The Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings were previously scheduled to watch free agent center Greg Oden work out this week. The list widened on Thursday with the San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks, who joined the Pelicans in watching the 2007 first overall draft pick work out individually in Indianapolis, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
The group of five teams that will have watched Oden this week join the Dallas Mavericks as squads who still have an interest in signing the former Portland Trail Blazer, who hasn't played since 2010 because of chronic knee issues.
The Heat still lack a true center, which could be a major selling point. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com reports that Oden is at the top of Miami's wish-list, and the team has its $3.2 million taxpayer's mid-level exception to sign him.
Dallas shored up its center spot in the past week by agreeing to a contract with Samuel Dalembert, but they still are chasing after Oden. The Mavs previously had interest in Andrew Bynum, another free agent center who has been hampered by knee problems.
San Antonio is solid but not deep at center after re-signing Tiago Splitter this offseason, and Atlanta is in the same boat with Al Horford starting but backup Zaza Pachulia leaving for Milwaukee. The Pelicans lost center Robin Lopez in a trade this summer, and the Kings are in OK shape in the middle with DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson.
Heat could go after Mo Williams
If Miami doesn't sign Oden, then its other lacking position -- point guard -- could be a point of emphasis. HoopsWorld.com reports the Heat could go after free agency point guard Mo Williams. The 30-year-old has been a double-digit scorer in every season since his rookie year, and his three years spent with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2008-2011 produced some of his best individual seasons. Two of those years included playing with LeBron James.
Williams apparently wants to join a title contender, and he's willing to take a major paycut to do so. With Miami getting spotty play from both of their current point guards, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole, an upgrade could certainly look appealing from its end.
Kleiza headed overseas
The Toronto Raptors waived forward Linas Kleiza via the amnesty provision this summer, and his NBA days seem to be in the rearview mirror. Kleiza signed a hefty two-year deal to play for Fenerbahçe Ülker of the Turkish League. He signed a four-year, $18.8 million deal with the Raptors but never got a foothold in the NBA.
Kleiza battled injuries and in the last three years didn't play more than 49 games. He averaged 7.4 points and 2.6 rebounds for Toronto last season but played in just 20 games. The forward's first four years were spent with the Denver Nuggets.
Wizards, Wall nearing extension
John Wall is reportedly engaged in the final discussions of extending his contract with the Washington Wizards. He will apparently get the max contract for five years. Depending on how the salary-cap figures line up in the coming years, the total amount will be around $80 million.
The second question appears to have already been made.
SB Nation's Mike Prada tackles some more questions at BulletsForever.com, but in summation, is still stuck in a gray area:
I think I'd like this deal more if it was signed on October 31 after some negotiating sessions instead of August 1, as Marc Stein believes. I don't see a compelling reason to rush and get this done right this second where there are still three months left to negotiate, not to mention a whole additional summer with Wall as a restricted free agent. That said, the end result is paying a very good player slightly more than he should be worth in a completely open market, and I never think that's a huge problem.
Wish I could give a stronger take, but I'm having trouble coming up with one.
Sixers will get into free agency late
Like most things new general manager Sam Hinkie has done, the Philadelphia 76ers aren't in a rush. They don't have a coach, haven't invited undrafted free agents to their training camp and haven't done anything in free agency. Hinkie says the 76ers will wait until August to start making phone calls to free agents, reports Philly.com.
It makes sense that Philadelphia is stalling on the free agency front. No matter the 76ers cap situation, Hinkie has been cleaning house since arriving from the Houston Rockets' front office. As for young talent in rookies Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams, development would be hindered even if the Sixers brought in average NBA talent.
Likely, Hinkie will use August to plug any holes. And considering his background, it's possible he thinks outside the box when it comes to who he signs.
Mavs' Gal Mekel might skip EuroBasket
Newly-acquired point guard Gal Mekel might join the Mavericks rather than play for the Israeli team in the 2013 EuroBasket competition, reports ESPN's Marc Stein. After being advised it would help his NBA impact if he joined Dallas sooner rather than later, Mekel could decide to do just that, though no decision has been made yet.