Serge Ibaka

NBA Notes: Kyle Lowry announces he's staying with Raptors

NBA Notes: Kyle Lowry announces he's staying with Raptors

Kyle Lowry is staying home.

Lowry announced on The Players' Tribune site Sunday that he will re-sign with the Toronto Raptors, adding that it was an easy decision.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that Lowry's deal is worth $100 million over three years. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither Lowry nor the team publicly revealed those details.

The three-time All-Star averaged 22.4 points and 7.0 assists last season for the Raptors, who also struck a deal to retain forward Serge Ibaka earlier Sunday to a $65 million, three-year deal.

Lowry says: "I'm coming back to Toronto because my heart is telling me that it's home."

Raptors: Ibaka reportedly staying in Toronto
A person familiar with the negotiations says Serge Ibaka is staying with the Toronto Raptors, agreeing to terms on a 3-year, $65 million deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Sunday on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be finalized until next week.

Keeping the 6-foot-10 Ibaka was an obvious priority for the Raptors, who are also in talks to retain All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry.

Ibaka, 27, was traded to Toronto from Orlando late last season. He averaged 14.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in 23 games with the Raptors.

Entering his ninth NBA season, Ibaka has career averages of 12 points and 7.3 rebounds.

Rockets: Nene reportedly agrees to deal
The Houston Rockets and Nene have a contract -- again.

A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Rockets agreed to terms with Nene on a three-year deal worth $11 million. It comes one day after an initial agreement fell apart because it violated rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The person requested anonymity Sunday because a contract cannot be signed until Thursday.

Nene initially agreed to a four-year, $15 million deal. But the deal violated a rule for players who will be 38 during the contract and so Nene became a free agent again.

But Nene's interior presence was critical for the Rockets, who have also agreed to terms with P.J. Tucker to add some toughness to a high-scoring roster.

ESPN first reported the new deal.

Cavaliers: Korver to remain in Cleveland
A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to terms with shooter Kyle Korver on a three-year, $22 million contract.

The Cavaliers reached agreement with Korver on Sunday. The person spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because a contract cannot be signed until the moratorium ends on Thursday.

Korver joined the Cavs midway through last season in a trade from Atlanta. The 36-year-old is one of the league's best outside shooters and made it clear he wanted to stay with Cleveland after making it to his first NBA Finals.

Korver led the league in 3-point percentage (45) and averaged 10.8 points in 35 games for the Cavs.

Timberwolves: Free-agent Gibson reportedly agrees to deal
MINNEAPOLIS  -- A person with knowledge of the negotiations says Taj Gibson is reuniting with coach Tom Thibodeau, agreeing on a two-year, $28 million deal to join the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Sunday on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be finalized until the NBA's moratorium ends Thursday.

Gibson has spent the bulk of his career in Chicago, including five seasons under Thibodeau. The Bulls traded him to Oklahoma City late last season.

For his career, Gibson has averaged 9.4 points and 6.3 rebounds. In Minnesota, he'll be a new addition along with another former Bulls teammate -- Jimmy Butler, who was traded to the Timberwolves last month.

5 forwards the Sixers should target in free agency

5 forwards the Sixers should target in free agency

We’ve looked at free-agent options for the Sixers among veterans (see story) and guards (see story).

Now here’s a breakdown of forwards on the open market that could help the Sixers.

Kevin Durant
Haha. A team can dream, right?

Andre Iguodala
Durant’s teammate is a more realistic option as reports have already stated that the Sixers are interested in a reunion with the swingman (see story).

It makes sense for the Sixers. Iguodala spent the first eight seasons of his NBA career in Philadelphia and still possesses the same defensive ability, rebounding and passing that he made a staple of his game over that time.

On the offensive end, Iguodala has been able to show improvement even with more than a decade in the league. He averaged just 7.6 points last season, but the forward shot 52.8 percent from the field (highest mark of his career), 36.2 percent from three-point range (second-highest mark of his career) and 70.6 percent from the free throw line (highest mark since 2009-10).

