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Free agent guard E'Twaun Moore is reportedly close to being signed by the Orlando Magic, according to various sources. Per Jorge Sierra of Hoops Hype, the deal between Moore and Orlando is likely to be for two years, though monetary terms have yet to be disclosed. Moore was traded by the Boston Celtics to the Houston Rockets in the deal that netted Boston guard Courtney Lee, but was subsequently waived by the Rockets.
Moore, a 2011 second-round pick of the Celtics, appeared in 38 games in 2011, averaging 2.9 points per game on 38.1 percent shooting from the field and 37.8 percent shooting from the three-point line. In this year's Summer League, Moore led Boston in scoring with 14 points per game on 43.1 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent shooting from distance.
Veteran free agent center Jermaine O'Neal has elected to sign with the Phoenix Suns, according to a report from Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. O'Neal, who has played two injury-prone seasons for the Boston Celtics recently, will look to revive a career that has fallen off since he was once one of the NBA's best players.
O'Neal will turn 34 in October and has been in the league since 1996, but has missed a lot of games recently. He played in just 25 contests for the Celtics this season after being surprisingly effective for Boston and the Miami Heat in the two prior years. However, the Suns have a history of taking injury-prone players and making them healthy, thanks to their pristine medical and training staffs. Injury-prone players such as Grant Hill and many more have rediscovered their health and their step while playing for the Suns.
O'Neal averaged just five points and 3.9 rebounds for the Celtics last season.
For more on the Suns, visit Bright Side of the Sun.
NBA free agency has hit quite a lull as of late. Part of these doldrums are due to a very active July, but another reason is that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has kind of put the onus on the NBA's middle class to either accept lesser deals or to wait in hopes that they are somehow able to find a bit of leverage when it comes to their bargaining ability.
Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick took a closer look at the recent drop-off in transactions, bringing forward the following (astute) point:
It's worth noting that two of the men who fought during labor negotiations to avoid this pinching of the middle class -- National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher and vice president Maurice Evans -- remain unemployed. They're among the many players playing a waiting game with teams that seem determined to fill out rosters with minimum salary deals, like the one NBPA vice president Roger Mason signed with New Orleans last week.
With the European and Asian basketball markets becoming more lucrative each year, an NBA's average player might be better off taking his talents overseas rather than accepting less than he is worth in the NBA's open market. If not, he will be forced to continue holding out hope that a team will eventually open its checkbook and pay him what he is worth.
For all of the updates regarding NBA free agency, be sure to stay tuned to this StoryStream.
Joel Przybilla started his NBA career with the Milwaukee Bucks when the team traded for his rights after the Houston Rockets selected him with the ninth overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft. Now, with his career winding down, it sounds as though the "Vanilla Gorilla" will be returning to his roots.
Przybilla returned mid-season to play 27 games for the Portland Trail Blazers after playing the majority of his last eight seasons in the Pacific Northwest, but the Racine Journal Times reports that the 32-year-old free agent has decided to sign with Milwaukee.
"We're excited about this," Bill Duffy, Przybilla's agent, said in a telephone interview Monday night. "Joel had a great meeting last week with John Hammond, Scott Skiles and Jeff Weltman and they told him that he not only would bring great value on the court, but that he could help them with his leadership and stability. We think it's a perfect fit."
With the addition of Przybilla, the Bucks will enter this season with a very veteran group of centers considering their trade for Samuel Dalembert earlier this offseason.
For more on the Bucks, visit BrewHoop.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a quiet offseason, but they made a move on Friday, signing free-agent swingman C.J. Miles to a two-year contract, according to Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune. Terms of Miles' deal have not been leaked, but the Cavaliers have a lot of cap room to spend if need be.
Miles has played for the Utah Jazz for his entire seven-year career. The 25-year old did not have an especially good season last year, averaging 9.1 points per game while shooting just 38 percent from the field. However, he is a talented wing player that can score in a variety of ways.
The Cavaliers need help at the small forward position, so it's possible Miles might start next year. Incumbent forward Omri Casspi had a poor year in 2011-12, and his replacement, Alonzo Gee, remains unsigned.
The New Orleans Hornets have added more shooting to their backcourt, signing former Washington Wizards guard Roger Mason Jr., according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears. Terms of the contract have not been reported, but Mason was reportedly looking for more than a one-year minimum contract from the Wizards.
After struggling with the Knicks, Mason had a better shooting season last year, hitting 38 percent of his three-pointers. He is clearly a reserve player, but he also will be a good locker-room presence for a young Hornets roster. Most likely, he'll play behind Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers and Greivis Vasquez in the Hornets' backcourt.
The Hornets will be Mason's sixth NBA team. After brief stints with the Bulls and Raptors, Mason played two years with the Wizards, two years with the Spurs and one year with the Knicks before returning to Washington last season.
For more on the Mason signing, visit At the Hive.
It wasn't long ago that Raja Bell was reportedly on his way off the Utah Jazz roster as reports indicated that a buyout was already in place before NBA's moratorium on business was lifted earlier this month. Something has apparently changed, however.
Bell previously had talked openly about the buyout and many suspected he might join Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, but now that is all up in the air, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune.
Jazz General Manager Kevin O'Connor would not discuss Bell's buyout when recently asked about the situation during Summer League in Orlando, Fla. But a league source confirmed Monday the Jazz have officially offered Bell a buyout. He has refused to accept the deal, though, delaying an already long-delayed process.
Messages left Monday for Bell and his agent, Herb Rudoy, weren't immediately returned.
The Lakers don't really have any room for Bell on their roster anymore, but it's unclear what the holdup exactly is that's keeping the veteran defender under contract with the Jazz.
The Golden State Warriors were in serious need of some depth at the power forward position, and they've reportedly added some with the acquisition of Carl Landry. Adrian Wojnarowski, among others, is reporting a 2-year, $8 million deal with a player option for the second year.
Carl Landry's deal with Golden State pays him $8 million for two years, Bartelstein says. Player option on second year.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 30, 2012
David Lee is the only other experienced power forward on the Warriors roster at the moment. Jeremy Tyler started 23 games last season, but shot just 42 percent from the floor. Landry has spent the last season and a half with the New Orleans Hornets and averaged 12.5 points and 5.2 rebounds in 24.4 minutes per game last season. If Landry can stay healthy and perform at that level or above, he should be a solid value for Golden State.
Nate Robinson, who played for the Golden State Warriors last season, is expected to sign with the Chicago Bulls, his agent tells Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick. Aaron Goodwin, who represents Robinson, told Amick that only "unforeseen problems" will hold up Robinson's eventual new destination.
Robinson is known for being undersized, trigger-happy and tough to coach, but he had a strong year for the Warriors last season. He averaged 23.4 minutes per game after being buried on the bench in previous stints with the Celtics and Thunder, and he averaged 11.2 points per game while shooting over 42 percent from the field.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau would likely use Robinson to play some point guard with Derrick Rose sidelined for much of the season with a torn ACL. The Bulls also have Kirk Hinrich and rookie Marquis Teague on the roster.
The Los Angeles Clippers have acquired backup guard Willie Green from the Atlanta Hawks in a sign and trade arrangement, the team announced on Monday. The Hawks will receive the right to center Sofoklis Schortsanitis in the deal, though it's unlikely that he'll ever suit up for the team.
Green averaged 7.6 points per game in 17.4 minutes per game for the Hawks last year, shooting a career-high 47 percent from 3-point range. The veteran guard has made a living as a scoring threat off the bench for several teams in his nine-year career. After spending the first seven years of his career playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, he spent one year with the New Orleans Hornets before heading to the Hawks last season.
The Clippers were able to make this move using one of their many small trade exceptions. It's unclear which one, though, because we don't yet know Green's salary.
The Golden State Warriors are closing in on two key signings late in this 2012 NBA free agency period. They are on the verge of re-signing swingman Brandon Rush, and they are close to a deal with free-agent power forward Carl Landry, the agent for both players told CSN Bay Area's Matt Steinmetz.
It'll be interesting to see how much the Warriors will pay for either player. They can sign Rush using their Bird Rights on him, and they can spent the full mid-level exception, starting at $5 million in the first year, to acquire Landry. However, those moves could put the Warriors over the luxury tax. It remains to be seen whether that is much of a deterrent for the Warriors.
Rush had the strongest year of his career last season, averaging 9.8 points per game while shooting 45 percent from three-point range. Landry struggled with injuries last season, but has a strong pedigree as an inside scorer for the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Hornets. Both would likely play off the bench, though Rush could beat out rookie Harrison Barnes at small forward.
A three-way trade that sent Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick to the New Orleans Hornets has officially been completed, one day after salary cap complications put it on hold. In the trade, the Hornets will receive Lopez and Warrick, the Phoenix Suns will receive Wes Johnson, Jerome Dyson, Brad Miller, a first-round pick and a second-round pick, and the Minnesota Timberwolves will receive a 2014 second-round pick.
The trade had been put on hold on Thursday, with most suspecting that it did not fit into the NBA's trade rules. As it turned out, though, the Suns were also slated to take on $3 million in cash in the original deal, which would have been illegal because they already did so in the sign-and-trade arrangement that sent Steve Nash to the Lakers. Teams can only receive $3 million cash total over the course of a calendar year.
The Hornets receive some much-needed size in Lopez, while the Suns try to revive Johnson's career while taking on additional picks. The Timberwolves, meanwhile, clear enough cap space to complete their two-year, $20 million contract with Andrei Kirilenko.
For more on the Timberwolves, be sure to visit Canis Hoopus and SB Nation Minnesota. For more on the Suns, check out Bright Side of the Sun and SB Nation Arizona. SB Nation's Hornets blog is housed over at At The Hive.
The proposed three-team trade that would send Robin Lopez to the New Orleans Hornets and Wesley Johnson to the Phoenix Suns now has a 50/50 chance of happening, according to a report from BrightSideOfTheSun.com.
Babby told meeting of Suns fans that Lopez trade is 50/50 due to rules complications.— BrightSideoftheSun (@BrightSideSun) July 26, 2012
Babby would be Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby. The deal reportedly involved five players and a first-round draft pick, so it's possible the issues are salary cap related. Earlier Wednesday, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic reported the issue could be the first-round pick Phoenix will receive.
Part of the hang-up on the Lopez 3-way deal is the terms of the 1st-rounder the #Suns will get from MIN. It might be a MEM pick owed to MIN.— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) July 25, 2012
For more on the Timberwolves, be sure to visit Canis Hoopus and SB Nation Minnesota. For more on the Suns, check out Bright Side of the Sun and SB Nation Arizona. SB Nation's Hornets blog is housed over at At The Hive.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are finalizing a two-year contract with Andrei Kirilenko, according to a report.
Speaking on anonymity because the move has not formally been announced and completed, a source tells the Associated Press that the deal will also include former Minnesota Timberwolves fourth overall pick Wesley Johnson to the Phoenix Suns, while the Hornets would send guard Jerome Dyson and the retiring Brad Miller's $5.1 million contract to the Wolves in an attempt to clear salary cap space.
The Suns are expected to also receive a lottery-protected first-round pick from the Timeberwolves and ship Hakim Warrick down to New Orleans.
For the Hornets, their efforts to get younger and more athletic are evident. Gone are Emeka Okafor and Chris Kaman, and in is an agile seven-footer in Lopez. Lopez should compliment the team's first overall pick, Anthony Davis, who is expected to be slotted into the power forward role due to his range on offense.
For the Timberwolves, they may finally have turned the corner as a team with a young nucleus and money to spend, as this move will give them space to perhaps bring in Andrei Kirelenko or have the luxury of pursuing a higher-priced player during next season's trade deadline or free agency period.
For more on the Timberwolves, be sure to visit Canis Hoopus and SB Nation Minnesota. For more on the Suns, check out Bright Side of the Sun and SB Nation Arizona. SB Nation's Hornets blog is housed over at At The Hive.
The NBA's biggest free agents are off the market already, but there are still some moving pieces out there that should allow the next couple of weeks to remain interesting. The rumors that made their rounds on Tuesday make it seem that way, anyway, as reports surfaced regarding a three-way trade between the Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Hornets and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The main reason for the trade seems to be the Hornets acquiring Robin Lopez in a sign-and-trade deal, but the bigger move would seem to be the Timberwolves throwing in former fourth overall pick Wesley Johnson and a lottery-protected first-round pick in order to clear cap space, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
That seems like a pretty big risk at this point in the offseason to simply clear cap space, but it comes with a solid caveat as that cap space is expected to allow the team to sign Russian forward Andrei Kirilenko. The 31-year-old is under contract with CSKA Moscow at the time, but the former Utah Jazz standout apparently has a small enough buyout that the Wolves have interest in pursuing him.
The details are unclear, but if West actually is staying put in Dallas, consider it a good move for the franchise.
After losing veteran point guard Jason Kidd to the New York Knicks and Jason Terry to the Boston Celtics, West's value became that much more inflated for a team that's recently acquired Darren Collison and drafted Jared Cunningham to bolster a depleted backcourt.
While the Los Angeles Lakers were reportedly eyeing West, Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson told FishbowlRadioNetwork.com on Monday that he intended to re-sign the eight-year veteran.
"We've got 15 spots and 13 players are under contract,'' Nelson said. "We've got a little work to do yet, hopefully Delonte will slide into one of those spots."
As expected, the Chicago Bulls have declined to match the Houston Rockets' three-year, $25 million offer sheet for restricted free agent Omer Asik, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago. The Rockets structured the contract in a similar manner to how they did for Jeremy Lin, and the Bulls, who are more concerned about maintaining long-term cap flexibility, decided the price was too rich.
Asik averaged just 3.1 points and 5.3 rebounds in under 15 minutes per game for the Bulls last season, but he is regarded as one of the league's top defensive players. The Rockets are hoping Asik will break out when given a chance to play more minutes, much like former Magic backup Marcin Gortat did once he was handed the starting job with the Phoenix Suns.
The Bulls, meanwhile, recently opted to sign veteran center Nazr Mohammad to a cheaper deal to replace Asik.
The New York Knicks have made a few high-profile additions to their roster already this offseason, but the moves keep on coming. After previously acquiring Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton, the Knicks went a little more low-key with their most recent addition.
Ronnie Brewer will be the latest to take his talents to the Knicks, according to NBA.com's David Aldridge, after spending the last two seasons with the Chicago Bulls. It's not the sexiest signing, to be sure, but Brewer is probably worth the gamble considering Aldridge is reporting it's a simple one-year deal.
Brewer was a bit disappointing in his two seasons with the Bulls, averaging a paltry 6.9 points as his field goal percentage dipped to just 42.7 this past season, but he has the ability to be a very solid defender off the bench for New York.
For more on the Knicks, be sure to visit Posting and Toasting.
The Utah Jazz haven't been overly active in free agency thus far this season, but the team apparently made a nice little move on Monday afternoon. In an effort to help its depth at the guard position, Utah has decided to add former lottery pick Randy Foye to the fold.
Foye's signing, which was first reported by ESPN's Ric Bucher, will now give the Jazz an opportunity to play pieces of last season's Los Angeles Clippers backcourt together as their other notable signing this offseason was Mo Williams.
Terms of the deal haven't been released as of yet, but the Salt Lake Tribune reports that Foye's salary will likely be a $2.5 million chunk of the mid-level exception -- a bargain if there ever was one this summer. He might not be the most efficient player considering his career averages of 11.6 points, 3.2 assists and 2.4 rebounds for a 29-year-old, but there have been plenty of worse deals signed this summer.
For more on the Utah Jazz, please visit SLC Dunk.
Marco Belinelli will sign with the Chicago Bulls, according to sources Monday. Belinelli gives the Bulls some much-needed help at shooting guard after the team let go of C.J. Watson and John Lucas III after the 2011-12 season. Chicago is desperate for backcourt depth, especially with Derrick Rose out as he recovers from a torn ACL.
Source confirms Marco Bellinelli's deal with the Bulls is done. Also: Bulls attempting to sign summer-leaguer Malcolm Thomas to 1-year deal.— Aggrey Sam (@CSNBullsInsider) July 23, 2012
Belinelli averaged 11.8 points per game with the New Orleans Hornets last season. His 37.7 percent 3-point shooting was a career low, but he is still known as a quality shooter who can score a ton of points. The 26-year-old Italian was selected No. 18 overall during the 2007 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.
Financial details of the deal have not yet been revealed.
The New York Post's Peter Vecsey reported late Saturday that veteran center Nazr Mohammed, who spent last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, will sign with the Chicago Bulls instead of the Brooklyn Nets. The indication from that, according to multiple reports, is that Chicago would not match the offer sheet Omer Asik signed with the Houston Rockets.
Asik signed the offer sheet on Friday, and the Bulls had three days to match. The deal was for $25 million over three years, though if Chicago were to match, the third year comes with a $14 million salary cap hit thanks to the "poison pill" clause that Rockets GM Daryl Morey also exploited in the Jeremy Lin chase.
Asik is primarily a defender, though perhaps one of the very best young big man defenders in the league. Mohammed is also renowned for his defense, though he didn't play much in OKC thanks to a deep rotation including noted defender Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison.
Greg Stiemsma has had a long road to the NBA. The 6'11" center went undrafted in the 2008 NBA Draft and spent a few years post-college bouncing around FIBA leagues and the D-League. He was briefly signed to contracts with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics, but was waived by both teams. He finally made his NBA debut with the Boston Celtics in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 NBA season and played in 55 games, proving to be a beast off the bench on defense.
Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston reports that Stiemsma has agreed to terms on a deal with the Timberwolves. It's hoped that Stiemsma will see continued playing time in the 2012-13 season and continue to be an asset on defense for a promising T-Wolves team that will have Kevin Love and a returning Ricky Rubio.
For all news and information regarding the Boston Celtics, please visit CelticsBlog or stop by SB Nation Boston. For updates and perspective on the T-Wolves, head on over to Canis Hoopus or check out SB Nation Minnesota.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been doing some work during NBA free agency and are rumored to be in play for All-Star center Dwight Howard, but in the meantime they have agreed to a contract with free agent Jordan Hill, according to his agent.
Jordan Hill has reached agreement on a two-year, nearly $8 million deal with the Lakers, his agent Kevin Bradbury tells Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 21, 2012
Hill was originally drafted by the New York Knicks in the 2009 NBA Draft with the No. 8 overall pick. In 2010 Hill was traded to the Houston Rockets in a three-team deal and was then traded again in 2012 to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers obviously liked what they saw in Hill off the bench and decided to bring the center back on a two-year deal.
Omer Asik has been given a three-year offer sheet from the Houston Rockets, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports. The deal is structured just like the Jeremy Lin contract, with an exorbitant third year that could prove too much for the Chicago Bulls to match.
Earlier reports indicated that the Bulls are unlikely to match the offer within three days, likely sending the restricted free agent center to Houston. Asik is considered one of the better defensive big men in the league, though his game is very limited offensively. He averaged just 3.1 points and 5.0 rebounds in 14.7 minutes per game last season.
The Phoenix Suns are looking for replacements for some of their departing veteran leaders, like Steve Nash and Grant Hill, and they're tabbing a guy who they already had under contract for one of them. Arizona Sports 620's John Gambodoro reports that Shannon Brown will sign a contract with the Suns to stay in Phoenix.
Brown's deal is reportedly for two years.
Brown started 19 games and played in 59 for the Suns in 2011-12, giving Phoenix 11.0 points per contest and providing the Suns with a decent option from distance by shooting 36.2 percent from three-point range. But Brown made just 42 percent of his shots, right around his career average, and needed 10.1 shot attempts per game to get his points.
Brown's got great athleticism, is regarded as a good defender, and is still fairly young at 26. He's likely not, however, the long-term solution at shooting guard that Eric Gordon or O.J. Mayo, both Suns targets, would have been.
After losing Ray Allen, the Boston Celtics have found a replacement, acquiring former Houston Rockets guard Courtney Lee in a sign-and-trade arrangement, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears. The Celtics will surrender JaJuan Johnson, to make the transaction work, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. It remains unclear how much Lee will receive for his new contract.
Lee emerged late in the year for the Rockets, moving into the starting lineup during their late-season run. On the season, Lee averaged 11.4 points per game while shooting 40 percent from three-point range. He was coveted in free agency by many teams, but it appears his target all along was the Celtics.
Lee will join fellow newcomer Jason Terry and promising youngster Avery Bradley in a retooled backcourt around Rajon Rondo. Bradley, however, had offseason shoulder surgery and is expected to miss at least the beginning of the season.
The Chicago Bulls have been mostly quiet during the 2012 free agency period, but they did make a minor move Wednesday night, signing forward Vladimir Radmanovic, according to a report from CSN Chicago's David Kaplan.
The Bulls have agreed on a one year deal with Vladimir Radmanovic. I spoke to him tonight and he confirmed the deal.— David Kaplan (@thekapman) July 19, 2012
Radmanovic has played 11 seasons in the NBA, spending the 2011-12 season with the the Atlanta Hawks. He played in 49 games for the Hawks last season, averaging 4.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He has career averages of 8.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
The Bulls will be the seventh different team Radmanovic has played for in the NBA. He entered the league as the No. 12 overall pick by the Seattle Sonics and spent the first four and a half years of his career playing in Seattle.
Everybody who loves sports and the Internet loves JaVale McGee for his on-court antics.
Wednesday night, we learned that the Denver Nuggets love McGee for his on-court basketball abilities as the forward has tweeted out a photo of himself signing a contract with the team he joined mid-way through the 2011-2012 season.
Shortly after the franchise offically announced the signing, Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears reported that the deal is for four-years, $44 million.
The last we heard regarding negotiations between McGee and the Nuggets were that there was a five-year, $50 million offer on the table, but that McGee was looking for more.
Well, he got one; in the form of one less year, but a higher annual salary.
It should be noted where McGee's new deal puts him in the pecking order of athletic NBA centers as it's just a tad more generous than the four-year, $42.7 million the Los Angeles Clippers gave DeAndre Jordan before last season.
Similar players that are nearly the same age, perhaps that was the benchmark McGee was looking to surpass, as pointed out by NBA.com's David Aldridge.
The Brooklyn Nets continue to make moves. This time, they're adding depth to their frontcourt, as center Nazr Mohammed is reportedly set to sign with the team for the veteran's minimum, according to Hoopsworld.com's Alex Kennedy.
