Day 2 of free agency: LaVine, Nurkic decide to stay put

Jun 30, 2022, 10:28 PM | Updated: Jul 1, 2022, 1:43 pm
FILE - Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, left, hangs on the rim after dunking in front of...

FILE - Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, left, hangs on the rim after dunking in front of to Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022. Nurkic agreed to a $70 million contract with Portland, Friday, July 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer, File)

(AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer, File)

Zach LaVine is staying in Chicago. Same goes for Jusuf Nurkic in Portland.

Day 2 of NBA free agency on Friday brought another max deal — this time, going to LaVine, who secured the richest contract in Bulls history when he agreed to a $215 million, five-year contract.

LaVine technically was a free agent, for about 18 hours. Klutch Sports, which represents LaVine, made the announcement of the max agreement, with the Bulls able to offer the Olympic gold medalist and two-time All-Star $56 million more than any other club could this summer.

Nurkic got by far the biggest payday of his career, agreeing to a four-year, $70 million contract with Portland. The center just completed his eighth NBA season, the last six of those coming with the Trail Blazers, for whom he averaged 15 points and 11.1 rebounds this past season.

Mitchell Robinson is another big man not moving elsewhere, agreeing Friday to a $60 million, four-year contract to remain with the New York Knicks.

There are some players who will be changing addresses. Danilo Gallinari, according to a person familiar with his decision, intends to sign a two-year deal with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics — once his waiving by the San Antonio Spurs is completed. Gallinari was sent to San Antonio this week in a trade that brought All-Star guard Dejounte Murray to Atlanta.

Also on the move: Bruce Brown Jr., a guard who has decided to leave Brooklyn and sign with Denver on a two-year deal worth just over $13 million. Brown averaged a career-best 9 points per game this past season for the Nets.

Another deal that was put into motion earlier in the week was completed, when five-time All-Star John Wall — bought out by the Houston Rockets — announced he had agreed to a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. Wall was under contract for $47.4 million this season, got bought out by Houston for about $41 million, and will get the $6.4 million difference from the Clippers. Wall hasn’t played in the NBA since April 2021, and has appeared in 82 games, including playoffs, over the last 4 1/2 seasons.

The champion Golden State Warriors brought back one of their key free agents, retaining Kevon Looney — who appeared in all 104 of the team’s games this past season — on a three-year deal that could be worth about $26 million if the final year becomes fully guaranteed. But another two rotation pieces went elsewhere; Gary Payton II is headed to the Portland Trail Blazers and Otto Porter Jr. is signing with the Toronto Raptors.

LaVine’s agreement was at least the fifth deal of at least $200 million struck since free agency opened on Thursday. The others all came on Day 1, going to Nikola Jokic ($264 million extension in Denver), Bradley Beal ($251 million contract to stay in Washington), Devin Booker ($224 million extension with Phoenix) and Karl-Anthony Towns ($224 million extension with Minnesota).

And a sixth deal could very easily join that $200 million club: Memphis’ Ja Morant agreed to a $193 million extension that could reach $231 million based on what awards he qualifies for this coming season.

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Day 2 of free agency: LaVine, Nurkic decide to stay put