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The Most Interesting Financial Moves Of NBA Free Agency So Far

NBA free agency’s first week is always an exciting time as players sign lucrative contracts and switch teams. Here are some of the highlights.



NBA free agency is a fascinating time every year. Players are getting paid for their efforts from the previous season or years by transferring teams or signing new contracts. While players search for the ideal balance of financial security and championship opportunities, teams hope their new acquisitions can perform just as well on the court.

There will be plenty of excitement if you include rookie deals—the NBA Draft recently took place, after all—as well as sign-and-trade agreements.

In the first five days of free agency, teams spent $3.45 billion on new contracts, contract renewals, and rookie deals.

That’s a lot of money changing hands, so it’s easy to miss some of the deals that went on. Here are a handful of the financially fascinating stories that caught our attention.

Kyle Lowry (L) and Jimmy Butler (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The Miami Heat are SPENDING

A fun subplot from the 2017 NBA Draft

Lonzo Ball, the No. 2 overall pick, has signed a four-year, $85 million contract with the Chicago Bulls. The other, Markelle Fultz, has a modest contract of $50 million and $35 million guaranteed with the Orlando Magic. Fultz and Ball have already combined to play for five different teams in their short careers.

Jarrett Allen scores big

Jarrett Allen joined the Brooklyn Nets at the start of the previous season. This would typically be a thrilling time. The Nets were one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference with a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Allen, who had started every game in Brooklyn’s previous two seasons with the exception of six, was going to profit. He was initially backing up DeAndre Jordan, who the Nets also signed, but Allen was playing better and rejoined the starting lineup…just as the Nets traded for James Harden.

The Nets sent Allen to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of the exchange. Allen was able to shine in his new position. He finished the season with career-high averages in minutes played, points, rebounds, and assists. And he will start the following season with a brand-new deal.

Allen received a $100 million five-year extension with the Cavaliers. He is one of the team’s foundational pieces and will serve as their focal point for the foreseeable future. The Nets probably wouldn’t have been able to afford him if he had remained in Brooklyn. Since he’s re-signing with the Cavs instead of a new team (as we would have done to go from Brooklyn to somewhere else in free agency), he can get that extra fifth year of security.

As for his old team, over the next couple of years, the Nets will likely give about $600 million in contract extensions to the trio of Durant, Irving, and Harden. Success has a price occasionally.

Two Philly players may need to squash a beef

One of the NBA’s top trash talkers is Joel Embiid. He knows how to press buttons and continually jabs other players. Andre Drummond, a fellow center with whom Embiid has feuded over the years, is one of the most illustrious beefs. After one particularly heated game, Embiid told reporters he owns “a lot of real estate” in Drummond’s head.

He also happens to be one of the best centers in the NBA, but he has a history of injuries just like everyone else. And, to keep Embiid rested and his legs fresh come the postseason, the Sixers understandably want to provide him some help in the form of adding another player.

Earnings for star players are astronomical now