Nazr Mohammed is close to signing with the Brooklyn Nets, according to source. He'll likely sign for the veteran's minimum in next 24 hours.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 18, 2012
The 6-foot-10 journeyman, who will turn 35 this fall, played for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, appearing in 63 regular-season games and averaging 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 11 minutes per game. He did not appear in any 2012 NBA finals games for the Thunder.
According to SB Nation's NetsDaily, Mohammed would become the 14th player listed on the Nets roster. The NBA's roster maximum is 15.
A member of seven different NBA teams during his 14-year NBA career, Mohammed would appear to offer some insurance in the middle behind recently re-signed starter Brook Lopez for Brooklyn coach Avery Johnson as the Nets prepare for training camp.
The Houston Rockets waived two players on Wednesday, clearing roster space for Omer Asik to come to Houston as the team's second-biggest off-season pickup. The Houston Chronicle reports that Jon Leuer and Jerome Jordan, who came to Houston in trades in the 2012 offseason, were both waived.
Once both players clear waivers, the Rockets will have room to add Asik, and he can officially sign his offer sheet, beginning a three-day period in which the Chicago Bulls, who hold Asik's rights as a free agent, can match Houston's deal or negotiate a trade with the Rockets.
Reports have indicated that the Bulls, notoriously stingy with their spending, will not match Asik's deal, including one from a Houston radio host on Wednesday. Asik's offer sheet, still not officially signed, will reportedly be for three years and $25 million, a rich contract for one of the NBA's finer defensive bigs and a limited offensive player.
Entering Wednesday, the Toronto Raptors' only major addition this offseason through free agency was Landry Fields. But ESPN's Marc Stein and the Chicago Sun Times' K.C. Johnson both report that a change may be on the horizon, with the Raptors about to sign John Lucas III.
Lucas has been a member of the Chicago Bulls for the majority of the past two seasons, and served as a capable backup point guard to Derrick Rose for stretches in 2011-12, scoring 7.5 points per game and shooting nearly 40 percent from three.
But Lucas, listed at 5'11", is short -- so short that one of the signature highlights of the past NBA season was LeBron James literally leaping over him to dunk an alley-oop -- and limited defensively, and he has never been projected as an NBA starter.
The departure from Chicago would be another loss for a Bulls franchise that compiled the best record in the Eastern Conference for two straight years under Tom Thibodeau, only to fail to make it out of the conference. Big man and defensive whiz Omer Asik is likely to sign an offer sheet from the Houston Rockets, and could leave Chicago as well.
Nicolas Batum will indeed remain with Portland Trail Blazers. The Oregonian's Jason Quick reports that Portland will match the Minnesota Timberwolves' offer for him, and that general manager Neil Olshey is set to announce the deal this afternoon in Las Vegas.
Batum was the player in the middle of the 2012 NBA free agency period's most contentious tug of war west of Jeremy Lin. Batum and Minnesota agreed to terms early, but Portland indicated it would match. Then Batum expressed his desire to play in Minnesota and then the two teams worked on a sign-and-trade deal before talks fell through, paving the way for the Blazers to simply match the Wolves' offer.
Batum provides flexibility on the wing as an athletic small forward who can guard shooting guards, but his greatest asset is his three-point shooting touch. Batum's a career 37.2 percent shooter from distance, and made 39.1 percent of his threes in the 2011-12 season.
For more on the Blazers, visit Blazer's Edge.
With just minutes to spare before the midnight deadline, the Los Angeles Clippers decided to use the amnesty clause on backup small forward Ryan Gomes, the team announced late Tuesday. Gomes had one year and $4 million left on his contract.
Gomes arrived in Los Angeles in 2010 and started for most of his first season, but he fell out of the rotation last year after the Clippers acquired Caron Butler in free agency. Gomes saw his minutes sliced in half, and he only ended up playing in 32 games. He averaged just 2.3 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.
The late move by the Clippers means that exactly half of the teams in the NBA have used the amnesty clause since it was implemented in the new collective bargaining agreement. Eight teams used it this season after seven used it before last season. The seven other players released this season are Brendan Haywood, Luis Scola, Darko Milicic, Elton Brand, Josh Childress, Andray Blatche and Chris Andersen.
With the Kris Humphries contract, the Mikhail Prokhorov era that other NBA owners (and their GMs) feared has arrived. Let the bullion flow.
The Hook is a daily NBA column by Tom Ziller. See the archives.
The New York Knicks will not match Jeremy Lin's three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, a Knicks spokesman confirmed to multiple reporters. Rockets GM Daryl Morey celebrated the decision on Twitter:
New York's decision wasn't a surprise, in part because Morey included a "poison pill" third year that would have forced the Knicks into paying an exorbitant luxury tax. After making a combined $11 million in the first two years of the contract, Lin will make $14.9 million in his third season alone. As the New York Times' Howard Beck previously reported, that sum would have triggered a luxury tax penalty of $35 million or more for the Knicks given their existing payroll commitments.
So instead, Lin returns to Houston. Lin played for the Rockets in the preseason last December before being released one day before the start of the regular season -- and several weeks before becoming a household name with the Knicks. Instead of fighting for a roster spot, he returns with a guaranteed starting job -- not to mention an extra comma on his paycheck and a worldwide following of fans.
The Denver Nuggets used the amnesty clause on forward Chris "Birdman" Andersen and signed forward Anthony Randolph on Tuesday night, according to the Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman. The Nuggets' interest in Randolph first emerged over the weekend when he attended a summer league game with team executives.
Randolph, 23, has played for the Golden State Warriors, the New York Knicks and, most recently, the Minnesota Timberwolves. During the 2012 season, Randolph averaged 7.4 points and 3.6 rebounds over 34 games.
Andersen saw his playing time diminish over the last two seasons with the arrivals of Kenneth Faried, Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos. He played in just 32 games in 2012, averaging 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds. As Hochman points out, Andersen is still involved in a police investigation involving online crimes. Allegedly, an underage girl tricked Andersen into believing she was older than she actually was and then threatened extortion.
Under the provisions of the amnesty clause, the Nuggets will need to pay nearly $10 million to Andersen over the next two years, but it will not count against the salary cap.
The Washington Wizards, as expected, have used the amnesty clause to release disappointing forward Andray Blatche, according to a report by CSN Washington's Chris Miller. Blatche was slated to make $7.2 million next season and $23.4 million over the next three seasons.
Blatche's poor work ethic and disappointing production over the years made this decision a formality, even though the Wizards do not gain immediate salary-cap space with the move. The Wizards dragged their feet until the end of the amnesty period just in case another arrangement developed in which they wouldn't have to pay him not to play. In the end, nothing materialized.
Blatche averaged 8.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last year. He only played 26 games and was shut down in the second half due to poor conditioning. Reports indicate that Wizards coach Randy Wittman had no interest in coaching him anymore.
Linsanity will be relocating to Houston next season. The New York Knicks have decided not to match the three-year, $25 million offer sheet presented by the Rockets, according to Howard Beck of the New York Times. This means that Lin will be a member of the Rockets next season.
The news concludes a bizarre few days in which the Rockets tried everything they could to steal Lin away and the Knicks stalled for time. In an attempt to increase the financial pain the Knicks would suffer if they kept Lin, the Rockets decided to exercise a little-used clause in the CBA that would have escalated Lin's salary to $14.9 million in the third year had the Knicks kept him. The Knicks were upset that the Rockets made this late increase and dodged the official paperwork in an attempt to prevent the three-day window to decide on restricted free agents from beginning. In that time, the Knicks traded for Raymond Felton to replace Lin on the roster.
Lin dazzled the basketball nation by starring in a 35-game sample after bouncing around the fringes of the league, but the Knicks, who already owe a combined $62 million in 2014-15 to Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, were reluctant to have another high-salaried player on the roster, given the more punitive luxury-tax penalties that exist in the new CBA.
Antawn Jamison and Jermaine O'Neal could be headed to the Los Angeles Lakers on minimum contracts, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports. The two would help solidify the Lakers' frontcourt while the team continues to deal with bigger names like Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum.
Lakers could be landing forward Antawn Jamison & center Jermaine O'Neal to minimum deals, sources tell Y! Jordan Hill interest remains, too.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 17, 2012
Jamison averaged 17.2 points in 33.1 minutes per game with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season. He shot a career worst 40.3 percent from the floor, however. With the Lakers he would likely take on a less scoring-focused role, allowing him to simply be a solid defender and rebounder.
O'Neal has averaged a tick over five points per game over his last two seasons with the Boston Celtics. Like Jamison, his days of serving a major role on the court are likely over, but he can still provide some defensive energy off the bench.
Grant Hill is going to the Clippers.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) July 17, 2012
Hill has been linked to both the Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason and will become one of many new additions to the team if the deal comes to fruition. The Clippers have already acquired Lamar Odom and Jamal Crawford this offseason, while retaining the services of Chauncey Billups.
Even with Odom coming in, the Clippers were a tad bit thin in the frontcourt, and Hill should be a useful addition. He's revived his previously injury-plagued career with the Suns, and averaged 10.2 points per game in just over 28 minutes per game in the 2011-12 season.
The Brooklyn Nets made sure big man Kris Humphries will stay around by inking him to a contract worth $12 million a year.
O.J. Mayo, arguably the NBA's best unsigned free agent, has picked his team. After drawing interest from numerous teams -- notably, the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns -- the 24-year-old shooting guard announced via Twitter that he's headed to the Dallas Mavericks:
I will be signing with dallas! #Mavsnation— OJ Mayo (@JuiceMayo32) July 17, 2012
Details of Mayo's contract have yet to surface, but it's a win for the Mavericks, who have rebounded nicely from a slow start to the offseason. After missing out on Deron Williams and losing Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, the Mavericks have since traded for Darren Collison, landed Elton Brand off amnesty waivers and signed Mayo.
Mayo, the third overall draft pick in 2008, should benefit from a change of scenery after four years with the Memphis Grizzlies. He came off the bench in all 66 games last year -- averaging 12.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game -- but could easily emerge as a full-time starter with the Mavs.
The point-guard pool in the 2012 NBA free agency period is drying up, leaving teams looking for second or third options in the wake of Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, and Raymond Felton all finding homes. Aaron Brooks has his, in Sacramento, according to SI.com's Sam Amick and Brooks himself on Twitter.
Amick reports that the deal is for two years and has an average annual value of $3.3 million per season.
Brooks seemed like one of the more competent young point guards in the league entering the 2010-11 NBA season, having come off a 2009-10 campaign with the Houston Rockets that featured him shooting nearly 40 percent from three-point range and filling the cup to the tune of 19.6 points per game. But Brooks' 2010-11 was split between Houston and Phoenix — he wasn't particularly successful in either city, shooting 37.5 percent from the field over his 59 games — and he spent the 2011-12 season playing in China.
Brooks gives the Kings perhaps the closest thing to a pure point guard on a roster rife with scoring guards — and even he's never averaged more than 5.3 assists per game in his career.
Many of the best players in Vegas need no introduction, but several unheralded standouts are turning heads -- and just might earn themselves a training camp invite.
The Washington Wizards appear set to make one of the most obvious moves of this year's free agency period: The Washington Post's Michael Lee reports that, "barring a last-minute trade," the Wizards are set to exercise their amnesty clause to cut ties with Andray Blatche.
Blatche is due $23 million more on the three remaining years of a five-year, $35 million deal, and has never been the force underneath that the Wizards desperately wanted him to be. Blatche scored 16.8 points and grabbed 8.5 rebounds per game for Washington in 2010-11 as part of an alternately brilliant and benighted frontcourt with JaVale McGee, but his numbers and play fell off considerably in 2011-12, as he scored just 8.5 points per contest, shot a pitiful 38 percent from the floor, and found himself affixed to Randy Wittman's bench.
The Los Angeles Lakers' busy 2012 NBA free agency period has already brought Steve Nash to Tinseltown from Phoenix, and the Lakers are always seemingly moments from consummating a trade to bring Dwight Howard to L.A. or send Andrew Bynum out. Until then, Lakers fans will have to settle for lower-profile deals, like signing Antawn Jamison. The Charlotte Observer reports that Jamison, a free agent, will sign with the Lakers, choosing them over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Jamison spent most of his last three years with the Cavaliers, and as a starter, but his effectiveness is on the wane entering his age-36 season. Jamison still produced 18.7 points per 36 minutes in 2011-12, but on 17.5 shots per 36 minutes, and his shooting has declined sharply from 48.5 percent from the field in his first year in Cleveland to a woeful 40.3 percent, a career worst, last year.
Jamison won't be asked to do nearly as much scoring with the Lakers, assuredly, which could make him more valuable as a defender and role player. But his arrival in Los Angeles might mean that Metta World Peace, whose contract has been made him a candidate for the use of the Lakers' amnesty clause, is on the way out.
Only in the NBA can a team waive a crazy contract to make enough salary cap space to sign another crazy contract. The Hook looks at how strategic amnesty has led to a spate of massive free agent deals.
The Phoenix Suns are undergoing a massive roster renovation in the 2012 NBA free agency period, trading franchise player Steve Nash to the Lakers and claiming Luis Scola off amnesty waivers from the Rockets. Now, Phoenix has cut ties with another player of some distinction, Josh Childress, using its amnesty clause on the swingman to wipe him from the books.
Childress came to Phoenix in a sign-and-trade with the Atlanta Hawks in 2010 that resulted in him getting a five-year, $33.5 million contract from the Suns. After giving Childress $13.5 million of that while he made just three starts in the last two years, Phoenix will pay the rest of his salary while removing him from their salary cap obligations for the next three seasons.
Childress has averaged 9.5 points per game in his NBA career, but put up just 4.2 points per contest in Phoenix.
For all news and information regarding the Phoenix Suns, please visit Bright Side of the Sun or check out SB Nation Arizona. You can track all the rumors and updates on NBA trades and free agency by visiting SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
The Toronto Raptors have traded small forward James Johnson to the Sacramento Kings for a future second-round pick. Johnson, out of Wake Forest, was a first-round pick of the Chicago Bulls in 2009. The Bulls sent him to Toronto for a late first-round pick to clear salary at the 2011 trade deadline.
Johnson isn't a particularly prolific or efficient scorer, and certainly isn't a three-point shooter, but does play active defense and is one of the best wing shotblockers in the NBA. He has one season left on his contract, and will make $2.8 million in 2012-13 before becoming a restricted free agent. The Kings featured John Salmons and Tyreke Evans at starting small forward last season. If Evans shifts back to the backcourt as expected, the starting three spot could be Johnson's for the taking. The Kings picked up a power forward, Thomas Robinson, in the draft.
The 2012 NBA offseason is certainly not lacking in twists and turns. The Phoenix Suns were able to pick up a power forward and one-time gold medalist on Sunday by putting in the highest bid on a waiver auction.
The Houston Rockets had decided to use their amnesty clause to waive Luis Scola and free up his contract, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com. The Suns then won the blind auction for Scola's services and will pay a portion of his 2012 salary, with the Rockets picking up whatever is left over (which will not count toward their 2012 cap).
The Suns opted to use their own amnesty clause on Josh Childress to free up cash to take Scola, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, so teams may be bidding on Childress in short order.
For all news and information regarding the Phoenix Suns, please visit Bright Side of the Sun or check out SB Nation Arizona. You can track all the rumors and updates on NBA trades and free agency by visiting SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
O.J. Mayo, one of the more intriguing available free agents, is looking to sign a new deal within the next 10 days and there are plenty of available suitors.
Saturday night Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears tweeted that the , , and are the finalists, while WEEI.com in Boston is reporting that the are also interested in Mayo, but that it would be contingent on finalizing a sign-and-trade deal for the newly acquired Jason Terry -- a move that has technically yet to be finalized.
While no potential deals have been reported in terms of years and dollars, it could be the Bulls that emerge as the strongest contenders in the Mayo sweepstakes.
While there are currently no takers, Chicago is reportedly looking to move aging shooting guard Richard Hamilton and his expiring contract. If the Bulls are successful, it would free up a bit of cap space to sign Mayo, and could slot a younger, more athletic Mayo guard into their rotation and add a much-needed ball handler to their backcourt with Derrick Rose's future uncertain.
The New York Knicks will have three days to match the offer sheet the Houston Rockets have signed Jeremy Lin to. That is, as soon as they get the aforementioned sheet. And the Knicks, by all reports, will do that, bringing back the player who electrified Madison Square Garden and the NBA in the 2011-12 season.
But if they don't? The Knicks may well turn to their last competent, exciting point guard, Raymond Felton. Yahoo!'s Marc J. Spears reports that the Knicks are nearing a deal that will bring Felton back to New York — and that Linsanity's marriage to the MSG crowd may be over.
Knicks close to obtaining point guard Raymond Felton in sign and trade with Blazers, source tells Y! Sports.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 15, 2012
Jeremy Lin appears close to being a Houston Rocket with Raymond Felton to NY deal close to being done, sources tell Y!— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 15, 2012
Spears is far from the only person reporting a Felton-Knicks link: the New York Daily News' Frank Isola and Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen both reported talks happening shortly before Spears reported the potential deal.
Felton played all of 54 games for the Knicks in 2010-11 before being included in the package that pried Carmelo Anthony from Denver. He was excellent in those 54, averaging 17 points and nine assists per game. But it won't be Mike D'Antoni's offense Felton would run in New York in 2012 and beyond, and Felton's lack of conditioning during the NBA lockout limited him as a Blazer in 2011-12.
Jeremy Lin has signed the Houston Rockets' new, renegotiated offer sheet. But, despite going to seemingly Herculean lengths, the Rockets haven't gotten it to Knicks GM Glen Grunwald yet, according to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen.
The saga continues. The Rockets did not deliver the Lin offer sheet, after all. Imagining a PI in a trench coat staking out Tao.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) July 14, 2012
The league had already made clear that the offer sheet needs to be delivered to Grunwald, not just sent to the Knicks' Madison Square Garden offices, which likely means that there is a hapless Rockets front office staffer looking all over Las Vegas — where many NBA personnel are for Summer League action — for him.
This all matters because the Knicks will apparently have three days from receipt of the offer sheet to match any deal, which they have indicated they will do, and they can certainly drag the affair out for all of those 72 hours if they want, forcing Houston to keep an iron in the fire that might distract from other offseason work, like ironing out a Dwight Howard trade.
Darko Milicic may not have been claimed on waivers after he was amnestied by the Timberwolves, but that doesn't mean NBA teams aren't interested. Milicic is now an unrestricted free agent and the Celtics, Nets and Clippers are among the teams interested, according to a report from Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
Frontrunners for free agent center Darko Milicic are Boston, Brooklyn and LA Clippers, league source tells Y! Sports.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 14, 2012
Milicic could provide frontcourt depth for all three teams and will no longer come with the remaining $7 million of his previous contract. In Los Angeles, Milicic could replace free agent Kenyon Martin. Brooklyn could be looking for depth if they lose Kris Humphries and the Celtics could use Milicic to replace Jermaine O'Neal.
For more on the Nets, check out NetsDaily. For Celtics news, visit Celtics Blog and check out SB Nation Boston. For the latest on the Clippers, please visit Clips Nation or head on over to SB Nation Los Angeles.
The Minnesota Timberwolves used their amnesty clause on Darko Milicic earlier this week in order to clear cap space to sign Nicolas Batum. Saturday, Milicic joined the pool of unrestricted free agents after going unclaimed during the waiver process.
NBA's 30 teams also notified that Darko Milcic has cleared waivers and is now an unrestricted free agent— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 14, 2012
The Timberwolves signed Milicic to a four-year, $20 million contract in 2010 and will still be on the hook for the remaining $7 million guaranteed on the deal. Where Milicic goes from here remains a question. While no team was interested in claiming his contract, it's possible he could still sign with a NBA team for less. It's also possible Milicic will leave the NBA and continue his career in Europe.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, Milicic has career averages of 6.0 points and 4.2 rebounds.
For more on the T'Wolves, check out SB Nation's Wolves blog, Canis Hoopus.
The Charlotte Bobcats have added some much needed size inside, though the way they went about it on Saturday smells of desperation. They're the proud owners of a shiny new Brendan Haywood, the 32-year-old center who was recently written off the cap of the Dallas Mavericks via the amnesty clause.
NBA's 30 teams just notified that Brendan Haywood has been claimed on waivers by Bobcats— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 14, 2012
Whether this claim will provide any kind of value for Charlotte remains to be seen, considering that the amount of their claim bid isn't yet known. Haywood has four years left on his deal, though, and appears to be on the decline between his age and the average numbers he's produced over the last two seasons. He might be a useful player, and the Bobcats might not be paying him very much, but they still have to pay him for the next four years.
The Charlotte Bobcats signed free agent guard Ramon Sessions, and the move has now been made official.The deal with Sessions will reportedly be for two years and $10 million, but the terms were not disclosed in the official team release.
"Ramon is a quality point guard who can both distribute and score," Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins said in the release. "We are excited to be adding a player of his caliber and ability to our franchise."
Sessions spent the 2011-12 NBA season with the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Sessions averaged 11.3 points, 5.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game last season. The 6-foot-3, five-year NBA veteran has spent time with the Timberwolves, Bucks, Cavs, Lakers and now will be joining the Bobcats.
Elton Brand has been claimed off amnesty waivers by the Dallas Mavericks, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski. Brand was released by the Philadelphia 76ers under the amnesty provision in the NBA collective bargaining agreement.
The Dallas Mavericks have successfully claimed Elton Brand off amnesty waivers, a league source tells Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 13, 2012
Brand would have been owed $18 million next season if he had stayed on with the Sixers. The organization was able to dump the forward and his salary under the provision, clearing cap space.
There is no word yet on what kind of contract Brand is working out with the Mavs. The 33-year-old forward is still plenty productive. Last season he played 28.9 minutes per game, averaging 11 points and 7.2 rebounds.
Martell Webster has been waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Webster averaged a three-year low 6.9 points in 24.3 minutes per game last season.
Minnesota has waived forward Martell Webster, league source tells Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 13, 2012
Webster will head to the waiver wire, where any team can pick him up for his remaining contract within 48 hours. If he clears waivers, he will hit the free agent market as an unrestricted free agent. Minnesota apparently feels Webster wasn't worth the $5.7 million he was scheduled to receive during the 2012-13 season.
Webster could still be a valuable depth piece, albeit at a reduced price. The 6'7 small forward is a career 41 percent shooter, 37 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
JaVale McGee is sitting on a five-year, $50 million offer from the Denver Nuggets, according to the Denver Post's Ben Hochman. McGee has not accepted the offer, and he will see if the Nuggets or another team will raise the offer as other big men get claimed.
McGee, a 24-year-old center, is a restricted free agent, which means that while he can sign with another team for a maximum of four years, Denver has the right to match any signed offer. Only Denver can offer a fifth year.
The Nuggets traded for McGee in the massive, surprising Nene deal with the Washington Wizards at the deadline in March. McGee has a reputation for being overeager on defense to the point at which he often leaves the weakside open by chasing blocks and earns a few too many goaltending calls in the process. Despite that, he is a prolific shotblocker and strong rebounder.
The Argentinian power forward has three years and $21 million left on his deal with Houston, but will reportedly be let go as the Rockets continue to pursue a trade for Dwight Howard.
The Charlotte Bobcats have come to terms with free agent point guard Ramon Sessions on a two-year deal, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. The journeyman was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers at last season's trade deadline, as L.A. looked for an external solution to fill its void at the point. Initial reports indicated the Lakers were hoping to re-sign Sessions, but the eventual sign-and-trade that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak was able to work out for Steve Nash obviously re-arranged the team's priorities.
With the Lakers moving forward, Spears reported on Thursday that the Bobcats and Sessions were closing in on a deal. The terms were reportedly finalized Thursday evening, with the result being a two-year agreement:
Point guard Ramon Sessions landing a two-year deal with Bobcats, source tells Yahoo! Sports.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 12, 2012
Sessions will join second-year point guard Kemba Walker as Charlotte's primary ballhandlers in Mike Dunlap's first year as the Bobcats' coach. As expected, Charlotte parted ways with point guard D.J. Augustin on Thursday, withdrawing their qualifying offer which allowed him to sign with the Pacers.
For more on the Sessions signing and the Bobcats, visit Rufus On Fire.
The Indiana Pacers have agreed to a one-year deal with point guard D.J. Augustin, according to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star. Augustin's name surfaced in a report from Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday that indicated the veteran point guard was the subject of trade talks between the Pacers and Charlotte Bobcats.
On Thursday, ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the Bobcats had withdrawn their qualifying offer to Augustin, making him an unrestricted free agent able to sign with any suitor. The Pacers had obviously advanced pretty far down the road with the Bobcats and Augustin, and Wells quickly reported on the one-year deal:
Pacers have agreed to a 1 year deal with DJ Augustin, according to a source.— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNBA) July 12, 2012
The Pacers took an interest in adding Augustin after trading Darren Collison to the Mavericks on Wednesday, which opened up a spot at the point guard position behind the recently re-signed George Hill. According to Stein, they made the Collison deal with Dallas with the expectation that they would add another point guard, presumably Augustin, and they didn't take long to pounce. The one-year qualifying offer tendered to Augustin by the Bobcats was for $4.8 million, but according to Yahoo!'s Wojnarowski, Augustin will make $3.5 million to play in Indiana this season on his new deal.
For more on the Pacers, visit Indy Cornrows.
The Charlotte Bobcats are slowly but surely filling the many holes in their team in hopes of fielding a more competitive team in the 2012-2013 season than the one that set the record for lowest winning percentage in league history last season.
Sessions was hailed as the answer to the Lakers' point guard problems when he came over in a deal from the Cleveland Cavaliers before the trade deadline last year, leading the team to jettison veteran Derek Fisher, who wound up on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sessions appeared to give the team life in the second half of the season, but performed poorly in the playoffs, leading the Lakers to seek another option in the form of a trade for Steve Nash.
The Bobcats already have Kemba Walker and D.J. Augustin (probably) on the roster, both of whom play the same score-first point guard role Sessions has in years past, so it will be interesting to see how the minutes and positions shake out, and which develop chemistry with No. 2 overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
For more on the Bobcats, make sure you check out Rufus On Fire.
Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum has put pen to paper on the Minnesota Timberwolves' four-year, $46 million offer sheet, according to a report by Comcast Sportsnet Northwest's Chris Haynes. The Trail Blazers have three days to decide to match the Wolves' offer, so by Sunday, July 15, Batum will definitively know which uniform he'll be wearing. Haynes reports the Blazers are expected to match the offer.
The Blazers have been active, but unsuccessful in the offseason in trying to attract outside talent, offering a max contract to center Roy Hibbert only to have the Indiana Pacers match, reportedly being in the mix for Brook Lopez's services (he's expected to return to the Brooklyn Nets as well). In fact, the only talent they've been able to pry away from another team is new general manager Neil Olshey. They have two lottery picks in Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard coming in, and bringing Batum back means the team they had at the end of last year that tanked out of the playoff picture remains largely unchanged, other than the rookies.
There are still some free agents available, but their hopes of adding a veteran center to pair with LaMarcus Aldridge might not come to fruition, as the talented big men left on the market — Kris Humphries (restricted) and Elton Brand (amnestied, likely) and JaVale McGee (restricted) — are either power forwards or unlikely to leave their current teams.
Batum, still just 23, averaged 13.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, one steal and one block per game in 2011-'12.
Why do players like Brook Lopez and Roy Hibbert get maximum contracts? Blame the league's artificial price ceiling on player salaries.
After missing out on Deron Williams, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in the span of two weeks, the Mavericks looked dead in the water ... finally. Welp, so much for that.
The Hook is a daily NBA column by Tom Ziller. See the archives.
When the Philadelphia 76ers decided to use the amnesty clause in the NBA's collective bargaining agreement on Elton Brand last week, the Dallas Mavericks were thought to be one of his potential suitors. Well, as it turns out, the interest is mutual, according to NBA.com's David Aldridge.
Source: Elton Brand hoping to be claimed by the Mavericks. Story up soon on NBA.com.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 12, 2012
The Mavericks, who are thought to be planning a "very aggressive bid" for Brand in the amnesty waiver process, have salary cap space and a position in the front court open after using the amnesty clause themselves, jettisoning center Brendan Haywood on Wednesday. The Mavericks signed Chris Kaman on Wednesday to fill Haywood's spot, but Dallas also traded center Ian Mahinmi to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for guards Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones.
Brand averaged 11 points and 7.2 rebounds per game for the 76ers last season, his fourth season in Philadelphia.
After his best statistical season in the NBA, the Portland Trail Blazers have re-signed J.J Hickson to a one-year deal.
The deal is worth $4 million plus incentives, according to ProBasketballDraft.com, meaning Hickson could be ripe for a healthy long-term deal next summer if he improves on last season's output.
Last season Hickson averaged 15.1 points (a career high) and 8.8 rebounds per game, shooting 54.3 percent from the floor.
Despite the season Hickson had, The Oregonian's Jason Quick was quick to offer his two cents on the signing:
Surprised at Hickson signing. Must have signed him at good number. That brings Blazers roster to 13 (with Nic). Two spots left for PG, C— Jason Quick (@jwquick) July 12, 2012
The 19th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavailers, Hickson was traded to the Sacramento Kings before the 2011-2012 season, but waived after 35 games.
For more information on this and other Portland Trail Blazer off-season news, visit SB Nation's Blazers Edge.
The Dallas Mavericks have collected NBA big men like children of the '90s collected Pogs for many years, but they will apparently be losing one of them. Dallas will use its amnesty clause on Brendan Haywood, according to a report from ESPN Dallas's Tim McMahon.
Haywood was likely made more than a little expendable by the Mavs' signing of Chris Kaman, announced earlier on Wednesday night. Kaman plays Haywood's position -- but Kaman plays it significantly better. The Mavs' use of the amnesty clause will wipe the rest of the six-year, $55 million deal Haywood signed in 2010 off of their salary cap, but Haywood will still be paid the balance of that $55 million.
Haywood came to Dallas in a 2010 trade that featured the Washington Wizards swapping Caron Butler for Josh Howard, but was largely a disappointment for the Mavs. After signing his contract in the summer of 2010, Haywood started just four games in the 2010-11 regular season, averaging just 4.4 points per game. Later, he turned in a couple of good performances in the playoffs, including an eight-rebound, three-block outing against the Lakers and a seven-rebound, three-block night against the Heat. Haywood then inherited the starting center spot from Tyson Chandler, who left Dallas for the open checkbook of the Knicks last summer. He started 54 games for the Mavs this season, scoring in double figures just seven times and recording a double-double twice.
While Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey is publicly saying the Blazers will match any offer for Nicolas Batum, it appears they are actually preparing for his departure to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The two teams are currently working on a sign-and-trade arrangement where the Timberwolves would send draft picks back to Portland to secure Batum, according to ESPN's sources.
The current parameters of the deal have the Timberwolves sending two first-round draft picks and a veteran small forward to the Blazers, according to the report. The Timberwolves would have to get a third team involved to find the veteran small forward. Earlier reports suggested they were interested in trading for Chicago Bulls forward Kyle Korver, so perhaps that's the missing piece.
The Timberwolves cannot trade their own first-round pick in consecutive years -- they dealt their 2012 pick several years ago, and it ended up with the Hornets -- but they do have an additional lottery-protected pick from the Houston Rockets that they could send to Portland.
"We are excited that Eric Gordon wants to be a Phoenix Sun, and are gratified by his choice to play here," said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby.
Unfortunately for the Suns, Gordon's choice to sign with Phoenix does not mean he will end up a Sun. The New Orleans Hornets can match Phoenix's offer sheet for Gordon and retain his rights — an outcome that Gordon has been vehemently against, saying he would be "disappointed" if the Hornets matched the offer.
New Orleans will have three days to match the offer, and are expected to do so. The two teams could also work out a sign-and-trade deal that would get Gordon to the desert and land the rebuilding Hornets some talent in return.
The Portland Trail Blazers have a couple of irons in the fire in the 2012 NBA free agency period, but the one that represents retaining Nicolas Batum is about to get pulled out. Portland GM Neil Olshey said Wednesday that the Blazers still plan on matching a Timberwolves offer sheet for Nicolas Batum.
The Wolves have signed Batum to a four-year, $45 million offer sheet, but Portland can match any offers for Batum, a restricted free agent. The main reason Portland wouldn't do so is to execute a sign-and-trade deal with Minnesota, but Olshey also said Wednesday that he doesn't see assets worth working out such a deal on Minnesota's roster.
Batum, for his part, has said that he wants to play for the Timberwolves. Letting Batum slip away to Minnesota would help clear room for Portland to sign Roy Hibbert, but the Indiana Pacers are set to match Portland's offer sheet for Hibbert, meaning there is plenty of room to sign Batum.
With the Dwight Howard trade talks all but dead for now, the Brooklyn Nets have moved quickly to secure Brook Lopez, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. The deal is for four years and $61 million, which is essentially a max contract, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
The new contract ensures that the Nets and Magic cannot rekindle Howard trade talks until January 15, which is the first day that Lopez can be traded under his new contract. Lopez was the centerpiece of the Nets' offer to the Magic, but with the Magic pulling out of trade talks earlier Wednesday, the Nets decided keeping Lopez was necessary.
Lopez reportedly was also mulling a four-year maximim-contract offer from the Charlotte Bobcats, but they could only pay him up to $58 million. The Nets, due to rules in the CBA that make it easier for teams to retain their own free agents, were able to offer Lopez a little bit more.
You can track all the Dwight Howard trade drama by visiting this StoryStream. For more on the Nets and Magic, check out NetsDaily and Orlando Pinstriped Post, respectively. The latest updates on all NBA news and rumors are at SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
Chris Kaman's one of the NBA's biggest men, and he'll be heading to Big D to ply his trade for a Mavericks squad that never seems to have enough bigs.
The Washington Wizards are reportedly still deciding whether to cut Andray Blatche and remove him from the salary cap under the NBA's amnest clause, according to NBA.com's David Aldridge. Blatche is still owed $23 million on his current five-year, $35 million contract.
The Wizards could use the cap space to extend John Wall's contract and sign first-round pick Bradley Beal. They have six days to exercise the amnesty provision, however, and in the interim will explore other options with Blatche. The forward could either be traded immediately or be paid to stay out of the daily workings of the team if the Wizards need more time to work out a deal with another organization.
Whatever the Wizards choose to do, Blatche likely won't be involved with the team next season. He was benched last season after averaging 8.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in just 26 appearances.
The Golden State Warriors reportedly sent Dorell Wright to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday evening in exchange for a future draft pick. Now, nearly 24 hours later, more details have emerged including a third team in the deal. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Warriors will receive point guard Jarrett Jack from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for the draft rights to 6'11 Bosnian power forward Edin Bavcic.
Warriors to get Jarrett Jack & Hornets only have to take back draft rights to Edin Bavcic (originally Philly-bound) to complete the trade— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 11, 2012
Jack has bounced around the league since being drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft. He had the best season of his professional career with the Hornets last season, averaging 15.6 points and 6.3 assists in 34 minutes per game.
Bavcic has yet to make his NBA debut. He has bounced around the Turkish, German, Italian, Ukrainian and Greek leagues since being drafted 56th overall by the Toronto Raptors during the 2006 draft.
An earlier report suggested that Brooklyn Nets restricted free-agent center Brook Lopez had one maximum contract offer sheet from a team other than the Nets. As it turns out, he might actually have two. The Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Bobcats have both told Lopez that they would be willing to sign him to a four-year max contract, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
The Nets would have the ability to match any contract Lopez receives, but that would mean they couldn't leave open the option of trading Lopez for Dwight Howard. That's why the Nets are negotiating a deal themselves with Lopez that would provide him the five-year maximum contract only he can provide. Without that fifth year, Lopez could sign the Blazers' or Bobcats' offer and kill any Howard trade possibility.
Lopez played in just five games last year as he recovered from a foot injury.
You can track all the Dwight Howard trade drama by visiting this StoryStream. For more on the Nets and Magic, check out NetsDaily and Orlando Pinstriped Post. The latest updates on all NBA news and rumors are at SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
The Brooklyn Nets and center Brook Lopez continue negotiations on the terms of what essentially would amount to a maximum contract extension, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. As of now, the two sides have agreed to fully guarantee the first four years for $58 million. The hold-up remains the fifth year.
The Nets' urgency for resolving the Lopez situation has a lot to do with preserving the chance at trading for Dwight Howard. If the Nets sign Lopez to a contract, they have only 48 hours to deal it in a sign-and-trade if they so choose. Otherwise, they must wait until December 15 to trade Lopez again. Lopez would be the centerpiece of the Nets' trade package for Howard.
The urgency for all of this increased because Lopez has a maximum contract offer on the table from another team, according to Howard Beck of the New York Times.
Lopez, a restricted free agent, is weighing a maximum-salary offer sheet from a rival team, according to a person with knowledge of the proposed deal. If Lopez were to sign the offer sheet, it would eliminate him as a trading chip and kill the Nets’ chances of landing Howard this summer.
If Lopez signs that offer sheet with another team, the Nets would have three days to match it, but they cannot match it and then trade Lopez for Howard. That's why the Nets are moving quickly to resolve Lopez's status while also engaging with the Magic on trade scenarios for Howard.
You can track all the Dwight Howard trade drama by visiting this StoryStream. For more on the Nets and Magic, check out NetsDaily and Orlando Pinstriped Post. The latest updates on all NBA news and rumors are at SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
Former Brooklyn Nets point guard Jordan Farmar will be bought out of his NBA contract and sign a three-year deal to play in Turkey, according to Colin Stephenson of the Newark Star-Ledger. Farmar will end up playing for Anadolu Efes, a club team in Istanbul.
Farmar was traded from the Nets to the Atlanta Hawks as part of the Joe Johnson trade, but he asked to be bought out of his $4.25 million contract. The Hawks will pay Farmer just over $1.5 million of his salary next year. In addition to that, Farmar is expected to make $10.5 million over three years on his contract for his new Turkish club team.
Farmar had by far his best season as a pro last year, averaging just over 10 points per game while hitting nearly 47 percent of his shots in a bench role for the Nets. Coach Avery Johnson used him to back up Deron Williams, but he also played alongside Williams at times.
The Chicago Bulls are in talks to deal reserve swingman Kyle Korver in a sign-and-trade arrangement, according to Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Atlanta Hawks are said to be the two teams most interested in Korver's services.
Korver has a contract for $5 million next year, but only $500,000 is guaranteed. The Bulls have until Sunday to decide whether to guarantee the contract, and while that is still under consideration, according to Hayes, it looks like the first choice is to send him out. The Bulls are looking to create wiggle room under the luxury tax for both this year and for future years, which also explains why they released backup guards Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson.
Korver averaged 8.1 points per game off the bench for the Bulls last season. His strength is his three-point shooting, as he is a career 41-percent marksman from deep. Last year, Korver shot 43.5 percent from beyond the arc.
The Portland Trail Blazers have been rumored to be interested in finding out what former draft pick Joel Freeland can do stateside. After five years of waiting, it sounds as though the team will finally be able to get their first look at him really soon.
The 30th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Freeland has spent his career in Europe to this point. That won't be the case next year, however, as his Spanish team announced on its website that the big man is headed to America to finally join the Blazers on what many report to be a three-year, $9 million deal.
Wendell Maxey, a contributor at SB Nation's Ridiculous Upside, has kept readers updated pretty regularly with news regarding Freeland -- including a report from earlier this year regarding the Blazers interesting in signing their draft pick.
At 25 years old, Freeland remains on Portland's radar even if a new contract extension comes into play. And while health issues should raise a red flag in any negotiations between the two sides, the Blazers front office is still a little cautious about what is fact and fiction coming out of Spain with Freeland while shoving any health woes to the side.
"We have been in contact with Joel's Spanish and U.S. agents all season long and are very aware of where things are at with his contract extension talks with Unicaja. These talks have no impact on our desire to try and bring Joel over to our team next season. When the season is over and we can begin to engage in more serious contract talks with Joel we will do so."
There were rumors that Freeland wanted to start if he made his way to the NBA, so this ought to be interesting.
For more on Freeland and the Blazers, visit Blazer's Edge.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have made a couple of high-profile moves over the past week in convincing Brandon Roy to return from retirement and deciding to send an offer sheet to restricted free agent Nicolas Batum. David Kahn is concentrating on some smaller moves though, too, as he added a new guard to the mix on Tuesday afternoon.
Alexey Shved, a guard out of Russia with quite a bit of buzz around him for a player who went undrafted two years ago, has been signed by the Timberwolves. There were many reports that he was interested in taking his talents to the NBA this season and had been looking at quite a few options, but the Star Tribune reports that the Wolves came out on top in the pursuit.
The Timberwolves on Tuesday continued to add before they inevitably subtract, agreeing to contract terms with Russian guard Alexey Shved in the hours before the NBA's signing period commenced just before midnight, NBA sources said.
There likely won't be a deal officially announced by the team until Minnesota is able to figure out what exactly is going to happen with the Batum contract, but this is a nice little low-key transaction for the Timberwolves.
The Memphis Grizzlies haven't been lauded much for their acquisitions over the past couple of seasons, but the front office has quietly built a contender by filling out their roster with cheap players who know how to play a role. That strategy continued late Tuesday, too, as the team decided to add Jerryd Bayless to its backcourt.
Bayless wasn't expected to be on the market this season, but the Toronto Raptors renounced his rights to make sure they had room under the cap for new acquisitions Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields. It didn't take long for the quick guard to find a new home, however, as ESPN's Marc Stein reported late Tuesday night that Bayless was joining the Grizzlies.
The Memphis Grizzlies have reached terms on a contract with free agent guard Jerryd Bayless to help fill the void created by O.J. Mayo's imminent departure, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.
Terms of the deal have yet to be released, but it seems as though this will be another low-risk, moderate-reward signing for the Grizzlies as they continue to keep their playoff team stocked.
The Brooklyn Nets certainly want Dwight Howard, but with a deal not in sight the team has inched closer to other options, such as negotiating a maximum contract with center Brook Lopez, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Such a deal, if or when it is signed, would prevent the Nets from trading Lopez until December, when teams are allowed to move players who signed new contracts.
Both sides still need to work on the length of the contract, which could be four years and $58 million or five years and $78 million. Also, the Nets want to make sure they will be covered in case Lopez's right foot becomes an issue. It broke twice this past season.
With the Nets seemingly moving out of a potential deal for Dwight Howard, NBA eyes will turn elsewhere to see where the center might wind up.
You can track all the Dwight Howard trade drama by visiting this StoryStream. For more on the Nets, Magic, Cavs and Clippers, check out NetsDaily, Orlando Pinstriped Post, Fear The Sword and Clips Nation, respectively. The latest updates on all NBA news and rumors are at SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
According to CSN Philadelphia, the Golden State Warriors have traded small forward Dorell Wright to the Sixers in exchange for what CSN's Dei Lynam reports is a "future draft pick," but the Bay Area News Group's Marcus Thompson reports is "a player Philly previously drafted and stashed overseas." Whomever winds up heading to Golden State in return, the 6-foot-9-inch Wright seems to be exactly the type of player that the Sixers tend to favor.
Wright was one of the few bright spots for the Warriors last season, averaging 10.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. After being drafted out of high school in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft, Wright spent the first six years of his career with the Miami Heat, including helping them win a title in 2006, but has played better in Golden State than he did while in Miami.
For complete news and information regarding the Philadelphia 76ers, please visit Liberty Ballers or stop by SB Nation Philadelphia. You can track all the rumors and updates on NBA trades and free agency by visiting SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
After trading away leading scorer Joe Johnson, the Atlanta Hawks have addressed their need for perimeter scoring and will sign former Philadelphia 76ers guard Lou Williams, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst. Williams will sign for the value of the mid-level exception, Windhorst reports.
Williams was the leading scorer for the 76ers last year, and was often their go-to guy late in games. But his poor defense, along with his high expected price tag, convinced the 76ers to part ways with him. Philadelphia elected to sign former Wizards and Clippers guard Nick Young to a one-year contract instead.
Williams averaged 14.9 points per game off the bench last year and finished second in the Sixth Man of the Year voting to James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He could start with the Hawks, or he could come off the bench, where he has been most comfortable throughout his career.
NBA forward Rashard Lewis has been with the Washington Wizards since 2010, when he was traded away from the Orlando Magic in exchange for Gilbert Arenas. The two-time All-Star now appears set to take his talents to South Beach.
Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida initially reported that Lewis will sign with the Heat on Wednesday, the first day that free agents are allowed to put pen to paper. The contract would be for the $1.35 million veteran's minimum, according to Tomasson. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports then reported that minimum-salary contract would be a two-year deal.
The Heat have already proved this offseason that they're far from content to rest on their laurels after winning the NBA championship, reportedly agreeing to terms with former Boston Celtics shooting guard Ray Allen and now bringing Lewis into the fold. They're putting together an even deeper and stronger team for the 2012-13 season.
For more news and information regarding the Miami Heat, check out Peninsula Is Mightier or stop by SB Nation Tampa Bay. You can track all the rumors and updates on NBA trades and free agency by visiting SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
Nicolas Batum is a restricted free agent, which gives his current team, the Portland Trail Blazers, the right to match any offer given to him. However, there has been a lot of noise recently that he wants to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have signed him to a four-year, $45 million offer sheet. Now, that noise has been confirmed by the player himself.
In an interview with NBA.com's David Aldridge, Batum said that he's ready to move on from the Blazers and have a new beginning in Minnesota.
"I’m a restricted free agent," Batum said. "I know the situation. Anywhere I sign, the Blazers are going to match. But my first choice was, and is, Minnesota. That’s where I want to play and that’s where I want to put my family. I’ve got nothing against the fans (in Portland) and nothing against the city. But this is a basketball decision and basketball wise, I want to be there."
The Blazers had previously indicated they would match any offer to keep Batum, but that stance has softened in recent days. Batum told Aldridge that the two sides are now working on a sign-and-trade arrangement.
Batum is excited to play in new coach Rick Adelman's offense, believing that the Blazers' slower pace stunted his game a bit. The Timberwolves, according to Aldridge, told Batum they believe he is the "missing piece" for their roster.
The Chicago Bulls plan to let shooting guard Ronnie Brewer go, allowing him to become a free agent, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Brewer was slated to make $4.37 million this season, but the contract was fully unguaranteed. Releasing Brewer therefore allows the Bulls to save money under the luxury tax.
Brewer started 43 games for the Bulls last year, averaging 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game while playing strong defense. He was originally slated to be a reserve, but ended up starting due to injuries for Richard Hamilton. The Bulls, however, believe they can replace his production with free-agent signee Kirk Hinrich and second-year player Jimmy Butler.
The Bulls have three players on fully non-guaranteed deals: Brewer, point guard C.J. Watson and swingman Kyle Korver. Watson is expected to be let go, while Korver's future with the team is up in the air.
Tim Duncan has agreed to a three-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs, according to reports. The deal includes a no-trade clause and a player option in the third year.
Boris Diaw looked like he might very well eat his way out of the NBA not long ago -- even being bought of the final season of his five-year, $45 million contract by the Charlotte Bobcats in the middle of last season -- but the French forward underwent a career resurgence with the San Antonio Spurs.
And now he's getting paid.
Diaw will return to play with fellow Frenchman Tony Parker and the Spurs next season on a two-year, $9 million contract, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. In a rare move for a player of his stature, Diaw was also given a player option on his contract going forward.
Diaw has incentives that can push deal to $9.2M, and terms include a player option for the 2013-'14 season.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 10, 2012
The incentives are likely related to his weight as he blew up a bit last time he had considerable time off in the offseason, but this could end up being a bargain for San Antonio.
For more on the Spurs, head to Pounding The Rock.
Nenad Krstic has never been a worldbeater during his NBA career, but the seven-foot Serbian has proven to be a serviceable center during the seven years he spent playing basketball in the best league in the world. It seems American fans won't be able to catch Krstic on USA soil for awhile, however, as he's decided to re-sign in Moscow rather than entertain interest from NBA teams this offseason.
CSKA Moscow announced on Monday that Krstic has signed a three-year deal with the Russian team, keeping Krstic abroad until he's at least 31 years old.
"I am happy to stay in the best club in Europe, to try to take CSKA back to the Euroleague Final Four and help the team to win domestic competitions. I had no doubt about staying. I realized that my system of values turned dramatically towards my family, the Serbian national team," Krstic said. "CSKA's offseason moves and my new contract answered my demands. I realized that I would like to play at least three seasons in our red and blue uniform. I know that the team has a new coach and I hope we will find a common language soon."
Terms of the deal weren't released, but it's interesting that Krstic notes that his contract demands were met. That might mean that had Krstic played in the NBA this year, he might not have come as cheaply as some might have expected.
The Minnesota Timberwolves made an offer to restricted free agent Nicolas Batum last week in an effort to become Portland Central, but word quickly leaked that the Trail Blazers would match the Wolves offer. Fast forward a few days, however -- heading into the end of the free agency moratium on Wednesday morning -- and that seems as though it might not be the case.
Batum is likely sitll going to end up with the Blazers, but general manager Neil Olshey was rather coy when answering questions related to the restricted free agent during a press conference on Monday to introduce the team's new rookies.
Olshey asked: "Has Nic expressed to you that he doesn’t want to come back here?" Olshey answer: "Why wouldn't Nic want to come back here?''— Jason Quick (@jwquick) July 9, 2012
Answering questions with questions is always a risky proposition, of course, but Olshey's other comments at the press conference -- transcribed by our friends at Blazer's Edge -- are just as interesting.
What can you say about Nicolas Batum's situation?
We're not going to comment on free agents. We're in the moratorium. He's going through his process. As was reported, we had lunch with his agent. We had a good discussion with him. We have some strategic things that will have to be handled. We're all working off word of mouth until tomorrow night at 9 o'clock.
I thought you said you would match any offers?
Look, we've all heard things. I had a conversation with his agent, I had a conversation with David Kahn of the Timberwolves, that will remain private. Like I said, what you will see at the end of this, I believe what we did at the end of the day was in the best interests of the organization, today and in the future.
It's difficult to surmise exactly what Olshey's private conversations with Kahn led to or what "strategic things" the Blazers planned to get done, but this might just lead to a more interesting Batum saga than originally planned.
The New York Knicks and J.R. Smith didn't exactly seem like a match made in heaven last season, but Smith didn't have a ton of options when he returned from playing in China during the NBA lockout. He apparently enjoyed his time with the Knicks, however, and might have even given the Knicks a bit of a sweetheart deal to return to New York.
Smith will sign a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Knicks when free agents are able to officially sign with their teams on Wednesday morning, according to ESPN New York's Jared Zwerling. As was the case last season, the second-year is a player option -- even though Smith eventually opted out this year before deciding to return.
"I have decided to re-sign with the Knicks. I just felt that, despite my other options, New York is the best situation for me," Smith said in a statement released to ESPNNewYork.com. "Coach (Mike) Woodson showed a lot of faith and trust in me last season, as did (Knicks owner) Mr. (James) Dolan and the organization.
"My teammates are great to play with and New York fans are the best. I can't wait to get started."
While Smith can be a bit of a handful, the contract seems overtly reasonable when comparing it to other deals signed this offseason. It seems as though the free agent money might be starting to dry up.
Danny Green became another of the Spurs' many effective role players in the 2011-12 season. For his part in getting San Antonio the Western Conference's best record for the second straight season, he'll be rewarded: Yahoo!'s Marc Spears reports that the Spurs will sign Green to a three-year, $12 million contract.
Green struggled to find his footing in his first two years in the NBA with the Cavaliers in 2009-10 and the Spurs in 2010-11 — he played in just eight games in his first year with San Antonio, and managed to earn just 92 minutes.
But in his second year as a player under Gregg Popovich, Green blossomed in a big way. He became an efficient scorer (9.1 points on 7.2 shots per game) and a lethal sniper (43.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc) in the Spurs' fluid offense.
For more on the Spurs, head to Pounding The Rock.
The New York Knicks seemed to be losing ground in the Eastern Conference with the Brooklyn Nets' acquisition of Joe Johnson and pursuit of Dwight Howard, and the Miami Heat's signing of Ray Allen. After their surprise deal with Jason Kidd, the Knicks have picked up another veteran, Marcus Camby, in a sign-and-trade.
Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Knicks reached a deal with Houston to acquire Camby, who spent 2011-12 with the Portland Trail Blazers and Rockets, and will sign him to another contract worth $12.2 million over three years.
New York will send Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan, second-round picks in 2014 and 2015, and cash to the Rockets for Camby, who remains one of the NBA's best rebounders despite his age. Camby turned 38 in March, but pulled down 9.0 boards per game in 2011-12 in less than 23 minutes of action per contest.
CBS Sports' Ken Berger notes that Harrellson and Jordan can both be waived by the Rockets with no penalty, thanks to their non-guaranteed contracts.
Steve Novak has agreed to a four-year, $15 million contract with the New York Knicks, his agent Mark Bartlestein said Monday. Assuming he fulfills the length of his contract, Novak will stick more than two years with the same team for the first time in his six-year career.
Deal is four years, $15 million, according to Bartlestein.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 9, 2012
Novak joined the Knicks last season after being waived from the San Antonio Spurs in December. He appeared in 54 games averaging 8.8 points in 18.9 minutes per game. He shot 47.2 percent from beyond the 3-point arc, and recorded more than 200 3-point attempts in a season for just the second in his career and first time since the 2008-09 season with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Novak's role on the Knicks expanded as the season wore on. He scored a season-high 25 points on April 17 in a 118-110 win over the Boston Celtics.
It took some time, but the Indiana Pacers have finally come through to match the Portland Trail Blazers' four-year max contract offer sheet to center Roy Hibbert, according to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star. Hibbert agreed to a four-year, $58 million with the Blazers when the 2012 NBA Free Agency period opened up on July 1.
The Pacers are matching Portland's 4-year, $58 million offer to Roy Hibbert, according to a source— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNBA) July 9, 2012
There was some speculation that the Pacers might not match the offer for the 2012 All-Star center. The contract is certainly rich, and the team had reportedly been looking at Chris Kaman as a possible replacement. The Pacers had until July 14, three days after the NBA moratorium period ended, to match the offer.
Hibbert averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game last season, all of which are career highs.
Ray Allen left the Celtics for the Heat. Does that make him a traitor? Dan Grunfeld answers that question while also explaining why loyalty in sports is not always as cut and dry as it may appear.
The Sacramento Kings are heading into a 2012-13 season where a lot will be up in the air. There is still the possibility that the Kings will soon be leaving Northern California, and there's no guarantee that they will be able to improve upon the lackluster team they trotted out in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. However, they have at least locked up the player who was their top priority this offseason.
According to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee, the Kings have come to an agreement with restricted free agent Jason Thompson. The power forward's new deal is believed to be a multi-year contract that would pay him $6 million in the first year.
"We're really excited about where we are with negotiations," Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie said Sunday. "And it's our intention to enter into a player contract once the moratorium ends."
Thompson averaged 9.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the Kings last season.
For all news and information regarding the Sacramento Kings, please visit Sactown Royalty or stop by SB Nation Bay Area. You can track all NBA free agency and trade rumors and updates by visiting SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
Heat interested in PG John Lucas III: es.pn/MU7vE1
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 9, 2012
Lucas' NBA career seemed stagnant. He only played two games in 2010-11 and previously had bounced around Europe, the D-League, and China since his last NBA stint in 2007. On the other hand, the 29-year-old showed some sparks this year as a scoring point for the Bulls. Three times, Lucas dropped 20 in games where Derrick Rose was unable to play. That includes a memorable 24-point outing featuring a nasty stepback jumper in the face of a somewhat embarrassed LeBron James. With the majority of Miami's offense coming from James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, all the Heat need from their other two spots is guys who can nail shots, and Lucas shot at a nearly 40 percent clip from downtown this year. He could be a serviceable backup to Mario Chalmers.
NBA fans haven't seen Darrell Arthur in over a season, but the Memphis Grizzlies haven't forgotten about him. They will reportedly sign the restricted free agent to a two-year deal. Memphis radio host Chris Vernon broke the news:
SCOOP:Grizzlies will sign Darrell Arthur to 2 yr deal (w/ 3rd yr option) - deal worth $9-10 mil total
— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) July 9, 2012
Arthur has played three years and missed last season with an Achilles tendon injury. The 6-foot-9 power forward from Kansas provided important depth to a frontcourt featuring Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol as the upstart Grizzlies upset the top-seeded Spurs in the playoffs two years ago, but his presence was missed as Memphis turned to players such as Hamed Haddadi in important minutes with mixed results in a first-round loss to the Clippers. The team will be getting good value on a very solid rebounder if the report is true.
This comes days after the Grizzlies also opted to resign fellow restricted free agent and power forward Marreese Speights, another example of the young talent available in Memphis.
Shooting guard and standout defensive veteran Raja Bell has been with the Utah Jazz since 2010, but his latest stint with the team may be coming to an end. Bell is reportedly finalizing a buyout of his contract with the team and hoping to head to greener pastures.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Bell is interested in returning to his hometown to play for the Miami Heat. Wojnarowski notes that another very real possibility is that Bell may land with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant was high on Bell and pushed hard on recruiting him a year ago.
Even though the Lakers recently acquired Steve Nash and look to be making a push for a trade to get Dwight Howard, Bell would fit in well as a defensive component for the defense-light attack that Nash brings to the table.
For more on the Utah Jazz, please visit SLC Dunk. For perspective on the Miami Heat, check out Peninsula Is Mightier. For lots more on the Lakers, stop by Silver Sceen & Roll. You can track all NBA free agency and trade rumors and updates by visiting SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
Marcus Camby is a free agent after being traded to the Houston Rockets before last season's trade deadline, and the Rockets are looking to execute a sign-and-trade for the 38-year-old center. Though the Dwight Howard dominoes have yet to fall, according to Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks -- Camby's employer, once upon a time -- are the frontrunners for his services.
The Rockets are no strangers to trading with either the Nets' or Knicks' front offices, having completed trades for the likes of Terrence Williams, Jordan Hill and Tracy McGrady in the past two years. Since it's apparent they've given up any hope of fielding five players on the court at one time, they're probably only seeking a draft pick or some underutilized small forward with a short contract (Bill Walker, anyone?) in return for Camby.
Camby averaged 4.9 points and nine rebounds in 22.9 minutes per game last year.
The Orlando Magic drafted Spaniard Fran Vazquez with the 11th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. You're forgiven if you don't remember that, because Vazquez hasn't played a single minute in the NBA since. While that's not unusual for a foreign player taken in the draft, it is unusual for a lottery pick, since the salary waiting for them in the states in usually enticing enough to draw them over the pond.
That hasn't been the case with Vazquez, a 6-foot-10 center who was supposed to pair with Dwight Howard for a formidable frontcourt for the future. Howard seems to be on his way out this offseason, but talks have begun to bring Vazquez to the Magic for the first time, according to CBS Sports's Ken Berger:
Magic and reps for Fran Vasquez remain undecided on whether the Spaniard will come to Orlando next season, league sources say.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 8, 2012
Vasquez, Orlando's '05 lottery pick, is at the end of Spanish League deal. There's been optimism that he'll finally join Magic next season.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 8, 2012
Obviously nothing is close to being done, but this is the first Fran Vazquez-related news in years, and the possibility of an NBA punchline finally making his way over is newsworthy enough. Now if only 2005 12th pick Yaroslav Korolev could come back...
For everything on the Magic's busy offseason, check out Orlando Pinstriped Post.
Ryan Anderson has reportedly been sent to the New Orleans Hornets in a sign-and-trade that will send Gustavo Ayon to the Orlando Magic. Anderson's deal is worth approximately $36 million over four years.
Source says the sign and trade that will send Orlando restricted free-agent F Ryan Anderson to New Orleans for Gustavo Ayon is done.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 8, 2012
With the addition of Anthony Davis in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Hornets figure to have a strong frontcourt next season. Anderson earned the league's Most Improved Player award after recording career-highs in every major statistical category. He averaged 16.1 points per game, shooting 43.9 percent from the field.
Ayon appeared in 54 games with the Hornets last season, and averaged 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game.
Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers reportedly met with free agent Courtney Lee in Orlando on Saturday, according to Sam Amick of SI.com. The Houston Rockets are reportedly interested in a sign-and-trade that would send the guard to Boston.
Source confirms Boston coach Doc Rivers met with free agent shooting guard Courtney Lee on Saturday and that Houston - his former team - is interested in a possible sign-and-trade to send Lee to the Cs. The meeting was in Orlando, where Lee trains and where Rivers lives in the offseason, so it was a convenient connection. In addition to the suitors @ESPNSteinLine listed in his report on the meeting (Minnesota, Atlanta, Indiana, Dallas and Phoenix), source says Washington is in the mix. Chicago is also interested but a necessary sign-and-trade with the Bulls seems unlikely.
The Celtics are still reeling from the loss of Ray Allen to the Miami Heat. Lee would help fill the void. He averaged 11.4 points per game last season and shot 40.1 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Boston doesn't have enough room under their salary cap to sign Lee outright, but a sign-and-trade would allow them to finagle the move.
The Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls have also been mentioned in connection with the 26-year-old shooting guard.
Kirk Hinrich has agreed to return to the Chicago Bulls, sources tell K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. The 31-year-old combo guard is expected to sign a two-year deal worth just over $6 million once the NBA's moratorium on free agent signings is lifted on July 11.
Hinrich, originally drafted by the Bulls in 2003, spent the first seven years of his career in Chicago before being traded to Washington following the 2009-10 season. He played only 48 games for the Wizards in 2010-11 before a midseason trade to the Atlanta Hawks. In 48 games with the Hawks last year, Hinrich averaged just 25.8 minutes, 6.6 points and 2.8 assists per game -- all career-low marks and well below his career averages of 33.0, 12.5 and 5.4, respectively.
As Johnson notes, Hinrich's versatility should help the Bulls in 2012-13:
Hinrich solves the Bulls' primary need for a combo guard who can start at point guard while Derrick Rose rehabilitates from knee surgery, then slide over to shooting guard to back up Richard Hamilton and play alongside Rose eventually.
To see how Bulls fans are reacting to Hinrich's return, head over to Blog a Bull.
Ersan Ilyasova, the Turkish power forward who finished second in Most Improved Player voting in the 2011-12 season, will sign a five-year, $45 million deal to remain with the Milwaukee Bucks, reports Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype. Sierra said that Ilyasova's agent claims the deal will be done this week.
Ilyasova has spent four years in the league, all with the Bucks, though he made his debut in 2006 as a 19-year-old. Now 25, Ilyasova spent two years (2007-09) in Europe after a rough start to his NBA career, but then returned to the Bucks. In 2012, he'd been rumored to be a target of the Brooklyn Nets (assuming a Dwight Howard trade couldn't be consummated). But staying in Milwaukee likely left him the best payday.
Last season, the Turk started 41 games, averaging 13 points and 8.8 rebounds. He had 20 double-doubles, including one monstrous 29-25 game against the Nets.
For more on the Bucks, visit BrewHoop.
The Toronto Raptors have whiffed on Steve Nash and signed Landry Fields in the 2012 NBA offseason so far. The logical third step in Bryan Colangelo's world domination plan played out Saturday night: Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Raptors will sign center Aaron Gray to a two-year contract.
Gray spent the 2011-12 season with Toronto after bouncing from the Bulls -- with whom he spent parts of three seasons -- to the Hornets. After the better part of two seasons in New Orleans he has improved as a rebounder and defender. He pulled down 4.2 rebounds per game in New Orleans in the 2010-11 season, but snagged 5.7 boards per contest in 2011-12 at a 12.4-rebounds-per-36 minutes rate.
Gray's not much of a scorer — he's never averaged more than 4.1 points per game, despite starting 40 games in 2011-12 — but he'll come cheap and do the grunt work of patrolling the boards part-time.
For more on the Raptors, visit Raptors HQ.
Rashard Lewis has aged quickly and hasn't produced at a high level for quite some time. Still, the Miami Heat are serious in their courtship of the 32-year-old. According to Chris Mannix at Sports Illustrated, Lewis is the top target of the Heat now that they've locked up Ray Allen.
Right now the Heat are going all in on Rashard Lewis. He is No. 1 on Miami's list. Expect the VIP treatment for Lewis in meeting tomorrow— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) July 8, 2012
The last three seasons have been a struggle for Lewis; his production has dipped each successive season since he hit his 30th birthday. He has been traded twice in the last two years and was bought out by the New Orleans Hornets this offseason. Lewis probably gets a bit of a bad rap because he never lived up to his max contract, but he could still be a very useful bench player in the NBA.
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger first broke the news via Twitter, adding quotes from Falk that lauded the Celtics for how they handled the unique diagnosis and surgery Green underwent.
"First class" is the way Boston handled it, Berger tweeted Falk's response.
Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.
With Ray Allen signing with the Miami Heat Friday night, the return of Green to Boston is that much more important. Already a fan favorite, Green's return to the court following a season sidelined with make him a great story to follow during the 2012-2013 season... but will he be effective?
Many criticized Green's game after being traded to the Celtics for Kendrick Perkins. He looked tentative and was inconsistent, averaging only 10 points and three rebounds in 26 games.
Given the current Celtics roster, Green will need to be a key cog - likely splitting time as a starter and reserve - for Doc Rivers' team to be successful.
Free agent guard Ray Allen was torn between signing with the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. Allen was finally able to come to a decision even after leaving Miami with a contract. According to Heat owner Micky Arison, Jesus Shuttlesworth will be bringing his talents to South Beach.
Its 2:30am in London and I was just woken up with great news.Welcome to the family #20!!— Micky Arison (@MickyArison) July 7, 2012
Allen will be entering his 17th season in the NBA, spending the past five seasons with the Boston Celtics after being acquired in a trade with the then Seattle SuperSonics. The Heat were looking for another three-point shooter to replace Mike Miller, and Ray Allen was looking to try and add another ring towards the end of his career.
A number of high profile free agents have signed around the NBA, but Celitcs guard Ray Allen remains on the fence, and the Miami Heat are still Boston's stiffest competition. According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Allen met with the Miami Heat Thursday night, but walked away without committing to sign next week.
Miami offered Allen their mid-level exception, but at a little over $3 million, it's only half of what the Celtics can offer. For now Windhorst's sources say that Allen is torn between the two offers, and Miami could still offer more money later in the process.
That he's even considering Miami's offer speaks volumes. Both teams have recruited Allen hard, but after rumors of discord between Allen and Rajon Rondo last season and Jason Terry emerging as a potential replacement in Boston, there are certainly signs that Allen could be on the way out of Boston. Whether that means Miami or potentially Minnesota is anyone's guess, but it's a serious possibly.
On the other hand, Allen rejuvenated his career in Boston, won a title with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce as sidekicks, so perhaps loyalty wins out in the end. For now, the last best player on the market is unsigned, two of the best teams in the NBA are pursuing him hardest of all, and only Ray Allen, himself, can say what happens next. So, we wait.
The Toronto Raptors have renounced their restricted free agency rights on Jerryd Bayless, making him an unrestricted free agent, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. The Raptors still could sign Bayless again, but he is now an unrestricted free agent and can freely sign a contract elsewhere without the Raptors being able to match it.
A former first-round pick, Bayless has bounced around the league during his four-year career. He had a breakout season for the Raptors last year when he was on the court, averaging 11.4 points per game as a sixth man while shooting over 42 percent from three-point range. However, various injuries limited him to just 31 games on the year.
The Raptors renounced his rights because, had he picked up his qualifying offer, it might have hurt their chances of completing deals for Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields. Renouncing Bayless' rights ensures that the Raptors will have enough cap space to facilitate both new players.
For more on the Raptors, visit Raptors HQ.
The Ray Allen sweepstakes may have an unexpected suitor. The Minnesota Timberwolves are apparently a "dark horse" behind the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics, according to ESPN's Ric Bucher. The question is whether the Timberwolves can actually legally make Allen an offer.
As ESPN's John Hollinger notes, the Timberwolves already need to create some cap room to fit in Brandon Roy and an offer sheet for Nicolas Batum. Allen could theoretically wait to make his decision until after the Portland Trail Blazers match the offer sheet for Batum, but that seems unlikely. It'll certainly require a lot of creativity to make Allen a legal offer.
The Timberwolves badly need upgrades on the wings regardless, and Allen would provide one for a team that is shooting for big things next season. He would likely start, with Roy coming off the bench. However, it appears unlikely that he will consider the Timberwolves over both the Heat and Celtics.
The Philadelphia 76ers' decision to sign Nick Young to a one-year contract already put the future of free-agent guard Louis Williams in jeopardy. Now, it has essentially become official, as Williams tweeted that he expects his tenure in Philadelphia to be over.
Philly, I appreciate you all. Unfortunately I will not be coming back, as an organization they decided to move in a different direction.— Lou Williams (@TeamLou23) July 6, 2012
It's unclear whether Williams' tweet was due to him being told anything by the organization or just the news of Young's signing, but it's not a huge surprise either way. Despite leading the 76ers in scoring off the bench last year, Williams was a potential goner because of his likely price tag and his poor defense.
It remains to be seen where Williams ultimately ends up, but as one of the league's top sixth men, he will likely be valued by somebody.
Needing perimeter scoring, the Philadelphia 76ers have signed former Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers guard Nick Young, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. The contract will be for one year and about $6 million, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
Young split time with the Wizards and Clippers last year, averaging 14.2 points per game on 40 percent shooting. He had some moments in the Clippers' playoff run, including a barrage of three-pointers to help the Clippers come back from a 27-point deficit in Game 1 of their first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Young can be a bit trigger-happy with his shot, but reports indicate that Doug Collins, despite his reputation for not faring well with players like Young, was the one behind this move.
Young was a restricted free agent last year, but eventually settled for the $3.7 million qualifying offer when the Wizards weren't willing to meet his asking price on a long-term contract.
The Hook explores how lower aggregate costs but the retention of laughably high player salaries is exactly the result NBA owners wanted in the lockout deal.
The New York Knicks agreed to terms with free agent point guard Jason Kidd on Thursday, but that doesn't mean they're giving up on Jeremy Lin. The Houston Rockets might want the Knicks to do that considering the offer they made to Lin on Thursday, but apparently Linsanity isn't going anywhere.
Quite a few people assumed the Knicks planned to match the offer, but the New York Post's Marc Berman quoted from a source confirming as much for his story on Friday morning.
"He's their guy," one NBA official debriefed on the Knicks' strategy said. "They'll match."
The Knicks officially will be presented the offer sheet Wednesday, the day the NBA's free-agency moratorium ends, and will have three days to match it. It should take them three minutes.
Matching the offer will push the Knicks further into the luxury tax during the third year of Lin's contract, but New York apparently believes his on-court abilities and the ability to contribute to off-court marketing strategies will help make up for the luxury tax bill ... and that will almost certainly be the case.
The Portland Trail Blazers have some solid building blocks on their roster, but the loss of restricted free agent Nicolas Batum would be a rather large blow. That apparently isn't going to happen, however, as the Blazers have decided they'll match any offer their French forward receives.
Technically no offers can be made until July 11, but it was reported on Thursday that the Minnesota Timberwolves intend to make an offer to Batum. As soon as new general manager Neil Oshley and the rest of the Blazers brass heard about that, they scheduled a face-to-face meeting to let Batum know that he'll have to play at least another year in Portland.
Some of the quotes from Batum's agent make it seem as though that might not make the player happy, but the Oregonian reports that the Blazers won't waver from their decision to keep him around.
After Batum met with Minnesota last weekend, Olshey requested a face-to-face meeting, and despite a sometimes acrimonious relationship with Blazers brass, Ndiaye agreed to the afternoon meeting at The Nines Hotel in downtown Portland. The Blazers were represented by Olshey, director of college scouting Chad Buchanan and salary cap specialist Joe Cronin.
"We appreciated the face-to-face meeting to get our message across," Olshey said. "And that message was that we intend to match any offer and we will not facilitate any sign-and-trade scenarios."
It shouldn't be surprising that the Blazers intend to keep Batum -- even if they don't hammer out a long-term agreement, Portland will have to pay him less than $5 million this season -- but it'll be interesting to see if any feelings were hurt during this quick ordeal.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been rumored to be interested in signing Nicolas Batum to an offer sheet for a while, but they finally made it official Thursday night, agreeing to terms with the restricted free-agent forward.
The deal is reportedly worth $45 million over four years with bonuses that could make it worth $50 million. Batum's agent, Bouna Ndiaye, told the Associated Press Batum is hoping the Trail Blazers either do not match the offer or work out a sing-and-trade deal with Minnesota.
Previous reports have said Portland intends to match any offer sheet Batum signed and will not look into trading the fourth-year forward. Batum and his agent met with the Blazers officials Thursday to discuss the 23-year-old's future with the organization.
Ndiaye said Batum has great respect for the Blazers and their fans, but believes playing for Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman and alongside point guard Ricky Rubio and forward Kevin Love was the best situation for him.
"It was a very cordial meeting. There were no hard feelings," Ndiaye said. "So Nicolas basically talked about his four years with the Blazers and he expressed that maybe it was time for him to look at a place where it could be more happy."
Batum can't officially sign with Minnesota until July 11. Then, the Blazers would have three days to match the offer.
Restricted free agent power forward Marreese Speights is resigning with the Memphis Grizzlies and Speights himself was the one to break the news. He took to Twitter Thursday night to let everyone know he would be returning to Memphis.
Yessir I am going back to #grizznation!! This year yessir!!!!!— Marreese Speights(@Mospeights16) July 6, 2012
The terms of the deal are still unknown, but Memphis previously extended Speights a qualifying offer of $3.8 million. The fourth-year forward from Florida was acquired from Philadelphia prior to last season. He started 54 games during the regular season averaging 8.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
The 76ers used the No. 16 pick in the 2008 draft to select Speights. He played three seasons for Philadelphia and has career averages of 7.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. His return will bolster Memphis's front court which also includes Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Brandon Roy didn't play in the NBA in 2011-12, having "retired" in the 2011 offseason after a degenerative knee condition diminished the form that made him one of the league's best shooting guards for part of the last decade. But he's going to play in 2012-13, and will reportedly do so for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Oregonian's Jason Quick reports that Roy has come to a verbal agreement with the Wolves, a team in need of some scoring punch on the perimeter.
The Wolves used Martell Webster (6.9 points per game), Wayne Ellington (6.1 points per game) and Malcolm Lee (3.3 points per game) at shooting guard in 2011-12. Roy scored just 12.2 points per game in 2010-11, but his career average of 19.0 points per game is a little healthier — and if he's a little healthier than he was at the end of his Portland career, he could be a big pick-up for the Wolves.
Jeff Green has been a sub-optimal return for Kendrick Perkins since coming to Boston in a trade in 2010, and not just because of a heart condition that forced him to sit out the 2011-12 season. So it makes abundant amounts of sense for the Boston Celtics to be considering signing him to a deal worth around four years and $40 million, as SI.com's Sam Amick reports.
On the Celtics front, agent David Falk continues to say he thinks a deal gets done with Boston for free agent forward Jeff Green. One source with knowledge of the talks says it may be in the four years, $40 million neighborhood, but it is not done. "I’m confident it’ll get done," Falk told SI.com.
If Green does, indeed, get a $40 million deal over four years, he'll be getting more millions of dollars per year than he scored points per game with the Celtics in 26 games in 2011 — he managed just 9.8 points per contest in 23.5 minutes per game.
2012 NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion Jeremy Evans wasn't one of the hottest names on the 2012 free agent market, but his rebounding made him an asset to be coveted. He'll be staying with the only NBA team he's known, however, with TNT's David Alridge reporting that the Utah Jazz will sign Evans to a three-year, $5.5 million deal.
League source says Utah forward Jeremy Evans will stay with Jazz on a three-year deal worth around $5.5 million.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 5, 2012
Evans was taken late in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft out of Western Kentucky, and has made just three starts in his two years in the NBA. But he has a lot of size for the small forward position at 6'9", and pairs it with significant leaping ability; he's been an efficient player in his two years, and has a lot of room to grow.
For the young Jazz, he's a perfect fit.
For more on the Jazz, head to SLC Dunk.
The Portland Trail Blazers are likely hoping that their offer sheet to the Pacers' Roy Hibbert remains unmatched until the deadline to retain his services. But they have wasted little time in deciding to match an offer for one of their own: Portland will reportedly match the Timberwolves' offer to forward Nicolas Batum, keeping him in Rip City for the next few years.
Minnesota had reportedly offered Batum $45-50 million over a four-year deal, a big bump up from the $4 million he is scheduled to make on the final year of his rookie contract with Portland. But with the Blazers matching the Wolves' offer, Batum will have a choice: stay in Portland and play out that year of his rookie contract, or sign the long-term deal with the Blazers and become a part of their core for years to come.
The Portland Trail Blazers made the first big splash as the free agency period opened, offering restricted free agent Roy Hibbert a max contract as the clock struck midnight July 1. According to TNT's David Aldridge, the Indiana Pacers are still deliberating whether to match the four-year, $58 million offer sheet the Blazers gave the All-Star center:
League source says Pacers still have not decided if they will match proposed max offer sheet by Portland over the weekend to @Hoya2aPacer.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 5, 2012
Hibbert has improved in each of his four seasons as one of the true centers in the league, culminating in an appearance in the 2012 All-Star Game. But the Pacers and Kevin Pritchard are apparently hesitant to match the max money offered. They had already met with free agent center Chris Kaman as a possible backup plan to losing Hibbert, and have signed guard George Hill to a reported five-year, $40 million contract.
Veteran free agent forward Rashard Lewis will visit the Miami Heat, according to TNT's David Aldridge. Lewis has bounced around this offseason before hitting the open market. He was traded from the Wizards to the Hornets as a part of the Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza deal, and then New Orleans promptly exercised the $13.7 million buyout clause in his contract. With his mammoth contract no longer a huge issue, the stretch four is getting plenty of interest during the first week of NBA free agency.
The Heat, Celtics, and Lakers have all been previously cited as contenders with interest in Lewis. According to Aldridge, he will be in Miami this weekend for a visit with Pat Riley's club:
Veteran F Rashard Lewis, bought out by the Hornets after coming in Okafor/Ariza trade from D.C., will visit Miami this weekend, per source.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 5, 2012
The visit from Lewis will come on the heels of Miami's big push to acquire one of the other top shooters in the game in Ray Allen. Aldridge also reports that the Hawks and Knicks are two other teams with interest in Lewis.
For more on the Heat's offseason, check out Peninsula Is Mightier.
The point guard position continues to be the center of a wild week of NBA Free Agency. One day after the Lakers landed Steve Nash, the New York Knicks, who missed in their bid for Nash, reportedly edged out the Dallas Mavericks for veteran Jason Kidd.
With Kidd now in the fold, the immediate focus turned to the Knicks' decision on Jeremy Lin, a restricted free agent point guard who received an offer sheet worth at least $31 million from the Houston Rockets. The Knicks were expected to match offers for Lin and, according to Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated, the addition of Kidd has not changed that plan:
With Jason Kidd shocking Mavs and opting for NY, source says Knicks still expected to match Jeremy Lin offer sheets. They want 1-2 PG punch.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 5, 2012
Despite the three-year deal, Kidd is obviously past his prime and in the sunset of his career -- creating a continued need for Lin, even if it requires matching the hefty offer sheet from the Rockets.
The Orlando Magic plan to pick up the team option on the contract of sharpshooter J.J. Redick, according to Adrian Wojnarowksi of Yahoo! Sports. Redick signed a three-year, $19 million deal during the summer of 2010, when he also received an offer from the Chicago Bulls. He will be owed $6 million during his option year. New General Manager Rob Hennigan has his hands full in his first offseason with the club but, according to Wojnarwoski, he's likely to retain Redick by the end of the week:
Orlando plans to pick up $6M option on final year of J.J. Redick's contract, league sources tell Y! Sports. Magic have until week's end.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 5, 2012
Redick averaged career-highs in almost every category last season, scoring 11.6 points per game in 27.2 minutes per game. Next season will be the Duke product's seventh year in the league and he recently stated that he's happy in Orlando and wouldn't mind spending the rest of his career with the Magic.
The exodus from the Dallas Mavericks during the 2012 offseason continues. On Thursday, early reports came out that veteran star Jason Kidd will not be returning to the Mavs for the 2012-13 season, which is a move that comes as a surprise to many.
Kidd has been with the Mavericks since 2008 and helped the team win an NBA championship in 2011. Many expected Kidd to wrap up his career with the Mavs, the team that originally drafted him in 1994 and for whom he played his first two NBA seasons.
For more news and information regarding the New York Knicks, please visit Posting and Toasting or check out SB Nation New York. For updates and perspective on the Dallas Mavericks, stop by Mavs Moneyball or head on over to SB Nation Dallas. You can track all NBA free agency and trade rumors and updates by visiting SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
Brandon Bass' new contract with the Boston Celtics is expected to be for three years and around $20 million, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England. Bass' agent, Tony Dutt, told Blakely that a deal was being finalized, though he did not confirm the contract details.
Assuming Bass is indeed making that kind of money on his new contract, he will earn an annual salary similar to that of Glen Davis, the man he was traded for back before the 2011-12 season. Davis signed a four-year, $26 million deal with the Magic.
Bass averaged 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for the Celtics last season, emerging late in the year as a great fit as a floor spacer in their pass-heavy offense.
For all news and information regarding the Boston Celtics, please visit CelticsBlog or stop by SB Nation Boston. You can track all NBA free agency and trade rumors and updates by visiting SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
The Boston Celtics have been very busy this offseason. They have already made Kevin Garnett the highest-paid player in NBA history, picked up Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger in the 2012 NBA Draft and are hard at work attempting to bring back Ray Allen. They will also bring back a key component of the 2011-12 Celtics squad that made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.
In Bass' first season with the Celtics in 2011-12, he set career highs for himself in minutes per game (with 31.7) and points per game (with 12.5).
For all news and information regarding the Boston Celtics, please visit CelticsBlog or stop by SB Nation Boston. You can track all NBA free agency and trade rumors and updates by visiting SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
One of the big moves the Los Angeles Clippers made prior to the lockout-shortened 2011-12 NBA seasons was the acquisition of guard Chauncey Billups. Although Billups was only able to play in 20 games for the Clippers before suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury, it appears as though he will return to the team for at least one more year.
Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports that the popular veteran will be returning for the 2012-13 season. Billups is expected to sign a one-year deal with the team on July 11. The contract could be worth up to $4.3 million if Billups successfully reaches all bonuses.
Billups was a definite impact player during his time on the court with the Clippers and brought a much-needed veteran presence to a young team. The Clippers will be hoping to benefit from his leadership over a full season this time.
For all news and information regarding the Los Angeles Clippers, please visit Clips Nation or head on over to SB Nation Los Angeles. You can track all NBA free agency and trade rumors and updates by visiting SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.
After losing out on Steve Nash, the Raptors have rebounded, acquiring Kyle Lowry in a trade with the Houston Rockets.
The Los Angeles Clippers are already hard at work firming up a team for the 2012-13 season. They are expected to sign guard Jamal Crawford to a four-year deal.
Jason Kidd was expected to follow Deron Williams wherever he went, but given the Brooklyn Nets' current salary cap situation and the offer he's rumored to have received from the Dallas Mavericks, he can't be blamed for backing out of that plan. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Kidd will sign a three-year contract with the Mavericks worth $9 million.
That contract will keep Kidd on the books with Dallas until he is age 42. The Mavericks were desperate to sign a point guard after they missed out on both Williams and rumored target Steve Nash, but they're likely to catch some criticism for this deal if it does come to fruition. Even though Kidd has stayed healthy enough to play regularly well into his 30s, his numbers have declined in each of the last two seasons.
Kidd started his NBA career in Dallas, and he's played for the Mavericks for the last five seasons.
The Dallas Mavericks were in the running for free agent point guard Deron Williams, but with Williams' decision to return to the Brooklyn Nets and Jason Terry joining the Boston Celtics, the Mavericks' options appear to be limited at the position. The team also missed out on Steve Nash, who will be heading to the Los Angeles Lakers in a sign-and-trade deal.
Jason Kidd appears prepared to end his career where he started it -- with the Dallas Mavericks. The 39-year-old is closing in on a multiyear deal, a source close to the situation said. The source said the deal is not completed, but barring any snags, Kidd will close out his career alongside Dirk Nowitzki. The value of the contract was not known.
Kidd will be entering his 19th season in the NBA and if the deal is signed will very likely close out his NBA career with the team who drafted him originally. Kidd spent the first three seasons of his NBA career with the Mavs before spending time with the Phoenix Suns, then-New Jersey Nets, and then returning to the Mavericks.
The Orlando Magic have re-signed point guard Jameer Nelson, according to a report.
George Hill's new contract with the Indiana Pacers is a five-year deal that will pay him $40 million over the course of the contract, according to HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy. Hill, a restricted free agent, agreed to terms with the Pacers on July 2.
Hill, who was acquired by the Pacers in a 2011 draft-day trade with the San Antonio Spurs, emerged as the team's starting point guard late in the season. On the year, he averaged 9.6 points and 2.9 assists per game, but he fared much better in the postseason, upping his scoring average to 13.5 points per game. He is expected to once again share the point-guard position with Darren Collison next season.
The Pacers now must decide whether to match a four-year, $58 million offer sheet for center Roy Hibbert. If they do, they probably won't be very active in free agency beyond that.
For more on the Pacers, head over to the SB Nation blog Indy Cornrows.
Free-agent point guard Jeremy Lin has drawn interest from a few teams, and has especially caught the eye of the Houston Rockets. The New York Knicks have the ability to match the Rockets' offer to Lin, but Lin is reportedly considering the current four-year offer from Houston.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had his second crack at Jeremy Lin yesterday and offered him a back-loaded deal worth at least $31 million, and he was mulling it over late last night.
Because the Knicks were ditched by Steve Nash, sources have indicated the club is as intent as ever in matching any Lin offer sheet before the free-agent signing moratorium ends July 11.
Lin was released by Houston 12 days into training camp last season, which allowed the Knicks to claim him. After losing Goran Dragic, the Rockets are in the hunt for a new point guard and appear willing to give Lin a second chance with the club, admitting their mistake of waiving him last season.
The New York Knicks need some help at the point guard position, as it looks like the team could lose Jeremy Lin in NBA free agency. One player who the Knicks have shown some interest in is free agent guard Raymond Felton, who spent some time with the Knicks, but was shipped off to Denver when the team acquired Carmelo Anthony.
According to the New York Daily News, the Knicks are "committed" to bringing Felton back.
The Knicks are favorites to sign Raymond Felton, a source close to the free agent point guard told the Daily News.
Having lost out on their primary free agent target Steve Nash and with Jeremy Lin possibly signing an offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, the Knicks are committed to adding Felton, who finished last season with Portland.
When the Suns traded Steve Nash to the Lakers on Wednesday, it left them with a gaping hole at point guard. It didn't take Phoenix long to start filling that hole, agreeing to a four-year, $34 million deal with Goran Dragic several hours.
Going online now: Suns move quickly after Steve Nash trade and strike four-year deal with Goran Dragic worth $34 million, sources tell ESPN— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 5, 2012
The deal will bring Dragic back to Phoenix, where he played his first two and a half seasons. Originally a second- round pick of the Spurs in 2008 whose rights were later acquired by Phoenix, Dragic was traded by the Suns along with a first-round pick for Aaron Brooks during the 2010-11 season.
Dragic averaged a career-high 11.7 points and 5.3 assists per game last year while starting 28 games for the Rockets. He will join recent first-round pick Kendall Marshall in attempting to replace Nash in Phoenix.
2morrow is a big day for #HeatNation..— Dwyane Wade (@DwyaneWade) July 4, 2012
Shortly thereafter, LeBron James agreed.
What were Wade and James looking forward to? That would be the visit of free agent shooting guard Ray Allen. The 36-year-old Allen will visit Miami Thursday before heading to visit the Clippers on Friday. Miami can offer Allen their mini mid-level exception, worth just over $3 million per season, while the Clippers can offer their full mid-level exception, starting at $5 million per year. The Boston Celtics are also interested in retaining Allen's services, and have reportedly offered the guard a two-year deal worth $12 million.
Allen averaged 14.2 points per game last season while battling an ankle injury. It was the second-lowest scoring average of his 16 NBA seasons, but he shot a career-best 45.3 percent on 3-point attempts.
Check out Peninsula Is Mightier for more Heat news.
Following the announcement that Steve Nash had been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, there was speculation that former Phoenix Suns teammate Grant Hill could follow him to L.A. Now, it appears Hill may either sign with the Lakers or choose to retire.
Grant Hill will either join Steve Nash and the Lakers or retire, a source close to the veteran forward told me.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) July 4, 2012
Hill has played 17 seasons in the NBA, including the last five with Nash in Phoenix. The 39-year-old was rumored to be considering the Lakers even before Nash was traded to Los Angeles. HIll recently underwent the same platelet-rich plasma therapy treatment with which Kobe Bryant and others have had success.
In Los Angeles, Hill could provide a boost to the thin Lakers bench.
In 2007, the Oklahoma City Thunder used the No. 2 pick in the draft to take Kevin Durant. On Wednesday, they added another former No. 2 pick, albeit one not nearly as successful as Durant. Hasheem Thabeet, who was selected second overall in the 2009 draft, agreed to a two-year deal with Oklahoma City on Wednesday, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
7-3 center Hasheem Thabeet agrees to two-year deal with @okcthunder, source tells Y! Second overall pick in 2009 draft joining his 4th team.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 4, 2012
By signing with the Thunder, Thabeet will be joining his fourth team in four NBA seasons. He played in 113 games with the Grizzlies before he was traded to the Houston Rockets midway through his sophomore season. Thabeet played in just seven games over parts of two seasons in Houston, and finished the 2011-12 season with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Thabeet has averaged 2.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game during his three-year NBA career. At 7-foot-3, he will provide size for the Thunder.
For more on the Thunder, visit Welcome To Loud City.
Replacing Steve Nash in Phoenix is going to be a tough ask for Lon Babby, Alvin Gentry, and the rest of the Suns. Inking Michael Beasley to a three-year, $18 million contract, as ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting the Suns will do, is an, er, interesting way of going about that.
Beasley was the No. 2 pick in the 2008 NBA draft, and he and Derrick Rose made up that year's either-or conundrum in a faint echo of 2007's Greg Oden vs. Kevin Durant debate. But he's been an underwhelming NBA player, getting shipped from a Heat team he never adequately fit as Dwyane Wade's sidekick (though he was named to the All-Rookie first team in 2008-09) to a Timberwolves team that grew up around and eventually progressed past him, relegating him to even less important time on the court.
Beasley averaged a career-high 19.2 points per game in 2010-11, but needed 17.1 shots per contest to get them. His numbers fell off in 2011-12, as he managed just 11.5 points per game and made only seven starts for Minnesota.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but with Wednesday's trade that sent Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Phoenix Suns may be in hot pursuit of the 26-year-old Slovenian point man, who played for the Houston Rockets last season:
Sources w/knowledge of Suns' plans say PHX now making hard push to sign free agent Goran Dragic. Raps also trying to sign PG away from HOU— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2012
As you may remember, Dragic spent the first two-plus seasons of his NBA career with with Suns before being traded (along with a first-round draft pick) to the Rockets for Aaron Brooks in February 2011. Dragic appeared in all 66 games of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season for Houston, making 28 starts and averaging a career-best 11.7 points and 5.3 assists per game.
Clearly, the Nash trade has created a domino effect. The Suns are now in need of a young, solid point guard, meaning Dragic's value on the free agent market has increased. But will the Bobcats' offer win out?
Sources told ESPN.com that Nash will make a strong push to convince his close friend to join him in Los Angeles, and two other recent reports suggest it's all but certain that Hill will head for SoCal:
Hill, 39, has never won an NBA title. With the Lakers now ranking among the serious contenders in the 2012-13 NBA season, this could be his best and final opportunity to get a ring before he retires.
In an odd turn of events, the Brooklyn Nets have worked out an arrangement to pay free-agent signee Mirza Teletovic a smaller salary in order to preserve their chance to trade for Dwight Howard, or at least pay free agents Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries more money. The Nets had originally signed Teletovic to a deal for the full mid-level exception (three years, $16 million), but are working to rearrange his deal so he only gets the mini-mid-level exception for three years starting at $3 million, according to ESPN's John Hollinger.
Using the full mid-level exception would have essentially capped the Nets' payroll at $74.3 million, because such an exception is only available to teams that are not paying the luxury tax. The Nets would therefore be restricted to the "apron" payroll, which is $4 million about the tax. By switching to the taxpayer mini-mid level exception, however, the Nets can now exceed that $74.3 million number.
Exceeding the $74.3 million number opens up a lot of flexibility for Brooklyn. Now, they can offer a trade package for Howard and not be restricted by any sign-and-trade scenarios they will need to match salary in a deal with the Magic. If that fails, they can at least now offer Lopez and Humphries more money if needed to convince them to stay with the club.
The Phoenix Suns are likely losing Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade arrangement with the New York Knicks, but they have already begun plotting their response. One day after signing Eric Gordon to a four-year, $58 million offer sheet, the Suns hosted Michael Beasley for a second visit, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. They will also host free-agent point guard Raymond Felton on Friday.
Both Beasley and Felton struggled in new situations last season, but the Suns believe they can get more out of both of them. Coro reports that Beasley's agent, Jeff Schwartz, believes Suns coach Alvin Gentry can be for Beasley what he was for Lamar Odom when Gentry coached the Clippers. Beasley saw his minutes slashed last year and averaged just 11.5 points per game under new coach Rick Adelman in Minnesota, one year after averaging 19.2 points per game while starting 73 games.
Felton, meanwhile, had a dreadful year after being traded to the Portland Trail Blazers, feuding with head coach Nate McMillan, showing up out of shape and reverting back to his inefficient ways with the Bobcats. He would likely share the point guard position with rookie Kendall Marshall if signed.
James White agreed to a league-minimum one-year, $854,000 contract with the New York Knicks on Wednesday. The 6'7" forward spent this past season with VL Pesaro of the Italian Serie A, averaging 17 points, five rebounds and three assists per game. He led the league with 21 points per game during his previous season with Dinamo Sassari.
"I'm overjoyed and relieved," he said. "I'm not coming in to be a guy who doesn't play. I think I have the ability to contribute a lot and to make everyone around me better."
White, 29, has spent two stints in the NBA. He played six games with the San Antonio Spurs during the 2006-07 season and appeared in four games for a total of 11 minutes with the Houston Rockets during the 2008-09 season.
White may be best known for his outstanding athleticism. He earned the nickname "Flight" for his impressive aerial assaults on the basketball rim.
Spencer Hawes has re-signed with the Philadelphia 76ers, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. His new deal is worth over $13 million over two years. Hawes was an unrestricted free agent, and appeared to be headed elsewhere just a few days ago when the Sixers re-signed Lavoy Allen.
Free agent center Spencer Hawes has reached agreement on a two-year, $13M-plus extension with Philadelphia, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 4, 2012
Hawes averaged 9.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 24.9 minutes per game last season, and will solidify the Sixers' depth at center. His blocks and rebounds were both career high averages. A slew of injuries limited the big man to just 37 games, however.
After it looked like the Toronto Raptors were the favorites to land Steve Nash, the New York Knicks have surged back into the lead, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. The Knicks are looking at a sign-and-trade arrangement that would likely center around promising young guard Iman Shumpert, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. However, they are also looking for a third team that can provide assets so they wouldn't have to deal Shumpert.
After it's all said and done, the Knicks would likely sign Nash to a three-year contract worth between $27-30 million, according to Wojnarowski. The current arrangement has the Knicks sending Shumpert, Douglas and three other players back to Phoenix.
It looked like any sign-and-trade arrangement between the Phoenix Suns and Knicks would fall apart once the Toronto Raptors signed guard Landry Fields to a three-year offer sheet. Previous reports suggested that Fields was one of the cornerstones the Suns wanted in any sign-and-trade. However, it looks like the two sides are vigilant in getting a deal done even if Fields isn't involved.
Denver Nuggets wing Rudy Fernandez has decided to take his talents back to Spain following a lackluster four-year career in the NBA.
Clipps had a positive meeting w/Jamal Crawford in LA today & made a contract offer,but hes still considering MIN, PHL, MEM, PHX, source says— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 4, 2012
No financial terms are yet known, but with at least four teams also pursuing him, Crawford will certainly receive competitive offers. In Los Angeles, he would be able to play with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but neither might be too happy to see a career 40.8 percent shooter on the court with them. He shot 38.4 percent from the field this past season, his worst since shooting 38.6 in 2003-04.
With Deron Williams off the open market and staying with the Brooklyn Nets, Steve Nash is now the top point guard target for many teams. Enter the Los Angeles Lakers, reports NBA.com's David Aldridge. While the team can offer only a $3.09 million exception, the likely course of action the Lakers are pursuing is a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns.
Aldridge speculates that the Lakers could offer point guard Ramon Sessions and forwards Jordan Hill and Matt Barnes in any proposed deal. Metta World Peace, however, is not a piece the Suns would take back. There are some NBA insiders, though, that believe the Suns wouldn't want to make a trade with a team in the Pacific Division.
Nash, 38, reportedly has a three-year, $36 million offer on the table from the Toronto Raptors. Still, Aldridge reports that Nash is giving the Knicks more time to work out its own sign-and-trade deal with the Suns. The Dallas Mavericks are also apparently increasing their pursuit of Nash -- who played six seasons there before leaving in 2004 -- now that Williams has decided to stay with the Nets.
Brandon Roy has the full support of his fellow players from Seattle's hoops scene in his attempt to return to the NBA.
New Orleans Hornets restricted free agent Eric Gordon has agreed to a max contract with the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, according to Paul Coro of AZCentral.com. It is expected to be worth $58 million over four years.
The 23-year-old shooting guard is unable to officially sign the offer sheet until July 11, when the free agency signing moratorium ends. At that point, the Hornets would have three days to match the offer. Coro and other sources are already reporting that the Hornets will match the deal.
In a prepared statement (via AZCentral.com), Gordon already sounds like a player who wants to get out of the Big Easy:
"After visiting the Suns, the impression the organization made on me was incredible," Gordon said in a prepared statement. "Mr. Sarver, Lon Babby, Lance Blanks, the front office staff and Coach Gentry run a first-class organization, and I strongly feel they are the right franchise for me. Phoenix is just where my heart is now."
With the Hornets expected to match the offer, they will likely need to deal with a disgruntled player who has implicitly criticized the organization.
Housekeeping note: Rockets swingman Courtney Lee is now an unrestricted free agent after Rockets withdraw his qualifying offer— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2012
The Rockets are reportedly hot after free agent point guard Jeremy Lin, and pulling their offer for Lee has some speculating that it's a way to make room for Lin on the roster. It's still possible, though unlikely, the Rockets will try to keep Lee.
Lee should garner plenty of interest on the open market for his services. Originally drafted by the Orlando Magic, Lee was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a move for Vince Carter, and then part of a four-team deal that sent him to the Houston Rockets. Lee played in 139 games for the Rockets over the past two seasons.
The Deron Williams sweepstakes has come to an end, as the highly coveted point guard has chosen to remain with the Nets as they move from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
Williams took to his personal Twitter account on Tuesday evening to break the news himself, posting a picture of the new Brooklyn Nets logo. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports later reported that Williams has reached an agreement with the Nets for five years and nearly $100 million. (Ken Berger of CBS Sports puts the exact number at "approximately $98.75 million," while ESPN.com salary cap guru Larry Coon says the final figure "should be $98,772,321.")
Wojnarowski also reported that the Nets are working on retaining the services of power forward Kris Humphries.
Marc Stein of ESPN reported that Williams chose the Nets deal over a four-year, $75 million offer from his other suitor, the Dallas Mavericks. The collective bargaining agreement prevented the Mavericks from offering a fifth year.
The deal is a huge coup for the Nets, as they are hoping to make a big splash in their first season in Brooklyn. The Mavericks have now lost out on Williams and lost Jason Terry to the Boston Celtics on the same day, and will need to go back to the drawing board.
The Brooklyn Nets continue to work to acquire Dwight Howard in a trade with the Orlando Magic, but if that fails, they have a backup plan in place. The Nets have talked to the Milwaukee Bucks about conducting a sign-and-trade for forward Ersan Ilyasova, with Kris Humphries being the likely piece heading back to Milwaukee. The news was first reported by Peter Vescey and confirmed by the New York Post's Fred Kerber.
The Nets appear to want to recruit a third team to pull off this complicated maneuver to land Ilyasova if the Howard trade falls through. It remains unclear who that third team would be, but one's best guess is that Humphries would be re-routed to that squad, with additional assets heading to the Bucks
Ilyasova had a breakout year for the Bucks last season, averaging 13 points and 8.8 rebounds per game while shooting 49.2 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point range. The 25-year-old was especially good in the second half of last season.
Needing additional players to fill out a roster around Joe Johnson and (hopefully, for their sake) Deron Williams, the Brooklyn Nets have acquired reserve forward Reggie Evans from the Los Angeles Clippers for a future second-round pick, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Evans will sign a three-year, $5 million deal, and the Nets will acquire him using a portion of the $3 million trade exception the tema received in last season's deal for Gerald Wallace.
Evans has made a career out of being a nuisance, since he lacks very many skills on either side of the ball besides rebounding. However, he also helped the Clippers get past the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs last year, annoying Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol inside. Nevertheless, the Clippers have little use for him after acquiring Lamar Odom in a three-way trade with the Mavericks and Jazz.
It looks like Jason Terry's departure from the Dallas Mavericks to sign with the Boston Celtics will indeed be happening. The Mavericks, in an attempt to maintain their salary-cap flexibility, are unlikely to match or exceed the Celtics' three-year offer for Terry, according to ESPN's Marc Stein and Jeff Caplan.
Terry reportedly agreed to a contract with the Celtics that would pay him the value of the $5 million mid-level exception annually, but had wanted to take it back to the Mavericks to see if they would exceed the offer. The Mavericks need to save salary-cap space for Deron Williams, so it's not a surprise that they appear uninterested in meeting the Celtics' price.
Terry, who will turn 35 in September, averaged 15.1 points per game on 43-percent shooting last season. The former Sixth Man of the Year is expected to provide a much-needed scoring boost for the Celtics' second unit.
The Houston Rockets, who are suddenly mired in a difficult negotiation for their own free-agent point guard, Goran Dragic, will reportedly explore a well-known alternative. The Rockets will spend their July 4 meeting with New York Knicks restricted free agent Jeremy Lin, according to a report from Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
It would seem unlikely that the Rockets could steal Lin away from the Knicks, but New York general manager Glen Grunewald has decided to let Lin explore his market instead of aggressively trying to keep him. The Knicks have been interested in Steve Nash and had been working on potential sign-and-trade arrangements to land him. That effort took a hit with the Raptors signing Landry Fields, a key cog in a potential sign-and-trade deal with the Suns, to an offer sheet.
While the Knicks would likely want to match Lin, the Rockets could make it difficult by giving Lin a poison pill contract that would cause his contract to escalate in the third year. The Rockets pulled a similar maneuver in giving Chicago Bulls center Omer Asik an offer sheet over the weekend.
Hold the phones on Jason Terry heading to the Boston Celtics. ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting that Terry will give the Dallas Mavericks a chance to "counter" the Celtics' offer before he makes a final decision.
Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears is reporting that Terry was "closing in" on a three-year contract with the Celtics for the mid-level exception, which would be just under $16 million. The Mavericks can offer Terry more because they have Larry Bird rights on him. It appears that Terry will give the Mavericks a chance to offer him more money if they so choose. Now, it's up to Dallas to figure out if it's worth paying the 35-year old to stay with the franchise for longer than three years for just under $16 million.
The Boston Celtics are closing in on a multi-year contract for Dallas Mavericks' guard Jason Terry, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Terry, who will turn 35 next season, has been with the Mavericks for the past eight seasons.
The Mavericks' ace sixth man averaged 15.1 points per game on 43-percent shooting in 2011-12, his 13th in the league. He would likely assume a similar role for the Celtics next season behind Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley in the backcourt.
It remains unclear how much Terry would end up making, but his addition does throw Ray Allen's future in Boston in doubt. The Celtics could certainly still afford to keep Allen, and coach Doc Rivers has been quoted saying he'd like both players on his team, but it's unclear if Allen will be interested in returning to a much more crowded backcourt. Allen currently is drawing interest from the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers, among other teams.
As they continue to pursue free-agent point guard Steve Nash, the Toronto Raptors have made another move, signing New York Knicks' guard Landry Fields to a three-year offer sheet that will "approach $20 million," according to ESPN's Marc Stein. The Knicks will have three days from July 11 to decide whether to match the offer for the restricted free agent.
Exact terms of the deal remain unclear, but Stein reports that it will likely have a third-year spike in salary, which is similar to the offer sheet Omer Asik reportedly received from the Rockets.
Fields was a top prospect at the beginning of his career, rising from a second-round pick to being an untouchable piece in the Knicks' trade for Carmelo Anthony in the middle of 2011. However, his game fell off dramatically once Anthony arrived. The hope for the Raptors is that his game will be reinvigorated by Nash, or at least by not playing with Anthony.
The move also hurts the Knicks' ability to offer Fields as a sign-and-trade piece to the Suns as a means to acquire Nash and pay him a larger salary.
The Brooklyn Nets, fresh off trading for Joe Johnson, have made another move to upgrade the surrounding roster, signing Bosnian forward Mirza Teletovic to a three-year, $15.7 million deal using their mid-level exception, according to Howard Beck of the New York Times. The Nets have been interested in Teletovic for a while, so the signing isn't a surprise.
The 6'9', 26-year-old Teletovic has been a European star for several years. Last season, he averaged 16.3 points per game in 34 games in the Spanish ACB league and 21.7 points in 10 games in the Euroleague. Teletovic is a sweet-shooting big man that shot 43.6 percent from three-point range in those 10 Euroleague games last season. He is not a great rebounder, however, averaging just 6.9 per contest in the Spanish league and six per game in Euroleague competition last year.
The Nets were able to use the mid-level exception to sign Teletovic because they did not use their cap space to acquire Johnson. Instead, they sent out matching salaries, which allowed them to maintain all their cap exceptions to upgrade their roster. This increases the difficulty in finding enough salary to land Dwight Howard, but only slightly.
The Charlotte Bobcats certainly aren't the most attractive free agent destination after last season's debacle. There are still players interested in helping new coach Mike Dunlap turn things around, however, with Antawn Jamison being among them.
Jamison, a star during his college career with the nearby North Carolina Tar Heels, has reportedly scheduled a two-day visit with the Bobcats as one of the stops on his free agent tour.
Free agent Antawn Jamison, an ex-North Carolina star, will be visiting the very interested Charlotte Bobcats on Thur and Fri,source tells Y!— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 3, 2012
Bobcats intrigued by Jamison's versatile game and that he is a Charlotte native who played at North Carolina. Bobcats could use a local draw— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 3, 2012
The "local draw" that Mr. Spears tweets about didn't exactly work for players like Raymond Felton or Sean May, but maybe Jamison will be the Carolina college star that turns things around in that regard.
Many assumed that the Houston Rockets would easily re-sign point guard Goran Dragic, but it appears negotiations have not gone as planned so far. Dragic is seeking a contract that would pay him in excess of $10 million a season, and the Rockets are unwilling to meet that price at this time, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
The Rockets met with Dragic on Monday in Houston and were hopeful of reaching terms quickly with the Slovenian, who averaged 16.3 points and 7.3 assists in 32 games after the All-Star break following an injury to Kyle Lowry.
But Dragic left town without a deal, sources said, leading one source close to the process to say that the lefty's expected return to the Rockets is "not going to happen."
Dragic emerged as a starter after taking over for the sick Kyle Lowry, averaging 18 points and 8.4 assists in 28 starts last season. But Lowry is still under contract, and the Rockets may not want to sink so much money into two point guards.
If Dragic cannot agree to terms with the Rockets, he could very well return to the Phoenix Suns, who traded for him on draft day in 2008. The Suns, meeting with the point guard later in the week, appear ready to move on from Steve Nash and have plenty of cap space to potentially meet Dragic's asking price.
The Boston Celtics are hoping to keep their team intact, but that job is shaping up to be tougher than it initially looked. The team was able to lock up Kevin Garnett early in NBA free agency, but Boston's being forced to wait with Ray Allen.
Allen has options and, according to NBA.com's David Aldridge, he's weighing them thoroughly before making a decision.
The 36-year-old free-agent guard will visit the Miami Heat on Thursday and the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, according to a source, and listen to their pitches. The Heat can only offer Allen their mini mid-level exception that starts at $3.09 million next season, the same exception Miami used last year to sign free-agent forward Shane Battier. The Clippers have their full mid-level available at $5 million. Boston has offered Allen a two-year deal for $12 million.
Aldridge further reports that Allen also had conference calls with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, but the veteran sharpshooter currently has no plans to meet with them.
The Hawks and Nets have agreed on a five-player trade that will send Joe Johnson to Brooklyn, according to a report.
Marcus Camby is drawing plenty of attention in NBA free agency, notably from the Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and Miami Heat. According to FOX Sports writer Chris Tomasson, Camby's first choice is to return to Houston where he finished the 2011-12 season. If not, the 38-year-old could play for New York under the team's $3.09 million mid-level exception, according to ESPN.com.
Tomasson reports that Camby would like to start, but may be willing to split time even if the Rockets bring on Omer Asik from the Chicago Bulls. Camby believes he can be a starter, however, and sees himself playing another three more years in the NBA.
The draw to New York is strong as well. While Camby has little chance of starting over Tyson Chandler, he does live in New York during the offseason. He also played for the Knicks from 1998-2002. New York is looking to bring in a veteran point guard, however, and may not be able to give Camby the exception. Camby earned roughly $11.2 million last season between the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston.
The Heat are also in the running, but they may run into similar financial problems as the Knicks. If the Heat bring in Ray Allen from Boston, there may not be enough resources left to give Camby what he wants. If Allen goes elsewhere, Camby becomes a more viable option.
As they mull whether to match a large offer sheet for incumbent center Roy Hibbert, the Indiana Pacers are meeting with New Orleans Hornets free-agent center Chris Kaman, according to John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The meeting comes after Hibbert verbally agreed to a four-year, $58 million offer sheet with the Portland Trail Blazers. The idea is that Kaman could be a cheaper replacement if the Pacers choose not to keep Hibbert.
Kaman, a one-time all-star when he played for the Los Angeles Clippers, struggled with injuries in his only year in New Orleans, averaging 13.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in 47 contests. His return to New Orleans is up in the air after the Hornets used the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft on Anthony Davis.
Assuming Hibbert officially signs the offer sheet with the Blazers on July 11, which is the first day he is eligible to do so, the Pacers would have two days to decide whether to match. If not, they could very well sign Kaman. Indiana has the cap space to keep Hibbert, even after inking guard George Hill to a five-year contract, but must decide if he is worth the contract he was offered by the Blazers.
For more on the Pacers, head over to the SB Nation blog Indy Cornrows.
The Boston Celtics are nearing completion on a deal to bring back forward Jeff Green, according to general manager Danny Ainge. Green was ruled out for the 2011-12 season after doctors discovered an aortic aneurysm in the 25-year-old. He should be ready to play for the start of the 2012-13 season, however.
"We intend to have Jeff back," Ainge said. "Nothing is done, but we intend to have him back. I think we're going to enter a contract with him, hopefully by the end of the moratorium."
