James Harden is staying with the Los Angeles Clippers on a two-year contract that includes a player option, a person with knowledge of that decision said Sunday as free agency in the NBA was officially opening.

Harden’s deal — which could be worth up to $70 million if he opts into 2025-26 — was agreed upon in principle before free agency technically started, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither Harden nor the Clippers had announced the agreement.

Changes to league rules this year allowed for such agreements to be in place before the 6 p.m. Eastern time start to free agency on Sunday; teams, in most cases, were allowed to speak to their own free agents or extension-eligible players once the NBA Finals were completed.

Harden, a 10-time NBA All-Star, averaged 16.6 points and 8.5 assists last season for the Clippers, who will move into their new Intuit Dome home when this coming season starts. Harden’s status was one of the big questions facing the Clippers this summer; the other surrounds nine-time All-Star Paul George, who did not take his $48.8 million option for this season and is now a free agent — with Philadelphia, Orlando and the Clippers among the teams expected to compete to sign him.

George was expected to meet with at least some of those teams Sunday night.

In other moves Sunday:

— Kevin Love was completing a new contract with the Miami Heat, a person with knowledge of that deal told AP, the move coming one day after he did not opt into what would have been a $4 million contract for this coming season with the club. Love had said repeatedly last season that he has no intentions of leaving Miami.

— Obi Toppin is being rewarded nicely for his strong first season with Indiana. A person with knowledge of the agreement said he and the Pacers were finalizing a four-year deal worth nearly $60 million. Toppin averaged a career-best 10.3 points last season, his first with Indiana after three years in New York.

— Guard Chris Paul was waived by the Golden State Warriors, who would have had to pay him $30 million for the coming season otherwise. The 39-year-old Paul averaged 9.2 points and 6.8 assists in 58 games with the Warriors last season. He’ll be looking to join a third team in a span of 14 months after spending 2022-23 with Phoenix and last season in Golden State.

— Promising wing Max Christie is returning to the Los Angeles Lakers with a four-year, $32 million contract, a person with knowledge of the deal told AP. The 21-year-old Christie averaged 3.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.8 assists during his first two NBA seasons.

— The NBA set the salary cap at at $140.588 million for the 2024-25 season, down slightly — about $400,000 or so — from what teams had been told to expect. The tax level was set at $170.814 million, the first apron level will be $178.132 million, the second apron level will be $188.931 million, the non-taxpayer mid-level is $12.822 million, the taxpayer mid-level is $5.168 million, and the room mid-level is $7.983 million.


AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham in Los Angeles contributed.


AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA