The Journal Gazette
Sunday, November 22, 2020 1:00 am

NBA free agency

Hayward finally going to Hornets

VanVleet decides to stay with Raptors

TIM REYNOLDS | Associated Press

Fred VanVleet, who went from undrafted to pivotal player, is staying put. Gordon Hayward is heading to a new home.

VanVleet agreed Saturday to a four-year, $85 million contract to remain with the Toronto Raptors, a person with direct knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the contract remains unsigned. The fourth year of the contract is at VanVleet's option.

The Charlotte Hornets had wanted Hayward for years. On Saturday, they finally landed him, according to Priority Sports, the agency that represents the veteran forward. A person with knowledge of the terms said Hayward will sign a four-year contract worth $120 million.

VanVleet, the undrafted guard from Wichita State, has played a huge role in the Raptors' recent successes, most importantly their run to the 2019 NBA championship. He has set career bests in scoring by wide margins in each of the last three seasons, that number rising to 17.6 points per game this past season.

Keeping VanVleet was of importance to the Raptors, who have won at least 50 games in each of the last five seasons – by far the longest current streak in the NBA.

Hayward, the former Butler star, turned down a $34 million option for this season with Boston, and the Celtics were in talks with other teams – including Indiana, which was believed to be a preference of Hayward's – on potential sign-and-trade deals. Instead, it appears Hayward will walk away as a free agent.

Hayward agreed to a four-year offer sheet worth about $63 million with the Hornets in 2014, a deal that was matched by the Utah Jazz – Hayward's original team. Hayward left the Jazz for Boston in 2017, saw his first season with the Celtics end on opening night of the 2017-18 season when he suffered a horrible lower leg injury, then averaged 14.0 points per game over the following two seasons.

Elsewhere Saturday on Day 2 of free agency:

Atlanta: Guard Rajon Rondo agreed to a two-year deal with the Hawks, a source said. The Hawks also agreed with guard Kris Dunn on a two-year contract worth $10 million, a source said, after the Hawks agreed with Danilo Gallinari on a three-year contract.

Denver: Paul Millsap is staying with the Nuggets on a one-year deal that will be worth around $10 million, a source said. 

Miami: The Heat agreed to a two-year deal starting at $5.9 million for this season with top defensive guard Avery Bradley, agent Charles Briscoe said. Bradley has averaged 11.8 points in his career. He spent last season with the Lakers but did not accompany them to the NBA restart bubble at Walt Disney World. He averaged 8.6 points in 49 games, mostly starts, for the Lakers last season. Also, Moe Harkless agreed to a $3.6 million contract, a source said. 

Milwaukee: Priority Sports announced that Bobby Portis, who averaged 10.1 points last season for New York Knicks, agreed to a deal with the Bucks. Also, a source said, Milwaukee and guard D.J. Augustin agreed on a three-year contract.

Orlando: Michael Carter-Williams is returning to the Magic on a two-year contract, a source said. Carter-Williams averaged 7.2 points in 45 games off Orlando's bench last season.

Philadelphia: Dwight Howard, a center, signed a one-year, $2.6 million deal.

Phoenix: Forward Jae Crowder, a big part of Miami's run last season to the NBA Finals, agreed on a three-year contract that will be worth nearly $30 million to join the Suns, a source said.

Portland: Carmelo Anthony is coming back for an 18th season, agreeing to a one-year deal to remain with the Trail Blazers, a source said. Portland gave Anthony an opportunity to extend his career last season and averaged 15.4 points. Anthony is currently 15th on the NBA's all-time scoring list with 26,446 points.

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