Green has been motivated throughout his rehab, according to Ainge. He was acquired at the 2011 trade deadline in a deal with that sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Green averaged 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in his 26 appearances with the Celtics.
The Houston Rockets have many balls in the air right now, but one of their major priorities in free agency is deciding what to do with free-agent starting point guard Goran Dragic. The Rockets would like to re-sign keep Dragic after he emerged in the second half of the season. That process will begin Monday, as general manager Daryl Morey is meeting with Dragic, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
The Rockets have already signed restricted free-agent center Omer Asik to an offer sheet, and they also met with New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon on Sunday. Dragic, however, remains a priority, even with all the other players the Rockets are considering.
Dragic averaged 11.7 points and 5.3 assists per game overall last season, but flourished as a starter, averaging 18 points and 8.4 assists while shooting 49 percent from the field. The Rockets still have Lowry, their starting point guard until a late-season illness gave Dragic his opportunity, under contract, but have been trying to trade him since he said he couldn't coexist with coach Kevin McHale.
George Hill signed a five-year contract with the Indiana Pacers on Monday, the Indianapolis Star reports. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Hill will be able to sign his new contract once the NBA's moratorium period ends on July 11.
The Pacers acquired the rights to Hill from the San Antonio Spurs on the night of the 2011 NBA Draft. Hill came off the bench for both guard positions, and started at point guard when Darren Collison went down with a groin injury. He had 9.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists averaging 25.5 minutes per game last season.
Hill remained the starter even after Collison was healthy enough to return to the court, and should compete for the job once again to start the 2012-13 season.
Roy Hibbert is now the Pacers' last unresolved restricted free agent. The Portland Trail Blazers gave him a five-year, $58 million offer sheet over the weekend. Hibbert is expected to sign on July 11, giving the Pacers three days to match the offer in order to retain his rights.
For more on the Pacers, head over to the SB Nation blog Indy Cornrows.
Philadelphia 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday is a member of the 2009 NBA Draft class, therefore he can sign a contract extension that would kick in starting with the 2013-14 season. It looks like Holiday is shooting high on the kind of contract he'd like to get, as Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Holiday is seeking "a max contract extension" from the 76ers.
If Holiday receives a maximum deal from Philadelphia, it would likely be a four-year deal, with the first year starting at just under $13 million and rising from there. Teams are allowed to designate one player to receive a five-year maximum deal, and the 76ers could choose to do that with Holiday. However, given Holiday's production, the 76ers will likely balk at the possibility of paying Holiday that much money.
The 22-year-old Holiday averaged 13.5 points and 4.5 assists on 43.2 percent shooting last season. All of those averages were slightly worse than his breakout season in 2010-11, though Holiday did cut down on his turnovers. If Holiday and the 76ers cannot agree on an early extension, he would become a restricted free agent following the 2013 season.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were able to acquire the former second overall pick for essentially nothing not long ago, and now after two years of that failed experiment, Beasley is looking for a fresh start. The paychecks likely won't be as nice as they once were, but Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick reports Beasley still has suitors.
A source said Phoenix and Detroit are among those pursuing small forward Michael Beasley. Minnesota declined to extend the former No. 2 pick a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.
It's not especially odd that the Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns would be interested in acquiring Beasley's services, but I'm curious to see what sort of contract he's given during free agency. There's no doubt he has talent, but he's yet to show the ability to realize how to maximize his skills.
Stick with this StoryStream for all your NBA free agency news.
The Detroit Pistons are seeking more help in the frontcourt behind star Greg Monroe and No. 9 overall pick Andre Drummond, and it appears they will look to find it with an international player. General manager Joe Dumars confirmed that the Pistons are going to make an offer to Vyacheslav Kravtsov, a 24 year old Ukranian big man.
Joe D confirms: "We are engaged in negotiations with Vyacheslav Kravtsov and will enter into player contract when moratorium period ends."— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) July 2, 2012
The 7'0, 260-pound Kravtsov played 14 games for BC Donetsk, a team that plays in the top division in Ukraine, last season. He averaged 8.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while playing 22.1 minutes per contest. He was seen as a potential draft pick in 2009, but was not selected by anyone.
The hope is that Kravtsov can play some center and help push Monroe back to power forward, where he may be a better fit.
The Chicago Bulls have to decide whether to match the Houston Rockets' offer for center Omer Asik, but in the meantime, they are chasing other free agents to fortify their backcourt. Among those is former draft pick Kirk Hinrich, currently with the Atlanta Hawks. The Bulls have reached out to Hinrich and offered him a deal, according to CSN Chicago's Aggrey Sam:
It’s been reported that the organization reached out to former Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich at the outset of free agency and according to a person with knowledge of the situation, offered a deal at or just above the veteran’s minimum and below the "mini" mid-level exception, which could be under the desired price range.
The Bulls have three reserve guards -- Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer -- on non-guaranteed contracts, and they could potentially be released to find a cheaper alternative. The Bulls could elect to do this either to save money to bring Asik back or simply to create more room under the luxury tax in the future.
Hinrich struggled with injuries last year, averaging a career-low 6.6 points per game on 41 percent shooting.
"J.J. Hickson" and "mid-level exception" are not two phrases anyone ever wants to hear in the same sentence. But Marcus Thompson III of the Contra Costa Times reports that the Golden State Warriors have opened talks with the outcast forward in hopes of adding him to Mark Jackson's arsenal.
Hickson is an unrestricted free agent as the Portland Trail Blazers -- who claimed him off of waivers after the Sacramento Kings cut him in March -- did not extend a qualifying offer. The Warriors had an agreement to bring in Hickson on the cheap in March once the Kings waived him, not expecting the Blazers or any other team to claim him off of waivers.
Now the Warriors are free to bid on his services. The Warriors have Andrew Bogut, David Lee and Andris Biedrins in the frontcourt. On Thursday, the team drafted center Festus Ezeli of Vanderbilt at No. 30, as well.
Denver acquired Miller for the second time in a draft day deal in 2011.
The pressure is on the Chicago Bulls if they want to keep their dominant bench unit intact after the Houston Rockets have reportedly signed restricted free agent center Omer Asik to a three-year, $25 million offer sheet, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
As a restricted free agent, the Bulls will have three days to match Asik offer sheet after it's signed on July 11th.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2012
Asik combined with Taj Gibson to form the best defensive big-man tandem in the league. Asik, who turns 26 on Wednesday, averaged 3.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and a block in 14 minutes per game. He had been the subject of numerous trade rumors over the past two years because a defensive-stopper type center is always in demand, and his talents have largely been wasted backing up Joakim Noah.
The Brooklyn Nets' top priority is re-signing point guard Deron Williams, but they're exploring other options in case he decides to bolt to Dallas. According to Nets beat writer Stefan Bondy, the Nets are meeting with free agent point guard Steve Nash on Sunday.
Free agent Steve Nash is meeting with the Nets today, according to a league source.— Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) July 1, 2012
Nash seems unlikely to return to Phoenix, and is attracting interest from multiple suitors. The Toronto Raptors are openly courting him, and are rumored to be offering a three-year deal worth eight figures per season. The Nets will almost certainly not be interested in signing Nash if Williams decides to return, but they could do worse than the 38-year-old two-time MVP if they don't get to keep Williams. At the very least, Nash should help the team get some folks in the seats early next season, and he's still a starter-quality point guard.
The Toronto Raptors are reportedly pushing hard to bring two-time MVP Steve Nash home to Canada. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Raptors offered the 38-year-old point guard a three-year, $36 million contract, blowing away all reasonable projections of what kind of contract offer Nash would merit. The deal would actually be a slight raise over Nash's previous contract. According to Basketball Reference, Nash had a salary of less than $11.7 million in '11-'12.
The offer was thrown around late Saturday night, but Stein's sources say that offer has been made. The Suns drafted North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall in last week's NBA draft with their first-round pick, leading to speculation they weren't prepared to match any hefty offer for Nash, who averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists last season.
Nash has also been rumored to be in discussions with the Mavericks for a reunion with his good friend Dirk Nowitzki -- he played in Dallas for six years earlier in his career, helping to turn the franchise into an annual contender -- as well as the Knicks and Nets.
After an earlier report indicated New Orleans Hornets restricted free agent shooting guard Eric Gordon would visit with the Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers (his hometown team) and Phoenix Suns in search of a contract in the neighborhood of four years and $58 million, it appears another team is in the mix to try to pry Gordon away from the Hornets.
Other reports have tied the Nets to seeking a potential trade for Hawks guard Joe Johnson while also expressing interest in the Rockets' Luis Scola and unrestricted free agent O.J. Mayo. They've already re-signed small forward Gerald Wallace for four years, $40 million in hopes of enticing Williams to stay. Williams may in fact be leaning toward playing in Brooklyn, if a New York Daily News report is to be believed. Still, Nets GM Billy King is going all in on being the most active team in the league this summer, it appears.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have had tremendous good fortune in the NBA Draft in recent years, getting Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden from top-five picks and landing Perry Jones after the Baylor forward fell like a rock in Thursday's iteration. But the team is reportedly interested in one of the biggest draft busts in recent memory: SI.com's Sam Amick reports that Oklahoma City is Hasheem Thabeet's most likely landing spot.
Amick says Oklahoma City is the "most likely landing spot" for Thabeet, who was selected by the Grizzlies with the No. 2 pick of the 2009 NBA Draft and has already played for three teams, bouncing from Memphis to Houston and Portland.
Thabeet's skill as a shot-blocker at UConn has not translated to the NBA, and his undercooked offensive game has made him a massive project at best, with his limitations so severe that he's yet to play 900 minutes in an NBA season. But at 7'3", Thabeet provides size unmatched on the free agent market -- and the Thunder could use some underneath.
For more on the Thunder, visit Welcome To Loud City.
According to Marc Spears of Yahoo!, a trio of expected contenders next season are likely to make a run at free agent forward Rashard Lewis. The stretch four was traded by the Wizards to the Hornets this offseason and then had his contract bought out by the New Orleans on Saturday, putting him on the market. With the free agency period kicking into high gear, the Heat, Celtics, and Lakers are three teams reportedly with interest in adding Lewis. Via Spears of Yahoo!:
Before the buyout, Lewis was set to make $23 million next season -- the second-highest amount in the league. But the Hornets exercised the $13.7 million buyout provision in his deal. With the monster contract no longer an issue, it now appears a host of teams are looking to add the sharpshooting Lewis.
Stick with this StoryStream for all your NBA free agency news.
JaVale McGee will meet with Denver Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri in Los Angeles on Monday to discuss a contract extension, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. The 7-footer is expected to draw a high-dollar contract.
Denver GM Masai Ujiri will meet with JaVale McGee's reps to discuss extension in Los Angeles on Monday, sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2012
McGee, on top of being one of the league's most entertaining players, enjoyed a solid season in 2011-12 between the Washington Wizards and the Nuggets. He averaged a career high 11.3 points per game, and was second in the league with 2.16 blocks per game behind Serge Ibaka.
McGee's free agency hasn't been discussed much publicly. He is reportedly a priority for the Nuggets, though a lot will depend on what McGee's asking price and what the organization is willing to pay.
For more on McGee and the Nuggets, head over to the SB Nation blog Denver Stiffs.
The Brooklyn Nets could not get away with losing Gerald Wallace unless everything happened so quickly at the start of free agency that the team was ready to compete without him. Things appeared to be happening quickly, but when the clock struck Free Agency, Brooklyn didn't have a commitment from Deron Williams, didn't have a trade for Dwight Howard or Joe Johnson and didn't have a bead on any other free agents. They couldn't wait for Williams; inactivity would be a risk when it came to keeping Deron.
So the Nets locked up Wallace quickly at four years, $40 million. Some folks will grouse about the length of the deal, which is fair. Some will ask who else would have offered that much money for an aging athlete who has been drifting from his peak. That's fair, too. But the Nets truly were bidding against themselves. When they traded their first-round pick (No. 6, in the end) for Wallace at the deadline, knowing he would likely opt out at year's end, they guaranteed they'd pay him more than anyone else in free agency. That was a part of the deal. This decision was made long ago.
And Wallace is still a very good player; I surmise he'll be underpaid or fairly paid next season at $10 million. The fear is that he'll fall apart in time and not be worth it by, say, 2014-15. But this isn't an Amar'e Stoudemire/Joe Johnson contract -- a $20 million monster of a deal that will be extremely painful to work around or move. This is about $10 million, or slightly above the average starter's salary. If by the end of the deal Wallace is a barely suitable starter? He's only overpaid by about 50 percent or so. In the meantime, you get a fairly paid above-average player.
There will be plenty of deals to lampoon over the next couple of weeks. Save your ire for them. This isn't a bad deal for the Nets.
Gerald Wallace has reportedly agreed to a four-year deal worth $40 million with the Brooklyn Nets, according to Fred Kerber of the New York Post. ESPN's Marc Stein reportedly early Sunday that a deal between the small forward and team was on track. The Nets traded their first-round pick (which ended up being Damian Lillard) to the Portland Trail Blazers for Wallace at the deadline. Crash opted out of the final year of his contract, and will now get paid more, assuming the report is accurate.
The Nets have any number of other irons in the fire, including reported talks involving Joe Johnson, Luis Scola and O.J. Mayo. Dwight Howard has also renewed his request to be traded to Brooklyn.
Brooklyn is also waiting on a decision from free agent point guard Deron Williams, who will reportedly decide between the Nets and the Dallas Mavericks in the coming days.
The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to bring unrestricted free agent Ramon Sessions back to the team, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN L.A., but will also contact veteran free agents in an effort to have a point guard in hand should Sessions go elsewhere. The veteran free agents that the Lakers may pursue include Chauncey Billups, Jameer Nelson and Kirk Hinrich.
Sessions' agent told McMenamin that several other teams reached out to the point guard, but that no meetings are currently scheduled. The Lakers traded for Sessions in March, sending a first-round pick and Luke Walton to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Sessions trade also led to Lakers legend Derek Fisher being traded and winding up with the Oklahoma City Thunder, who knocked L.A. out of the playoffs.
Sessions will be looking for more than $4.5 million in free agency. He opted out of a contract that would have paid him that much next season.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will meet with small forward Nicolas Batum on Sunday, and according to Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest, are mulling an offer of $45-50 million over four years for the Frenchman. Batum is a restricted free agent, meaning that the Portland Trail Blazers will have the opportunity to match any contract offer sheet that Batum signs.
Haynes reports that the New Orleans Hornets and Toronto Raptors have also reached out to Batum. The Sacramento Kings have been reported to have interest as well, though likely not at that price.
The Wolves are said to be chasing Brandon Roy, who retired as a Blazer a year ago, and have a meeting set with Jordan Hill. What a successful Batum gambit would mean for the Wolves and second-year forward Derrick Williams is unclear; it might lock Batum in as a long-term reserve in Minnesota.
The Portland Trail Blazers and one other unnamed team have offered All-Star center Roy Hibbert a maximum value contract, reports SI.com's Sam Amick. The Indiana Pacers, Hibbert's team of four years, offered less than the max, which would start at roughly $13 million per season.
Amick reports that Hibbert may sign Portland's offer sheet, forcing Indiana to decide whether to match. You would have to believe that Indiana would match, given Hibbert's importance to the club.
Hibbert and Eric Gordon (also seeking the max) are the only two restricted free agents likely to draw contracts at or near the max this offseason. JaVale McGee and Brook Lopez are also expected to come in with high-dollar contracts.
The Blazers are low on centers, but did pick up Meyers Leonard from Illinois in the 2012 NBA Draft on Thursday.
Steve Nash is one of the more popular NBA free agents; two MVPs and an impeccable reputation as a court leader with lovely numbers to back it up will do that. But he's also 38 years old with a history of back pain. That makes a report like the one Sam Amick of SI.com presented late Saturday a bit jaw-dropping.
Sources confirmed that the Raptors are likely to offer a deal that pays approximately $12 million annually, though it remains to be seen whether it is for three guaranteed years or two years with a team option in the third season.
So according to Amick, a spot-on reporter, Toronto is prepared to offer Nash $24 million to play through age 40, or $36 million to play through age 41. This for a team that has missed the postseason for three straight years and will be integrating two major rookies (Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross).
That seems risky. Analysis!
For more on the Raptors, please visit Raptors HQ.
Lakers free-agent power forward Jordan Hill played well at times during the playoffs last season and now may turn those performances into a lucrative free-agent contract. Hill will make his first official visit Monday, when he heads to Minneapolis, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
The Lakers acquired the 24-year-old from Houston at the trade deadline. Hill played in just seven regular season games for Los Angeles, but saw time in 12 postseason games averaging 4.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Los Angeles can offer Hill a four-year contract worth close to $17 million, but can't outbid Minnesota who has nearly $20 million in cap space.
The Lakers and Timberwolves aren't the only teams interested in Hill as the Warriors, Heat and Magic are also reportedly courting the thee-year forward. During his career, Hill has averaged 5.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Eric Gordon, a restricted free agent, is seeking a four-year deal worth $58 million, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard. To get that deal, the shooting guard will meet with the Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns over the next three days, and the Portland Trail Blazers and possibly the Dallas Mavericks and Charlotte Bobcats after that, says Broussard.
The New Orleans Hornets can match any offer sheet signed by Gordon. They could also save folks some frequent flier miles by offering that deal to Gordon themselves. The two-guard played just nine games last season, but was the centerpiece of the club's Chris Paul trade in December. The Hornets drafted Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers on Thursday to help rebuild the club.
We ranked Gordon as the No. 3 free agent on Saturday, behind Deron Williams and Roy Hibbert, and projected a max or near-max deal.
For more on the Hornets, please visit At The Hive.
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has a tradition of camping out to meet with free agents as soon as allowed under NBA rules. In 2010, Morey quickly pitched the Rockets to Chris Bosh. That didn't work. Last summer, the big play was aimed at Marc Gasol. That didn't work. This year, Morey's focused in on Chicago Bulls center Omer Asik. Maybe it will be different?
Here's what Morey tweeted just before midnight ET.
Meeting w/Omer Asik in a few minutes -- tell him how much you want him to be in Houston! He will see your msg live - include #Asik2Houston— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) July 1, 2012
Like Gasol a year ago, Asik is a restricted free agent. It's believed that the Bulls will make every reasonable effort to match. Asik's primary draw is as a defender. Houston currently does not have a center on the roster. The Rockets traded Samuel Dalembert to the Bucks last week.
How serious is the Minnesota Timberwolves' pursuit of retired two-time All-Star Brandon Roy?
How serious are Wolves about BRoy? Glen Taylor, Kahn, Adelman and trainer Gregg Farnam flew to Seattle to meet with him Friday— Jerry Zgoda(@JerryZgoda) July 1, 2012
Roy announced his retirement in December after a couple of years of knee injuries after knee injuries. Instead of filing for medical retirement so that the Portland Trail Blazers could receive cap relief, the Blazers used the amnesty waiver on Roy. Some (including yours truly) considered it a ruse to avoid fan outrage at using the amnesty clause on Roy, a beloved player. Given that Roy is prepared to return to the NBA less than a year later, that is a bit more believable.
The Wolves actually drafted Roy in 2006 and traded him to the Blazers for Randy Foye, setting off a terrible chain of events for the entire state of Minnesota.
The Brooklyn Nets have all of their eggs in Deron Williams' basket, as the free agent will apparently make a decision to stay with the club or not in the next couple of days. Either in preparation of putting talent around D-Will or in anticipation of fielding a team with more than three players, the Nets are looking at additional players at free agency opens and trades get going. In addition to a potential trade for Joe Johnson, the Nets have also discussed a trade for Luis Scola, reports Yahoo!'s ace reporter Adrian Wojnarowski.
Woj reports that the teams were in deep talks on Saturday, but Dwight Howard's decision to again request a trade to the Nets may have ended the trade for now. News about Howard broke in the hours before the official start of free agency.
Woj also reported that if a trade for Johnson falls through, the Nets, flush with cap space, are prepared to make a major free agent offer to O.J. Mayo.
The Brooklyn Nets' aspirations of pairing Deron Williams and Dwight Howard might be petering out, according to one report. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Nets could be in the process of making a trade with the Atlanta Hawks for swingman Joe Johnson that would give Brooklyn a top-line backcourt and allow the Hawks to dump Johnson's remaining $90 million contract.
There are a number of factors at play. Most notably, Orlando's will have to decide whether or not they'll trade Howard -- who has one year remaining on his contract -- as well as Williams, who has yet to decide on his future with either the Nets or his hometown Dallas Mavericks:
It's doubtful Nets GM Billy King would make a deal for Johnson without the blessing of Williams and an assurance from Williams that he would re-sign with the Nets
King and new Atlanta GM Danny Ferry – former Duke teammates and close friends – have discussed the possibility of a Johnson trade that would mostly constitute a salary dump for the Hawks.
While Brooklyn's future is almost completely in flux and suffering no shortage of differing opinions as to the direction of the relocated franchise, there's a consensus among Atlanta fans that shedding Johnson would create a bright new future:
If Joe Johnson were to be traded it would be nearly universally celebrated by fans. Not good when bad contracts happen to good people.— Peachtree Hoops (@peachtreehoops) July 1, 2012
We rip through the top 83 NBA free agents of 2012. And by top 83 free agents, we mean the 40 or so good players available and then 40 or so players named Matt Barnes or Baron Davis.
The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Saturday night that they won't be extending qualifying offers to forwards Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph, making them unrestricted free agents. The two will be able to sign with any team starting at midnight Saturday, when the NBA free agency period begins.
The Wolves had a glut of 'tweener forwards last year with Beasley, Randolph and rookie Derrick Williams. Each were too slow to be trusted to regularly play small forward, and with Kevin Love turning into an MVP candidate, couldn't find regular minutes at the four spot either. When Nikola Pekovic turned into a productive center and Darko Milicic turned into a decent backup, the Wolves no longer needed so many big bodies.
Beasley would have been due a little more than $8.1 million and Randolph $4 million, according to ShamSports.com. The Wolves also could have wanted to clear cap room to try to acquire Pau Gasol, a deal they've been reportedly trying to pull since last trade deadline. The Wolves are rumored to still have interest in the deal, so clearing $12 million in salary off the books is a good place to start.
Rashard Lewis is set to enter free agency after he was waived and bought out by the New Orleans Hornets.
Point guard Jordan Farmar struggled with injury last season for the New Jersey Nets, playing largely as Deron Williams' backup, but managed to set career highs in points per game (10.4), field-goal percentage (.467), three-point percentage (.440) and free-throw percentage (.905).
In practice, however, he failed to establish himself as a reliable player, losing playing time to Sundiata Gaines at different points in the season. He has a $4.25 million contract for 2013 and, despite previous rumors to the contrary, he will opt-in for next season, according to Colin Stephenson of the Newark Star-Ledger.
Farmar, 25, signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the Nets before the 2010-11 season, fresh off winning an NBA championship with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers. He was expected to make the leap from bench contributor to legitimate role player backing up Devin Harris, but he never gained any sort of momentum, and then the Williams trade happened. It was unlikely he was going to find anyone to pay him more than $4 million in the open market, especially with the new stringent Collective Bargaining Agreement beginning to take effect.
For more on Farmar and the Nets, check in with Nets Daily.
The Memphis Grizzlies will attempt to woo Ray Allen when free agency begins Sunday, reports Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. The Grizzlies will reportedly offer Allen their full mid-level exception worth $5 million per season.
Allen, who has been with the Boston Celtics since the 2007-08 season, is an unrestricted free agent. At 36, he's the league's all-time leader in three-pointers made. Even in an injury-plagued 2011-12 season he hit more than 100 threes for the 13th consecutive season and shot 45 percent from behind the arc.
Boston, which reportedly locked up Kevin Garnett ahead of free agency, is believed to be interested in bringing Allen back, though for less money. Allen has also been linked to the Miami Heat, who knocked the C's out in the East finals on their way to the championship this season.
Allen will turn 37 in July. He's logged 48,000 minutes in the NBA, including the playoffs, over 15 seasons.
For more on the Grizzlies, please visit Straight Outta Vancouver.
Deron Williams is by far the best unrestricted free agent on the market this offseason, and when free agency starts Sunday it appears he'll have a buddy tagging along: Jason Kidd. According to a report by ESPN's Ric Bucher, the two have spent the weekend golfing together in the Hamptons on Long Island, and plan to be somewhat of a package deal. From Bucher's report:
Mavericks free-agent point guard Jason Kidd will also join whichever team Williams chooses, sources said.
Another source with business ties to both Kidd and Williams says that the two already have decided to play together for the Nets next season. However, multiple sources say Williams is still torn about his decision.
Kidd, of course, was traded from the Suns to the Nets for Stephon Marbury more than 10 years ago and pretty much single-handedly revived the franchise, carrying them to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances against the Lakers in 2002 and the Spurs in 2003 (they lost each time).
Williams will fetch a max contract, and New York Daily News columnist Mitch Lawrence wrote that a source close to Williams believes he'll go to Brooklyn, who can offer him $26 million more than any team, thanks to a provision in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Garnett is of course the cornerstone of the current Celtics team and wanted to stay in Boston. The Celtics have rewarded Garnett appropriately: the new contract will push Garnett over the top to become the new record-holder for most career earnings in NBA history.
According to Darren Rovell of CNBC, the $34 million deal now pushes him ahead of Shaquille O'Neal for the top spot on the all-time earners list. O'Neal had earned $292 million over the course of his 19-year career. Garnett just finished up his 17th year in the league, his first 12 seasons spent playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Kevin Garnett will sign a new contract with the Boston Celtics once NBA free agency opens, reports Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The deal will reportedly be for at least two seasons, and possibly a third. The report cites an anonymous source who said that once KG decided he wanted to continue to play, he never considered signing with any team but the Celtics.
Garnett was traded to the Celtics in 2007, and the team won the 2008 NBA Championship in his first season in Boston. The club has been back to the NBA Finals once since then, and to the Eastern Conference Finals two additional times, including this season. Garnett is 36 with tons of miles on his treads.
Free agency begins at midnight. Deals can officially be signed on July 11.
If there was any question as to whether two-time MVP Steve Nash would consider leaving the Suns after eight seasons in Phoenix, let that be put to rest. Speaking to ESPN's Marc Stein, the point guard said that for the first time since joining the Suns in 2004, he can see himself playing for another team. Via Bright Side Of The Sun, here's what Nash told Stein this week in New York at an annual soccer event the point guard puts on:
"I couldn't list a favorite ... But I do know that for the first time I realize that it might not be Phoenix. I would have said even in the middle of (last) season or last year that I would have thought I probably would have stayed in Phoenix forever. But it's come to a point now where I'm facing the reality that's not (the case)."
The Toronto Raptors are making a serious push to add Nash; the point guard grew up in British Columbia and represented Canada in international play. John Hollinger has also suggested that the Brooklyn Nets could end up throwing gobs of money at Nash if Deron Williams walks. No team can pay Nash more than Phoenix, but if it's about more than money, or if the Suns decide to begin looking beyond Nash, he could be in a new uniform in October.
The Minnesota Timberwolves met with free agent guard Brandon Roy on Friday, writes Minneapolis reporter Darren Wolfson (via SB Nation Minnesota). Roy was waived via the amnesty clause in December by the Portland Trail Blazers due to continued knee issues; before the waiver, he announced his medical retirement. Some of us sniffed that out as a ruse, a way to make the Blazers' amnesty waiver more palatable to fans. If Roy returns this quickly, it will have been obvious.
The Wolves desperately need backcourt help for Ricky Rubio. J.J. Barea was not great in his first season in Minnesota, and the Wolves didn't pick up a wing in the 2012 NBA Draft. They did trade the No. 18 pick for Chase Budinger, who could fill some minutes at small forward and two-guard, but Roy -- if he's even a shade of his former All-Star self -- is a much bigger fish.
The Wolves were able to meet with Roy before the start of free agency on Sunday because he has been a free agent for several months. Most players remain under contract until June 30.
While the Orlando Magic are trying to figure out what to do with All Star center Dwight Howard, the team now has to decide what they're going to do about starting point guard Jameer Nelson. Nelson has decided that he will opt out of his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Jameer Nelson has opted out of his contract with the Orlando Magic. He'll become an unrestricted free agent. @MagicInsider broke the news.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 29, 2012
The belief is that Orlando will re-sign Nelson to a 2-3 year deal, but it's very possible Nelson could break for another team in free agency leaving the Magic wondering what to do with Howard and a hole at the point guard position. The only other point guard under contract for Orlando currently is Chris Duhon.
In a mild surprise, the Memphis Grizzlies have elected not to issue a qualifying offer to shooting guard O.J. Mayo, which makes him an unrestricted free agent, according to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The decision almost certainly means that Mayo will be wearing another team's uniform next season.
Had the Grizzlies picked up Mayo's qualifying offer, they would have been able to match any free-agent offer he received. Instead, they decided not to risk the possibility that Mayo would reject all free-agent contract offers and choose to play for the value of the $7.4 million qualifying offer in a lame-duck season of sorts before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2013-14.
Mayo averaged 12.6 points per game on 41 percent shooting in a sixth man role for the Grizzlies last year. The former No. 3 overall pick has been a mild disappointment in his NBA career, and the Grizzlies have come close to trading him several times.
For more on the Grizzlies, visit Straight Outta Vancouver.
The 2012 NBA Draft took place on Thursday night, leaving free agency as the next stop in the world where basketball never sleeps. The majority of folks are still focused on Thursday night's happenings, but there was some new news Friday morning relating to Steve Nash.
Nash is no longer in his prime, of course, but the Phoenix Suns guard can certainly still play a high level of basketball, and with his six-year deal with the Suns now complete, there are plenty of teams interested in acquiring his services for next season. ESPN's Marc Stein reports one of those teams is the Toronto Raptors.
Shifting to free agency: Hearing Raptors want to park no less than a five-deep contingent in Manhattan to woo Steve Nash as soon as allowed— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 29, 2012
Raps president of basketball ops Bryan Colangelo wooed Nash same way in summer of 2004 ... and quickly convinced Nash to swap DAL for PHX— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 29, 2012
There's a good bit of history between Colangelo and Nash, and the prospect of playing in his home country might make the Raptors a darkhorse in the Steve Nash Sweepstakes, but it's quite possible even a "five-deep contingent" won't even be able to woo Nash enough to get him to play out his final years on a currently sub-par team.
That said, it'd be a great story ... and Toronto certainly seems to have the right all-in approach of making it possible.
For more on the Raptors, be sure to visit Raptors HQ.
Deron Williams has apparently narrowed his choices for potential free agency destinations down to his current team, the Brooklyn Nets, and the team that plays in his hometown, the Dallas Mavericks. In case there was any question whether or not the Mavericks are interested in Williams, their best player decided to make his opinions on the scenario public in a radio interview with Dallas' KCTK:
We’d love to have him run the show here... I hope we have a good shot. He’s from here. His mom lives here. He likes it here.
Currently running the show in Dallas is Jason Kidd, who is also on the market as a free agent. While Kidd has been more than serviceable for the Mavs as his career wanes, Williams is a franchise-type player who would quickly put the Mavericks back in the conversation of title contenders. Dallas pretty much scrapped its 2010 championship team in hopes of landing Williams in the 2011 free agent market, and now, the decision is in his hands.
New Jersey, of course, made its overture to Williams in the form of a gigantic birthday wish, and not to be out-done in the category of semi-depressing attempts at making Deron Williams play for his team, Dirk Nowitzki had this to offer:
He loves golf, and we have great golf courses.
What'll it be, Deron? Golf, or birthday presents? Tough choice to make.
J.R. Smith, who was signed by the New York Knicks after spending the first half of the NBA season exiled in China, will likely remain with the Knicks for multiple years following this one. Smith will forego his player option for $2.5 million next year, hoping instead to to sign a long-term deal to stay in New York.
JR Smith will decline Knicks option but intends to re-sign for longer term w/NY, source says. Story posting soon.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeckNYT) June 25, 2012
Smith averaged 12.5 points per game in just under 28 minutes per contest in 35 regular-season games for the Knicks last season. He signed a two-year deal upon returning from China in February, but was given a player option for 2012-13. Instead of taking that option, he will likely sign a long-term deal with the Knicks.
The Knicks do not have Smith's Bird rights, meaning they can only sign him with one of two exceptions. If Smith goes for it, they can sign him to their Non-Bird Exception, with the first year starting at a maximum of $2.8 million per season. If Smith wants more, though, they would have to dip into their mid-level exception to keep him.
James Harden hinted that he could be willing to take less money to stay in Oklahoma City. "I love it here," he told reporters at his exit interview on Saturday.
Keep Harden for less than a max contract would be a huge boon for the Thunder, which must solve a financial jigsaw puzzle starting July 1 when Harden, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor are all eligible for extensions on their rookie contracts.
More from The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry:
Harden is widely considered to be a top five shooting guard and potentially a third maximum-allowable contract level player. But he said Saturday that team success is more important to him than money and potentially making more elsewhere.
"This is something special here," Harden said. "A dynasty is being built here. So we’re winning, we’re having fun and we’re brothers. The other stuff, you can’t buy it."
The debate has been on as to whether the Thunder would be better off with Harden or Ibaka as their third max player. What a coup it would be if they can keep both in OKC and happy.
Now for the bucket of cold water: When is the last time an NBA star (or, like, your neighborhood cooper, etc.) turned down a considerable amount of money for friendship? Business is business. We'll see, OKC.
Deron Williams is widely considered to be the jewel of the 2012 NBA free agency class and even though free agency doesn't begin until July 1, Williams has already narrowed his suitors to the Nets and Mavericks according to a report from ESPN.com.
The Nets and Mavericks have been seen as the most likely suitors for Williams for a while. New Jersey can offer Williams the most money while Dallas presents the opportunity to play in his hometown. The Nets can offer Williams a five-year contract worth just under $100 million while Dallas can offer four years and close to $75 million.
Williams has previously said his decision will be based on which teams gives him the best chance to win.
"I want to go to a place where I feel like they will have a chance to build and build fast," Williams said according to the Los Angeles Times. "I'm not really in the mood for being part of a rebuilding process. I'm getting older. I'm about to be 28. I want to win. I want to win now. Also, I want to live in a place where I want to live and my kids will enjoy living. That's pretty much it."
NBA free agency begins at midnight on July 1.
For the latest news and rumbling from around the league, check out our NBA Free Agency Rumors 2012 StoryStream. For more on Kidd and the Mavericks, check out Mavs Moneyball and SB Nation Dallas. For more on the Nets, head over to NetsDaily and SB Nation New York.
In a major surprise, an arbitrator ruled in favor of New York Knicks free agents Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, allowing the players to receive early-Bird free agent rights that will allow the Knicks to sign them and maintain their mid-level exception, according to Howard Beck of the New York Times. This affords the Knicks a better opportunity to re-sign both players.
Prior to the ruling, the Knicks would have had to use a section of their mid-level exception, a mechanism for teams over the salary cap to sign free agents up to the average NBA salary, to keep Lin and Novak. This was because both players were claimed by the Knicks after having been waived by other teams. Now, however, the Knicks can re-sign them and still have the mid-level exception to use on other team's free agents.
In addition to Lin and Novak, Chauncey Billups of the Clippers and J.J. Hickson of the Blazers now have full Bird rights. Both players were claimed by teams after being released -- Billups with the Amnesty clause, Hickson at the trade deadline.
Sessions was acquired by the Lakers in a mid-season trade and looked quite solid in their run to the NBA Playoffs, but the team knew they'd likely only get the remainder of this season from him when they agreed to the trade. Sessions had a $4.5 million option for next season, but has apparently decided that he can make more money on the open market.
Point guard Ramon Sessions will not exercise a player option to stay with the Lakers and will become a free agent, The Times has learned.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) June 19, 2012
The Lakers are likely still interested in Sessions' services, but only at the right price. And, since the vagabond point guard decided to opt out of his contract, he's likely entering this offseason looking to get paid.
Jason Kidd brought up the New Jersey Nets and the Dallas Mavericks when asked where he hopes to land in free agency this offseason. The veteran point guard would like to return to the Mavs, but is very interested in the Nets especially if they manage to re-sign Derrick Williams.
J Kidd - "My days of playing 38 minutes are over. ...me and Deron can play off each other."— Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) June 18, 2012
Kidd has no illusions about where he is in his career. He could be very effective coming off the bench for the Nets, or running the floor in partnership with Williams. He is also very familiar and comfortable with the Mavericks having spent the last four seasons in Dallas.
Kidd averaged under 30 minutes per game last season for the first time in NBA career. His numbers dipped to 6.2 points and 5.5 assists per game, both career lows.
Fresh off the best season of his career, Philadelphia 76ers sixth man Louis Williams will opt out of his contract and become a free agent, according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Williams' agent, Leon Rose, confirmed the news to reporter John Mitchell.
Williams initially signed a five-year, $25 million contract after the 2007-08 season, but his deal contained an opt-out clause after the fourth year. Williams ultimately decided to exercise that clause after his strong season. Had Williams not exercised his right to opt out, he would have made $5.35 million next year.
Williams led the 76ers' in scoring in 2011-12, averaging a career-high 14.9 points per game. He finished a distant second to James Harden in the Sixth Man of the Year voting.
It remains unclear whether the 76ers will have any interest in re-signing him. Despite his strong season, Williams may be let go to clear more playing time for Evan Turner.
The Clippers kept coach Vinny Del Negro and lost GM Neil Olshey, exactly the opposite of what most observers thought they should do. Is it a return to the bad old days for the NBA's worst-run franchise? And how will these decisions affect the future of stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul?
If the Dallas Mavericks decide to punt the 2012-13 season and reserve long-term cap space for the 2013 free agent class of Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, Jason Terry will be playing somewhere else. The guard told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News that he has no interest in returning to Big D on a one-year rental.
"It's a tough situation," Terry said. "I'm finally in a position where I can kind of predict my own future, so to speak. I want to stay here in Dallas. That's always been my goal. But it needs to be long-term. If they're not ready to step up and do that, then I'll have to make my home elsewhere."
Terry sounds a lot like Tyson Chandler did a year ago, only instead of contract length being the wedge between J.E.T. and the Mavericks, with Chandler it was contract size. There's no question that, if Dallas punted, it'd give Terry a massive one-year deal. The more punitive luxury tax penalties don't kick in until 2013-14, and Dallas has Terry's Bird rights, so there'd be no particular harm in paying J.E.T. $12 million for next season.
But if Terry would rather lock in his last big contract, he should be able to find a partner elsewhere. The free agent class is fairly shallow, and Terry is far from the oldest dollar-seeker out there.
Prior to this season, Los Angeles pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Gasol to the Rockets in a three-team trade that would have brought Chris Paul to the Staples Center. That deal was killed by David Stern for "basketball reasons."
Now, according to The Daily News' Mitch Lawrence, the Lakers are reportedly willing to part with Gasol for what seems like non-basketball reasons. Lawrence tucked this nugget away in the notes at the end of his latest effort on the NBA Finals (emphasis mine):
The Lakers are committed to moving Pau Gasol — the fall guy for their second-round ouster against the Thunder and previous playoff failures — even if they have to take back less talent. As long as Heisley retains the Grizzlies, Memphis will always have interest. Heisley has always wanted to bring Gasol back, pairing him with his brother, Marc.
OK. Now wake me up when Gasol *actually* gets dealt.
The Grizzlies aspect is interesting, at least. It's hard not to support the marriage of comedic and basketball excellence that would be an all-Gasol front line.
Right now, there are two questions surrounding Kevin Garnett. One: Will the 17-year veteran return to the NBA next season? Two: Would Garnett -- an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career -- return to the Celtics?
Actually, those two questions might be one in the same.
"I don't know if he wants to play for anybody but Doc," Perkins said. "That would be the thing. He doesn't want to play for anybody but Doc."
Sam Cassell floated this notion last week, which means KG -- who hasn't spoken publicly since the Celtics season ended in Game 7 of the NBA Finals -- is either a super loyal guy or is already starting to plant seeds for negotiations this summer.
The Celtics have a decision to make about whether they'll go for it again with their Championship core or begin retooling for the Rajon Rondo + Avery Bradley years. But Danny Ainge wants to get the band back together, it appears Garnett would be on board.
Jeff Green, who is an unrestricted free agent after a heart condition requiring surgery ended his 2011-12 season with the Boston Celtics before it began, is receiving strong interest as he prepare to return to the court, his agent David Falk told SI.com's Sam Amick.
Green had surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm in early January, and is said to be back to 100 percent. He'd signed a one-year, $9 million contract with the Celtics in December as a restricted free agent, but the discovery of the aneurysm led to the voiding of the deal as Green had to go under the knife. Because Green was waived, he is now an unrestricted free agent.
Falk implies that while Boston remains at or near the top of the list, Green's camp will listen to all offers. Green was traded to the Celtics in February 2011 in exchange for Kendrick Perkins. He'd be drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007 with Boston's No. 5 overall pick, conveyed to Seattle in the Ray Allen trade.
Lou Williams, the runner-up for the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award this season, has reportedly opted out of his contract and will become a free agent.
Shocking no one, Jamal Crawford told a Seattle TV station that he plans to opt out of his 2012-13 contract with the Portland Trail Blazers and re-enter free agency in July. Crawford signed a one-year deal with a second-year option in December. The team fell apart due to injury and a poorly masked decision to tank at the trade deadline. Nate McMillan, the coach who helped recruit Crawford, was also canned at the deadline. Crawford's close friend and fellow Seattle native Brandon Roy was waived due to injury before the season even began.
Crawford had suitors in the Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves before choosing Portland in December. Chances are that he could end up in Minnesota, which still lacks for a productive two-guard or much in the way of bench scoring. Other teams looking to augment their offense could also turn to Crawford in July.
Longtime Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson has received clearance to delay his decision on whether to opt out of his contract for the 2012-13 season, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Nelson must now file paperwork by June 29 to exercise his player option for next year. The option is for $7.9 million.
If he declines it, he'd become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
The Magic actually consented to the deadline move, reports Robbins. Orlando is currently weighing the hire of a new general manager to replace Otis Smith, who was dismissed after the Magic were eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Indiana Pacers.
If Nelson does opt out, he'll be mixed up with an interesting point guard class led by Deron Williams and Steve Nash. But new cap rules and the looming luxury tax changes could constrict the market a good bit.
For more on the Magic, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post.
After being eliminated in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, it was already understood that the Boston Celtics would look different in the 2012-13 season. On Thursday, we received our first bit of solid information as to one thing that will change in the coming year.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England reports that forward Brandon Bass has opted out of his contract with the Celtics and will be hitting the free agent market this offseason. Bass states that he "would love to go back" to the Celtics, with whom he was set to make $4.25 million in 2012-13.
Now Bass will test the market to see whether he can improve his financial chances, either by going elsewhere, or by successfully convincing the Celtics to sign him to a more lucrative deal.
The New Jersey Nets took a pretty big gamble at the NBA trade deadline this year, acquiring Gerald Wallace in exchange for their 1st round pick. The risk probably didn't play out exactly how the Nets wanted to, as Wallace has elected to opt out of the last season of his contract.
Wallace had a sixth year left on his contract that would have paid him $9.5 million for the 2012-13 season, but he decided that he'd rather return to the open market. That does not mean that Wallace is necessarily signing elsewhere, though -- just that it will likely cost the Nets more than it would have prior to his opting out.
Not a surprise, but Gerald Wallace confirms he's opting out of last season to hit free-agency. My guess: He re-signs with Nets.— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) June 13, 2012
It will be interesting to see what happens with this, because had the Nets not made the trade (they were essentially out of the postseason running when the acquisition occurred), Brooklyn would own the sixth overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
The Boston Celtics want to talk to Kevin Garnett about a return to their team, and Garnett is open to that discussion, but don't expect his re-signing to be the first big move that the Celtics make this offseason.
Garnett is reportedly waiting to see what the Celtics have in their plans before he decides to re-sign with the team. Ray Allen is also an unrestricted free agent, while mid-season trade rumors surrounded Rajon Rondo. Paul Pierce is still under contract with the Celtics, but his future isn't crystal clear either.
The Boston Herald quoted a source's opinion on Garnett's plans and mindset.
"Kevin's very loyal, and he hates change. But I think it'd be hard for him to come back if it's a total rebuild. If he's going to play, he has to be playing for something. I think he'll wait to see what's going to happen. If Danny can give him a solid answer right away, then maybe he gives them an answer, too. But KG's going to want to know who he'll be playing with."
If the Celtics bring Garnett back to the team, it will likely be on a short-term deal that pays him considerably less than the $21 million he earned during the 2011-12 season.
Ray Allen is reportedly interested in signing with either the Miami Heat or the Los Angeles Clippers if he does not re-sign with the Boston Celtics. The New York Knicks are also a potential landing spot.
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