Free Agency 2021

2021 NBA Free Agency: Instant analysis of the biggest reported signings

Free agency has begun.

As of 6:00 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 2, teams are allowed to negotiate with free agents. Teams won't be able to sign free agents until 12:01 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 6.

This year's free agent class is headlined by a handful of veteran All-Stars in Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Mike Conley. Additionally, it features some talented restricted free agents, including Lonzo Ball, Jarrett Allen and John Collins.

Click here for a ranking of this year's best free agents, here for the latest rumours and here for a list of players still available.

Below, we've got you covered with live analysis from the biggest reported deals.

Bradley Beal has a new running mate

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Spencer Dinwiddie is heading to Washington in a sign-and-trade.

Dinwiddie appeared in only three games last season due to a partially torn ACL, but he was one of the league's breakout players in 2019-20. In 64 games, 49 of which he started in, he averaged career-highs of 20.6 points and 6.8 assists on .415/.308/.778 shooting splits.

If Dinwiddie can return to that form and stay healthy, he has the potential to complement Bradley Beal well in the backcourt, both as a secondary ball handler and shooter. He struggled to shoot off the dribble in the 2019-20 season, but he knocked down 37.3 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts.

Worth noting: Dinwiddie and Beal are both 28 years old, so they're on the same sort of timeline.

Victor Oladipo returns to South Beach

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Victor Oladipo has agreed to a deal to return to the Miami Heat.

Miami acquired Oladipo from the Houston Rockets at last season's trade deadline. He appeared in only four games with the Heat before suffering a season-ending quadriceps injury. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported in May that Oladipo could "be cleared to return to full-contact basketball as soon as November," so he should have a good opportunity to help the new-look Heat compete for a title next season.

Per Charania, Oladipo is hoping to sign a big contract next offseason when he's healthy again.

The Atlanta Hawks get it done

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, John Collins has agreed to a five-year, $125 million deal to stay with the Hawks.

In 2020-21, Collins went from averaging 17.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in the regular season to 13.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 0.9 assists in the playoffs, but he played a key role in Atlanta's run to the Eastern Conference Finals on both ends of the court. He's improved as both a shooter and post scorer since entering the league, and he is a big-time athlete who complements Trae Young well as a rim-runner and lob threat.

With Young reportedly agreeing to a five-year, $207 million extension, the Hawks have him and Collins under contract for the foreseeable future.

The Chicago Bulls aren't done

The Bulls have reportedly agreed to another sign-and-trade, this time for DeMar DeRozan.

The Bulls have been pretty active over the last six months, adding Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline and now both Lonzo Ball and DeRozan in free agency. It's pretty clear that they're eager to end their postseason drought.

DeRozan is coming off of one of the best seasons of his career. Not only did he lead the San Antonio Spurs in scoring with 21.6 points per game on 49.5 percent shooting from the field last season, he averaged a career-best 6.9 assists while committing only 2.0 turnovers. He's not a 3-point shooter and has never been much of a defender, but he'll take some of the playmaking burden off of Zach LaVine, giving the Bulls another creator.

A bonus: DeRozan and Vucevic were teammates at USC for one season. Vucevic didn't play much that season, but they should already have some chemistry.

As noted by ESPN's Bobby Marks, the Bulls still have some work to do with six open roster spots, but a core of Ball, DeRozan, LaVine and Vucevic is interesting.

Click here for more on DeRozan's fit on the Bulls.

The Los Angeles Lakers strike again

Two more reported signings by the Lakers: Carmelo Anthony and Malik Monk.

The Lakers have shooting!

As a member of the Portland Trail Blazers last season, Anthony attempted close to half of his shot attempts from the perimeter and knocked them down at a career-best 40.9 percent clip. He's also still a capable scorer in isolation and out of the post, giving the Lakers another scoring option.

Monk is a big-time pickup for the Lakers. The No. 11 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Monk has had an up-and-down start to his NBA career, but he's shown the ability to space the floor (40.1 percent from 3-point range last season) and get hot. He scored a career-high 36 points on 9-for-13 shooting from 3-point range in an overtime win over the Miami Heat last season.

With limited cap space, the Lakers are doing a nice job of rounding out their rotation.

The rich get richer

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Patty Mills has agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets.

Mills has long been one of the league's better backup point guards. He's coming off of one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 10.8 points on 37.5 percent shooting from 3-point range. He should fit in seamlessly alongside Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant as a 3-point shooter.

Both the Lakers and Golden State Warriors reportedly had interest in Mills.

The Philadelphia 76ers are full of surprises

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Andre Drummond has agreed to a one-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Well, this is a surprise.

Drummond started at center for the Los Angeles Lakers down the stretch of last season, but he will presumably replace Dwight Howard (now with the Lakers) as Joel Embiid's backup in Philadelphia. As many were quick to point out, Drummond and Embiid have some, uh, history.

Though he's not the player he once was, Drummond remains one of the league's best rebounders and is a disruptive defender when he's locked in. He hasn't really come off the bench since his rookie season, so it'll be interesting to see how he adjusts to a new role.

Drummond's deal is reportedly for the minimum.

The Miami Heat get their third star

Kyle Lowry announced that he is going to the Miami Heat.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, it will be a sign-and-trade. Lowry has reportedly agreed to a three-year, $90 million contract.

We still don't know the full details of the sign-and-trade, but we do know that Lowry will be teaming up with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo in South Beach, as well as Duncan Robinson, who reportedly agreed to a five-year, $90 million contract with the Heat in free agency. Lowry should fit in like a glove, giving the Heat another shooter and playmaker, as well as one of the best defenders at the guard position.

