Coveted NBA free agent Gordon Hayward is headed to the Charlotte Hornets on a deal reported by ESPN to be worth $120mn over four years.
Hayward’s agents Priority Sports added confirmation of the move on their Twitter feed with a post saying “Congrats to @gordonhayward on agreeing to terms with @hornets!”
Hayward became a free agent Thursday when he declined a $34.2mn player option with the Boston Celtics for the upcoming season.
He had inked a four-year, $127.8mn contract with the Celtics in 2017, but his tenure in Boston was shadowed by injury, starting with a grisly foot and ankle injury suffered minutes into his regular-season debut with the club.
He missed the rest of that season, and after a spotty 2018-19 campaign he averaged 17.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 52 games of the pandemic-disrupted 2019-20 campaign.
Hayward was sidelined again in the playoffs in the NBA’s quarantine bubble in Orlando, spraining his right ankle in the opening game of Boston’s first-round series against Philadelphia.
He returned during the Eastern Conference finals, in which the Celtics fell in six games to the Miami Heat.
The NBA’s free agency negotiating period began on Friday, but deals can’t be finalized until the signing period starts today.
Both the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers had been reported to be in the running to land Hayward, with the 30-year-old forward reported by some to favour a return to his native Indiana before the Hornets apparently swooped in.
Meanwhile, journeyman point guard Rajon Rondo is joining the Atlanta Hawks on a reported two-year, $15mn deal.
The 34-year-old Rondo is entering his 15th NBA season and this will be his sixth team. He spent the last two with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rondo thanked the Lakers, his teammates and the fans on Instagram earlier Saturday.
“To the fans...thank you for welcoming me with open arms from Day 1 and showing me love. Being apart of #LakeShow was something special and I’m proud we brought it back to you!”
Also, the Toronto Raptors are poised to sign guard Fred VanVleet to a four-year, $85mn deal, Canadian media reported.
The deal represents a huge payday for VanVleet, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2016.
VanVleet played a crucial role in the Raptors’ run to a championship in 2019.
The Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to re-sign 10-time All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony to a one-year contract for next season, multiple outlets reported.
Anthony, the NBA’s second-leading active scorer (26,446 career points) behind only close friend LeBron James, will return to Portland for a league-minimum deal, sources told ESPN.
The Blazers and Anthony have been a seamless match since agreeing to a non-guaranteed one-year, $2.16mn contract last November. The veteran forward, who played in just 10 games the previous year in 2018-19 before being released by the Houston Rockets, rejuvenated his career as the third scoring option on the high-octane Trail Blazers behind guards Damian Lillard and C J McCollum.
Last season Anthony, after seeing his scoring average dip in each of his previous three seasons, put up 15.4 points over 58 games (all starts) while recording his best shooting marks (43.0% on all field-goal attempts, 38.5% on 3-point tries) since his All-Star campaigns with his hometown New York Knicks.
In his previous 17 seasons, Anthony has averaged 23.6 points in his 1,122-game career. The former No 3 overall draft pick in 2003 has played for the Denver Nuggets, Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Rockets and Blazers. Four of his All-Star appearances came in Denver and six were with New York, where he also won a scoring title by averaging 28.7 points in the 2012-13 season.
Portland has been active already since the start of free agency Friday, trading for centre Enes Kanter and forward Robert Covington and also re-signing guard Rodney Hood.
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