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Odds & Ends: Bulls, Josh Howard, Deng, Heat

Mark Deeks of (via Twitter) points out that the Bulls are specifically $758,642 below the luxury tax apron and that the league minimum salary for sophomore players is $762,195. This definitely factors into the situation of Malcolm Thomas, who put on a standout performance as a member of their summer league roster and more importantly is entering his second year in the league. Deeks still doesn't think that Chicago is willing pay the tax, adding that the team isn't in any rush to make moves that would incidentally put them over the apron. Here are more of tonight's links from around the NBA…

  • Matt Moore of CBS Sports gives the Bobcats a grade of "C" for their work this offseason. 
  • Earl K. Sneed of talks about the plenty of backcourt options that the Mavericks have for the upcoming season. 
  • Australia's David Andersen hopes that Wednesday's game against Team USA is enough to make an impression as he hopes for an opportunity to return to the NBA, writes Sean Deveney of the Sporting News. The 6'11 forward/center played in Italy last year and was a member of the Hornets during the 2010-11 season. Andersen says he will continue to play in Europe if he doesn't receive an offer from an NBA team. 
  • Chris Bernucca of Sheridan Hoops examines the top 20 remaining free agents and groups them by position. 
  • Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets that the Jazz are expected to re-engage in talks with free agent Josh Howard soon. 
  • Brian Kamenetzky of ESPN LA clarifies that although the Lakers are interested in Jodie Meeks, the shooting guard isn't quite open to signing for the veteran's minimum. Also, Kamenetzky notes that while the team has placed a priority on adding a backcourt or wing player, they won't use their mini-mid level exception to overpay for a player they feel isn't worth that much. Earlier today, Brian joined his brother Andy to discuss some names in free agency that are worth considering, including Carlos Delfino, Tracy McGrady, and Terrence Williams in addition to Meeks. 

  • According to Ian Whittell of ESPN ChicagoLuol Deng has made it clear that he does not plan to have surgery to repair injured ligaments in his left wrist before he reports toBulls training camp. 
  • In a brief Q&A with fans, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel said that Heat forward Udonis Haslem may see a decrease in playing time but will still play quality minutes, unrestricted free agent Carlos Delfino is not on Miami's radar and will probably end up returning to Milwaukee, and that there weren't many other options in filling out the roster other than offering a minimum salary to Dexter Pittman.  
  • Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld looks at the Hawks as a dark horse candidate to land Dwight Howard. Kennedy mentions that aside from Dwight being an Atlanta native, the team currently has enough cap space to offer a maximum contract next summer and two of Howard's closest friends, Josh Smith and Anthony Morrow, are members of the team. On another note, Yannis Koutroupis of HoopsWorld briefly caught up with Arron Afflalo to talk about his workouts this summer and the expectations for the Nuggets next season.    
  • When asked if this was this year's Olympic Games are the last that he'll be participating in, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant replied, "This is it" (ESPN's Marc Stein tweets).
  • HoopsHype cites two sources who say that the Timberwolves' 2012 second round pick Robbie Hummel (58th overall) is close to an agreement to play for Obradoiro of the Spanish ACB league.


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