The market value of NBA big men might be the most ludicrous when compared to other basketball niches, and because of that, former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden has a good amount of options in free agency despite chronic knee issues forcing him out of the league since late in 2009.
The two NBA Finals participants, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, lead the chase for Oden. The former Portland Trail Blazers pick wants a long-term contract and the ability to play immediately, and apparently winning is also important. Miami has mid-level exception money left and San Antonio can only offer a veteran's minimum.
The Mavericks could be an intriguing choice as a team that refused to offer a contract to recent Cavaliers signee Andrew Bynum. Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com reported that Bynum, who likewise has dealt with knee issues, was unprepared to play basketball from head to toe.
It's unclear how good Oden still is, how ready he is, what kind of money and years he's been offered or expects and whether the fairly cautious Mavs even have a real chance. But, at least, they're doing their due diligence.
Dallas could offer Oden a multi-year contract worth upwards of $1 million per season, according to Fisher.
The interest in Oden is also delaying a signing by Dallas of Milwaukee Bucks free agent Samuel Dalembert. If Dallas needs all or some of the approximately $2.6 million "earmarked" for Dalembert in order to sign Oden, the Mavs just might go with the riskier of the two options, Fisher notes.
World Peace torn?
Amnestied Lakers forward Metta World Peace hit free agency on Sunday after no team picked him off waivers. While the New York Knicks were frontrunners for his services, it's still unclear what World Peace will do. Yahoo! Sports reported that the Knicks were confident they could keep World Peace in the States, but the forward told Marc J. Spears that he wanted to do something "unique and fun" before citing China as just that.
World Peace also told SNY.tv on Sunday night that he's headed to China.
But the agents of the player formerly known as Ron Artest said that they would certainly look at New York as a very appealing option. They also told the New York Post that World Peace controls his own destiny and will discuss his future with them. Furthermore, Knicks coach Mike Woodson and World Peace's father both insinuated that the Knicks would be a great fit for the Queensbridge product.
Jennings brushes off rumors of unhappiness
When the Milwaukee Bucks made a hard charge at Atlanta Hawks restricted free agent Jeff Teague, it became clear that Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings was, at the very least, expendable. So when the Hawks decided to match Teague's contract, it's imaginable how easily rumors about Jennings' unhappiness started.
Jennings tweeted Sunday that he hadn't spoken to anyone about his situation since the offseason began, essentially putting the rumors squarely on the shoulders of those who brought them up. Per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Jennings' tweets said: "Whatever you hear in the media isn't true. I haven't talked to anybody since the season was over. Thank you!" And "And I will continue not to talk to anyone."
Rockets to ink rookie B.J. Young
The Houston Rockets, attempting to spend frugally outside of the Dwight Howard deal, will sign Arkansas Razorbacks product B.J. Young to a multi-year contract, according to the Houston Chronicle. The deal with the undrafted rookie will be for three years and with a "small first-year guarantee."
Young, a 6'3 guard, only spent two seasons in college and averaged 15.2 points and 3.4 assists his sophomore year. He was a top-20 recruit coming out of high school but failed to impress NBA scouts because of questionable decision-making throughout his Arkansas career.