Blake Griffin

NBA Notes: Jamal Crawford chooses Timberwolves over Warriors, Cavaliers

NBA Notes: Jamal Crawford chooses Timberwolves over Warriors, Cavaliers

MINNEAPOLIS -- At 37 years old and having never played in the NBA Finals, Jamal Crawford certainly could have gone ring chasing when he received a buyout from the Atlanta Hawks.

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, who have met in the last three finals, were both interested in the veteran scorer. LeBron James was calling Crawford personally to recruit him to Cleveland.

So naturally, Crawford chose ... the Minnesota Timberwolves?

The Wolves have missed the playoffs for 13 straight seasons. But after Minnesota added Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague this summer, Crawford decided to join Tom Thibodeau's team in hopes of being an integral part of a team trying to break through as opposed to the latest hired gun on an established contender.

"I want to experience it with these guys and go through the wars and the struggles and just really embrace the journey with these guys," Crawford said Wednesday. "To me, that can be even more gratifying than just going to a team that's already made and ready to win a championship. Hopefully, we'll get there, but we'll all go through it together" (see full story).

Spurs: Ginobili indicates he’ll return for 16th season
SAN ANTONIO -- As the clock ticked down on the Spurs' season and Manu Ginobili was pulled from the game, a thunderous roar from the home crowd guided him to the bench.

Ginobili wore an appreciative but quizzical look on his face as he put a warmup shirt back on and prepared to head off into the summer. Clearly, the fans were saying goodbye to one of the most popular players in Spurs history.

Ginobili was not ready to do the same: The Argentinian posted a message on his Twitter account on Wednesday that he is re-signing with San Antonio for another season, which will be his 16th with the Spurs.

"It felt like they wanted me to retire," Ginobili said with a smile after the Spurs were swept out of the Western Conference finals by the Golden State Warriors. "Like they were giving me sort of a celebration night. And of course, I'm getting closer and closer."

Save those goodbyes for at least another year (see full story).

Clippers: Griffin calls decision to stay a ’no-brainer’ 
LOS ANGELES -- Blake Griffin was back in his usual place, front and center on a Clippers stage.

After opting out of his contract, Griffin didn't spend the offseason toiling over whether to sign with another team -- like his teammate DeAndre Jordan famously did. For Griffin, it was an easy decision to sign a max five-year deal to stay with the only NBA team he's played for in his seven-year career.

"I want to say how excited I am to be back. This has been my home since I was drafted. A lot went into this decision," Griffin said Wednesday. "In the end, I realized this was a no-brainer for me. This is the place where I want to start and finish my career. . This next chapter and next season for the Clippers and myself, I've never been more excited about an opportunity."

Griffin, 28, is undoubtedly the star of the Clippers with Chris Paul gone in the trade with the Rockets that sent Pat Beverley to Los Angeles.

Griffin said he and Paul talked about his decision to want to leave the Clippers.

"No hard feelings," said Griffin, a five-time All-Star. "I think we're all professional enough to know and we've all been in the situation now to know sometimes you have to do what's right and what's best for yourself and your family. I've never had hard feelings with any of my teammates who decided to leave or felt like it was best to leave. I wouldn't start now" (see full story).

Wizards: With Porter deal done, team keeps core intact
WASHINGTON -- Otto Porter is a quiet, complementary piece to the Wizards' talented young core. He is also now Washington's highest-paid player.

At least temporarily.

Guards John Wall and Bradley Beal garner most of the attention as Washington has made it to the second round of the NBA playoffs three of the last four seasons. But for now, Porter makes the most money after the Wizards matched a four-year, $106.5 million max-contract offer sheet the forward signed with the Brooklyn Nets.

There might be questions if the 24-year-old Porter is worth that money. But the Wizards believe he is a good fit alongside Wall, 26, a four-time All-Star, and Beal, 24, one of the league's top shooting guards.

"You just use that as motivation just like John and Brad did," Porter said at a news conference Wednesday. "They set the bar high. I'm going to set my bar, high, too" (see full story).

Grizzlies: PG Chalmers signs contract
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies have signed guard Mario Chalmers, nearly 1 1/2 years after he ruptured his right Achilles tendon playing for the team.

The Grizzlies announced the deal Wednesday. Terms of the contract weren't disclosed.

The 31-year-old Chalmers was injured in March 2016. During the 2015-16 season, Chalmers played 61 games for the Grizzlies and Miami Heat, averaging 10.3 points, 3.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds.

Chalmers played for Miami from 2008-15 and was part of the Heat's 2012 and 2013 NBA championship teams.

NBA free agency: Warriors' Stephen Curry agrees to record $201 million deal

NBA free agency: Warriors' Stephen Curry agrees to record $201 million deal

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers says a contract will be finalized with two-time MVP Stephen Curry once the free agency moratorium ends July 6.

The Warriors confirmed that in an email to The Associated Press on Friday night. Curry's agent, Jeff Austin of Octagon Sports, first told ESPN that the deal will be worth $201 million over five years, a record for the NBA.

Curry, who won the MVP the past two years and earned $12 million this season, scored 28.1 points in the playoffs while also contributing 6.7 assists and 6.2 rebounds.

On Thursday, NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant declined to opt in for the second year of his contract with Golden State and becomes an unrestricted free agent. That was an expected move, as he said he plans to do his part to keep the core of the champion Warriors intact to chase more titles by giving the team financial flexibility (see story).

Clippers: Griffin stays in LA on 5-year deal
Blake Griffin was in line to be one of the most pursued players in free agency.

