The Miami Heat's Big Three are giving Pat Riley time to upgrade the supporting cast around them before agreeing to new contracts, and Riley immediately went on the prowl once free agency tipped off on Tuesday morning. One of his main targets is Luol Deng, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
Deng would be a nice upgrade on the wing, but he may be a bit out of the Heat's price range. The 29-year-old rejected a three-year, $30 million extension from the Chicago Bulls last season before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and he may not be willing to settle for less than that now. With a number of suitors -- including the Dallas Mavericks -- there to drive up the price, Deng in Miami doesn't seem all that likely.
Wojnarowski mentioned Kyle Lowry, Marcin Gortat, Trevor Ariza and Marvin Williams as other Heat targets. Miami and Lowry's representatives plan to talk in the morning.
Rockets meet with Lowry
Though the Heat covet Lowry, it appears to be a long shot that he ends up in Miami. Initial reports made it seem like Lowry was headed back to the Toronto Raptors, but Wojnarowski reported the Houston Rockets got a visit in with the point guard in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and head coach Kevin McHale were part of the group that traveled to Philadelphia to meet with Lowry. The 28-year-old has played in Houston before, so there's some history between the two parties. Lowry was traded in the summer of 2012, shortly before the Rockets acquired James Harden.
While the Rockets are making a strong push for Lowry, Carmelo Anthony remains the desired target for Houston. If the Rockets wait on Anthony, there's a good chance they miss out on Lowry. Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri and head coach Dwane Casey are meeting the point guard on Tuesday to try to seal the deal.
NBA Free Agency
NBA Free Agency
Teams readying pitches for Melo
The Carmelo Anthony free agency tour is underway, with the Bulls first on the agenda. Many believe Chicago is the front-runner to nab Anthony if he decides to spurn the New York Knicks, and Joakim Noah will be a big part of the recruiting pitch to attempt to steal the Knicks star away, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Noah is also trying to get Derrick Rose, who has said he won't recruit Anthony, in on the meeting.
The Rockets are also preparing a big pitch, and Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle has some of the details. There will be a large welcoming committee in Houston, which will include both Harden and Dwight Howard. The Rockets plan on selling themselves as a title contender with Anthony, and they also will let it be known they have every intention of retaining Chandler Parsons, a restricted free agent.
The Mavs and Los Angeles Lakers will also pitch Anthony, with Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant both expected to help out. But while there are plenty of suitors for Anthony, the Knicks are confident they'll get the final sales pitch, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears.
Celtics eyeing Thomas
The Boston Celtics have Rajon Rondo on the roster. The Celtics also just drafted a point guard in Marcus Smart with the No. 6 pick in the draft. But that didn't stop president Danny Ainge from putting the first call of free agency to restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas, according to Kennedy.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst confirmed the interest, leaving many to speculate that the Celtics might be looking to trade Rondo. The Kings have reportedly wanted Rondo for quite some time, and they've had prior discussions with the Celtics about a possible trade.
To sign Thomas, Boston would likely have to execute a sign-and-trade. Since it wouldn't make too much sense to sign Thomas while keeping Rondo and Smart around, perhaps the Celtics' plan is to acquire Thomas in a sign-and-trade while sending Rondo to Sacramento.
Pau garners interest from Lakers, contenders
The Lakers' fantasy scenario has them landing both Anthony and LeBron James, but that truly is fantasy at this point. Chris Bosh is also a target, but if Los Angeles strikes out on the big fish, Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles report Pau Gasol could be a backup plan.
However, Gasol would like to join a contender, and he received interest from the Mavs, Bulls and Golden State Warriors at the outset of free agency. The Spaniard didn't meet with any teams, instead just taking calls from interested parties from an office in Los Angeles.
The market for Gasol will likely develop further once the situations of the major free agents are resolved.
Bulls looking into Sessions
The Chicago Bulls figure to be big players in free agency, and they are interested in guard Ramon Sessions, per Alex Kennedy. Sessions will be entering his eighth season in the NBA after spending time with the Bucks, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Lakers, Bobcats and Bucks.
Last season, Sessions averaged 10.5 points and 3.7 assists for the Bobcats in 55 games, with seven starts in Charlotte. Sessions has averaged double-digit points since the 2010-11 campaign.
Hawes being courted by Warriors
Free-agent center Spencer Hawes visited with Warriors general manager Bob Myers in Los Angeles, according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Warriors have a trade exemption, and Myers is meeting with Clipers coach Doc Rivers shortly, per reports.
Hawes played the last four seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, sans 27 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013-14. Last year, Hawes averaged 13 points and 8.5 rebounds in 31 minutes per game with the 76ers. Hawes is far from dominant but a very competent pivot in the paint. Only 26 years old, Hawes is an attractive piece on the market.