June 29, 2019
Just a heads up, but if you're reading this on Sunday, you're actually reading the wrong post. This is our live updates post from Saturday. For Sunday's edition, click here.
NBA free agency doesn't begin until 6 p.m. on Sunday night, but once it does, the news is expected to start pouring in at a rapid pace — in fact, there are already reports that Klay Thompson and the Warriors are expected to announce an extension shortly after free agency opens.
And, beyond that, there are moves already being made — or, at least, moves that will have a ripple effect throughout the free agent process.
UPDATE [7:46 p.m.] — In addition to meeting with Rockets and Heat, Jimmy Butler will also meet with the Sixers, per Shams Charania, and has interest from other teams like the Lakers and Nets.
Sources: Jimmy Butler plans to meet with the 76ers soon and has interest from other teams with maximum salary space, including the Lakers and Nets, and sign-and-trade possibilities elsewhere.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 29, 2019
In other words, buckle up.
UPDATE [6:05 p.m.] — With NBA free agency still 24 hours away, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is brining the heat early. Within the span of a couple minutes, Woj tweeted out the following:
Sources: Jimmy Butler expected to meet the Miami Heat in South Fla. Sunday. Butler/Rockets meeting likely early week in LA. Sixers haven’t ruled out working with Butler on sign-and-trades, which Miami and Houston need to acquire the All-Star guard.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2019
Once Kyrie Irving commits to a deal, Nets are expected to renounce All-Star guard D'Angelo Russell and allow him to become an unrestricted free agent, league sources tell ESPN. Russell led Nets to the playoffs this past season. There's tremendous league-wide interest in Russell. https://t.co/cJSryXSUJV— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2019
Obviously, the Jimmy Butler news is of greater interest to the Sixers, with another team now emerging as a potential suitor in a sign-and-trade. Whether there's a real chance that Butler goes to the Heat remains to be seen, as this could also just be a negotiating tactic by Butler's camp in an effort to ensure the Sixers offer him that fifth year.
Read more from Kyle Neubeck, here.
Of course, there's also this (but I think it's safe to assume this is coming from a Heat team source):
Source says Jimmy Butler’s “mind was totally blown” by all the pomp and circumstance surrounding Dwyane Wade’s last home game, with him telling friends afterward that being able to see what Miami and the Heat organization are about left an enormous impact on him.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) June 29, 2019
UPDATE [4:58 p.m.] — The Boston Celtics will reportedly sign free agent guard Kemba Walker once free agency opens on Sunday evening.
Kemba Walker plans to be in Boston on Sunday to finalize a formal agreement with the Celtics, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2019
Charlotte has been scouring the free agent point guard market, considering such options as Elfrid Peyton, TJ McConnell, Ish Smith and Emmanuel Mudiay, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2019
That's not great news for Sixers fans, as Walker has torched Philly over the years. In his eight-year NBA career, Walker has average 21.7 points in 27 games against the Sixers, second only to the 22.5 PPG he's averaged against the Suns. And last season, he averaged 37.2 PPG in four meetings with the Sixers.
Furthermore, there might not have been a worse spot for this Sixer-killer to land, as Philly's Eastern Conference rival now appears to have a legit replacement for Kyrie Irving and are a big man away from being back among the East's elite teams.
First, on Friday, free agent Darren Collison announced his retirement after a decade in the NBA, despite reports that he was in the market for a $12 million-per-year deal.. Then, a day later, free agent Nikola Mirotic signed with Barcelona, opting to take his talents to the Euroleague rather than seek a lucrative payday in the NBA.
If the Sixers run it back with Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, these moves won't matter all that much to Philly. But should the Sixers lose one or both of those players, both Collison and Mirotic could've been free agent options for Elton Brand, especially Mirotic. Furthermore, that's two more free agents off the market, meaning two more players that won't be signing elsewhere, and therefore potentially two other teams that could be interested in signing one of the Sixers free agents.
But there's going to be a lot of that in the coming week(s). Because free agency doesn't take place in a vacuum, each move has the potential to impact what the rest of the free agents do. And if the days and weeks leading up to Sunday night's free-for-all are any indication, it's going to be a wild free agency period across the entire NBA.
There are reports of the Rockets looking to complete a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler and are trying to acquire the picks necessary to make it happen, while other reports suggest the Sixers could be interested in bringing in Al Horford. The Lakers have opened up space to add another max player, and just today there were reports of Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant talking about teaming up in the future.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
It's going to be a busy free agency period in the NBA, and the Sixers are expected to be heavily involved. In order to keep track of everything, we've decided to bring back our live updates, just like we did for MLB free agency a few months ago. Hopefully, this won't drag on for quite as long.
Either way, we'll have you covered with the latest news and rumors...
Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports