Although not as exciting as day one, NBA free agency kept rolling along on day two. The Denver Nuggets made the biggest free agency splash, as they landed Paul Millsap in a late-night deal. The Toronto Raptors held their core together earlier in the day. Restricted free agent Otto Porter landed a huge offer from the Sacramento Kings, with more to come. And, to top it off, Tom Thibodeau continues the makeover of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Here’s a look at the day’s big winners:
1. Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets hoped to make a huge splash on Day 1 with Blake Griffin, but he decided to re-up with the Los Angeles Clippers. They rebounded very nicely, landing Paul Milsap for three years, $90 million, with a team option in the third year. Millsap gives the Nuggets an All-Star veteran leader who can finish inside, hit from the outside, pass, rebound and do all the little things. He’s low maintenance, brings great work ethic and pairs perfectly with Nikola Jokic. Bar none, this is the Nuggets’ biggest, and best, signing in years.
2. Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors paid a HUGE price to keep their team together, but the price was reasonable enough. Kyle Lowry got a three-year, $100 million deal, and anytime you make $100 million it’s a win. Lowry probably could have gotten more from a lesser team, but wanted to stay where he’s had the most success of his career. Serge Ibaka comes back at a high price on a 3-year deal, $65 million deal. Both contracts expire the summer that DeMar DeRozan has an opt out in 2020. You can see the writing on the wall. The Raptors will make a run the next three years with this core, and then likely begin a rebuild. Will Masai Ujiri be the one in charge then, or will he be with the New York Knicks?
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves have had a great start to the offseason. The crowning achievement was trading for Jimmy Butler, but adding Taj Gibson on a two-year, $28 million agreement is really good, too. It gives the Wolves a great defensive big who can pair well with Karl-Anthony Towns and make some short-range shots. There is still no shooting on this team, but Thibodeau has never been worried about that. Now, this squad looks like his late-era Bulls teams, only with Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Thibodeau got what he wanted.
4. Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets were going to pay Nene Hilario more in their original deal (four years, $38 million), but that fell apart because of the Over-38 rule. Because of that, they were able to land him for three years and $11 million, which is an incredible bargain. It’s great value for a guy up there in age, but Nene had a tremendous season in Mike D’Antoni’s system. He’s an important piece, and they’re lucky he’s still there after the first contract flub.
5. Otto Porter
Porter, who some are saying could be the next Scottie Pippen, landed a max free agency offer from the Sacramento Kings for a reported $100 million. He has not signed it yet, according to reports, as he is meeting with the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, who will likely offer the same. The Kings’ offer, and quite possibly the Nets’ offer, will mean he won’t have to worry about being squeezed by Washington. He can sign that offer sheet, the Wizards will match it, and he’ll stay with Washington. That offer in hand is a big deal because Porter is set to become — unbelievably — the highest-paid Wizard until John Wall decides to sign his supermax deal.