5 players, $1.1 billion: NBA free agency starts with a bang

5 players, $1.1 billion: NBA free agency starts with a bang
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Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets agreed Thursday to a $264 supermax extension. (AP)
5 players, $1.1 billion: NBA free agency starts with a bang
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The Grizzlies are making sure All-Star point guard Ja Morant is going nowhere anytime soon. Morant agreed to a five-year supermax rookie extension. (AP)
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Updated 01 July 2022

5 players, $1.1 billion: NBA free agency starts with a bang

5 players, $1.1 billion: NBA free agency starts with a bang
  • Five players — Jokic, Beal, Towns, Booker and Morant — had more than $1.1 billion in money committed to them in their new deals, highlighting the moves made Thursday when the NBA’s annual free-agent negotiating window opened

NEW YORK: The NBA generated more basketball-related income than ever this past season, the total number coming up just short of $9 billion.

Business is good. The first night of free agency underscored how good.

Nikola Jokic agreed to the biggest contract in NBA history, Bradley Beal agreed to a deal worth a quarter-billion dollars, and the money just kept flowing. 

Shortly after midnight Friday in the Eastern time zone, three more players — Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker and Ja Morant — also agreed to huge-money extensions.

Towns and Booker agreed to four-year deals that will commence in 2024 and are worth at least $224 million, their agent, Jessica Holtz of CAA, said. Morant will sign his first rookie extension, one that’ll be worth at least $193 million and could reach the $230 million range, according to Tandem Sports, which represents him.

Those five players — Jokic, Beal, Towns, Booker and Morant — had more than $1.1 billion in money committed to them in their new deals, highlighting the moves made Thursday when the NBA’s annual free-agent negotiating window opened.

Jokic agreed to a supermax extension to remain with the Denver Nuggets, the two-time reigning MVP guaranteeing himself at least $264 million over five seasons starting with the 2023-24 campaign. The final number may go up slightly depending on what the league’s salary cap is going into the ‘23-24 season and if it exceeds current projections.

Beal will make $251 million over the next five seasons after re-signing with Washington, one day after turning down $37 million for this coming season from the team with whom he’s spent the entirety of his 10-year career.

Towns and Booker got their deals not long afterward, as did Morant. More big-money extensions are coming at some point, particularly rookie extensions — Miami’s Tyler Herro and New Orleans’ Zion Williamson among the names on that list.

All those moves, even the biggest-money ones, were overshadowed by a piece of non-free-agent news that came earlier Thursday when Kevin Durant, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, told the Brooklyn Nets that he wanted a trade. That undoubtedly had some sort of an impact on the decisions some teams were making, or were considering, with the surprise development that one of the world’s elite players is looking for a new place to play.

Jokic and Beal have signed lucrative contracts before. For some, the ones they get this summer will be their first.

Jalen Brunson, as had been widely speculated given his deep ties to the Knicks — his father played there, for starters — agreed to sign with New York, on a deal that ESPN reported would be worth $104 million over four years. He had earned about $6 million, total, in his four seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and saw his value soar by averaging 21.6 points in 18 playoff games this past season.

Anfernee Simons, who had a breakout season for the injury-plagued Portland Trail Blazers last year — taking advantage of his opportunity, and then some — agreed to a four-year, $100 million contract to remain with that club. And Lu Dort, undrafted three years ago and someone who made about $4 million combined in his three seasons with Oklahoma City, will stay with the Thunder for the next five years on a deal worth nearly $88 million.

 

NBA NUMBERS

The NBA set the new salary cap, luxury tax and other numbers that will be used this coming season and go into effect Friday.

The cap is $123.655 million, the tax level is $150.267 million. The minimum team salary level is $111.29 million and the exceptions were set as wel. The non-taxpayer mid-level is $10.49 million, taxpayer mid-level is $6.479 million, and the mid-level for a team with room under the cap is $5.401 million.

TUCKER TO PHILADELPHIA

P.J. Tucker is reuniting with Philadelphia general manager Daryl Morey and — assuming he re-signs, as planned — James Harden as well. Tucker agreed Thursday to a three-year deal with the 76ers for $33 million. Morey, Tucker and Harden were together with the Houston Rockets; Harden declared free agency Wednesday with the intention of coming back to Philadelphia. Tucker won a title with Milwaukee in 2021 and helped Miami to the Eastern Conference finals in 2022.

MCGEE CHOOSES MAVERICKS

Dallas and JaVale McGee — a three-time NBA champion and an Olympic gold medalist as well — agreed on a contract for two seasons and a third at McGee’s option worth about $20 million. McGee has played for eight NBA teams and is heading to Dallas for a second time; he played 34 games there in 2015-16.

PORTIS, INGLES TO BUCKS

Bobby Portis (four years, $49 million) is returning to Milwaukee, and the Bucks are adding veteran guard Joe Ingles as well. Ingles is signing a one-year deal, according to his wife, Renae Ingles, who tweeted that “CEO of the house, Renae Ingles, is thrilled for Joe and their family.”

