Mindanao Times

Kevin Durant to depart Warriors for Nets as NBA free agent

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LOS ANGELES - Two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant announced Sunday that he will depart the Golden State Warriors, his team since 2016, for the Brooklyn Nets.

The 30-year-old star forward made his announceme­nt on social media moments after the start of the NBA's free agency period, saying he will sign a maximum-level deal with the Nets.

Durant commands top dollar despite the fact that he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in game five of this year's finals and is expected to miss all of the 2019-20 season.

"Kevin Durant has confirmed he will sing a max deal with the Brooklyn Nets," said a post on the Instagram and Twitter accounts of The Boardroom, his company-owned sportsbusi­ness network.

A max deal for Durant would be worth some $164 million over four years. The Warriors could have offered him $221 million over five years to stay.

Under NBA free agency rules, teams cannot sign contracts with players until Saturday, so no deals will be confirmed until then.

Multiple US media outlets reported that Boston Celtics playmaker Kyrie Irving would be joining Durant in Brooklyn on a four-year deal worth $141 million.

It could give the Nets a formidable duo once Durant returns from an upcoming year of rehabilita­tion, provided Durant can regain the form that helped power the Warriors to the 2017 and 2018 NBA crowns.

It was in 2016 at the start of the free agency period when the Warriors, who had just been beaten by Cleveland in the NBA Finals, went to Durant and asked him to join them after the star forward opted to leave Oklahoma City.

Durant had the Warriors looking like champions again this year before a right calf injury sidelined him. Durant missed nine games before returning in game five of the NBA Finals against Toronto. He scored 11 points in 12 minutes before suffering the ruptured tendon that required surgery two days later.

Walker to sign four-year, $141M deal with Celtics

Three-time All-Star Kemba Walker has agreed to join the Boston Celtics on a four-year, $141 million deal, his agent, Jeff Schwartz, confirmed to ESPN.

Walker spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Charlotte Hornets.

Sources also confirmed to ESPN that as part of the agreement, Charlotte will send Walker to Boston as part of a sign-and-trade that will move point guard Terry Rozier to the Hornets. Rozier will then sign a three-year, $58 million deal.

Just a few weeks ago, Walker said he would take less than the five-year, $221 million “supermax” contract only the Hornets could offer him to stay in Charlotte.

The Charlotte Observer reported on Saturday, however, that team officials were set on paying less than $170 million because of concerns about the NBA luxury tax in the future.

In Boston, he will replace Kyrie Irving at point guard. A fellow free agent, Irving agreed to a four-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, according to multiple reports.

Walker, a 29-year-old Connecticu­t product, averaged 25.6 points and 5.9 assists while starting all 82 games for the Hornets last season. Those numbers are above his eightyear career averages of 19.8 points and 5.5 assists.

Heat acquire 76ers’ Butler in three-team deal

The Miami Heat are finalizing a sign-and-trade deal to acquire All-Star guard Jimmy Butler from the Philadelph­ia 76ers, in a deal that also involves the Dallas Mavericks, multiple outlets reported Sunday night.

Butler will reportedly sign a max-level, four-year, $142 million contract with the Heat, who had been reported Saturday as Butler’s likeliest destinatio­n. The full terms of the deal are unclear, but the 76ers will receive wing Josh Richardson from Miami, which will also send point guard Goran Dragic to the Mavericks.

Butler was also expected to meet with the Houston Rockets, who have reportedly been shopping Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker in trades with hopes of clearing room to acquire Butler in a sign-and-trade.

The 29-year-old Butler averaged 18.2 points on 46.1 shooting in 55 games with the Sixers last season after arriving in November via trade from the Minnesota Timberwolv­es. A four-time All-Star, he has career averages of 16.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in eight NBA seasons.

Butler joins JJ Redick in leaving the 76ers, who reportedly re-signed forward Tobias Harris on a five-year deal and nabbed former Boston Celtics big man Al Horford on a fouryear contract.

Richardson will join Philadelph­ia coming off a career season, having averaged 16.6 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds -- all career highs -- in 73 games last season. The 25-year-old has career averages of 12.1 points, 2.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 259 career games (190 starts) since the Heat drafted him in the second round in 2015.

Dragic, 33, will pair with Slovenian national teammate and former roommate Luka Doncic, bringing together the league’s only two Slovenian players. He averaged 13.7 points and 4.8 assists in 36 games (22 starts) while missing time to injury last season, his fourth full year in Miami.

Dragic reached his first All-Star Game a year earlier, averaging 17.3 points and 3.8 assists for the Heat in the 201718 season.

Rubio agrees to 3-year deal with Suns

Point guard Ricky Rubio, linked in the past week to the Indiana Pacers, agreed to a three-year, $51 million deal with the Phoenix Suns, The

Athletic reported Sunday.

Earlier Sunday, the New York Times’ Marc Stein tweeted that Rubio to Indiana was a “virtual done deal.”

But instead of replacing retired Darren Collison in Indiana, Rubio will get a chance to run the show in Phoenix, which has been looking for a veteran to pair in the backcourt with shooting guard Devin Booker.

Rubio, 28, averaged 12.7 points, 6.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds last season, his second with the Utah Jazz. The eightyear NBA veteran has career averages of 11.1 points, 7.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 498 games (477 starts).

He spent his first six seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolv­es after the team made the Spaniard the No. 5 pick in the 2009 draft. Minnesota traded Rubio in June 2017 to the Jazz, where he finished a four-year, $55 million contract before becoming an unrestrict­ed free agent after last season.

Chicago Bulls reach deal with Young The Chicago Bulls reportedly agreed to a threeyear, $41 million contract with forward Thaddeus Young on Sunday night.

Young, who played the last three seasons for the Indiana Pacers, agreed to the deal after the start of the NBA free agency period. Deals can officially be signed starting July 6.

Young tweeted about his new team with shout-outs to general manager Gar Forman, coach Jim Boylen and president of basketball operations John Paxson.

“What’s up @chicagobul­ls ? Gar, Jim, and Pax thanks for opportunit­y to help build culture and get us back on track. Let’s work,” Young tweeted.

Young, 31, averaged 12.6 points and 6.5 rebounds in 81 games for the Pacers.

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