NBA free agency begins this weekend. One former Wildcat is already on the move, while another just got PAID.
Former Wildcats big man Enes Kanter, who played last season with the Celtics, is being traded to the Trail Blazers.
Kanter is part of a three-team deal that will send Boston draft consideration, while the Grizzlies get Blazers guard Mario Hezonja and the 30th pick in this year’s NBA Draft, according to ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski.
Portland is acquiring Boston's Enes Kanter in a three-way deal with Memphis, sources tell ESPN. Memphis gets Mario Hezonjia and 30th pick (Desmond Bane) from draft night deal as part of trade too. Celtics get a future Memphis draft consideration.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 20, 2020
Elsewhere, former Wildcats star De’Aaron Fox is reportedly signing a max contract extension with the Sacramento Kings, according to Yahoo reporter Shams Charania.
De'Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings is the first maximum contract of 2020 NBA free agency, negotiated by @chrisgaston_ of @FamFirstSports. https://t.co/StInTTwtCY— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 21, 2020
Fox, the fifth overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, has become one of the league’s best point guards, so it’s no surprise to see the Kings lock up their franchise player. Under the designated rookie rule, Fox was eligible to sign a five-year extension (at a max salary of 25 percent of the cap) this offseason.
This past season, Fox averaged a career-best 21.1 points to go with 6.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. He was entering the final year of his rookie deal, and he’ll now be one of the league’s highest-paid players.
As for Kanter, prior to bring brought on with Boston last season, he actually had a successful season with the Blazers. Kanter is a solid option at the four or five. He’s averaged a double-double for an entire season before, and when given the minutes, he’s proven to be effective in the paint.
During his stint with Portland before, Kanter thrived, averaging 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Per 36 minutes, those numbers blossomed to 21.2 points and 13.9 rebounds. He played in 23 games, starting 8.
While he’s not the difference between a contender and a pretender, Portland showed enough last season for fans to know they’re just a few pieces away, and Kanter is certainly going to be a crucial piece to their puzzle.
This was a good trade all around as Boston has several up-and-coming stars in their front court and the Grizzlies could use the young talent they acquired. It’s a win-win for each party.
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