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The Lakers went all-in on ... Timofey Mozgov?!

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That and more in Friday's NBA newsletter.

Good morning. Thank you to Mike Prada for guiding us through the final days of June. Let's pay some 7-footers tens of millions of dollars, errr, I mean, let's basketball. Sorry, I'm a little rusty.

First, you know what you need in this crazy first week of July? Trackers!


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SLIGHTLY EDUCATED GUESSES: I predicted where the top 50 free agents would go and what they'd sign for. Things are not looking super correct at the moment.

ARE YOU JOAKIM ME? Joakim Noah could slide back to his hometown of New York City with a 4-year, $70 million deal with the Knicks. The deal isn't set, but there was a lot of smoke around them late Thursday night. The annual rate is not far off given Noah's recent excellence and the hyperinflated numbers we'll be seeing all month. But four years, and apparently all of them guaranteed? Noah is 31, played just 29 games last year and shot 38 percent from the floor.

But that's not a crazy deal for a center. You want to hear a crazy deal for a center?

'RUSSIAN' TO THE BANK: The Lakers reached a 4-year, $64 million deal with Timofey Mozgov. Timofey. Mozgov. Sixty. Four. Million. Dollars. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Mozgov ranked as our No. 52 free agent, and the No. 13 center. And the Lakers gave him $16 million per year and the longest deal possible within the first 90 minutes of free agency. What a world.

lakers chain

AND THEN: The Lakers also locked up Jordan Clarkson on a comparatively sane 4-year, $50 million deal.

MAV'D: The Mavericks met with Hassan Whiteside right around the stroke of midnight. Reports suggested they had the inside track. And ... a few hours later, Whiteside met with the Heat and later published a piece in The Players' Tribune announcing he'd be staying in Miami. Looks like a max deal, which would be about $98 million over four years. There's still hope for Dallas. In the interim, another free agency snub.

WHY? Why the hell are role players getting massive contracts? Tim Cato explains.

THE DURANT EXPLAINER: Wonder how Kevin Durant can come out of free agency with the most money possible? It's by taking a 1+1 contract with the Thunder and re-signing at a full max in 2017.

And now for some more expected deals ...

DEMAR DEMONEYBAGS: The Raptors kept DeMar DeRozan with a 5-year, $139 million contract that is well below his max. DeMar DeRozan is going to be making more than $30 million per year by the end of this deal. Before this summer, only Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have ever been paid more than $30 million in a season.

FRENCH LAUNDRY: The Hornets are keeping Nicolas Batum for $120 million over five years. That's some serious brie!

BANG THE DRUMM: Andre Drummond appears to be staying with the Pistons for $130 million over five years, right around his max deal. Let's hope Detroit saved some money to lobby the NBA to ban intentional fouling!

DON'T HURT YOURSELF SIGNING THAT THING: Bradley Beal for $128 million over five years? Alright, Wizards! Shoot your shot.

THIS ISH IS BANANAS: Ish Smith to Detroit! D.J. Augustin to the Magic!

DOES IT MATTER? Prada and Epstein talk about whether this wild free agency period will actually change anything on the Limited Upside podcast.

I DON'T BLAME HIM: Mark Cuban says he wouldn't sell the Mavericks for even $3 billion, asking "what do I need $3 billion for?" Accurate. Once you're as wealthy as Cuban, you might as well buy stuff that gives you life meaning. The Mavericks clearly do.

FINGER WAG: The NBA and Charlotte Hornets released a joint statement dismissing a supposed "fix" to the odious pro-discrimination bill North Carolina's legislature passed a few months back. The league is openly threatening to yank the 2017 All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte if there's no actual fix.

MEANWHILE, ON THE BANANA BOAT ... Most of Team Toast (that is LeBron, Wade and CP3) is lipsyncing in Spain.

Things will get more wild before they'll get sane. Enjoy. Be excellent to each other.


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