Registrato: 07/07/18 12:54
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|Kevin Durant is staying put for now. So are Paul George and Chris Paul.
Meanwhile , LeBron James‘ next move remains unclear.
Durant has decided to sign a two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the deal cannot become official until the league’s offseason moratorium ends on Friday. The deal comes with a player option for 2019-20, so Durant can – and likely will – become a free agent again next summer.
So much for the notion that stars would wait for James to decide his future before they would decide theirs.
Things went a very different way.
Durant, Paul and George all knew what they were going to do even before the NBA’s moratorium – and the start of free agency – officially kicked in at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Sunday. So did plenty of other players, and by the time the moratorium was 2 hours old nearly $700 million worth of deals had been agreed upon, based on figures confirmed to AP by people involved in the various decisions.
Durant’s move is a win on multiple levels for the two-time defending NBA champion Warriors. Not only do they get to keep the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals MVP, but they also get some financial flexibility in the deal.
Durant will be paid about $30.5 million this coming season, about $5 million less than he could have commanded if the deal was structured differently. That savings will give Golden State options for other moves this summer, as the Warriors look to bolster their bench for a run at what could be a fourth title in a five-year span.
They might need the boost, because the Western Conference is going to be loaded again.
George took the stage at a party in Oklahoma City on Saturday night and announced that he will be staying with the Thunder, a move that might have been unexpected a year ago when he was traded away by the Indiana Pacers – presumably because of the belief that he was already focused on joining his hometown Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.
That move isn’t happening.
Not now, anyway, and barring a trade not for at least three years in what will be considered a massive victory for the Thunder and general manager Sam Presti. George agreed to a four-year deal that will be worth roughly $135 million, though he can opt out of the final season, according to a person familiar with the terms.
”I’m here to stay,” George told the crowd at the party.
Down in Houston , Paul has told Rockets fans the same thing.
”UNFINISHED BUSINESS,” Paul wrote on Twitter at the exact moment that the calendar flipped to July 1 in the East, meaning the NBA’s free agency frenzy was officially open for the summer.
His meaning was clear. The Rockets were tantalizingly close to a trip to the NBA Finals this spring, and Paul’s coming back to get over that hump.
Houston took Golden State to seven games in the Western Conference finals back in May. Paul missed the last two games of that series with an injury, and the Rockets wasted big leads in both of those games – then had to watch the Warriors sweep Cleveland for the NBA title.
Paul averaged 18.6 points and 7.9 assists last season with the Rockets, who went 65-17 led by Paul and newly minted NBA MVP James Harden. ESPN reported he is signing a four-year deal that will be worth $160 million.
Meanwhile, James created a frenzy on Saturday without saying a word.
James spent the week vacationing in Anguilla, and hopped aboard a private Gulfstream jet in the morning to fly to the Los Angeles area. By the time he arrived around midday – after his flight plan was tracked online – reporters and at least one news helicopter were waiting for the Cleveland Cavaliers star, who decided to become an unrestricted free agent and not opt-in to a $35.6 million deal for this coming season.
The Lakers have long been mentioned as a top destination for James, and they have more salary cap space this summer than any team in the NBA. But going to L.A. on Saturday doesn’t necessarily provide any hint about his team for next season, since James has homes in Southern California.
But if James is going to be the next superstar to follow in the legacy that Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson built for the Lakers, it’s already fairly evident that not everyone in the NBA will be thrilled by the development.
”The Lakers are FOREVER gonna be Kobe’s and Magic’s team…. Process that,” Philadelphia star Joel Embiid wrote on Twitter.
Philadelphia has been one of the teams often mentioned as a club that would pursue James this summer , and that still may be the case.
With Durant, George and Paul off the board, James is the biggest name left to decide his intentions when it comes to free agency. His agent Rich Paul was expected to meet by phone with Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman early Sunday, and there has been no indication when James will announce his plans for next season and beyond.
For Dallas, persistence paid off. The Mavs finally are getting DeAndre Jordan.
Jordan agreed to sign with Dallas three years ago, then changed his mind and social media went beyond abuzz over what happened next. Former teammate Blake Griffin and coach Doc Rivers were part of a contingent that went to his house and stayed with him until the deal was official.
But he agreed quickly this time to a one-year, $24.1 million deal and will finally be part of the Mavericks.
Denver added to the huge night of spending out West when it got Will Barton to commit to staying in what will be a f
The wide receiver position in fantasy football has been one of the more hotly debated topics in recent seasons. The depth at receiver and amount of consistent scoring led to the advent of the "zero running back" draft strategy.