That is, until he decided to skip free agency.

And his reward for that will be one of the richest contracts in in NBA history.

Hours before other teams could officially start trying to woo him away from the Los Angeles Clippers, Griffin agreed to terms on a five-year deal worth approximately $175 million to remain with the Los Angeles Clippers, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be formally announced until at least July 6.

Griffin's deal will be worth about $22 million more than the then-record $153 million contract Memphis guard Mike Conley signed last summer. But the total value of Griffin's deal will likely be surpassed in this free-agent frenzy, with players like Golden State's Stephen Curry eligible to get even more.

Griffin was planning to meet with other teams this weekend, including Phoenix, but canceled those talks after striking the deal to stay in Los Angeles (see full story).

Timberwolves: Teague agrees to 3-year contract 
MINNEAPOLIS -- It didn't take the Minnesota Timberwolves long to find a replacement for Ricky Rubio.

Just a few hours after trading Rubio to the Utah Jazz, the Wolves agreed to terms with free agent point guard Jeff Teague on a three-year deal worth $57 million. A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press the deal includes a player option for the third year.

Teague averaged 15.3 points and a career-high 7.8 assists for the Indiana Pacers last season. He shot 35.7 percent from 3-point range and is a better jump shooter than Rubio. The Wolves were looking to upgrade their shooting after trading for Jimmy Butler last week.

Spurs: Mills stays with San Antonio on $50M deal
A person with knowledge of the situation says point guard Patty Mills is returning to the San Antonio Spurs on a four-year deal worth $50 million.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Saturday on condition of anonymity because of the league moratorium preventing deals from being finalized until July 6.

Mills has spent the past six seasons with the Spurs, helping them win the 2014 NBA title. Keeping Mills was a priority for the Spurs for many reasons, including how point guard Tony Parker is still dealing with a left leg injury that knocked him out of last season's playoffs.

Mills averaged 9.5 points in a career-best 22 minutes per game last season. He also finished tied with Kawhi Leonard for the Spurs' lead in 3-pointers, with 147.

Rockets: Veteran big man Nene staying with 4-year deal
A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Houston Rockets have reached agreement with Nene on a four-year deal worth $15 million.

The sides came to an agreement Friday shortly before the free agent market opened, ensuring that Nene would remain with a team that just acquired star point guard Chris Paul. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been officially announced.

Nene will turn 35 in September. He averaged 9.1 points and 4.1 rebounds in 67 games and is a trusted interior presence for a team that makes its living shooting 3-pointers and scoring at the rim.

The Houston Chronicle first reported the agreement.

NBA Notes: Pacers' Paul George reportedly traded to Thunder

NBA Notes: Pacers' Paul George reportedly traded to Thunder

Two people with knowledge of the details say the Indiana Pacers have agreed to trade Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in a stunning deal that gives MVP Russell Westbrook a new running mate.

The people said teams came together on the trade Friday just hours before the free agent market was set to open. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade was not official.

George told the Pacers recently that he planned to leave as a free agent next summer, forcing the team to find a trade before losing him for nothing. The All-Star forward averaged a career-best 23.7 points last season in leading Indiana to the first round of the playoffs.

The trade was first reported by ESPN (see full story).

Timberwolves: Rubio traded to Jazz to clear cap space
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves have reached an agreement to send point guard Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz to clear salary cap space for a big run in free agency.

A person with direct knowledge of the deal says the two sides agreed to the move on Friday, hours before free agency opened. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither team had announced the move. The Jazz needed to make the deal before July 1 or would have lost the salary cap room necessary to pull it off.

Rubio's arrival likely means the end of George's Hills run in Utah.

Rubio spent six seasons in Minnesota, delighting Wolves fans with flashy passing and an approachable nature while also suffering through losing season after losing season (see full story).

Bulls: Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo waived
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls have waived veteran point guard Rajon Rondo.

The Bulls bought out Rondo for $3 million Friday rather than exercise a $13.4 million option for next season. He signed a two-year deal to come to Chicago last summer.

The 31-year-old Rondo was in and out of the rotation, chided Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade for criticizing the team's effort and finished the season on a strong note before missing the final four playoff games against Boston because of a broken right thumb.

The four-time All-Star averaged 7.8 points and 6.7 assists. The Bulls had said Rondo would probably be back, but he became expendable when they acquired Kris Dunn from Minnesota in the Butler trade on draft night.

Chicago also waived guard Isaiah Canaan (see full story).

Cavaliers: Team to make offer to keep Kyle Korver
CLEVELAND -- Unable to chase any high-profile free agents, the Cavaliers want to retain one of their own.

With an eye on closing the gap on Golden State after losing in the NBA Finals, the Cavs will extend a contract offer to free agent forward Kyle Korver after the negotiating period begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press on Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not discussing its plans in free agency.

Korver is a high priority for the Cavs, who are restricted from making any major signings because they're over the salary cap.

Free agents can agree to deals during the league's moratorium but can't sign until July 6.

The 36-year-old Korver, though, remains one of the best outside shooters in league history and has expressed an interest in staying with Cleveland after making it to the finals for the first time in his career last season.

Korver averaged 10.7 points and shot 49 percent on 3-pointers in 35 games for Cleveland after coming over in a trade from Atlanta in January. Overall, he made a league-high 45 percent of his 3s.

Korver struggled in the playoffs, averaging 5.8 points, and he missed a critical 3-pointer in the final minute of Game 3 of the finals that could have trimmed Golden State's lead in the series. The Warriors eventually dethroned the Cavs in five games (see full story).