NEW YORK (AFP) – The Utah Jazz agreed to trade All-Star centre Rudy Gobert to Minnesota, ESPN reported on Friday (July 1) amid a welter of free agency deals that included Zach LaVine’s US$215-million (S$300.1 million) decision to stay with the Chicago Bulls.

ESPN said France’s Gobert, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, would head to Minnesota in exchange for Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, No. 22 draft pick Walker Kessler and four first-round NBA Draft picks.

The 30-year-old Gobert has spent all nine of his NBA seasons with Utah, where he has helped the Jazz reach the play-offs for six straight years.

Last season, Gobert averaged 15.6 points per game, a league-leading 14.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks.

In Minnesota, the player dubbed the “Stifle Tower” will be teaming with another star big man in Karl-Anthony Towns, who has reportedly agreed to a four-year, US$224 million extension.

Earlier on Friday, LaVine’s agents announced the coveted free agent had agreed to a five-year maximum deal worth US$215 million to remain with the Bulls.

Klutch Sports Group also announced that Jusuf Nurkic has agreed to a four-year contract worth US$70 million to stay with the Portland Trail Blazers and John Wall has agreed to a two-year deal worth US$13.2 million to play for the Los Angeles Clippers.

The deals come on the first full day of NBA free agency for the 2022-23 campaign. Most deals are announced by agents or reports but no actual NBA contracts can be signed before Wednesday.

LaVine, 27, helped last year’s US Olympic team bring home gold from Tokyo and then completed a second straight NBA All-Star campaign with 24.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists a game over 67 contests for the Bulls.

After missing the play-offs for four consecutive seasons, Chicago went 46-36 and made the post-season, losing to Milwaukee in the first round. LaVine underwent left knee surgery in May.

Bosnian big-man Nurkic, 27, has spent the past six seasons with Portland after playing his first three NBA campaigns for the Denver Nuggets.

Nurkic averaged 15.0 points, a career-high 11.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 steals a game for the Trail Blazers last season.

Portland went 27-55 and missed the play-offs for the first time since 2013.

Wall, a 31-year-old American guard taken first in the 2010 NBA Draft by Washington, has averaged 19.1 points, 9.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds a game over nine seasons with the Wizards and last season in Houston.

Last modified: July 2, 2022