The Cavaliers struck deals on the first day of free agency with Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert, and they were reportedly close to doing the same with Tristan Thompson the same day, but their pace has slowed considerably since then. The Thompson talks have reportedly bogged down, with LeBron James apparently unwilling to talk about a deal for himself until Thompson, a fellow Rich Paul client, is taken care of. The Joe Johnson trade discussions with the Nets appear to be in limbo, too. Still, there are plenty of rumors, as we’ll pass along:
- The Cavs don’t see the wisdom in giving J.R. Smith the long-term deal he’s seeking, and Smith “pretty much signed his exit papers” from Cleveland when he opted out, writes Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer. That’s in spite of Smith’s apparent inclination to remain in Cleveland and LeBron’s desire to have the former Sixth Man of the Year back. Still, James is a fan of Johnson, and Pluto suggests the Nets swingman as a possible replacement for Smith on the wing. Those talks with the Nets about Johnson appear to be stagnant, however.
- Pluto hears rumors linking the Cavs to Jamal Crawford, and the Plain Dealer scribe suggests Crawford as another possible trade target with the Brendan Haywood contract. The Clippers were reportedly exploring trades for Crawford shortly before the draft.
- The Cavs and Love had a verbal agreement in place before July 1st, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group hears. That would technically violate collective bargaining agreement rules, since the sides weren’t allowed to talk contract until this month, but the practice of engaging in clandestine early negotiations wouldn’t exactly be unprecedented, Haynes notes.