The NBA’s free agency season has begun and as expected a number of big name free agents are staying put. The biggest of all 2020 free agents - Anthony Davis - has yet to sign his deal though it is expected he will return to the Los Angeles Lakers and chase a second consecutive NBA title next season.
The NBA’s Most Improved Player will remain in New Orleans agreeing to a five-year contract worth $158 million. Ingram, who was traded to New Orleans as part of the deal that sent Davis to the Lakers, averaged 23.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season for the Pelicans.
Ingram earned his first trip to the NBA All-Star game last season. He along with last year’s rookie sensation Zion Williamson will lead New Orleans into a new era.
A year ago, VanVleet decided to roll the dice and bet on himself. It paid off when the Raptors point guard became the highest-paid undrafted player in NBA history. VanVleet signed a new four-year, $85 million deal with the Raptors and will stay in Toronto.
VanVleet averaged just 2.9 points a game as a rookie in 2016-17 and progressed to scoring 17.6 points a game and dishing out 6.6 assists per game last season. Toronto should once again be a favorite to capture the Eastern Conference title in 2020-21.
Back in 2014, the Charlotte Hornets made a play for the 6-8 Hayward. He wound up eventually making his way to Boston, but the Hornets finally got their man when they signed the free agent Hayward to a new four-year, $120 million contract.
After an ugly injury in 2017-18, Hayward finally got back to some semblance of his former self and averaged 17.5 points and 6.7 rebounds last season in Boston. The Hornets finished ninth in the Eastern Conference last season. Charlotte will lean heavily on Hayward to help lead young players like last year’s leading scorer Devonte Graham and first-round draft pick LaMelo Ball.
The Lakers made a play for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year and got him making their frontcourt even deeper. Harrell averaged 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the Clippers last season coming off the bench.
Harrell signed a two-year deal worth $19 million with the Lakers. The NBA champions had to use their mid-level exception on Harrell’s deal.
Brooklyn will get Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant at full strength in 2020-21. They are an early favorite to compete for next year’s NBA title. In addition to Irving and Durant, who are both 2021 NBA MVP contenders, the Nets will return long-range bomber Joe Harris.
Harris re-signed with the Nets agreeing to $75 million over four years on a new deal. Harris averaged 14.5 points a game last year and shot 42.5 percent from behind the three-point arc. Irving, Durant, Harris, and Caris LeVert give the Nets a solid core to compete for a title.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.