Rumors began to fly around Twitter on Friday night that the Indiana Pacers were close to sending Danny Granger to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Luis Scola. The Granger reports were premature, but the Pacers are on the verge of acquiring Scola from the Suns to help bolster their bench. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Suns will receive Gerald Green, a future No. 1 pick and possibly other draft and cash considerations.
Scola will replace the recently-departed Tyler Hansbrough as the backup power forward in Indiana. Scola averaged 12.8 points and 6.6 rebounds with the Suns last season and he would seem to be a clear upgrade over Hansbrough. The Pacers' bench has been revamped this season with the additions of Scola, C.J. Watson and Chris Copeland.
With this new bench and the return of a potentially healthy Danny Granger, the Pacers may be in even better position to take down the Miami Heat than they were last year. At least that's what Tom Lewis at Indy Cornrows wrote:
The deal will benefit both teams since the Pacers are looking to win, like yesterday and certainly next year and hoping more options off the bench will provide better support for one of the top starting units in the NBA. That added support makes the Pacers more serious championship contenders than last year, when they did alright in that category as it was.
Neal close to signing with Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks lost Monta Ellis in free agency and they will attempt to replace some of his scoring punch with Gary Neal. The two sides are nearing a deal, although terms of the contract are not yet known. The Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats and Houston Rockets also made a push for Neal.
Neal enjoyed a rather productive season with the San Antonio Spurs last season. He played well in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, shooting 46.7 percent from three-point range. The Spurs recently withdrew Neal's qualifying offer, making the 28-year-old guard an unrestricted free agent.
Neal will likely be the primary backup to O.J. Mayo in Milwaukee, although he could play some point guard as well. Dan Sinclair at Brew Hoop wrote Neal could be a nice player off the bench, but he's a rather typical mid-summer Bucks signing:
Neal offers more depth off the bench to a mostly-filled backcourt (save for one particular spot) that has a starting SG in place, a capable backup point guard, and a rookie combo guard looking to prove himself. As an instant-offense player for the second-unit, one could do much worse. Neal's had his heroic moments, but in general he's been consistently...well, exactly what you'd expect from a mid-summer acquisition by the Bucks.
Meanwhile, the Bucks are still trying to figure out what to do about Brandon Jennings.
Camby down to two teams?
Free agent center Marcus Camby is still deciding on his next destination and Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida reported it's looking more likely that it won't be Miami. Tomasson said the Heat have shown less interest in Camby than the Bulls and Rockets.
Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest reported Camby met with Chicago on Friday and talks were going "extremely well." The Bulls could use some depth at center behind Joakim Noah, although they already have an older veteran in place in Nazr Mohammed.
Haynes also reported Camby would like to transition quickly into coaching once his playing days are over.
Lakers not sold on Odom
Veteran forward Lamar Odom is still looking for a home, despite reports earlier in free agency that he would likely wind up returning to either the Los Angeles Clippers or Los Angeles Lakers. Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reported Odom is "coming around" to going back to the Lakers, but the Lakers aren't sold on what Odom has left in the tank.
Odom struggled in recent years and is also dealing with some off-the-court issues. The Lakers also just signed a somewhat similar player in Elias Harris and they simply may not think Odom is worth it at this point.
Bulls, Clippers linked to Blair
If the Bulls are unable to acquire Camby, another potential option is DeJuan Blair. The former Spurs reserve is looking for a multi-year deal or a possible sign-and-trade from San Antonio, but he may have to settle for a one-year deal at the minimum. Chicago could offer such a deal.
The Clippers are another team who have expressed interest in Blair and they also can only offer the minimum.