The Journal Gazette
 
 
Saturday, November 21, 2020 1:00 am

Light start to NBA free agency

Teams begin to make moves, but biggest stars are yet to sign

TIM REYNOLDS | Associated Press

The last time Facundo Campazzo and Nikola Jokic shared a court in a real game was during last year's Basketball World Cup in China. Campazzo was dazzling and Argentina prevailed, ending the championship hopes for Jokic and Serbia.

Soon, they'll be teammates in title quest.

Campazzo agreed to a two-year deal with the Denver Nuggets on Friday's opening day of free agency, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract remains unfinished until at least Sunday, when the NBA moratorium on new signings will be lifted.

“Campazzo absolutely dominated the game,” then-Serbia coach Sasha Djordjevic said of Campazzo, the 5-foot-10 point guard, after Argentina beat Serbia 97-87 in those World Cup quarterfinals at Dongguan, China, on Sept. 10, 2019. “Absolutely dominated the game. This is his victory.”

The Nuggets hope to hear a lot more sentiment like that going forward.

Free agency opened in the NBA at 6 p.m. Friday. No deals can be signed until 12:01 p.m. Sunday, and many of the biggest available names – such as the Lakers' Anthony Davis and Fred VanVleet, who has seen his star rise meteorically with the Toronto Raptors – did not make immediate decisions on their futures.

Davis is expected to remain with the Lakers; the question there is how the new deal will be structured. VanVleet is expected to command at least $80 million over the next four seasons, if not more, and Toronto has made clear that they would like to keep the undrafted guard.

A breakdown of moves:

Detroit

The Pistons received commitments from centers Mason Plumlee and Jahlil Okafor, people familiar with those deals told the AP. ESPN, which first reported the Plumlee agreement, said he would sign a three-year deal for $25 million.

Miami

The Heat got quick agreements from point guard Goran Dragic and center Meyers Leonard on two-year deals, the second year in both cases being team options. Dragic will make about $18 million next season, Leonard about $9 million.

Dragic said the fact the Heat will have much of its roster back from a year ago, when the team won the Eastern Conference title, was particularly important to him.

“This is a family here,” Dragic said. “We know we have a good team. We know we have chemistry. We have unfinished business.”

Orlando

A person with knowledge of the negotiations said the Magic and guard Dwayne Bacon agreed on a one-year deal for about $2.5 million this coming season. The Magic hold a team option for 2021-22, a source said.

Bacon is a Central Florida native, who played at Florida State and spent his first three pro seasons in Charlotte.

Steve Clifford, now the Magic coach, was his coach in his rookie year.

Sacramento

On the first night of free agency, De'Aaron Fox was the first huge winner. Huge, as in $163 million – or even more.

Fox and the Sacramento Kings agreed on a max deal Friday night, agent Chris Gaston said. It's a five-year pact that will pay Fox $163 million, and that figure could rise to nearly $200 million if Fox makes an All-NBA team or receives other league honors.


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