The thought was veteran point guard Beno Udrih would meet with his two finalists before ending his free agency process. He had set up meetings with the New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies, but his gut told him to take a minimum contract in the Big Apple.
Udrih, the 31-year-old from Yugoslavia, cancelled his meeting with Memphis and agreed to a one-year, $1.27 million deal with the Knicks on Thursday. He started last season as a backup on the Milwaukee Bucks but was a throw-in as an expiring contract in the trade that the Orlando Magic used to ship J.J. Redick off for young assets in Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb.
With New York, Udrih will act as the third point guard but in Mike Woodson's system figures to have more significant a role than most third-string guards. Last year, Woodson rotated point guards Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni and the now-retired Jason Kidd, sometimes going with two of the three on the court at the same time.
Seth Rosenthal of Posting and Toasting believes the signing was a good one for the Knicks:
Especially for the minimum, Udrih is a solid replacement for Jason Kidd: not much of a defender and not as useful as a rebounder, but still creative, way more likely to make something happen off the dribble, and hopefully more durable. Udrih's also a lefty, so we get to hear Clyde exclaim "southpaw!" almost as frequently as he calls the new guy "Uterus".
A smart floor general who can control the tempo and run an offense, Udrih averaged 8.2 points, 4.6 assists and just 1.6 turnovers per game last season.
Bucks and Sanders talk extension
The market value for a shot-blocking big man is usually quite high, which makes the next contract for Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders so interesting. The Bucks and Sanders are reportedly in deep negotiations on a contract extension for the 2010 draft pick, whose rookie contract is close to expiring.
The two sides have until Oct. 31 to come to an agreement. If they don't, Sanders would become a restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season.
Sanders was second in the NBA in blocks per game last season. He averaged 2.8 blocks to go with 9.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. But the upside elsewhere is what causes some hesitation when talking about an extension. Sanders' deal is reportedly going to be more than $10 million annually, but how much higher remains a mystery.
Sanders became one of the best interior defenders last season and for that is looking at a deal similar to those recently given to DeAndre Jordan, JaVale McGee and Serge Ibaka. According to BrewHoop's Eric Buenning, it'd be wise to extend Sanders now rather than see him get a ridiculously-high offer next offseason.
The incentive for signing Sanders now is to avoid seeing another team make him a huge offer next summer, a scenario the Pacers found themselves in with Roy Hibbert a year ago. Portland was prepared to make HIbbert a max offer sheet last July before the Pacers ponied up $58 million over four years to keep him in Indiana. Jordan was in a similar boat, though he actually signed his $43 million offer sheet with the Warriors before the Clippers eventually matched in December 2011.
Adam Silver questions new CBA
NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver was hoping to create a hard salary cap in the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the Brooklyn Nets are a sound example of why. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov seemingly doesn't mind paying a luxury tax bill worth $87 million, more than every other NBA team's actual salary outside the New York Knicks.
Although Silver said Prokhorov was playing within the rules, 2017 could be the year those rules change. The owners can opt out of the CBA then, and they could try to leave the luxury-tax system for a hard cap that would set a maximum salary that teams cannot surpass with any exception.
Bobcats ink veteran guard
The Charlotte Bobcats shored up their backcourt by bringing 33-year-old Jannero Pargo back on a one-year, $1.4 million veteran's minimum deal, and he'll join Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions in the point guard rotation.
Pargo played in 18 games for the Bobcats last season, and in his nine NBA seasons has played for the Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets, Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards.
Though far from a significant addition, the Bobcats' offseason has gone in the right direction for a team floundering in the last several years. They signed center Al Jefferson this offseason and lacking another major addition have put the focus on the young core to continue its development.
Lakers in mix for Anthony Tolliver
The Utah Jazz, Charlotte Bobcats and Chicago Bulls were looking at combo forward Anthony Tolliver, but it now appears that the Los Angeles Lakers have entered the picture. Tolliver could make a decision by the end of the weekend and with the Lakers would fill a roll similar to Antawn Jamison's of a year ago.
The aging Jamison is likewise a free agent and is looking to sign elsewhere.