HEAT DECISIONS

Miami will retain Victor Oladipo on a one-year, $11 million deal and Dewayne Dedmon on a two-year deal for about $9 million, though the second year has conditional protections.

MAGIC KEEPING HARRIS

Gary Harris signed with the Orlando Magic, the team said, with the sides agreeing on two years for $26 million for the guard. The Magic are also keeping center Mo Bamba on a two-year deal.

RAPTORS MOVES

Toronto is keeping forward Chris Boucher (three years, $36 million) and Thaddeus Young (two years, $16 million).

BAGLEY STAYING

Detroit moved quickly to lock up restricted free agent Marvin Bagley III, agreeing to keep him with a three-year, $37 million deal.

WRIGHT TO WIZARDS

In addition to keeping Beal, the Wizards also agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal with guard Delon Wright.


Kingdom targets Riyadh 2034 Asian Games for athletic performance

Kingdom targets Riyadh 2034 Asian Games for athletic performance
Updated 19 sec ago

Kingdom targets Riyadh 2034 Asian Games for athletic performance

Kingdom targets Riyadh 2034 Asian Games for athletic performance
  • New Saudi Olympic Training Center CEO Matt Favier reveals the plan at Islamic Solidarity Games in Turkey

The Kingdom will bid to ensure athletes are prepared for top performances at the Riyadh 2034 Asian Games, according to the newly appointed chief of the Saudi Olympic Training Center.

Matt Favier, CEO of the SOTC, was speaking at the ongoing Islamic Solidarity Games taking place in Turkey. He also praised the organizers of the Konya event.

Matt Favier, the newly appointed CEO at the Saudi Olympic Training Center (SOTC). 

Favier, an Australian high-performance sports specialist, is part of the Saudi Arabian delegation participating in the 5th Islamic Solidarity Games involving 54 countries, which launched officially on Tuesday and will run until Aug. 18.

“The impact of Konya 2022 is huge, and it is always a great opportunity to allow the elite athlete to participate in such mega championships as this one,” he said.

“We are not in a hurry, we have time, and we care about the quality of developments, and one of the best ways to help our athletes grow is through meeting and competing against international athletes from around the world.”

Regarding the training center’s role, Favier said: “We have around 200 elite athletes representing 17 sports, and we aim to provide a complete environment that helps the athlete focus on practicing sports and reaching their goals.”

According to Favier, the training center’s elite program is an example of the implementation of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. It shows the ambitions of the sports sector and the strong support received by athletes, clubs and federations from the Kingdom’s government and the Quality-of-Life Program, he added.

Favier is an administrator with over 25 years of experience across various sports. He recently acted as CEO of Hockey Australia, where he developed a national league.


Saudi athletes win silver in 100m and pole vault at Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi athletes win silver in 100m and pole vault at Islamic Solidarity Games
Updated 9 min 15 sec ago

Saudi athletes win silver in 100m and pole vault at Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi athletes win silver in 100m and pole vault at Islamic Solidarity Games
  • Abdullah Abkar and Hussain Al-Hizam were the Kingdom’s big winners on Tuesday

Saudi sprinter Abdullah Abkar on Tuesday won a silver medal in the 100 meters at the 5th Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya, Turkey.

Abkar finished second in the final with a time of 9.95 seconds, improving on his semifinal time of 9.96, which was the first time a Saudi had run a sub-10 second race at the Islamic Solidarity Games.

The podium finish is the fourth by a Saudi athlete in the men’s 100 meters in this competition, after Salem Al-Yami’s gold in 2005, and bronze for Jamal Al-Saffar and Fahad Al-Subaie in 2005 and 2013 respectively.

Hussain Al-Hizam claimed Saudi’s second medal of the day by grabbing silver in the pole vault competition with a height of 5.40 meters.

The mark is 15 centimeters below the height Al-Hizam managed when winning gold at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.


Saudi delegation joins Turkey’s Erdogan to launch 5th Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi delegation joins Turkey’s Erdogan to launch 5th Islamic Solidarity Games
Updated 10 August 2022

Saudi delegation joins Turkey’s Erdogan to launch 5th Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi delegation joins Turkey’s Erdogan to launch 5th Islamic Solidarity Games
  • Official opening ceremony in Konya welcomes athletes from 54 countries

KONYA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday night officially opened the 2022 Islamic Solidarity Games in the presence of the President of the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal.

The fifth edition of games will take place in Konya, Turkey, until Aug. 18.

The ceremony at Konya Metropolitan Municipality Stadium welcomed athletes from 54 countries in the presence of several Olympic federation leaders, including the head of the Saudi delegation and Vice President of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee (SOPC) Prince Fahd bin Jalawi.

Prince Abdulaziz, also SOPC president, said in his opening statement: “We meet today on a new date under one banner, permanent brotherhood and a great goal, for there is nothing more beautiful than peace and higher than Islam — Islam which, since its inception encouraged swimming, archery and horse riding, preceding humanity in promoting sports.”

