Friday, 21 September, 2018

It begins: Free agency in NBA starts with a flourish

Paul George GETTYPaul George developed a close friendship with Russell Westbrook while playing in OKC
Andrew Wong | 03 July, 2018, 19:23

Stephenson agreed to a deal with the Lakers on Sunday night, his agency, Priority Sports, announced on Twitter.

The Lakers could persuade James to agree to a deal of up to $153 million over four years (though most expect him to sign a two-year with an opt-out), with their youthful roster largely intact for 2018-19. But players can not sign contracts and teams may not comment until 12 p.m. on Friday. And players tend to go home: Paul Pierce played in LA toward the end of his career, Dwyane Wade briefly played in Chicago, Chauncey Billups had stints in Denver.

But he's excited about continuing to be a part of a standout tandem with Russell Westbrook. A caption read, "Unfinished business".

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The Lakers seemed intent on landing two max players this summer, but they absolutely won by not landing George for $30-plus million a year.

Having arrived on what appeared to be a one-year rental from the Indiana Pacers, George had been expected to join the Los Angeles Lakers as a result of a disappointing year in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma City finished with 48 victories and the Western Conference's 4th seed but were eliminated by the Utah Jazz in 6 games in the first round of the playoffs.

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It's believed Westbrook made a persuasive argument for George to stay. Kawhi Leonard reportedly never wants to step foot in a San Antonio Spurs locker room again and the front office is well aware of that. The Black Mamba also offered a "well done!" to the Lakers' front office, including Johnson, who took over previous year as president of basketball operations and had recently said he should be fired if he didn't land the team a superstar or two over the next couple of summers. Free agent forward Jerami Grant has agreed to return to the Thunder. He had expressed interest in those teams in "My Journey", however, George didn't even meet with one team except with the Thunder. Though James did sign with the Lakers a day after George stayed with the Thunder, reports are stating that George and James had talked and knew each other mindsets before they had made their decisions. Paul missed the last two games of that series with an injury, and the Rockets wasted big leads in both of those games - then had to watch the Warriors sweep Cleveland for the National Basketball Association title. "Deal includes a player option".

Derrick Jones Jr. has signed a minimum deal with the Miami Heat, after playing with them on a two-way contract last season.

Belgium's Eden Hazard says Wales Euro 2016 defeat haunted him against Japan
While Honda was dignified in defeat, Japan are entitled to feel they deserved better after a superbly disciplined performance. In the 74th, Eden Hazard's cross was met by Fellaini, who equalised from close range with a powerful header.

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