Blake Griffin and the Clippers officially agreed to a five-year contract extension that could be worth as much as $95 million, the Los Angeles Times confirmed after speaking with NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Griffin will make the maximum if he is voted to start on two All-Star teams. He was voted in as a starter by the fans last season.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, players coming off their rookie scale contract are eligible to sign for 30 percent of the salary cap if he was voted to start in two All-Star games, was named to an All-NBA team twice or was named the MVP. This is called the "Derrick Rose Rule" after the Chicago Bulls guard named the MVP in 2011.
Also, under the new CBA, every team is allowed one "designated player" who can get a five-year maximum extension on his rookie contract. The Clippers designated Griffin as such. He is in the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay $7.2 million next season.
The two sides began negotiations on Griffin's deal July 1, the first day free agents and players were able to talk.
Shortly after reports began circulating Tuesday that the Cavaliers were pulling out of the Dwight Howard trade talks, general manager Chris Grant boarded a plane following Team USA's practice in Las Vegas and returned to Cleveland. In truth, that was the most movement the Cavaliers had made in three days. Sources indicated that there was no real substance to the trade negotiations and maintained that for the wild 72-hour ride that the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic dragged the NBA through while trying to hammer out a deal to send Howard to the Nets.
Days after adding Ray Allen, the Miami Heat continued to upgrade its supporting cast by agreeing to terms with forward Rashard Lewis. Lewis, who turns 33 on Aug. 8, opted to take the $1.35 million minimum salary from the Heat instead of potentially more from Atlanta. He also had drawn interest from the Knicks and Spurs. Like Allen, Lewis can help spread the floor and create more space for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Minnesota once again reached outside the United States for talent, adding Russian guard Alexey Shved to a roster already brimming with international flavor. Shved will join a team with Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, Montenegrin center Nikola Pekovic and Puerto Rican guard J.J. Barea already on the roster.
A person familiar with the decision said Golden State has agreed to trade starting small forward Dorell Wright to the Philadelphia 76ers for the rights to a player currently in Europe. Golden State would receive a player the 76ers have playing in Europe.
John Jenkins and his jump shot made a good first impression with Atlanta. Jenkins signed his rookie contract with the Hawks minutes before joining the opening of the team's rookie camp. "He's a guy we're really looking to come in here and put the ball in the basket," coach Larry Drew said.
Detroit signed first-round draft pick Andre Drummond to a multiyear deal. The team did not disclose terms. Drummond, a 6-foot-10, 270-pounder from Connecticut, averaged 10 points and 7.6 rebounds last season as an 18-year-old freshman.
New York is keeping another key member of its rotation with JR Smith deciding to re-sign. Smith had declined a $2.5 million option for next season, because doing so meant he could earn slightly more. But the New Jersey native had hoped to return to the Knicks.
The NBA has set the 2012-13 salary cap at $58,044,000, same as this season, and teams could begin signing players at 12:01 a.m. today. Free agency opened on July 1 and a number of deals have been agreed to, but nothing could become official until the moratorium period ended. The luxury tax level is also unchanged from last season, remaining at $70,307,000. Any team exceeding that will pay a $1 tax for every $1 by which it is over. The tax will become more punitive starting in the 2013-14 season. The midlevel exception for teams under the tax is $5 million, and the taxpayer midlevel is $3.09 million. ... The New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors will play a preseason game in Montreal as part of the NBA's Canada Series. Detroit and Minnesota will play in Winnipeg in the other game.