Big­gest moves made, though some deal­ing to be done in NBA

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - BRIAN MA­HONEY

The big­gest re­main­ing domino wob­bled in the af­ter­noon and fi­nally fell in the evening.

When Gor­don Hay­ward an­nounced he was join­ing the Bos­ton Celtics, it wrapped up the de­ci­sions of play­ers at the top of this sum­mer’s Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion free agent board. The big­gest moves have been made, but there is more deal­ing to be done. The Utah Jazz need to fig­ure out how to move on af­ter los­ing their lead­ing scorer and an­other starter Tues­day.

The Cleve­land Cava­liers could pon­der whether they need an­other move to counter a for­ti­fied Bos­ton team that fin­ished ahead of them in the reg­u­lar sea­son.

The Mi­ami Heat, the other team that fell short in the Hay­ward chase, can shop else­where with the cash they freed up by fi­nally waiv­ing Chris Bosh.

There aren’t any fran­chise-al­ter­ing play­ers left as the NBA heads to­ward the end of the mora­to­rium Thurs­day, when stars such as Kevin Du­rant, Stephen Curry, Blake Grif­fin and Kyle Lowry can sign the deals they agreed to with their teams.

Hay­ward was per­haps the top free agent to change ad­dresses, his de­ci­sion com­ing in an es­say on The Play­ers’ Tribune af­ter it had been re­ported ear­lier in the day by ESPN but de­nied at the time by his agent. Just like Du­rant’s move from Ok­la­homa City to Golden State, the word came on the Fourth of July.

The Jazz lost a player Sun­day even be­fore Hay­ward’s de­ci­sion when Ge­orge Hill de­cided to join Sacra­mento — though it ap­peared the point guard wouldn’t be back once Utah ac­quired Ricky Ru­bio in a trade with Min­nesota. That three­year, $57-mil­lion deal was one of two ad­di­tions made Sun­day by the Kings, who also got Zach Ran­dolph to leave Mem­phis for his for­mer coach, Dave Jo­erger, with a $24-mil­lion, two-year agree­ment.

Also on Sun­day, Pa­trick Pat­ter­son agreed to a three-year, $16.4mil­lion con­tract to leave Toronto for Ok­la­homa City, where he can in­herit one of the for­ward spots that opened when the Thun­der traded Do­man­tas Sabo­nis to In­di­ana in the deal to get Paul Ge­orge, and when Taj Gib­son left for Min­nesota.

Der­rick Rose and Rudy Gay are still on the mar­ket, though both are com­ing off knee in­juries. Ra­jon Rondo also re­mains avail­able for teams seek­ing a point guard, and re­stricted free agents Ken­tavi­ous Cald­well-Pope and An­dre Rober­son are strong wing de­fend­ers.

Mi­ami could try to keep Dion Wait­ers and James John­son now that Hay­ward won’t be com­ing, and more teams will flirt with the re­main­ing play­ers who wouldn’t com­mand much money — or even Carmelo An­thony, if he were to be­come avail­able in New York.

Hay­ward’s four-year deal worth about $128 mil­lion halted the run of West­ern Con­fer­ence teams load­ing up all sum­mer, of­ten at the ex­pense of the weaker East. The trades of Ge­orge and Jimmy But­ler, who went from Chicago to Min­nesota, may have sent two 2017 play­off teams into the lot­tery.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Gor­don Hay­ward is join­ing the Bos­ton Celtics. Hay­ward’s four-year con­tract is worth $128 mil­lion.

CANA­DIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO

Pa­trick Pat­ter­son is leav­ing the Toronto Rap­tors af­ter agree­ing to a three-year, $16.4-mil­lion con­tract to play with Ok­la­homa City.

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