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Former Hogs secure millions in free agency
Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley celebrates after a scoring play during the second half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors Sunday, April 21, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Warriors won 113-105. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Two former University of Arkansas players scored big time in the early stages of NBA free agency.
Bobby Portis (Little Rock Hall) was one of the consolation prizes for the New York Knicks after they struck out on both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency. Patrick Beverley returned to the Los Angeles Clippers, where he’s played the previous two seasons.
The Knicks secured Portis — a restricted free agent — with a two-year, $31 million offer. When Portis’ former team the Washington Wizards announced a short time later they would not match the contract and rescinded Portis’ qualifying offer, it was official that Portis was heading to the Big Apple.
The 6-11 Portis, who was the 22nd pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls, averaged 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds last season with the Bulls and Wizards. Washington acquired him from Chicago on Feb. 6 in a deal that sent Otto Porter to the Bulls.
The Clippers brought Beverley back on a three-year, $40 million contract. The 6-1 guard known for his tenacious defense averaged 7.1 points, 5 rebounds and 3.8 assists last season for the Clippers, who won 51 games and made the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the West.
Beverley earned acclaim for his defense against Durant in the first-round series against Golden State, in which the Clippers won two games before falling to the eventual Western Conference champions. He also upped his regular-season averages, scoring 9.8 ppg, grabbing 8 rpg and dishing out 4.8 apg while shooting 43.3% from beyond the three-point line in the six games.
Beverley was the 42nd pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, but he bounced around overseas for the first few years of his career. He finally stuck with the Houston Rockets for the 2012-13 season. He played five season in Houston before being shipped to Los Angeles as part of a package that landed the Rockets point guard Chris Paul.
Shortly after agreeing to his deal, Beverley took to Twitter on Monday.
“To whatever young kid who wants to LISTEN. Be a star and whatever role your in. And accept it and take it serious. And be great in your role. IT COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE.”
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