The NBA’s free-agency period opened July 1, leading to a chaotic flurry of movement around the league. Dozens of players signed billions of dollars worth of contracts as teams prepare for the increase in the salary cap that is expected in the upcoming years. Stars including LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis found new teams, while players such as Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard signed new contracts with their current clubs.
Multiple former Georgetown basketball players were impacted by this free-agent frenzy. Most notably, big man Greg Monroe signed a new three-year $50 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. Monroe had played for the Detroit Pistons ever since being drafted with the seventh overall selection in the 2010 NBA draft, but many pundits had suspected that he was ready to move on.
His contract includes a player option for the third season, which could give Monroe the opportunity to re-enter free agency during the summer of 2017, when the salary cap is expected to skyrocket. The left-handed center will join a young, athletic team with a great deal of potential, as he will be surrounded by players like Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. The Bucks are regarded as a potential sleeper in the Eastern Conference.
Former Georgetown star center Roy Hibbert (COL ’08) was also on the move recently, as he was traded from the Indiana Pacers to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for draft picks. Hibbert, who had played for the same team for the entirety of his professional career, will be absorbed into the Lakers’ extensive cap space after the team failed to lure marquee free agents like Monroe and Aldridge.
The 7-foot-2-inch center, who is well-known for his imposing defense near the rim, had fallen out of favor with the Pacers’ front office, which is apparently looking to acquire players who are more suited to a fast-paced style. The Lakers, a team lacking in size and rebounding, will add an accomplished rim protector to complement rookie guard D’Angelo Russell and veteran Kobe Bryant.
Hibbert has one year remaining on his contract and will have the opportunity to play one season for one of the most iconic franchises in the NBA before becoming a free agent.
Center Henry Sims (COL ’12) did not receive a qualifying offer from the Philadelphia 76ers, making him an unrestricted free agent. He scored 892 points during his two seasons in Philadelphia and should receive interested offers from other NBA teams. Assuming the 76ers don’t re-sign Sims to a new contract, he and former Georgetown forward Hollis Thompson, who now plays for the 76ers, will no longer be teammates as they have been for five of their last six seasons.
Forward Jeff Green (COL ’12), a teammate of Hibbert’s on Georgetown’s 2006-07 team that advanced to the Final Four, exercised his $9.2 million player option to remain with the Memphis Grizzlies for the upcoming season. He chose to forgo free agency to remain with a team that will look to contend again in a loaded Western Conference.
Green, who was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Grizzlies midway through last season, will be featured on a formidable frontline alongside center Marc Gasol and forward Zach Randolph. He and his former teammate Hibbert each recently donated $1 million to the John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Center, demonstrating their generosity and commitment to the school.
Free agency affected the sixth former Georgetown player currently in the NBA, forward Otto Porter, in a more indirect way. Veteran Paul Pierce, who had started at small forward ahead of Porter on the Washington Wizards, signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, opening the door to a more significant role for Porter, who is now expected to be a starter for the team. The former second overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft will look to continue his rapid progress in a more prominent role for the Wizards, who share Verizon Center with the Hoyas.
Finally, more recent Georgetown players Joshua Smith, Jabril Trawick (COL ’15) and Greg Whittington are all continuing to pursue their NBA dreams even after going undrafted, as each is playing in the NBA summer league. Trawick is playing for the Orlando Magic, and Whittington and Smith are suiting up for the Miami Heat.
In addition, former Georgetown forward DaJuan Summers is playing for the Indiana Pacers, and former Georgetown guard Jonathan Wallace (COL ’08) is playing for the Charlotte Hornets. Wallace’s summer league team is being coached by Hoya legend Patrick Ewing (COL ’85).
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