It was not a quiet night for free agents in the NBA on Wednesday. Andrew Bynum broke the silence by deciding he will join the Cleveland Cavaliers on a two-year deal with limited guarantees. Then the Milwaukee Bucks side-stepped the sign-and-trade dance with the Atlanta Hawks and ended such talks by extending a lucrative offer sheet to point guard Jeff Teague. Finally, Gerald Henderson and the Charlotte Bobcats reached an impasse in negotiations on a new deal, and now the team is discussing sign-and-trade options with rival franchises.
Here is a roundup of the latest from the NBA rumor mill regarding some of the top free agents in the association.
Bynum Signs with Cavaliers on an Interesting Deal
After failing to play a single game for the Philadelphia 76ers, oft-injured big man Andrew Bynum -- the No. 1 remaining free agent on Tom Ziller's list -- has found a new home. The Cleveland Cavaliers offered up a two-year, $24 million deal with just $6 million in guaranteed money and a team option in the second year, but the Dallas Mavericks reportedly declined to match that bid, so Bynum chose Cleveland, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.
The Cavaliers are looking to make big improvements next season, and the reasonable gamble on Bynum could pay off in a huge way if he manages to stay healthy throughout the year. SB Nation's Cavaliers blog, Fear the Sword, is pretty excited about the move.
Jeff Teague Signs 4-Year Offer Sheet with Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks had spent several days discussing sign-and-trade scenarios potentially involving Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings and Jeff Teague, but on Wednesday night the Bucks shut those talks down and extended a four-year, $32 million offer sheet to Teague, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The young guard quickly signed the offer sheet, which eliminated any possibility of a sign-and-trade with Milwaukee and gives Atlanta 72 hours to match the deal and retain his services. If Atlanta declines to match it, Teague will become the new point guard of the Bucks. Who knows where that leaves Jennings or Ellis -- the No. 5 and No. 6 best-remaining free agents on Ziller's list.
Bucks blog Brew Hoop has already done some extended analysis on Teague:
Teague's above-the-rim ability, knack for getting into the paint, and higher baseline level for defense give him the edge over Jennings, in my opinion. Neither player is a perfect point guard, but the mission for the Bucks under their current plan should be to position the roster with the best mix of flexibility and future potential. Jennings has his advantages, but a team needs to be constructed in a very specific way to get his best basketball to appear. Teague has the tools to fit a more traditional role, so he's not a player you have to build a custom team around to make things work.
Gerald Henderson Being Shopped in Sign-and-Trades
The Charlotte Bobcats and restricted free agent swingman Gerald Henderson have reached a stalemate in contract negotiations, and now sign-and-trade possibilities are being explored with multiple teams around the league, according Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Henderson is a solid role player who is just 25 years old, so it's possible that other teams would be interested in acquiring him in a deal, if it came at the right price. He has not received a lot of attention from suitors so far this summer, but that could change quickly, as he is now the No. 7 best-available free agent on the market. Ben Swanson of Bobcats blog Rufus on Fire notes that the Bobcats could always just keep Henderson for another year on the qualifying offer if the market never materializes.
Monta Ellis Still Looking for a New Deal
Fresh off firing his agent after failing to draw lucrative long-term offers in the early stages of free agency, Monta Ellis is still actively seeking out suitors on the open market. Suddenly the Bobcats have emerged as a potential landing spot for Ellis, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. He may not get a deal on par with the two-year, $24 million extension he turned down with the Bucks as he opted out of the final $11 million year in his contract, but Monta is still trying to salvage the situation. Of course, the crew over at Rufus on Fire can't seem to understand how Ellis would mesh with an offense-first roster that includes Kemba Walker, Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller and Al Jefferson.
The Mavericks, Kings and Hawks have also been mentioned as possible destinations for Ellis.
Where Will Andrei Kirilenko Land?
The Spurs failed to work out a sign-and-trade deal for Kirilenko on Wednesday and dropped out of the race, but someone should be willing to throw big money at the versatile wing player. Here's what Tom Ziller has to say about the No. 3 remaining free agent on his list:
Memo to other teams: the Spurs tried to land Andrei Kirilenko in a sign-and-trade. You may want to make an effort to pick him up. He was a borderline All-Star pick last season in the West before injuries set in. And, sure, that's a concern. He's 31. He's played a ton of international minutes in addition to NBA minutes. But he has a huge impact on the floor, particularly on defense, and is one of the league's more versatile players. Chances are, you can sneak in a two-year deal.