Free agency: News, buzz and reports


With only eight teams remaining in the playoffs, most NBA decision-makers have their eyes set on the draft and free agency.

The free agency window will open June 30 at 6 p.m. ET, but teams and players are already hinting at what could be an impactful summer of moves and contract extensions.

The free agency pool this summer could be loaded with big names such as LeBron James and Paul George, who both could decline the final year of their respective deals and test the waters. Other stars such as Klay Thompson and James Harden will enter the summer as unrestricted free agents.

Our NBA insiders will be tracking all of the latest signings, buzz, news and reports throughout the summer and into free agency, so stay tuned as we report on the biggest moves that will shape the league.

MORE: Coaching vacancies and top candidates |espnplus Offseason guides

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May 15

10:43 a.m. ET: NBA insider Brian Windhorst broke down why the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets could be the top teams in pursuit of the Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell in the offseason if the All-Star guard doesn’t sign an extension in Cleveland.

On “Get Up,” Windhorst said, “The Lakers know they need to improve their roster. They’re going to be hunting for a star.”

Another team on the hunt for a star? The Heat. “They’ve been star-hunting for a year now,” Windhorst said.

Windhorst added that the Nets could be an attractive option too, given that Mitchell is from the New York area, Brooklyn controls the Phoenix Suns’ draft assets after the Kevin Durant trade, and the Nets have the promising, young players to make a trade work.

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May 14

9:07 a.m. ET: On ESPN’s “Get Up,” NBA insider Brian Windhorst outlined possible reasons why LeBron James attended Game 4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ second-round series against the Boston Celtics.

“I have been told the reason LeBron was in Cleveland was because he and [his wife] Savannah were there for Mother’s Day,” Windhorst said. “And Rich Paul, who was also at the game and represents several Cavaliers, called the Lakers and said, ‘Just so you know, LeBron’s going to be coming to the game tonight,’ so they weren’t surprised.

“Having said that, obviously since the end of the season, LeBron has sent several interesting messages — the non-comment on the Lakers going forward, the comments on podcasts and social media about how he doesn’t know what to do, and now he comes to this game, which he knows is going to be on this show. No matter what he says, he knows it’s going to be on ‘First Take.’ He knows.”

James wasn’t happy with the Lakers’ quiet trade deadline, Windhorst noted, adding that the Lakers could trade three first-round picks on draft night.

“So this little maneuver, to just put a little bit of doubt, I think, is mostly a bit of a thing for the Lakers, to remind the Lakers, ‘By the way, I’m still out here.'”

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May 6

4 p.m. ET: Miami Heat president Pat Riley stated Monday that All-Star forward Jimmy Butler’s contract will depend on his availability. This came in a news conference in which Riley was also critical of Butler’s comments after the Heat were defeated by the Boston Celtics.

“If you’re not on the court playing against Boston or on the court playing against the New York Knicks, you should keep your mouth shut on the criticism of those teams,” Riley said.

Butler had previously said, “If I was playing, Boston would be at home, New York damn sure would … be at home.”

The six-time All-Star is up for a possible two-year extension this summer.

3:30 p.m. ET: The LA Clippers hope to re-sign Paul George and James Harden as the team moves into its new $2 billion arena.

Lawrence Frank, president of basketball operations, said the Clippers hope to retain both stars to continue playing alongside Kawhi Leonard at the Intuit Dome.

George has a player option on the $48.8 million due next season and can become a free agent if he and the Clippers are unable to come to an agreement on an extension before June 30. Harden will be an unrestricted free agent.

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April 29

11:45 p.m. ET: LeBron James said he is undecided on his NBA future after the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs by the Denver Nuggets.

James, 39, said his immediate focus will be on his family and that his sights then will shift to training camp for USA Basketball ahead of the Paris Olympics this summer.

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1:08

‘I’m not going to answer that’: LeBron dodges question on Lakers future

LeBron James shrugs off a question about his future with the Lakers as he reflects on the season.

Asked how he would approach his decision about Year 22, James replied, “I don’t have an answer … to be honest. I haven’t given it much thought.”

James has until June 29 to either opt into the final year of his contract with the Lakers for $51.4 million or become an unrestricted free agent.



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