NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Kawhi Leonard’s uncertain NBA free agency fate kept three teams in limbo Monday as players continued to make deals to shake the league landscape.
Players and teams began agreeing to terms on new deals Sunday even though no contracts can be signed until next Saturday.
Leonard, who led the Toronto Raptors to the NBA title last month, was expected to meet with the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers plus the Raptors this week before making a decision on where to sign a new deal.
The Raptors are trying to keep together their championship squad while the Clippers, in Leonard’s home town, have a similar young team that would offer him a starring role.
The Lakers, who have cleared enough salary cap space, to make a top offer for the two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, have a chance to form a super-team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The Lakers were reportedly looking at D’Angelo Russell, who went to the Golden State Warriors for four years at $117 million after trading Andre Iguodala to Memphis.
Russell will partner Steph Curry in the Warriors’ backcourt until Klay Thompson, who agreed to terms Monday on a five-year deal worth $190 million to stay with Golden State, returns from a torn knee ligament.
Also reportedly waiting on Leonard’s decision is Toronto guard Danny Green, who is being wooed by Dallas but could figure into the plans of the Lakers and Clippers as well.
Other free agents looking for deals include Golden State center DeMarcus Cousins and Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo.
The Lakers did land their first free agent Monday, 3-point shooter Troy Daniels on a one-year deal for $2.1 million.
The Clippers agreed to an extension with Patrick Beverly at three years for $40 million and got forward Mo Harkless in a deal with Miami.
“Anybody got kawhi number??” Harkless tweeted.
Nets land Kyrie, KD
In Sunday’s biggest reported opening deals, Brooklyn secured two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, who ruptured an Achilles tendon as Golden State lost in the NBA finals, and Kyrie Irving from Boston. Each accepted contracts below the maximum so the Nets could also grab center DeAndre Jordan, who was with Dallas last season.
Durant will miss next season while recovering, but Irving and Jordan join a squad that made the playoffs last season.
Philadelphia landed Dominican big man Al Horford from Boston and traded with Miami for Josh Richardson in a deal that cost them guard Jimmy Butler.
The 76ers already boast Australian playmaker Ben Simmons and Cameroonian front-line force Joel Embiid.
Milwaukee, which won an NBA-best 60 games last season led by Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo, kept Khris Middleton, George Hill and Brook Lopez with new deals and added Wesley Matthews as a guard to replace Malcolm Brogdon, who signed with Indiana.
Kanter goes to Celtics
Turkish center Enes Kanter announced he has agreed to a two-year deal to join ex-Charlotte guard Kemba Walker in Boston.
The Western Conference, won by the Warriors the past five seasons, is up for grabs after the shakeup.
New Orleans agreed to a two-year deal worth $8 million with Italy’s Nicolo Melli, the EuroLeague Finals top scorer last season for Turkish club Fenerbahce.
Utah added Serbian guard Bogdan Bogdanovic for $73 million over four years from Sacramento plus center Ed Davis and playmaker Mike Conley.
Dallas made a four-year deal worth $32 million with former Portland guard Seth Curry.
Portland added center Hassan Whiteside as a fill-in until injured Bosnian big man Jusuf Nurkic returns, in a trade deal to help Miami obtain Butler.
The biggest losers in free agency were the New York Knicks, who had salary room for two top free agents but could not attract a big name, breaking up the money among lesser talents.
Houston also missed out in trying to land a third star to join Chris Paul and NBA scoring leader James Harden.
© Agence France-Presse