Happy July 4 and welcome to the Evening News.
As free agency continues, we’ll keep you updated every evening.
What’s happening today?
Bobcats agree to monster deal with Al Jefferson
ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the Charlotte Bobcats have landed Al Jefferson for the sum of $41 million dollars over three years.
The deal will reportedly have a player option after the second season.
The Bobcats had been courting the 28-year-old big man since the start of free agency and were long presumed to be the frontrunners to sign him.
Jefferson is coming off of a season with the Jazz in which he averaged 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He is known to be one of the premier offensive centers in the league but has, at times, been scrutinized for his suspect defense.
Michael Jordan is desperate to field a winning team and believes Jefferson is among the NBA’s elite big men.
The Utah Jazz were unlikely to retain Jefferson. They have been log jammed with capable big men and will now be able to find more playing time for Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors.
Bobcats amnesty Tyrus Thomas
After receiving confirmation from Al Jefferson that he would sign in Charlotte, the Bobcats quickly cleared cap space by amnestying Tyrus Thomas.
Bobcats will amnesty F Tyrus Thomas to create the room to sign Jefferson.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 4, 2013
Thomas, 26, has largely disappointed in his four seasons with Charlotte. Drafted fourth overall in 2006 by the Portland Trail Blazers, Thomas has failed to live up to the expectations that scouts had for him coming out of LSU.
Because the Bobcats will still be on the hook for the remaining $16 million dollars Thomas is owed over the next two years, expect him to sign with a contender for well below his market value.
Of the teams that come to mind, the Knicks, Heat, Clippers, and Thunder all would seem to make sense. While his offensive game is undeniably limited, his long wingspan and elite athleticism suggest he could be well suited to perform as an energy player off the bench.
Earl Clark signs with Cleveland
According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Cleveland Cavaliers have come to terms with stretch forward Earl Clark on a two year deal worth $9 million dollars.
Clark had a breakout year with the Lakers last season and even drew praise from Kobe Bryant for his tireless work ethic.
Clark is expected to compete with top pick Anthony Bennett for a spot in the starting lineup. He will also be reunited with Igor Kokoskov, a highly respected shooting coach whom Clark learned from as a rookie when the two were in Phoenix together.
Clark was also being pursued by the Lakers and Clippers.