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Kevin Durant Kendell Beckwith Jersey , Paul George and Chris Paul all made quick decisions to stay put and remain in the Western Conference.
And now LeBron James is joining them.
Just like that, the West got even wilder.
Day 1 of NBA free agency was not lacking for fireworks or firepower, led by James’ decision to leave Cleveland for a second time and join the Los Angeles Lakers. James agreed to a four-year deal worth $154 million, meaning his streak of eight consecutive Eastern Conference championships – four with Miami, four with the Cavs – will end next year.
He could still go to the NBA Finals, of course. He’s just going to have a much tougher time getting there out of the West.
Compared to his past free-agent decisions, James moved super swiftly – it took him eight days to reveal in 2010 that he was going to Miami, 11 days in 2014 to say he was going back to Cleveland. This time, it took about 20 hours.
Durant, George and Paul were way faster than that.
The bonanza started Saturday night when Durant decided to sign a two-year, $61.5 million deal with the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, one where he’ll make $30.5 million this season. The terms were confirmed by a person familiar with the situation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot become official until the league’s offseason moratorium ends this week.
The deal comes with a player option for 2019-20, so Durant can – and likely will – become a free agent again next summer.
George and Paul made their announcements known not long afterward. George told a party in Oklahoma City that he’s staying with the Thunder, after agreeing to terms on what is a $137 million, four-year deal that comes with an option for the final season. Paul made his intentions known on Twitter at exactly midnight EDT Sunday, saying he’s staying with the Houston Rockets after agreeing to a four-year contract worth $160 million.
All three of those players will have designs on a title next season.
As if getting through one another won’t be tough enough, James is now coming to join the party. By the time he announced Paul Krause Jersey , just over $900 million worth of new deals had been agreed upon, based on figures confirmed to the AP by people involved in the various decisions – almost all of that money getting committed by teams in the West.
And all those clubs – Golden State, Oklahoma City, Houston, the Lakers, even Denver by locking up Nikola Jokic for $150 million and Will Barton for $54 million – could definitively say they were thrilled. More big moves in the West are possible, especially with DeMarcus Cousins still available in free agency and a candidate to return to New Orleans.
Durant’s move means the Warriors not only got to keep the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals MVP, but they also get some financial flexibility in the deal since he could have gotten more money had the deal been structured differently.
For the Thunder, the win was that their risk paid off. Trading for George a year ago was panned by some critics, presumably because of the belief that he was already focused on joining his hometown Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.
That move isn’t happening.
Not now, anyway, and barring a trade not for at least three years in what will be considered a massive victory for the Thunder and general manager Sam Presti.
”I’m here to stay,” George told the crowd at the party.
In Houston, Paul has told Rockets fans the same thing.
”UNFINISHED BUSINESS,” Paul wrote on Twitter at the exact moment that the calendar flipped to July 1 in the East, meaning the NBA’s free agency frenzy was officially open for the summer.
Houston took Golden State to seven games in the Western Conference finals back in May. Paul missed the last two games of that series with an injury, and the Rockets wasted big leads in both of those games – then had to watch the Warriors sweep Cleveland for the NBA title.
Paul averaged 18.6 points and 7.9 assists last season with the Rockets Brett Favre Jersey , who went 65-17 led by Paul and newly minted NBA MVP James Harden. ESPN reported he is signing a four-year deal that will be worth $160 million.
They were the initial wave. Sunday evening, James made his move.
He flew to Los Angeles on Saturday, creating a frenzy without saying a word.
Turns out, James was flying to his new home James spent the week vacationing in Anguilla. He’s the next superstar to follow in the legacy that Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson built for the Lakers.
Philadelphia star Joel Embiid weighed in on Twitter saying, ”The Lakers are FOREVER gonna be Kobe’s and Magic’s team…. Process that.”
The 76ers met with James’ representatives Sunday, obviously to no avail. Embiid’s opinion notwithstanding, the Lakers are James’ team now.
And the East, for the first time in nearly a decade, will have a new king next spring.
Derrick Johnson's tenure with the Kansas City Chiefs is coming to an end.
The franchise's career tackles leader and a four-time Pro Bowl selection, Johnson will become a free agent when his contract expires at the start of the new league year March 14. He intends to keep playing, it just won't be in the familiar red, yellow and white of the Chiefs.
"I love Kansas City and this fan base. They've always had my back," Johnson said in a statement put out by the Chiefs, who made the rare decision to announce publicly that Johnson would not be returning.
That in itself speaks volumes to how much Johnson has meant to the organization.
"I'm grateful I had the opportunity to spend 13 years in a place I love Travis Benjamin Jersey ," he said. "I plan on playing for several more years because I love the game so much, but I look forward to retiring as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs when my career is over."
Johnson was the Chiefs' first-round pick in 2005, though his career got off to a rocky start. At one point early on, he found himself riding the bench, and was even labeled a bust.
But Johnson eventually earned his starting job back, and went on to appear in 182 games with 169 starts. He piled up 1,262 tackles to easily shatter the franchise record, had 27陆 sacks and picked off 14 passes, returning four of them for touchdowns.
He had a career-best 179 tackles in 2011, when he was voted the Chiefs' team MVP.
"Few players in recent history have meant more to the Chiefs franchise and the Kansas City community than Derrick Johnson," Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said.
"His tireless work ethic and passion for the game made him one of the most productive defensive players to ever wear a Chiefs uniform and one of the most respected players both in our locker room and around the league.
"Over the last 13 seasons, Derrick represented himself and the Chiefs organization with integrity and class, and he will always be a part of our Chiefs family."
Johnson piled up his impressive stats despite missing part of two seasons with ruptured Achilles tendons. He returned from the first one as good as ever, earning his most recent Pro Bowl trip in 2015, but the second seemed to finally take a step out of his legs this past season.
He slowly lost playing time to younger teammates in the middle of the Kansas City defense.
"I'm grateful I had the opportunity to coach a player like Derrick," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said in a statement. "He's a passionate football player and a natural leader. I value the amount of quality work he put in every day for us, including teaching our younger players what it means to be a pro.
"I think he will make an incredible coach when he is done playing the game Bronson Kaufusi Jersey , if he chooses."
The Chiefs have been trying to get younger the past couple of seasons, particularly on defense, and Johnson is unlikely to be the last veteran to go. Fellow linebacker Tamba Hali has been dealing with bad knees for years, and the Chiefs are expected to release him in the coming weeks.
Johnson signed a three-year, $21 million contract extension in 2016, but he had restructured the deal a year ago to help the Chiefs free up salary cap space. In doing so, he voided the final year, and that made it simple for the Chiefs to move on.
His loss will be felt not only on the field, but in the locker room and community. Johnson often served as a team spokesman, always showing up at his locker to speak with reporters regardless of whether the team was winning or losing. And the role he played in mentoring young players, such as linebackers Reggie Ragland and Ukeme Eligwe, should help the organization for years to come.
"Letting go of a player like Derrick is particularly tough because of how much respect I have for him as a player and a person," Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said. "He's had a tremendous career in Kansas City and we wish him nothing but the best moving forward."
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