The annual moratorium on NBA teams completing trades and free-agent signings ended at 12:01 a.m. ET Wednesday, allowing players to actually put pen to paper on the loads of deals and agreements we've been poring over and analyzing for the past week and a half. (Whew.)
And, as was the case when the league's free-agency negotiating period opened at one minute past midnight Eastern on July 1, All-NBA point guard Chris Paul wasted very little time in confirming his intention to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers, inking a five-year maximum contract worth approximately $107 million just after midnight, with a little help from his trusted advisor:
This apparently wasn't Chris Jr.'s first involvement in Dad's contract negotiation. Paul told ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi that he'd opened the door to dialogue on the decision: "I talked to my wife about it because I told her it was going to be a family decision. We even let 'Little Chris' chime in on it."
So if any other NBA teams were wondering why they didn't get the chance to even meet with the 28-year-old six-time All-Star, they might want to give CP4 a ring. (Just don't be surprised if he proves to be a tough cookie.)
Now that Paul's deal is done, L.A. basketball operations bosses Doc Rivers and Gary Sacks will turn their attention to finalizing the other deals they've shaken hands on during the moratorium, headlined by the three-team deal that will send Eric Bledsoe to the Phoenix Suns for Jared Dudley and ship two second-round picks to the Milwaukee Bucks for a signed-and-traded J.J. Redick. They'll also work to lock down deals for free-agents Matt Barnes, Darren Collison and Ryan Hollins to round out their rotation.
Other deals confirmed on Wednesday:
• Tyreke Evans tweeted that he has "officially signed" with the New Orleans Pelicans, who extended the 23-year-old guard a four-year, $44 million offer sheet early during the moratorium before eventually working out a three-team trade with the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers that imported the former Rookie of the Year and the draft rights to Kansas center Jeff Withey, with Sacramento receiving former Pelicans point guard Greivis Vasquez and a future Portland second-round draft pick, while the Blazers took in ex-New Orleans center Robin Lopez.
• The New York Knicks announced that they'd officially re-signed Pablo Prigioni. It had been previously reported that the Argentinian point guard had agreed to terms on a three-year, $6 million deal to come back to New York.
• The Atlanta Hawks officially announced the signing of former Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap. The team didn't disclose terms of the deal, but he'll reportedly earn $19 million over the next two years.
• The Dallas Mavericks confirmed that they will officially introduce Israeli point guard Gal Mekel on Wednesday afternoon. The 25-year-old, 6-foot-3 Mekel — who played college ball in the U.S. at Wichita State and last season led Maccabi Haifa to an Israeli championship — will sign a three-year deal worth $2.3 million.
• The Toronto Raptors announced the completion of the trade that sends Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks in exchange for Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, a 2016 first-round draft pick and second-round draft picks in 2014 and 2017. The Knicks followed up by tweeting a shot of Bargnani's new jersey — apparently, the former No. 1 overall draft pick will wear No. 77 in New York.
• The Portland Trail Blazers officially announced the signing of small forward Dorell Wright, who'll receive a two-year, $6 million contract to provide some floor-spacing shooting and improve what was one of the worst benches in the NBA last season.
• The Blazers also officially completed their acquisition of 2012 lottery pick Thomas Robinson from the Houston Rockets in a trade that sent the draft rights to 2012 second-round pick Kostas Papnikolaou and 2013 second-round pick Marko Todorovic, both of whom currently play overseas, and two future second-round picks to Houston. The deal enabled Daryl Morey to clear enough cap space to make a maximum contract offer to Dwight Howard, offered Houston another few assets to potentially parlay in the future, and gave the Blazers an intriguing young power forward prospect, so, y'know, cool stuff all the way around.
• The Detroit Pistons officially announced their deal with free-agent forward Josh Smith, formerly of the Atlanta Hawks. They wouldn't disclose the terms of the deal, but Larry Lage of The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Smoove will get $54 million over four years.
• The Los Angeles Lakers officially re-signed center Robert Sacre. Terms of the deal weren't officially released, but RealGM's Shams Charania reports that it's a fully guaranteed multi-year deal; before the start of free agency, the Lakers extended Sacre a $988,872 qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, which could provide a ballpark for the annual salary of the agreed-to deal.
• The Washington Wizards officially announced the signing of point guard Eric Maynor and the re-signing of guard Garrett Temple. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed, but Maynor's deal was reportedly expected to a two-year deal for the Wizards' bi-annual exception, which starts at just over $2 million, while Temple will reportedly come back on a one-year deal worth just over $900,000.
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