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Irving stays in Dallas, Green with Warriors in NBA free agency: reports

Kyrie Irving agreed to a three-year deal to stay with Dallas and Draymond Green came to terms on a four-year deal to stay with Golden State according to multiple reports as NBA free agency dealmaking began Friday.

Eight-time All-Star guard Irving, who won a title with Cleveland in 2016 but was dogged by off-court controversy in Brooklyn, was traded to Dallas last February and agreed to stay with the Mavericks for $126 million, with a player option for the final season, The Athletic and ESPN reported.

Irving missed more than 50 games with the Nets because of not being vaccinated for Covid and eight more for refusing to apologize for promoting an anti-Semitic film on social media. He averaged 27 points in 20 games with Dallas but the Mavs missed the NBA playoffs.

The Warriors kept forward Green on a four-year deal worth $100 million, according to ESPN and The Athletic. Green opted out of his contract but the Warriors said they wanted him back, with his $22.3 million next year saving Golden State salary tax money.

Just before the free agency negotiating period began, the NBA announced the salary cap for the 2023-24 season would be $136.021 million per club with minimum payroll at $122.418 million and the salary tax starting at $165.294 million.

Free agency talks were not permitted until Friday under NBA rules, which also outlaw the signing of new deals until Thursday, leaving only media reports to provide the first clues at moves by NBA clubs for next season.

Reigning NBA champion Denver are reportedly losing Bruce Brown to Indiana, which agreed to a two-year deal worth $45 million with the 26-year-old guard, who scored a career-best 11.5 points a game for the Nuggets in their championship run, playing a career-high 28.5 minutes a game.

Portland, still wondering about the eventual fate of star Damian Lillard, will keep forward Jerami Grant on a five-year deal worth $160 million, ESPN and The Athletic said.

Kyle Kuzma agreed to re-sign with Washington for $102 million over four years, guard Coby White agreed a three-year deal for $40 million to stay in Chicago and guard Caris LeVert is staying with Cleveland on a two-year deal worth $32 million, ESPN and The Athletic reported.

Harden’s fate unknown

The Milwaukee Bucks, the 2021 NBA champions, agreed to a deal with forward Khris Middleton on a $102 million deal over three years that should help them keep Greek star big man Giannis Antetokounmpo, who could become a free agent in 2025.

Still uncertain was the fate of center Brook Lopez, who completed his Bucks contract last season.

The Bucks had last season’s best record in the NBA but lost to Miami in the first round of the playoffs.

A potential sutor for Lopez likely was taken off the board when the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a deal with guard Gabe Vincent, The Athletic reported.

Japanese forward Yuta Watanabe has agreed to a deal with the Phoenix Suns, where he will reunite with former Brooklyn teammate Kevin Durant, The Athletic reported.

Philadelphia All-Star guard James Harden has opted into his $35.6 million contract for next season with the 76ers but ESPN and The Athletic report it was done so the team can work on a trade deal.

Harden, the 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player and a three-time scoring champion who turns 34 in August, could wind up on his fourth team in as many seasons after being traded from Houston to Brooklyn in 2021 and being dealt from the Nets to the 76ers in 2022.

The Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks reportedly have interest in Harden.

What the Sixers can obtain in return on any Harden deal is crucial since reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid will need more talent around him if he hopes to spark a Philadelphia title run.

Fred VanVleet, a 29-year-old point guard who helped Toronto win the 2019 crown, is expected to draw major interest from the Houston Rockets, who have plenty of space under the salary cap to spend on talent.

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