SportsPulse: NBA free agency is upon us and what better way to celebrate than to call in USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt to highlight some of the most memorable player movement in league history.
NBA free agency is open for business.
Following an unusual season that was suspended in March because of COVID-19, restarted in a bubble in Orlando, Florida, and concluded just more than a month ago, free agency began only a month before the next season is scheduled to start on Dec. 22.
There are many big names and not a lot of teams with salary-cap space, but free agency should be busy as teams want to put together rosters in advance of training camps, which are slated to open on Dec. 1.
Here are players who reached deals with teams during free agency.
Veteran forward Tristan Thompson and the Boston Celtics came to terms on a two-year, $19 million deal, his agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports told USA TODAY Sports. Thompson averaged 12 points and 10.1 rebounds for Cleveland last season. The Celtics pick up more frontcourt depth with a strong defender and rebounder. Thompson has spent his entire career with the Cavaliers and won a title in 2016.
– Jeff Zillgitt
The Lakers continue to strengthen their roster through trades and free agency. They champions managed to retain Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on a three-year, $40 million deal, his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, told USA TODAY Sports. Pope averaged 9.3 points during the regular season but bumped that to 10.7 in the playoffs and 11 in the Finals while playing outstanding defense.
– Jeff Zillgitt
Veteran guard Rajon Rondo agreed to a two-year, $15 million deal in principle with the Atlanta Hawks, a person familiar with the details told USA TODAY Sports. That person was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss a deal that was not official. The person added the deal does not have any player or team options.
Rondo opted out of his player option worth $2.7 million with the Los Angeles Lakers fully aware that he would have plenty of interest for his smart playmaking and accountable leadership style. Despite season-long issues with his health and shooting, the Lakers remained enamored with Rondo’s intangibles that included his passing, in-game adjustments and mentorship. Rondo became more consistent during the Lakers’ playoff run after missing the first chunk of the NBA season restart because of an injured right thumb and back.
Rondo is expected to become a positive veteran presence for third-year guard Trae Young, who made his first All-Star appearance last season after improving from his rookie to sophomore season in points (19.1 to 29.6), shooting percentage (41.8 to 43.7), assists (8.1 to 9.3) and minutes (30.9 to 35.3).
– Mark Medina
Avery Bradley came to terms on a two-year, $11.6 million deal with the Miami Heat, a person familir with the agreement told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized…