- Marc Stein, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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Free-agent sharpshooter Jason Kapono became the first player to commit to switching teams this summer when he reached a quick agreement Sunday to leave the Miami Heat and join the Toronto Raptors for what is believed to be a four-year deal worth roughly $24 million.
The NBA's free-agent period commenced at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, but teams and players can only negotiate and exchange verbal commitments until through July 10. Contracts can be formally signed on July 11, when the league is scheduled to announce the official salary-cap figure and luxury-tax threshold for next season.
"Jason is excited about this opportunity and intends to sign with the Raptors when the moratorium period ends," said Kapono's agent, Bob Myers.
After playing for three teams in his first three pro seasons -- Cleveland, Charlotte and Miami -- Kapono enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2006-07, leading the league in 3-point percentage (.514) and winning the 3-point contest at All-Star Weekend in addition to averaging a career-best 10.9 points for the Heat.
Heat coach and president Pat Riley, however, hinted last week that luxury-tax concerns would likely force him to let Kapono go and likely swingman James Posey as well.
Toronto was expected to make a hard push for Orlando's Grant Hill in free agency, but the Raptors were aware that Hill is also being wooed by a group of perennial title contenders (Phoenix, San Antonio, Detroit and Miami) while weighing the possibility of re-signing with the Magic.
A source from one of those suitors, in fact, already believes that Hill is "going to Phoenix for sure."
So the Raptors, desperate as they are for an infusion of veteran know-how, decided to focus on another need by going hard after the best perimeter shooter available.
Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here.
Free agent sharpshooter Jason Kapono has quickly reached an agreement Sunday to leave the Miami heat and sign a four-year deal believed to be worth $24 million with the Toronto Raptors.