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NBA trade winds blowing strong

China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-22 07:45

NBA trade winds blowing strong

From left: Dwight Howard and Brook Lopez are two stars who are changing teams, while Pau Gasol and Dwyane Wade are staying put as this week's activity kicks off a frenzied period of NBA player movements. NBAE / Getty Images

Flurry of transactions heralds the start of what could be a very busy summer of player movement

NEW YORK - Dwight Howard and Brook Lopez are on the move. Dwyane Wade is opting in. Pau Gasol is opting out.

And the Los Angeles Lakers have provided the clearest indication yet that Lonzo Ball is their guy.

The NBA offseason is already in overdrive, with a dizzying series of moves on Tuesday.

Howard was traded by the Atlanta Hawks to the Charlotte Hornets, who acquired the eight-time All-Star center for a package that included Miles Plumlee and Marco Belinelli.

And Lopez - another center - is leaving Brooklyn and headed to the Lakers as part of a deal that has D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov going to the Nets.

That leaves the Lakers with a clear need at point guard, a problem they will likely rectify on Thursday when they presumably will take Ball with the No 2 pick in the NBA Draft.

It was a big move for the Lakers in another way; Mozgov is still owed $48 million over the next three seasons, while Lopez's contract will expire after next season.

Howard will be playing for his third team in three seasons following a disappointing homecoming in Atlanta.

He signed a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Atlanta and then sat out the fourth quarter in two of six playoff games in the Hawks' first-round loss to Washington.

"Let the madness begin," Portland guard CJ McCollum said. "Draft week is always the most interesting time of the year."

Madness is right.

A week after the Golden State Warriors won their second championship in three years, the rest of the league is maneuvering like mad.

Along with the trades, confirmed by sources with direct knowledge who spoke to Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither deal was formally announced, Gasol opted out of his $16 million deal for next season with San Antonio.

He intends to sign a new multiyear deal with the Spurs that will reduce his annual salary but give him more security, and presumably give San Antonio a chance to add a big-time free agent this summer.

Meanwhile, Wade told the Bulls he will take his $23.8 million deal for next season, a decision he had until next week to make.

Minnesota parted ways with Nikola Pekovic, waiving him in what could be the last act of a career that was derailed by foot and ankle problems over the past three seasons.

Pekovic missed all of last season and played only 12 games the previous campaign.

With many trade rumors swirling, the belief by many around the league is that Jerry West joining the Clippers' front office could help their pursuit of LeBron James in the summer of 2018, and the ongoing watch in New York of what the Knicks will do - if anything - with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.

Elsewhere, Philadelphia and Boston completed the deal that sent the No 1 overall pick to the 76ers - giving them the chance to take Markelle Fultz, and allowing the Celtics to choose either Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson at No 3, which they got in the swap.

The Celtics said they think the player they take third overall would likely have been the player they used the No 1 pick on anyway, so they called it a win-win move.

Then came the news that the Cleveland Cavaliers were parting ways with general manager David Griffin after three straight trips to the NBA Finals, a move that James clearly was not happy about.

Cleveland then talked with former All-Star guard Chauncey Billups on Tuesday about a job in the front office.

The draft is on Thursday, and free agency and the new collective bargaining agreement start on July 1.

"Wow!" Phoenix guard Devin Booker said on Twitter.

It wasn't clear what Booker was exactly referring to, though he probably said it a few times on Tuesday.

Wow, indeed.

Associated Press

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