The free agent market and the values of certain niche players became a tad more clear on Tuesday. Leading the news was the San Antonio Spurs' agreement to sign center Tiago Splitter to a four-year, $36 million deal. It might appear a bit pricy for the Spurs to sign a center to that contract after being maligned during the NBA Finals, but that goes to show the value of Splitter's defense -- and the importance of big men in general.
After all, the Spurs' negotiations heated up once it became clear that the Portland Trail Blazers were after Splitter and would offer him a contract of similar annual value. Splitter only made $3.9 million in 2012-13, and by more than doubling his salary, the Spurs will likely make a mark on the price tag of other free agent big men, including guys like Nikola Pekovic.
Dwight meets with Dallas, Lakers
Perhaps the only big man whose value wasn't affected by the Splitter news was Dwight Howard. The Dallas Mavericks met with Splitter for more than three hours on Tuesday, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA. That means Howard, the Los Angeles Lakers' free agent, has technically met with all five teams courting him.
The Lakers, Warriors, Rockets, Hawks and Mavs have all made their cases, though it remains anyone's guess as to when Howard will make his decision.
Clippers get their shooting guard
The Los Angeles Clippers have been eyeing Arron Afflalo and J.J. Redick and on Tuesday they settled on the latter to become their next shooting guard and help Chris Paul in the backcourt. The Clippers agreed to a three-team deal involving the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks that will give them Redick via a sign-and-trade. Redick will ink a four-year, $27 million contract with Milwaukee before being shipped west.
Los Angeles will also acquire Jared Dudley from the Suns. The backup swingman adds depth but comes at a price. The Clippers dealt point guard Eric Bledsoe to the Suns and also included the expiring contract of Caron Butler in the deal.
The Bucks will receive two second-round draft picks once the deal can be completed on July 10.
The deal blossomed only within 24 hours of it being completed, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. The first step in the process for Los Angeles was making certain that Paul would return -- going back a little further, the acquisition of coach Doc Rivers made it possible -- thus making Bledsoe expendable.
Initial reaction is just starting to pour in from the SB Nation team blogs. Bright Side of the Sun noted that Blesoe is a tremendous athlete and only on the books for $2.6 million next season. As for trading the wildly popular Dudley:
Either way, this move gives the Suns more young talent and flexibility. It's tough to see Dudley go, but this is a pretty good return for him.
Budinger will return to T-Wolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves may lose out on free agent forward Andrei Kirilenko, but they now have insurance. Chase Budinger agreed to re-sign with Rick Adelman's club on a $16 million, three-year contract. That looks like a solid deal should Minnesota be without other veteran options at small forward.
Rip, Psycho T are free agents
The Chicago Bulls bought out Richard Hamilton's contract for $1 million on Tuesday, clearing his $5 million salary for 2013-14 from the books. While the Bulls won't get any return, it was unlikely they could ship that salary elsewhere.
In a more weird twist, the Indiana Pacers rescinded a qualifying offer to free agent forward Tyler Hansbrough. That comes shortly after the Pacers re-signed veteran forward David West to a three-year, $36-million deal. Returning president of basketball operations Larry Bird has maintained the Pacers would chase after West but he remained adamant they would also refuse to go over the luxury tax threshold.