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Jakob Poeltl Agreed To Re-Sign With The Raptors For $80 Million

After establishing himself as a stout defensive starting center in San Antonio, Jakob Poeltl was traded back to where he started his career in Toronto at the deadline. For the whole season, Poeltl averaged 12.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game, but his presence in the middle wasn’t enough to pull the Raptors out of their season-long funk.

Despite that, coming into this offseason the Raptors were considered the frontrunners to retain Poeltl, largely because they gave up a first round pick to bring him in for 26 games last year. Still, in a center market short on talent, if Poeltl was willing to open up his free agency to more teams, he figured to find a number of potential suitors searching for his caliber of rim protection. In the end, the veteran center reportedly elected to stay in Toronto, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting a four-year contract for $80 million.

As noted by Wojnarowski, Poeltl’s deal will include a fourth-year player option, further bolstering how well Poeltl and his representation did on this negotiation. Toronto’s overall direction remains in flux, but the 27-year-old Poeltl projects to provide stability as a defensive anchor for the next several years, and this deal also covers Poeltl’s prime years. The next priority for Toronto will be re-signing Fred VanVleet, who is apparently debating between staying in Toronto and a large, short-term deal in Houston.

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Cam Johnson Will Stay In Brooklyn On A 4-Year, $108 Million Contract

The biggest name on the restricted free agent this market very well might be Cam Johnson. After starting his career as a member of the Phoenix Suns and going from a widely-panned draft pick to a crucial three-and-D wing, Johnson was part of the package that Phoenix put together get Kevin Durant, which sent Johnson and Mikal Bridges to the Brooklyn Nets.

Bridges’ play was the big story in Brooklyn, but Johnson was a rock solid member of the team’s starting lineup and gave a glimpse into why he was going to end up being such an appealing player on the free agent market this summer. Johnson, who went 11th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, became an unrestricted free agent, was expected to be one of — if not the — most in demand names out there. However, the Nets made clear they were planning on retaining Johnson, including making a trade to move Joe Harris to Detroit on Friday, which was the leading outside suitor for Johnson.

Rather than letting Cam sit and trying to squeeze him in negotiations, the Nets came correct with a 4-year, $108 million contract offer, per Adrian Wojnarowski, that will keep him alongside Bridges as part of Brooklyn’s young core.

Johnson appeared in 42 games with 41 starts across his stints with the Suns and the Nets last season. While his counting stats were a little higher in Brooklyn and he was slightly more efficient in Phoenix, Johnson averaged 15.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.2 steals in 28.5 minutes per game last season while connecting on 47 percent of his shots from the field and 40.4 percent of his attempts from behind the three-point line.

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Khris Middleton Is Returning To The Bucks On A Three-Year, $102 Million Deal

Khris Middleton made the decision to hit the open market this summer, as the All-Star wing turned down the player option in his contract and became an unrestricted free agent. Despite this, the overwhelming expectation was that Middleton would return to the Milwaukee Bucks, as he’s been a crucial part of the team’s success over the years and is an excellent running mate alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday.

On Friday, we learned what the future will look like for Middleton, as per Adrian Wojnarowski, Middleton will stay with the Bucks on a three-year deal worth $102 million, with a player option on the final year.

Middleton struggled to remain healthy last season, which unsurprisingly led to a year where his production fell off a bit. On the season, Middleton appeared in 33 games with 19 starts — both of which were the lowest he’s registered since joining the Bucks — and averaged 15.1 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.2 rebounds in 24.3 minutes per game while only connecting on 31.5 percent of his attempts from behind the three-point line. He did look more like himself by the time the playoffs rolled around, as he put up numbers that are much closer to what one would expect in the Bucks’ first round loss to the Miami Heat: 23.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 40.6 percent from three. The bet, unsurprisingly, is that now that Middleton is healthy, he’ll be able to get back to that level during the 2023-24 season and beyond.

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Kyrie Irving Will Stay In Dallas On A Three-Year Deal For $126 Million

Individually, Kyrie Irving had a strong 2022-23 season, averaging 27.1 points, 5.5 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game on 49.4/37.9/90.5 shooting splits over 60 games played in Brooklyn and Dallas.

