antonio Spurs fortified their roster by hashing out deals with forward Kawhi Leonard and swingman Danny Green.

They are believed to be making an aggressive push for LaMarcus Aldridge, a 29-year-old power forward who played for Portland Trail Blazers last season and is among the most coveted players available.

The New York Knicks are scheduled to meet Aldridge this week but are probably a long shot to sign him.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2015, with the headline 'NBA clubs keep their aces with bumper deals'. Print Edition | Subscribe