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First bar set in DeMarre Carroll free agency

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Hawks’ unrestricted free agent DeMarre Carroll was rated the third best small forward available.

It didn’t take long for the first bar to be set in DeMarre Carroll’s free agency.

Shortly after the start of NBA free agency at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, the Trail Blazers reportedly agreed on a four-year, $30 million deal with Al-Farouq Aminu – an average salary of $7.5 million a season.

So, what will Carroll get?

Basketball Insiders had Aminu (from Norcross High) as the 11th best small forward available. Carroll was ranked third behind LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, who reportedly agreed to a five-year, $90 million deal as a restricted free agent of the Spurs.

Aminu averaged 5.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 18.5 minutes for the Mavericks last season. Carroll averaged 12.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game. The Hawks’ best defensive player stepped onto center stage in the playoffs and averaged 14.6 points and 6.1 rebounds in a postseason that ended in the Eastern Conference finals.

Also by comparison, the Bucks reportedly agreed to a five-year, $70 million deal with their restricted free agent shooting guard Khris Middleton – an average salary of $14 million a season.

The Hawks entered free agency with about $24.6 million in salary cap space with re-signing unrestricted free agents Paul Millsap and Carroll as priorities. Since the Hawks only own Early Bird rights for both, navigating this period is going to be tricky. Carroll’s new salary, if he remains, will be all cap space as he made just $2.4 million last season. If Millsap signs for more than $16.6 million that must be all cap space.

The salary cap is expected to rise substantially after next season with the new television deal. That could be a factor if one or both choose shorter deals with opt-out clauses.

Stay tuned.


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