However, it was once again a year filled with turmoil for Irving and the teams he was on, with the Nets ultimately blowing it up at the deadline by trading Kevin Durant to Phoenix and Kyrie Irving to Dallas, and off the court he found himself once again embroiled in controversy, getting suspended by the Nets over a tweet promoting an antisemitic film. Once in Dallas, he was unable to propel the Mavs up the standings, with Dallas ultimately shutting him down as they tanked out the last week of the season to avoid the Play-In and retain the 10th pick in the draft.

As he entered free agency, there was no question of Irving’s on-court abilities and what he can do for a team when he’s playing, but the question teams had to ask was whether that was worth a long-term commitment to a player who has not been particularly reliable in recent years. The expectation was always that Dallas, having given up so much to get him, would be where he ended up signing, and that is exactly what transpired on Friday.

Irving will reportedly stay in Dallas for as much as $126 million, though the third year of his pact with the Mavericks is a player option. Given Irving’s years of service, his max contract is quite sizable and, with Dallas backed into a corner, Irving was able to negotiate a deal that guaranteed him nine figures while also providing flexibility. If Irving excels, he could re-enter unrestricted free agency at the age of 33 with a chance to further maximize his earning power.

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Georges Niang Will Join The Cavaliers On A Three-Year, $26 Million Deal

Georges Niang and the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to a three-year, $26 million deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Jake Fischer. Niang spent the last two seasons as a key reserve for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Since emerging as a rotation player for the Utah Jazz in 2018-19, the former Iowa State Cyclone has been one of the league’s foremost bench shooters. He’s knocked down 40.3 percent of his long balls, including 40.2 percent during his two seasons with the Sixers. Niang is coming off his best season to date, when he averaged 8.2 points (61.0 percent true shooting), 2.4 rebounds and 1.0 rebounds per game. He also shot 57.6 percent on two-pointers, showcasing some newfound juice attacking closeouts and bumping his way into buckets off the bounce. Although, he can grow overly audacious as a driver at times and wander into sticky situations.

While Niang is not a renowned defender, he improved defensively this past year, wielding better lateral movement and ability to survive in space on the perimeter, though teams can still exploit him, particularly when running him through off-ball screens. He’s a good player who contributed to the Sixers being pretty good in 2021-22 and 2022-23, despite their playoff flameouts. He’ll help the Cavaliers, who also re-signed Caris LeVert, with his quick trigger, high-volume floor-spacing, and bring them another wing option to a team that, in the postseason, showed that was very much an area needing improvement.

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Are Cardi B & Offset Still Together?

Cardi B and Offset have had their ups-and-downs — and it seems like they might be having a rocky patch again. In a since-deleted Instagram story from a few days ago, Offset accused Cardi of cheating on him, according to Cosmopolitan.

Still, the Bronx rapper is denying the rumors. She even hosted a Twitter space to discuss them, poking at it by singing Keyshia Cole’s “I Should Have Cheated.”

“First of all, let me say: You can’t accuse me of all the things you know that you are guilty of,” Cardi said on the space, encouraging her fans to join in. “Sing it with me, y’all. And I see that it is easy for you to blame everything on me. Yes, honey!”

“Listen. Don’t pay attention to that country man, y’all,” she added. That motherf*cker spiraling and thinking sh*t. Come on, now. I think sometimes motherf*ckers forget I’m Cardi B. If I was giving this p*ssy to anybody, it would be out. I’m not just anybody.”

While the couple have had two children together, Kulture in 2018 and Wave in 2021, this is not the first time they’ve dealt with infidelity questions. While Cardi was pregnant in the winter of 2017, videos reportedly surfaced of Offset cheating on her. Since then, they’ve broken up, divorced, and got back together several times.

As of right now, though, Cardi B and Offset appear to still be together, despite the tension.

Cardi B is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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The Phoenix Suns Agreed To Five Deals To Start Free Agency

The Phoenix Suns entered free agency rather desperate for some depth after sending out most of their roster in trades to land their star quartet of Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant, and Deandre Ayton (who is still in town for now).

James Jones didn’t take much time to address those issues early on in free agency, reaching agreements with four players, two of whom were on the Suns last year and three new additions. Josh Okogie, Keita Bates-Diop, Drew Eubanks, Damion Lee, and Chimezie Metu will all be members of the Suns squad to provide depth behind their stars next season, as Phoenix tried to quickly address its empty roster, per Shams Charania, Adrian Wojnarwoski, and Chris Haynes.