Utilizing that approach, you would refrain from selecting a running back in the early stages of your draft while loading up on the upper tier of receivers to bolster your roster. What we have seen recently in the NFL is more teams starting to employ balanced and traditional run-based attacks. This change in philosophy has thrown a wrench into fantasy drafts regarding wideouts. As we head into 2018, drafts are once again very running back heavy early on, pushing receivers that we are used to seeing in the first round back into the second round and beyond.
The top tier of WRs is made up of the very elite. Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh) could be considered in a class all his own, but inside this superstar group you also have players such as Houston's DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham Jr. of the Giants. Brown has led receivers in scoring the last several seasons by a wide margin, but Hopkins and Beckham are two that could close the gap and have first round draft value.
The next grouping is made up of players that will likely be taken during the second round of drafts. Players like Michael Thomas (New Orleans) and Keenan Allen (Chargers) provide solid floors but have the intrigue of an insanely high ceiling as well. Atlanta's Julio Jones and Cincinnati's A.J. Green are stars from previous seasons, but is their time beginning to come to an end? Possibly, but they are still safe enough bets to bring you WR1 production. Davante Adams of Green Bay is the wild card among this group. Playing with Aaron Rodgers vaults his value and the touchdown production is there.
From Mike Evans (Tampa Bay) down to Golden Tate (Detroit), you'll find players in the next range during Rounds 3 and 4 that can give you a mix of points-per-reception (PPR) league value as well as touchdown scoring in standard leagues. T.Y. Hilton of Indianapolis and Denver's Demaryius Thomas find themselves back in this conversation as their quarterback situations have greatly improved from a year ago. Vikings receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs could have even better years in 2018 with the arrival of Kirk Cousins.
You have injury concerns with players like Allen Robinson (Chicago) and Alshon Jeffrey (Philadelphia). Players like Browns wideout Jarvis Landry, Rams receiver Brandin Cooks and Baltimore's Michael Crabtree find themselves in new homes in hopes of making a significant fantasy impact. The potential is there for each of them , but they could struggle at times. Players in this grouping are being drafted between Rounds 5 and 6, a point where you certainly need the value but you can also swing for a bit of upside as well.
In the next tier, you start to see players that will be flex options or even matchup plays in given weeks. You have the upside of players like Corey Davis (Tennessee), Chris Hogan (New England) and Sammy Watkins (Kansas City). But even those receivers come with questions and concerns. Can they avoid the inconsistencies that have plagued them in previous seasons? Other players in this group have been disappointments. Those names include Randall Cobb (Green Bay), Devin Funchess (Carolina) and DeVante Parker (Miami). With WRs in this range, just know there will be weeks of poor play. But they can also give you matchup-winning performances if started in the right scenario.
Sterling Shepard of the Giants, Miami's Kenny Stills and Buffalo's Kelvin Benjamin are players that can provide safe floors in production but rarely have huge games that get you excited to put them in your lineups. Will Fuller of Houston and Nelson Agholor of Philadelphia are complete wild cards. They can both have big games or disappear for weeks at a time. Jordy Nelson (Oakland), Allen Hurns (Dallas) and Marqise Lee (Jacksonville) are players that don't jump off the page. They could be worthy of flex consideration but most likely they will be bench guys for you with matchup plays in mind.
As you get into the double digit rounds, you can find the player that is getting undervalued that hits and becomes a weekly staple for you, leading to wins. You will start to see the rookies really come off the board later with a lot of talk surrounding WRs like Anthony Miller of Chicago, Denver's Courtland Sutton and Pittsburgh's James Washington in the preseason. The hype surrounding these rookies will greatly affect their average draft position, so if you like the player be prepared to jump earlier than usual.
The names you will see as you finish your draft off won't give you that tingly feeling, but they will be quality receivers that can provide depth on your bench. Some may catch fire and find themselves firmly implanted in your lineup rotation, others could fall flat. The good thing is that you don't waste much value in these later rounds, making these receivers expendable if they aren't up to par.
Ultimately, you may keep hearing about how the wide receiver position is deep. Don't buy into that. This position is very top-heavy with upper echelon players and can quickly fall off as you go through your draft. The best fantasy owner is one that isn't fazed by curve balls being thrown their way during a draft. They are fully prepared for what comes , either good or bad.
ROTOEXPERTS TOP 15 WR
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings