(Reuters) – Carmelo Anthony made his return to the New York Knicks official, while the Miami Heat made a move to reload following the exit of LeBron James by agreeing to a deal with forward Luol Deng in NBA free agency moves on Sunday.
Paul Pierce will be moving to Washington to join the Wizards and the Los Angeles Lakers confirmed their trade with the Houston Rockets for point guard Jeremy Lin as free-agent activity heated up.
High-scoring Anthony gives team president Phil Jackson the foundation piece he desired in his quest to bring an NBA title to Madison Square Garden for the first time since 1973.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Under NBA salary cap rules, Anthony could sign a five-year contract for as much as $129 million, but he may elect to take less in order to give the Knicks more budget room.
“We are now happy to know that we have the cornerstone of what we envision as a ‘team of excellence.'” Jackson said in a statement.
Anthony, who averaged 27.4 points last season for the Knicks was the biggest free agent on the market following Friday’s decision by James to return to his roots and sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I am a New York Knick at heart,” Anthony said.
Free agent Deng of Britain, who played most of his NBA career with the Chicago Bulls and part of last season with the Cavaliers, will try to help fill the massive void left by the departure of James.
Deng agreed to a $20 million, two-year deal with the Heat, according to multiple reports.
Entering his 11th NBA season, Deng has averaged 16.0 points per game in his career.
The Heat will retain two members of its ‘Big Three’, keeping Chris Bosh with a reported five-year, $118 million deal, and working on a new contract for Dwyane Wade.
Ten-time All-Star Pierce, 36, who played the 15 years of his NBA career with the Boston Celtics, made his second move in as many years by agreeing to a two-year deal with the Washington Wizards, the Washington Post reported.
Pierce, who came to Brooklyn last season along with Kevin Garnett in a trade with the Celtics, agreed to a reported two-year deal for the full mid-level exception worth $10.8 million.
“Welcome the truth @paulpierce34 to DC…#wizkids!!” Wizards point guard John Wall tweeted.
As Pierce steps in, swingman Trevor Ariza leaves Washington for the Houston Rockets for a deal reported to be four years for $32 million.
The Lakers, meanwhile, made their deal with Houston for Lin official.
Lin comes to Los Angeles along with first-round and second-round draft picks in 2015 for the rights to center Sergei Lishouk who played last year for Spanish club Valencia, in a deal that helped Houston free up salary cap room.
The Lakers have sufficient cap room to absorb the contract of Lin, who will make about $15 million this season in the last year of a deal that counts only $8 million against the cap.
The 25-year-old Lin, the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA, averaged 12.5 points and 4.1 assists last season but lost his starting job.
“This trade allows us to acquire a solid player who will make us a better team, as well as draft picks to improve our team in the future…,” said Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in Winchester, Kentucky; Editing by Gene Cherry)