If NBA rivals weren’t scared of the Lakers — they are now.
LeBron James’ reigning champions were the big winners on Saturday (AEDT), gutting bitter rivals the Clippers in the biggest coup on the opening day of Free Agency with the signing of reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year Motrezl Harrell.
However, before the Lakers emerged from a dramatic evening of contract chaos, the Lakers found themselves all over the place following a reported botched negotiation with star centre Dwight Howard.
Philadelphia picked up Howard for a reported bargain basement contract that will see the five-time All Star play for a sixth team in the last six seasons.
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The signing came after Howard announced on Twitter he was signing with the Lakers to stay in Los Angeles.
An hour later, his tweet was deleted and the Sixers were announcing he had agreed to a $US2.6 million, one season deal.
Reports emerged in the aftermath that Howard believed he had an official offer from the Lakers for $US3 million. However, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported there was a communication breakdown with the Lakers claiming they had only presented a deal concept offer to Howard.
Suddenly the Lakers went cold.
While the Lakers reportedly failed to get back to Howard’s agent for more than an hour, the Sixers, through new general manager Daryl Morey and All Star Joel Embiid, chased Howard hard.
With the clock ticking away, Howard accepted the bargain basement offer of $2.6 million to join the Sixers.
It seemed like the most dramatic moment of Free Agency, but by the time the dust settled on Saturday afternoon, the Lakers had loaded up for another NBA Championship charge.
The Lakers already had Dennis Schroder in the bag.
Then on Saturday, Lakers boss Rob Pelinka went to work.
Harrell agreed to a two-year $US19M deal with the Lakers, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
They also picked up Wesley Matthews on a one-year, $US3.6M deal as the perfect, cheaper, replacement for Danny Green.
Harrell’s departure was clearly a sucker punch to the Clippers.
Clippers star Patrick Beverley posted on Twitter after the news broke:
Sports Illustrated also reported Clippers teammates were blindsided by the news.
The scary Lakers roster might not even be complete.
According to reports, the Lakers are also in the mix to sign Marc Gasol as a centre to replace Howard.
Despite the Howard mix-up, the Lakers were the big winners on day one.
$1.2 BILLION COMPLETED DEALS IN 2020 NBA FREE AGENCY
As reported by foxsports.com.au, the deals were flying in thick and fast, headlined by De’Aaron Fox’s max extension with the Sacramento Kings:
— Davis Bertans agrees to five-year, $80M deal with the Washington Wizards, via Adrian Wojnarowski
— Christian Wood agrees to a three-year, $41M deal with the Houston Rockets (in a sign-and-trade), via Adrian Wojnarowski
— Marcus Morris agrees to a four-year, $US64M deal with Los Angeles Clippers, via ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski
— Jeraimi Grant agrees to a three-year, $US60M deal with Detroit, via The Athletic’s Shams Charania
— Joe Harris agrees to a four-year, $US75M deal with Broolyn, via ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski
— Derrick Jones Jr. agrees to a two-year, $19M deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, via Shams Charania
— Montrezl Harrell agrees to two-year $US19M deal with Los Angeles Lakers, via ESPN’s Brian Windhorst
— Goran Dragic agrees to a two-year, $US37.4M ($A51m) deal with the Miami Heat, via Shams Charania
— Meyers Leonard agrees to a two-year deal worth nearly $20M with the Miami Heat, via Adrian Wojnarowski
— Real Madrid guard Facundo Campazzo agrees to a two-year deal with the Denver Nuggets, via Adrian Wojnarowski
— Wesley Matthews agrees to a one-year, $3.6M deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, via Shams Charania
— Mason Plumlee agrees to a three-year, $25M deal with the Detroit Pistons, via Adrian Wojnarowski
— Drew Eubanks agrees to a three-year deal with the San Antonio Spurs, via Adrian Wojnarowski
— Dwyane Bacon agrees to a two-year deal with the Orlando Magic, via Vincent Goodwill
— Jahil Okafor agrees to a two-year deal with the Detroit Pistons, via Adrian Wojnarowski
— Patrick Patterson agrees to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, via Adrian Wojnarowski
— De’Aaron Fox agrees to a five-year, $163M ($A223M) extension with the Sacramento Kings, with clause to reach $195.6M, via Shams Charania
— Jordan Clarkson agrees to a four-year, $52M deal with the Utah Jazz, via Adrian Wojnarowski
— Derrick Favors agrees to thee-year, $27M deal with the Utah Jazz, via Tony Jones
— Danilo Gallinari agrees to a three-year, $61.5M ($A84M) deal with the Atlanta Hawks, via Adrian Wojnarowski
— Dwight Howard agrees to $US2.6M, one-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, via Shams Charania
— Rodney Hood agrees to two-year, $21M deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, via Adrian Wojnarowski
— Malik Beasley agrees to four-year, $60M deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, via Shams Charania
— Anthony Gill agrees to a two-year deal with the Washington Wizards, via Adrian Wojnarowski
— Trey Burke agrees to a three-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks, via Tim MacMahon