Lillard gets $196M, 4-year extension with Portland, and NBA spending spree begins

In this May 20, 2019 photo, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard shoots near Golden State Warriors forward Jordan Bell during Game 4 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals in Portland, Oregon. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer, File)
Updated 01 July 2019

Lillard gets $196M, 4-year extension with Portland, and NBA spending spree begins

  • Kevin Durant leaving Golden State and joining Brooklyn on a $164 million, four-year deal
  • Jimmy Butler agrees to a four-year, $142 million deal that will send him to Miami

Damian Lillard wasn’t a top-five pick. Tobias Harris wasn’t a lottery pick. Khris Middleton wasn’t even a first-rounder.
Their bank balances won’t know the difference soon.
Free agency opened Sunday with more than $2 billion in deals getting struck in the opening hours — and that’s even without Kyrie Irving officially joining Brooklyn, as has been expected, or any word from Kawhi Leonard about his future plans to either stay with NBA champion Toronto or move elsewhere.
Lillard agreed to a $196 million, four-year extension with Portland that will kick in for the 2021-22 season. Harris is staying in Philadelphia for $180 million over the next five years and Middleton gave Milwaukee a bit of a discount in agreeing to a $178 million, five-year deal — $12 million shy of what he could have commanded.
Even injuries couldn’t derail the spending.
Kevin Durant announced that he’s leaving Golden State and joining Brooklyn on a $164 million, four-year deal — even though he’ll miss next season with an Achilles injury and could have gotten $221 million for five years from the Warriors. And Kristaps Porzingis, who hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since Feb. 6, 2018 because of a knee injury, will sign a $158 million, five-year contract to stay with Dallas.
All deals were confirmed to The Associated Press by people with direct knowledge of the agreements, all speaking on condition of anonymity because the NBA moratorium prevents new contracts from being signed until noon Eastern time on Saturday.
“From the trade to the Sixers in February, through the regular season and playoffs and now on to free agency, this contract is a culmination of so much in my life and basketball career,” Harris wrote in an essay published on ESPN.com. “It’s also a new beginning.”
There were a lot of new beginnings Sunday.
Jimmy Butler agreed to a four-year, $142 million deal that will send him to Miami. Butler — a close friend of retired Miami guard Dwyane Wade — made clear to the Heat that he wanted to be in Miami, and over the next three hours the basic framework of a trade was worked out. Miami is sending Josh Richardson to Philadelphia and Goran Dragic to Dallas to make the Butler move happen.
Irving and Leonard remained on the market, at least technically in Irving’s case, after the initial flurry of free agency — and even with their deals still not closed, nine players agreed to contracts that will be worth $100 million or more. Lillard, Harris, Middleton, Durant, Porzingis, Butler, Kemba Walker ($141 million, four-year deal with Boston), Al Horford ($109 million, four years from Philadelphia) and Nikola Vucevic ($100 million, four years with Orlando) were the big early winners, with more likely to come.
The 76ers moved quickly to add Horford, once the parameters of the Butler trade to Miami were complete.
Point guards did particularly well, and will likely keep doing well.
Lillard, Irving (when he gets his $141 million for four years from Brooklyn, as expected) and Walker guaranteed themselves nearly a half-billion dollars. Terry Rozier left Boston for Charlotte — essentially the swap for Walker — on what will be a $58 million, three-year deal that will be completed via trade. Ricky Rubio also cashed in, getting $51 million for three years from the Phoenix Suns and restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell was believed to be a target for both Minnesota and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Meanwhile, the Leonard watch continued with no hints from his camp. The NBA Finals MVP and now two-time champion will meet with the Raptors in the coming days, Toronto coach Nick Nurse said.
Nurse didn’t say where the Raptors will be seeing Leonard, but said the NBA champs believe they “have a really good chance” to keep him.
“I think he had a tremendous year,” Nurse said at an event in Jefferson, Iowa, near his hometown. “I think it’s a great place. You guys can see our fans and ownership is great. Our front office leadership is great, his teammates. You know, everything went well for him to re-sign. And probably mostly, on top of that, would be his health. He was a guy that missed a whole season, and he had a good, healthy year and played his best basketball in the playoffs.”
In other key deals Sunday:
— Indiana is set to acquire 2017 rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon from Milwaukee and sign the shooting guard to a four-year, $85 million deal.
— Harrison Barnes, as expected, is remaining in Sacramento on what will be a four-year, $85 million contract.
— The Pacers lost forward Bojan Bogdanovic to the Utah Jazz, which agreed to pay the forward $73.1 million over the next four years.
— New York, with Knicks fans hoping for a shot at Durant, is signing Julius Randle to a $63 million deal.
— Former NBA MVP Derrick Rose will sign a two-year, $15 million contract with the Detroit Pistons.
— San Antonio kept Rudy Gay on a two-year, $32 million deal, and added veteran forward DeMarre Carroll on a two-year, $12 million deal.
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AP Sports Writer Luke Meredith contributed to this report.
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Riyadh route revealed for inaugural Saudi Tour cycling event

Updated 24 January 2020

Riyadh route revealed for inaugural Saudi Tour cycling event

  • The race, will begin at the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee headquarters on Feb. 4 and end on Feb. 8 at Al-Masmak Fort

RIYADH: The Saudi Cycling Federation on Thursday revealed the full route for next month’s inaugural Saudi Tour event in Riyadh.

The 755 kilometer race, which is split into five daily stages, will begin at the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee headquarters on Feb. 4 and end on Feb. 8 at Al-Masmak Fort. Along the way, the competitors will pass many Riyadh landmarks, including Sadus Castle, Wadi Namar Park and Al-Bujairi historical district.

Eighteen teams from 13 countries will compete, and the riders include Mark Cavendish from the UK, Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni and Dutch cyclist Niki Terpstra.

Subah Al-Kraidees, chairman of the Saudi Cycling Federation, said he is delighted that the Kingdom is hosting a major Union Cycliste Internationale cycling event for the first time.

“I am so proud that the Saudi Cycling Federation is able to see one of its dreams realized with this event, and to have Saudi Arabia recognized as an important station in the international biking scene,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for Saudi athletes to rub shoulders with international bikers, and to see what they have achieved and learn from their experiences.”

The Saudi Tour will be broadcast worldwide by 25 TV networks, six of whom will also live stream the event.

Three other events will take place on the sidelines of the main race: a public bike ride from noon to 12:45 p.m. on Feb. 6, a junior race on the same day from 1 p.m. to 2.40 p.m., and a women’s ride from 12.30 p.m. to 1.30 p.m. on Feb. 8.

You can find more details of the event and broadcast schedules, and track the teams and their race times, at www.thesauditour.com.