Tag:Free Agent Buzz
Posted on: June 30, 2009 7:57 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2009 8:01 pm

Free Agent Buzz 2.0 (UPDATE)

With the start of the free-agent negotiating period only hours away, here's the latest information culled from executives, agents, and other people in the know:

* As expected, Carlos Boozer thought better of declining his $12.7 million player option and will return to the Jazz. But with Utah determined to keep restricted free agent Paul Millsap, Boozer's stay in Utah could be short-lived. One executive said the prospect of Boozer staying on an expiring contract could be a precursor to an in-season trade.

* It seems like only five minutes ago when Kobe Bryant went on that summertime rant about wanting out of L.A. Now, given the chance to terminate his contract and become a free agent, Bryant reportedly will stay put. Will Bryant want to hold onto the leverage of becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2010? Not likely, said a league source who predicted that Bryant and the Lakers will agree on an extension that will give Bryant security and every bit as much money as he would get by leaving as a free agent this summer or next. It would also eliminate the one factor that has always followed Kobe: drama.

* The Pistons are the most obvious place for Ben Gordon for the most obvious reason: They have the money to pay him. Staying within the division would give Gordon the satisfaction of sticking it to Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. But how do the Pistons make the pieces fit? By trading either Rodney Stuckey or Richard Hamilton. One source said the best bet is that Detroit agrees to a deal with Gordon first and moves either Hamilton or Stuckey later.

* Toronto is the most sensible destination basketball-wise for Hedo Turkoglu, but the Raptors will have to move some other parts first to make it the most financially sensible destination. Portland also has interest, although the Blazers are believed to be focused first on solving their point-guard problem, which could be accomplished by signing Andre Miller.

* Don't discount Sacramento when it comes to Turkoglu, one rival exec urged. There's familiarity from Turkoglu's previous stint with the Kings, and Sacramento is desperate to generate buzz with a big-ticket player. Think Tyreke Evans and Turkoglu running the side pick-and-roll until the cowbells come home.

* David Lee's days in New York are effectively over, said a source who believes that agent Mark Bartelstein will find the Knicks' choking point and exceed it by a dollar in negotiations with Oklahoma City and/or Memphis. "It's a tough loss for New York, but they don't want to screw up their 2010 plan," the person said. The money will be there for Lee, especially now that Boozer is off the market. The only reason for Lee to think twice is the added bang for the buck he's gotten out of playing in New York. He won't be a known commodity anymore in OKC or Memphis.

* I suspect that Jason Kidd is trying to use the Knicks as leverage to get a better deal from Dallas. Sure enough, Mavs owner Mark Cuban hurried off to the Big Apple to beat the Knicks to the punch and meet with Kidd at the first possible moment -- 12:01 a.m. ET Wednesday.


* Like Boozer, Jazz center Mehmet Okur will stay in Utah after deciding not to exercise his early termination option. Okur will get $9 million this season and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2010 -- unless he agrees to an extension.

Category: NBA
Posted on: June 30, 2009 12:33 am
Edited on: June 30, 2009 10:56 am

Free Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

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.

* Marc Fleisher, the agent for Jazz center Mehmet Okur, told the Salt Lake Tribune Monday night that he expected his client to opt out, though nothing had been decided yet.


Category: NBA
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