What. A. Day.
The NBA free agency period started with the biggest trade request in history, as two-time Finals MVP and 2014 League MVP Kevin Durant met with the Brooklyn Nets to inform the franchise he wanted out. He immediately listed the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat as preferred trade destinations, though Nets GM Sean Marks is reportedly looking to move Durant for the “best possible deal,” one that is expected to net a “historic return on players and draft picks.”
That was just the biggest story of the day. It was also an afternoon of seemingly endless news regarding former Kentucky standouts and the lucrative paydays they received to open free agency.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker agree to supermax extensions
Two key members of Kentucky’s historic 2014-15 roster became quarter-billionaires together overnight, as Towns and Booker both agreed to four-year supermax extensions with their respective franchises.
Towns agreed to terms on a four-year, $224 million extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves, with the deal set to begin with the 2024-25 season. His contract value now sits at six years and $295 million remaining on his deal. As for Booker, he also agreed to a four-year, $224 million extension with the Phoenix Suns. Like Towns, that brings his total contract value to six years and $295 million.
The two former Wildcats are represented by Jessica Holtz, who now becomes the first female player agent to secure a max contract — and she got two in one day.
In other Booker news, the superstar guard was also named the cover athlete for NBA 2K23.
Malik Monk reunites with De’Aaron Fox in Sacramento
One of the best Kentucky backcourt in program history will be reuniting in Sacramento. Monk opened free agency by signing a two-year deal worth $19 million to join Fox and the Kings. Fox signed a five-year, $163 million max deal with Sacramento back in 2020.
The two standout guards averaged a combined 37 points per game in their lone season at Kentucky back in 2016-17, leading the Wildcats to the Elite Eight — one Luke Maye miss and overtime away from the Final Four.
Kevin Knox reunites with Hamidou Diallo in Detroit
There will be another reunion of former Kentucky teammates, with Knox signing a two-year, $6 million deal to join the Detroit Pistons. There, he will team up with Hamidou Diallo, who he played with in Lexington during the 2017-18 season.
Nerlens Noel (2012-13) was also traded to the Pistons earlier this week, giving the team three former Wildcats on the roster.
Trey Lyles returns to the Kings
Lyles saw his $2.6 million team option picked up by the Kings, keeping him in Sacramento for the 2022-23 season. He started in 20 of 24 games he appeared in for the Kings, averaging 10.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 22.8 minutes per game.
Wenyen Gabriel sticks with the Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers exercised their $1.9 million team option for Gabriel in 2022-23. He averaged 6.7 points in 16.4 minutes per game across 19 outings.
NBPA Top 100 Camp concludes in Orlando
As several former Wildcats earn their massive paydays in the NBA, several future Kentucky players will be wrapping up their time at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Orlando on Friday.
Kentucky pledges Robert Dillingham and Reed Sheppard are the headliners, with fellow UK targets Aaron Bradshaw, Justin Edwards and Xavier Booker among the other top players in attendance.
Check out today’s schedule below:
10 AM ET
- Reed Sheppard (Kentucky commit), AJ Johnson, Darryn Peterson, John Bol, Nasir “Sir” Mohammed vs. Jason Asemota, Jarin Stevenson
- Justin Edwards vs. Xavier Booker, Tru Washington
- Flory Bidunga vs. Somto Cyril
11:30 AM ET
- Robert Dillingham (Kentucky commit), Bronny James, Baye Fall, Isaiah Miranda vs. Aaron Bradshaw
- KJ Evans
2:30 PM ET
- Semifinal Games
4:10 PM ET
- Championship Game
KSR will have continued coverage on the site throughout the day and into the weekend.