He expressed his delight at the launch of the fifth Islamic Solidarity Games, in which more than 4,000 male and female athletes will compete.

Prince Abdulaziz thanked Erdogan, the government and the people of Turkey for hosting the event, adding: “You have all been nothing but supportive.

“The federation grants the new edition a certificate of success from its first moments.”


Manchester City’s youth Abu Dhabi Cup returns in 2023

Manchester City’s youth Abu Dhabi Cup returns in 2023
Updated 10 August 2022

Manchester City’s youth Abu Dhabi Cup returns in 2023

Manchester City’s youth Abu Dhabi Cup returns in 2023
  • Competition open to young male and female players from Feb. 18-19 at Zayed Sports City Stadium

ABU DHABI: The Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup will return to the UAE capital in February 2023, for the first time since 2019, the organizers have announced.

The youth tournament caters for players of all abilities, with the aim of developing footballers in the region.

Launched in 2017, the youth tournament has over the years attracted international interest with the participation of 13 countries from four continents, over 1,750 players (including Manchester City academy footballers from the UK) and 4,000 spectators.

In 2018, the organizers also launched a new girls’ category, which will return for the upcoming 2023 edition.

The tournament will be held over the weekend of Feb. 18 and 19 at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the largest multi-purpose venue in the UAE. Off the pitch and away from the action, families will be able to enjoy live entertainment and fun activities in the ‘City Village.’

Aref Hamad Al-Awani, general secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “Abu Dhabi Sports Council is delighted to once again support the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup. Football tournaments in the capital city are essential to ensure the growth, further development and improvement of the football landscape in the UAE. We are very excited to see the Cup competition return in 2023 and are looking forward to welcoming teams from the region competing alongside youth Abu Dhabi football clubs.”

The age categories for the 2023 tournament will be under-8, under-10, under-12 and under-14 boys, and two categories for under-11 and under-14 girls.

Simon Hewitt, senior manager, Football Operations MENA - Football Education, said: “We can’t wait to see so many young footballers playing with a smile on their faces and having fun at the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup in February 2023. The tournament returns and promises to be a fantastic experience for all involved, from players to families and the coaches.”

“The tournament caters for all levels of abilities with day two ending in a selection of finals for the City Cup, City Plate, City Trophy and City Shield all up for grabs, with one lucky team winning an all-expenses paid trip to the City Football Academy in Manchester.”

Meanwhile Saleh Mohamed Saleh Al-Geziry, director general for tourism at the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, said: “Inspiring the next generation of sports stars and sharing Abu Dhabi with the world are among the key goals of DCT Abu Dhabi, so we’re thrilled to support the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup and showcase our world-class sporting infrastructure and partnerships.”


Runners have new short races before Abu Dhabi Marathon 2022

Runners have new short races before Abu Dhabi Marathon 2022
Updated 10 August 2022

Runners have new short races before Abu Dhabi Marathon 2022

Runners have new short races before Abu Dhabi Marathon 2022
  • Yas Island and Al-Ain stadium to host 1km to 21.1km events
  • Aim to hone fitness of elite and amateur racers, say organizers

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company have announced an all-new Race Series Edition of short distances that will allow elite and amateur runners to hone their fitness ahead of the fourth edition of the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon on Dec. 17 this year.

The series is open to people of all ages and will feature three organized runs. The first is scheduled to take place on Sept. 3 over 5 kilometers inside Yas Mall Abu Dhabi, and over 1 kilometer and 3 kilometers. The second event will take place on Oct. 8 at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al-Ain, and offer an outdoor race of 10 kilometers as well as options of 3 kilometers and 5 kilometers.

The third run of the series is on Nov. 5, just over a month before the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon. It will provide participants the chance to race a 21.1-kilometer half-marathon on a new course on Yas Island, as well as options of 3 kilometers, 5 kilometers and 10 kilometers.

Aref Al-Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “The new series of community races represent a distinctive addition to the fourth ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon program and the agenda of our sporting activities in general.

“It further reveals our enduring commitment to encourage the practice of sports among members of society of all age groups and ensuring that it promotes our healthy and active lifestyle program to further improve the Quality of Life Index in Abu Dhabi.”

In keeping with the slogan “For the Community, By the Community,” the series demonstrates how the marathon is driving community engagement and promoting a healthy lifestyle for all UAE residents, he added.

Dr. Saif Sultan Al-Nasseri, director of the Human Capital Directorate at ADNOC, said: “The Race Series Edition provides a great opportunity for members of the public to train and practice their race strategies ahead of the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon and we encourage everyone to take advantage.

“ADNOC is pleased to support this initiative and we will continue enabling the wellbeing of our community through our integrated health and sporting initiatives.”

Last year’s marathon attracted more than 12,000 participants of various ages, in addition to a sizeable group of elite international athletes. The 42.2-kilometer race was held alongside 10-kilometer, 5-kilometer, and 2.5-kilometer competitions.