Boomers star Danté Exum scores new NBA contract
Danté Exum’s impressive Olympic campaign has earned him a new contract with the Houston Rockets in the NBA.
The Aussies joined Houston from the Cleveland Cavaliers in January as part of a four-team trade but calf troubles kept him from making his Rockets debut.
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Exum became a free agent at the conclusion of the 20/21 NBA season and until Sunday (AEST), it remained to be seen whether a club would take a chance on him, given his extensive history of injuries.
Exum’s contract is believed to be worth as much as $15 million USD ($20.6 million AUD) over three seasons, depending on incentives relating to average minutes and games played.
In announcing they had signed Exum, the Rockets paid special mention to the 26-year-old’s Tokyo Olympic campaign, during which he averaged 9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists in just under 21 minutes per game.
“He got better and better as the tournament went on,” Boomers coach Brian Goorjian said of Exum’s Olympic campaign on ESPN.
“Here’s a guy that doesn’t have his NBA contract, he’s on a limb, he’s not set for the following year. He’s been injured and he was totally committed to this.
“The word I would use when we practised and when we played was ‘fearless’.
“It wasn’t like, here’s a guy that if he gets injured he’s going to be in trouble for his next contract, it was like: ‘I’m here, I want to help these Boomers get a medal. I’m in.’
“He didn’t protect himself, he put his body on the line defensively, he picked up big charges, dived on the floor.
“I just have so much admiration for him.”
Led by Exum and fellow Aussie NBA stars Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Matt Dellavedova and Matisse Thybulle, the Boomers claimed their first ever Olympic medal in Tokyo.
The Aussies went through the group stage undefeated but were relegated to the bronze medal match after their semi-final loss to the USA.
There, they defeated Slovenia to finish on the podium.
Exum was originally selected by the Utah Jazz with the fifth pick of the 2014 NBA Draft. He made 17 play-offs appearances during his time with the Jazz and was traded to the Cavaliers in December 2019.
Originally published as Boomers star Danté Exum scores new NBA contract
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