The National Basketball Association (NBA) teams handed out more than $1b on the first day of free agency on Wednesday.
There were plenty of huge contracts—max or not—handed out to free agents, with Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert leading the way on the first day. And as of 7 pm Eastern time, the NBA teams had committed approximately $1.1 billion dollars to players who hit the open market at 12:01 a.m. This amount doesn’t even include Anthony Davis’$145 million, five-year contract with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Among the biggest contracts were Kevin Love’s five-year, $110 million to stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers. At one point, it seemed like the Los Angeles Lakers and Love were destined to end up together when he decided to opt out from his contract with the Cavs. But Love announced on the Players Tribune website on first day of NBA free agency that he’s staying in Cleveland, citing that he has “unfinished business” with the team.
“Yeah, of course I’ve heard the free agency rumors. But at the end of the day, and after meeting with my teammates (it turns out pools are great meeting places) and with the front office, it was clear Cleveland was the place for me. We’re all on the same page and we’re all in. We have unfinished business and now it’s time to get back to work,” wrote Love.
Anthony Davis’ contract is considered to be the biggest single-contract signing ever. The five-year, $145-million deal exceeded the previous record-holder: Kobe Bryant’s seven-year, $136-million contract from 2004 to 2011. On a per-year basis, Michael Jordan’s $33 million single-season deal in 1998, still tops the Davis deal, which (only) amounts to around $29 million per season.
Damian Lillard agreed to a five-year contract worth over $120 million with the Portland Trail Blazers while New Orleans Pelicans are about to make Anthony Davis a very rich man with a five-year, $145 million deal. The agreement is the richest contract in NBA history, topping the seven-year, $136.4 million contract for Kobe Bryant between 2004 and 2011.
On a per-year basis, Michael Jordan’s $33 million single-season deal in 1998, still tops the Davis deal, which amounts to around $29 million per season.
NBA teams aren’t done spending. LaMarcus Aldridge is still making rounds and meet with potential suitors but kicked New York Knicks out as well as LA Lakers, saying that he was unimpressed by their Tuesday night presentation while Dwyane Wade has yet to decide whether he’ll return to the Miami Heat.
LeBron James is expected to re-sign to the Cavs for a one-year with more than $22 million contract with a player’s option for 2016-17.
Despite the free agency, the Cavs is still the favorite to win the 2016 NBA Championship at 9-4, followed by Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma Thunder at 5-1, while Knicks and Lakers, who were struggling to get good free agents, are at 80-1.
But amidst all the hullabaloo, still remains the rule that players who have agreed to sign NBA free agency deals with their respective teams can start signing their contract July 9.