The Bates-Diop deal is the only one with firm financials, as he gets a two-year deal worth $5 million. The rest are all also short-term deals as the Suns look to round out the roster as best they can with solid veterans. Eubanks was the most intriguing addition in that he will replace Jock Landale, who was set to be a restricted free agent in Phoenix before they pulled his qualifying offer just before the start of free agency to sign Eubanks. Metu will also bring some frontcourt depth and versatility, while Okogie and Lee were on the team last year and bring some defensive pop and shooting ability respectively to their wing rotation.

The Suns still have work to do, but their roster is far more fleshed out now than it was less than an hour ago.

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Jevon Carter Will Join The Bulls On A Three-Year Deal

After carving out a career in the NBA as a defensive pest in the backcourt, Jevon Carter enjoyed the best offensive season of his career in 2022-23. In his age-27 season, Carter averaged 8.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game on 42.3/42.1/81.6 shooting splits in his first full season with the Milwaukee Bucks, setting himself up for free agency at a strong time. On Friday, Carter reportedly agreed to a three-year deal with the Chicago Bulls, more than doubling his career earnings in one fell swoop.

Carter becoming a reliable three-point threat has made him more than just a defensive specialist. As such, he chose to decline his player option for the 2023-24 season. That deal was for less than his minimum would be this season, making it an easy choice to hit the free agent market.

The expectation was for the Bucks to attempt to re-sign him, as he excelled as their backup point guard last season and allows them to have strong point of attack defense for 48 minutes when he spells Jrue Holiday. Still, the Bulls paid a substantial price to acquire Carter, taking him away from a division rival in the process, and Carter will step into a backcourt that is expected to be without Lonzo Ball again in 2023-24.

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Kristaps Porzingis Is Finalizing A Two-Year, $60 Million Extension In Boston

Kristaps Porzingis had a strong bounceback year in his first full season with the Wizards, serving as one of the bright spots for a Washington team that once again found itself on the outside looking in on the East playoff picture.

Porzingis averaged 23.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game on strong efficiency (49.8/38.5/85.1 shooting splits) for Washington, and the expectation was for him to opt out of his player option and look to sign a new long-term deal with the Wizards this summer. However, after Washington overhauled its front office, that no longer seemed like a formality for Porzingis, and his player option decision became a very interesting proposition. Ultimately he picked it up to facilitate a blockbuster trade to the Celtics, who sent Marcus Smart to Memphis to land Porzingis and a pair of first round picks.

With Porzingis on an expiring, Boston had to go to work on looking to retain him long term as sending Smart out for one year of Porzingis wasn’t a good move. Shortly after free agency began, Chris Haynes reported the Celtics and Porzingis were nearing an extension worth $60 million over two years.

It’s the move Boston had to make after trading for Porzingis given all they gave up, and they are banking heavily on the star big man staying healthy and producing at the level he did in Washington to help elevate a Celtics offense that showed in the playoffs they could use some more out of their frontcourt to help Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

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Jerami Grant Will Re-Sign In Portland For An Eye-Popping $160 Million

It has been a noisy summer in Portland, with constant rumblings about Damian Lillard’s future with the organization and the team holding the third overall pick in the Draft. After choosing not to trade the pick, instead selecting Scoot Henderson, the questions about Lillard’s future only grew louder.

Amid all of the debate about the Blazers and what direction they would go in, there was one constant expectation — re-signing veteran forward Jerami Grant. As Grant entered free agency, it felt like a foregone conclusion he’d be back in Portland on a sizable deal, both because that was the best way to try and keep Lillard happy and, even if they were to move Dame, losing Grant for nothing was not a viable team-building option. Sure enough, on Friday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Grant had come to an agreement on a … deal to stay in Portland.

Charania notes that the deal is for five years and $160 million. Later, Yahoo’s Jake Fischer added that the fifth year was appealing to Grant and was one reason an extension didn’t come together before free agency.

Last year, Grant averaged 20.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game on 47.5/40.1/81.3 shooting splits, continuing to produce at a high level in the secondary role on the wing to Lillard. It was similar productivity to his output in Detroit, but on much greater efficiency showing that his talent was very well-equipped for that secondary scorer role, taking advantage of the attention Lillard commanded.