While the Eastern Conference is loaded at the top with the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, the addition of Lowry should make the Heat a legitimate title contender next season.

Now we just have to wait and see what the Raptors get in return for Lowry.

Gary Trent Jr. returns to Toronto

Lowry is on the move, but the Raptors were able to come to terms on a three-year, $54 million deal with Gary Trent Jr., per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Raptors acquired Trent at last season's trade deadline in the Norman Powell trade. In 17 games, he averaged 16.2 points on .395/.355/.806 shooting splits. He had a rough few games near the end of the season but came out of the gates strong with the Raptors, scoring a career-best 44 points in only his ninth game with the franchise.

NBA.com's Gilbert McGregor had Trent as one of the best shooting guards in this free agent class.

There goes Chris Paul

There goes the second-best free agent in this class.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns have agreed to a four-year deal that could "be worth as much as $120 million."

Paul averaged 16.4 points, 8.9 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game in his first season with the Suns. He earned his 11th All-Star selection, as well as his 10th All-NBA selection, en route to his first Finals appearance.

Paul declined his $44.2 million player option for the 2021-22 season to become an unrestricted free agent but the expectation was that he would remain in Phoenix, and it looks like he got the contract that he wanted. (This deal won't expire until he's 40).

Torrey Craig has reportedly signed with the Indiana Pacers, but Cameron Payne has agreed to a three-year, $19 million contract with the Suns, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, so it looks like Phoenix is trying to run it back.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Suns want to prove that last season wasn't a fluke and that they are "a legitimate championship-contending team."

Evan Fournier to the Big Apple

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Evan Fournier has agreed to a four-year deal that could be worth as much as $78 million with the New York Knicks.

The Boston Celtics acquired Fournier from the Orlando Magic at last season's trade deadline. In 16 games with the Celtics, 10 of which he started in, he averaged 13.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists on .448/.463/.714 shooting splits.

It became pretty clear in the playoffs that the Knicks were in need of another creator. Fournier isn't a star, but he's a good 3-point shooter and solid playmaker.

In addition to Fournier, the Knicks have reportedly agreed to a three-year, $43 million deal with Derrick Rose.

Lonzo Ball to the Windy City

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Lonzo Ball has agreed to a four-year, $85 million deal with the Chicago Bulls.

It's reportedly a sign-and-trade, with the New Orleans Pelicans getting Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple and a second-round pick for Ball.

This doesn't come as a huge surprise, as it was reported that the Bulls were one of the teams interested in Ball heading into free agency. He hasn't quite lived up to the hype of being the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, but he's a tremendous passer and disruptive defender at the guard position. He's also developed into a good 3-point shooter, shooting 37.6 percent on 7.2 3-point attempts per game over the last couple of seasons.

With his passing, perimeter defence and shooting, Ball has the potential to complement both Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic well on both ends of the court.

Time will tell what the second-round pick turns out to be, but the Pelicans get a couple of veterans in return for Ball in Satoransky and Temple. The Pelicans reportedly had their eyes on the likes of Lowry and Spencer Dinwiddie in free agency, so it'll be interesting to see if there's more to come.

The Pelicans find their Ball replacement

There it is: Devonte' Graham is reportedly going to New Orleans in a sign-and-trade.

Graham can shoot the ball. In 2019-20, only four players - James Harden, Damian Lillard, Trae Young and Luka Doncic - made more pull-up 3s than him on the season. He struggled shooting off the dribble in 2020-21 (29.4 percent), but he was one of the best spot-up shooters in the league, canning 42.3 percent of his spot-up 3-point attempts.

Graham's ability to get hot from the perimeter should make for a natural fit next to Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson offensively.

Kelly Olynyk is on the move

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Kelly Olynyk has agreed to a three-year, $37 million contract with the Detroit Pistons.

Olynyk had a strong finish to the 2020-21 season, averaging 19.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 27 games with the Houston Rockets. He might not get the same opportunities in Detroit, where he'll be playing alongside one of last season's breakout players in Jerami Grant and No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft Cade Cunningham, but he will be able to fill in the gaps as a passer and shooter at the forward and center position.

Flying under the radar

Lost in the shuffle: Jeff Green is going to the Denver Nuggets on a two-year, $10 million deal, per ESPN's Malika Andrews.

A smart pickup from the Nuggets.

Green averaged 11.0 points per game on 41.2 percent shooting from 3-point range with the Brooklyn Nets in 2020-21. He unlocked the team's small-ball lineups with his versatility on both ends of the court. Having reportedly re-signed JaMychal Green to a two-year, $17 million deal, the Nuggets have some solid depth in the frontcourt.

Next order of business

The Los Angeles Lakers are filling out their roster.

According to reports, the Lakers have agreed to one-year deals with Trevor Ariza and Wayne Ellington.

Additionally, Dwight Howard is reportedly joining the Lakers.

Ariza is a versatile defender and a career 35.2 percent 3-point shooter. Ellington isn't the defender that Ariza is but he's a superior shooter. He shot 42.2 percent on 6.0 3-point attempts per game as a member of the Pistons last season.

Howard returns to Los Angeles following a season with the Philadelphia 76ers. The big fella helped the Lakers win a championship in 2020.

Sticking around

Some of the players who aren't reportedly going anywhere:

Notable players still available

  • Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers (UFA)
  • Dennis Schroder, Los Angeles Lakers (UFA)
  • Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls (RFA)

Deals can only be agreed upon in principle until Aug. 6 at 12:01 p.m. (ET) when they can be signed and made official.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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