At age 33, it remains to be seen how much Iguodala has left in the tank. And you definitely have to think he would prefer to remain with the juggernaut Golden State Warriors.

Still, it wouldn’t hurt the Sixers to make a phone call and gauge his interest in a return.

Danilo Gallinari
If it’s scoring the Sixers are going for, Gallinari could be their man.

The Italian combo forward has always been a consistent force on the offensive end. Gallinari has averaged double digits in scoring during eight of his nine seasons in the NBA.

Last season, he led the Nuggets with 18.2 points per game to go along with 5.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Gallinari also connected on 44.7 percent from the field and a career-high 38.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Defense and injuries have always been issues for “Gallo.” He was a key cog for a Denver Nuggets team that finished 29th in defensive rating a season ago and has played only 70 or more games twice in his career.

While those warts are glaring, Gallinari’s overall production outweighs them. The 28-year-old ranked 31st in the entire league in 2016-17 in real plus-minus, which measures net point differential per 100 offensive and defensive possessions.

In the end, a veteran player that can operate offensively on both the low block and perimeter is an attractive piece. Gallinari’s ability to play either forward spot would open up even more options for Brett Brown’s lineup. That’s the type of guy the Sixers should take a serious look at in free agency.

Serge Ibaka
How about a good mix on both ends of the floor? Two-way players do exist and Ibaka is among the better ones.

Ibaka has primarily been known for his defense throughout his career. He was named to the league’s all-defensive first team three times. Plus, the 6-10 forward has finished in the NBA’s top 10 in blocks per game for seven straight seasons (league leader in 2012 and 2013).

While that part of Ibaka’s game has been a constant, he has made tremendous strides on offense since coming from overseas. Ibaka entered the league as strictly a bruiser near the rim and has progressively added to his skill set. 

He averaged 14.8 points last season split between the Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors. He shot 48.0 percent from the field and a career-high 39.1 percent from three.  

At 27 years old, there doesn’t appear to be much to dislike about Ibaka — except the potential price tag. Ibaka will absolutely be looking to cash in this offseason. The Sixers have money to spend, but that doesn't mean they should go overboard for the veteran.

Otto Porter Jr. and Bojan Bogdanovic
The Washington duo of Porter and Bogdanovic are the only restricted free agents on the list but could be worth the trouble of having to deal with the Wizards potentially matching an offer sheet.

Porter enjoyed a breakout season in 2016-17. He put up career highs in points (13.4), rebounds (6.4), steals (1.5), field goal percentage (51.6), three-point percentage (43.4) and free throw percentage (83.2).

At just 24 years old, Porter would be a strong fit to grow with the Sixers’ young core for the foreseeable future if they are able to pry him away from D.C. Highly unlikely, but worth a try.

Bogdanovic provides less efficiency, but a massive amount of experience from playing all over the globe. The 28-year-old Croatian recorded 13.7 points a night last season on 44.5 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from three with the Brooklyn Nets and Wizards. 

With the Wizards still looking at a possible trade for Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George and an owner in Ted Leonsis that has maintained a stance of avoiding spending into the luxury tax, the Sixers might be able to snag either Porter or Bogdanovic.

5 veterans the Sixers should target in free agency

5 veterans the Sixers should target in free agency

The Sixers got younger in the draft with 19-year-old Markelle Fultz. Now it’s time to add more experience in free agency.

The Sixers will be targeting veterans this offseason. They have two rookies in Fultz and Ben Simmons that will need mentoring. Not to mention Jerryd Bayless is the only player under contract for next season that has played more than five seasons in the NBA.

“The coaching staff is going to have their challenges again with the young core,” Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said last week. “Hopefully, it will be made better by adding some veteran presence. Presence not only will be helpful on the court, but off the court as well.”

Since the Sixers are not rushing into a max contract situation, veteran free agents could receive offers that look more like two or three year deals with options. That means the price tag could be on the higher end to get an older player to take less years. It’s a trade off for contractual security and financial security.  

Here's a look at five free agent veterans who could be a fit for the Sixers:

J.J. Redick 
This one should come as no surprise. Not even a little. I’ve been saying the Sixers should sign J.J. Redick since the season ended. Like here. And here. And here again

Simply put, Redick fits all of the Sixers’ free agent needs, and reportedly they're prepared to "make a hard push" to sign him. Brett Brown has talked about the desire for the “hybrid of both worlds,” veterans who can lead a team and shoot. 

Redick is a veteran leader with 11 years of NBA experience. He has reached the playoffs in each one of them and will be able to show the younger Sixers the ropes if they earn a postseason berth. 

Last season he shot 42.9 percent from three, good for fifth highest in the league. The Sixers need a long-range boost after they finished tied for 24th in the NBA in three-point shooting (34.0 percent). Overall, Redick averaged 15.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 28.2 minutes over 78 games (all as a starter). 

Redick will be on the high salary end among the players on this list. And that’s fine for the Sixers to shell out more to get him. Shooters have longevity in this league. Redick has missed a total of just 15 games over the last three seasons. Last summer the Sixers were interested in veterans Jamal Crawford and Manu Ginobili and were willing to pay up. Redick, who turned 33 on June 24, is younger than they were. 

Kyle Lowry
That’s a name we haven’t heard in a while since the massive buzz surrounding his opt out from the Raptors. The Sixers’ need for Lowry has lessened since they drafted Fultz. 

Lowry most likely will be looking for more money and more years than the Sixers want to commit to. That being said, there is no harm in placing a phone call, especially with the lure of a hometown return. 

Lowry averaged 22.4 points, 7.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds last season. He has established himself into an All-Star point guard over the past three seasons and has helped his teammates develop on the Raptors.

Will Lowry stay firm on his desire for a ring, or could he be enticed to join a younger team? 

Serge Ibaka 
The Sixers want shooters and that doesn’t have to come from only the backcourt. The 6-foot-10 power forward can stretch the floor and add to the versatile system the Sixers are looking to construct. The Sixers have many options at the four spot, whether that’s starting Ben Simmons there instead of point, starting Dario Saric or adding a new starter and moving Saric to a sixth man role. 

"I think the stretch four position is something, backing up Dario or starting in front of Dario, whichever it is if we can find someone that's better," Colangelo said at the end of the season. "We've got to probably address that four position. If you look at the depth chart, you've got boxes on different places, there's boxes in different places. That's one area where there's a box."

Ibaka averaged 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game last season split between the Magic and Raptors. He shot a career-high 39.1 percent from three. 

Patty Mills 
Mills would be a solid veteran addition to the Sixers' bench. He played the last six seasons for the Spurs, which automatically bolsters any NBA resume. Mills is a reliable role player. He averaged 9.5 points, 3.5 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 21.9 games over 80 games (eight starts) last season. 

The connections really are key with Mills. He was coached by Brown not only on the Spurs, but the Australian national team, too. Would Mills take less money to play under one of his favorite coaches? Even if the Sixers would have to pay full price, adding a veteran who already is bought in to the coach is key for the locker room.

“I love him. He’s one of my all-time favorite coaches,” Mills told CSNPhilly.com in February. “I remember how passionate he is. He uses a lot of his time and energy to making sure that whatever he’s doing, he gets the most out of it. It’s good when you have a leader or a coach that puts everything into it ... I think the word I would use to describe him is ‘genuine.’”

Bringing in Mills also would help fellow Australian Simmons in his first NBA season. The same goes for Jonah Bolden if he plays for the Sixers next season. Having a reminder of home and someone who has made the same transition to the NBA couldn’t hurt.  

Tony Allen
Yes, the Sixers want shooters. It’s hard to overlook a hard-nosed defender when they are available, though. 

Allen has been named to the All-Defensive First team three times. This past season he was selected to the second team, receiving 17 first-team votes. Over the years his hunger on defense hasn’t wavered, and he could instill that mindset into younger teammates.

He averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists in his 13th season. Allen missed the Grizzlies postseason run (the first round) with a calf strain.

Allen is the stretch target of this list. He reportedly would like to stay in Memphis and said he’s “not trying to break the bank,” according to the Commercial Appeal. Still, his fervent passion for defense makes him worth a look.