With 24 hours to go before the NBA's free-agent floodgates open, here are a few things culled from conversations from team executives and others in the know:
* Pistons president Joe Dumars, ridiculed for trading Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson, is eager to begin reaping the rewards from that decision when the clock strikes midnight Wednesday. Armed with cap space from the expiring contracts of Iverson and Rasheed Wallace, the Pistons are widely expected to make a run at Hedo Turkoglu, Carlos Boozer or Paul Millsap, with Ben Gordon looking like a fallback option. Boozer must first decline his player option and become a free agent, Millsap is an unrestricted free agent, and any interest in Gordon is a sign that the Pistons have other plans for Rip Hamilton.
* The Blazers, one of the few playoff teams with significant cap space, remain interested in an upgrade at point guard and appear to have focused on Sixers free agent Andre Miller. Word also was circulating Monday of their interest in Turkoglu, which would likely be a sign-and-trade with Orlando.
* The Cavs' interest in Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva became more realistic Monday when Milwaukee surprised everyone and declined to tender Villanueva a qualifying offer, thus removing the restricted tag from his free agency.
* The Spurs, fresh off their acquisition of Richard Jefferson, are said to be targeting either Rasheed Wallace or Antonio McDyess to play power forward alongside Tim Duncan. Cleveland also has both players on its wish list, according to sources.
* Even going on 37, Jason Kidd will generate plenty of interest. The Knicks have been linked with the Mav/former Net, but Donnie Walsh would use the mid-level exception only if he knew he could subtract either Eddy Curry or Jared Jeffries in a trade. (Good luck.) The Knicks also do not want to jeopardize their 2010 plan, and thus would be unlikely to offer more than a one-year deal. It's hard to figure out why Kidd would take a one-year deal to fight for the eighth seed with the Knicks when he could re-sign with Dallas or join the Lakers or Cavs and have a better shot at a title. Stranger things, of course, have happened.
UPDATE: Kidd will meet with Knicks officials on Wednesday, according to the New York Daily News.
* Trevor Ariza's agent, David Lee, told the Riverside Press-Enterprise Monday that the Lakers should not expect to get a home-town discount for his client.
* Stephon Marbury, an unrestricted free agent, told the Boston Globe via email that he is not hiring an agent and will stick with NBA Players Association lawyer Hal Biagas as his pro bono representative on a new contract. (If he gets one.) Thus, Marbury won't have to pay someone a percentage of his salary for negotiating the deal. "The best thing about the NBAPA," Marbury said, "is that they work for you for free."
* Agent Dan Fegan confirmed that Anderson Varejao will decline his player option and become a free agent. The Cavaliers are hardly sweating, as several potentially better power forwards will be available.