A number of outlets have relayed the TMZ report last night that 33-year-old free agent forward Lamar Odom has been battling a "hardcore" drug addiction for the past two years. Odom hasn't failed an NBA-mandated drug test since 2001, but the report claims he entered a drug treatment facility in San Diego last summer and was clean during the 2012/13 season with the Clippers before beginning to use again this summer.
Odom averaged a career low 4.0 PPG and 1.7 APG in 19.7 MPG while appearing in all 82 games with the Clippers last season. Here's what else is happening around the league during a quiet, late-August Saturday night:
- Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer spent the day with new Sixers coach Brett Brown's family in Portland, Maine.
- Adam Zongoria of Zagsblog.com describes how SMU coach Larry Brown landed the top class of 2014 high school point guard, Emmanuel Mudiay, who announced his decision at halftime of Brooklyn's Elite 24 game tonight. Zongoria opines that Mudiay will be a one-and-done player and a likely lottery pick in the 2015 draft.
- The Trail Blazers made a lot of moves to improve their league-worst bench from last season. One of those additions, Dorell Wright, is profiled by the Oregonian's John Canzano.
- HoopsWorld's senior NBA writer Bill Ingram tweets that the rumors Dwight Howard issued an ultimatum that Mike D'Antoni be fired and Kobe Bryant amnestied in order to re-sign with the Lakers "seem silly" since Howard chose the Rockets early on. Ingram also wonders, via Twitter, what it says about Howard (assuming the reports are accurate) for him to think he has anything on Bryant.
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban answered questions on the new "Fox Sports Live" program last night, as transcribed by The Dallas Morning News. He discusses flip-flopping on wanting Dwight Howard in free agency this summer, whether the Mavs are rebuilding this coming year, and the health of 35-year-old franchise star Dirk Nowitzki.
- The Mavs are also one of the eight teams wearing the new GPS tracking devices, reports The Dallas Morning News.
- ESPNNewYork.com's Jared Zwerling tweets that former St. John's star Justin Burrell, who has played overseas since graduating in 2011, will play for Italy's Montepaschi Siena this coming season.
Here’s today’s look around the Association..
- Eric Patten of NBA.com sat down with colleague Scott Howard-Cooper and chatted about the Clippers. So far, Howard-Cooper gives the club high marks for the offseason that they’ve had. Their sole objective this summer was to retain Chris Paul, and they got him to sign by landing Doc Rivers as coach. While J.J. Redick is getting a lot of attention, he also notes that Darren Collison is a smart signing at a very reasonable price.
- Even though the Heat say that they don’t plan to use the amnesty clause on anyone, their stated openness to using the taxpayer mid-level exception makes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel think that they might amnesty someone. Adding a player at the taxpayer midlevel right now would cost around $15MM total for next season, so they’d likely look to ease their tax bill if they went that route.
- Trail Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey told reporters that Dorell Wright was the top wing the team targeted in free agency, writes Mike Richman of OregonLive.com. Portland signed Wright to a two-year, $6MM deal earlier this month.
- The Pistons wisely showed restraint during this summer’s free agent frenzy, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
JULY 10TH: The Blazers have officially signed Wright, according to team owner Paul Allen (via Twitter).
JULY 6TH: The Blazers have reached agreement on a two-year deal with Dorell Wright, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. The pact will give the small forward a total of $6MM, Wojnarowski adds, and USA Today's Sam Amick reports that it includes no options and is fully guaranteed (Twitter link).
The Oregonian's Jason Quick heard last night that the Blazers were among several teams pursuing the Greg Lawrence client. The Thunder reportedly offered Wright his pick of contracts for either one or two years, and the Blazers did something similar, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, who named the Spurs, Grizzlies and Mavericks as some of Wright's other suitors. The Wolves also appeared to be in the mix.
Wright spent last season with Philadelphia, where he came off the bench after spending two seasons as the starting small forward for the Warriors. His 37.4% three-point shooting was slightly above his career average of 36.7%, but his field goal shooting as a whole was just 39.6%, his lowest since a three-game cameo with the Heat as a 19-year-old rookie in 2004/05.
The free agent signing is the first of the summer for Portland, which has instead used its cap space to acquire Robin Lopez and Thomas Robinson via trade. The drafting of C.J. McCollum put together with these moves figures to boost the team's bench, which had been Portland's main weakness last year.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
The Clippers seem to be done with all their moves this summer and will probably just sign minimum level contracts from here on out, writes Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld (via Twitter). But Pincus also tweeted an update on the Clippers' salary info after the Darren Collison signing that used part of their available MLE earlier tonight.
The deal means Matt Barnes will get less as part of his announced re-signing with the Clippers yesterday. It was reported he'd worked out a three-year deal worth between $11-$12MM, but after Pincus' math that's likely to drop as they split the MLE with Barnes dropping to $10MM over three years.
Here's some more around the league, including teams pursuing free agent Wayne Ellington and the Cavs' future after signing Jarrett Jack.
- League sources tell RealGM's Shams Charania that the Kings are eyeing free agent Sam Young of the Pacers.
- Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio says free agent guard Wayne Ellington is drawing interest from the Bulls, Bucks and Pistons (Twitter).
- About the Pistons, USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt says (via Twitter) that even though they landed free agent Josh Smith, they still want a point guard and shooting wing, the latter role one Ellington could fulfill.
- Keith Langlois of Pistons.com says (via Twitter) that there are 34 players making over $13.5MM next season. He goes on to say that number helps put "youknowwhat" into perspective. We're guessing it's the four-year $54MM (or $56MM, with performance incentives) Josh Smith just agreed to signed for with the Pistons.
- A source has told 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson the Timberwolves are maintaining a regular dialogue with unrestricted free agent Alan Anderson's camp (Twitter).
- Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal takes a look at how the Cavs roster is beginning to take shape in the wake of their agreement with Jarrett Jack.
- Lloyd adds (via Twitter) that the Jack signing probably ends their flirtation with Ellington, whom they didn't tender a qualifying offer because they wanted an upgrade of the kind Jack gives them.
Free agents continue to reach deals with teams across the NBA in advance of Wednesday, when agreements can become official. Here's the latest on the moves that could be next:
- The Mavs were in contact with Andrew Bynum even before Dwight Howard turned them down, and Stein tweets that Dallas is indeed pursuing the oft-injured Bynum now that Howard is out of the picture. Still, the Mavs will make a detailed and careful evaluation of the big man's health before reaching an agreement, according to Stein.
- Jeff Teague's camp is becoming increasingly frustrated with the Hawks, who have yet to engage in meaningful negotiations on a new deal, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links). The point guard is a restricted free agent, so Atlanta controls his destiny.
- The Kings aren't considering Andrei Kirilenko, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee.
- The Knicks remain in play for Elton Brand, as do other teams, but a decision could come this weekend, a source tells Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link).
- The Jazz and Grizzlies also made offers to Dorell Wright, who wound up agreeing to join the Blazers instead, tweets Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. The Thunder also made an offer, as previously reported, Haynes notes.
- Decision makers within the Blazers front office have led The Oregonian's Joe Freeman to expect that the team won't re-sign Elliot Williams (Twitter link).
- Joe Dumars, fresh off his agreement to sign Josh Smith, has his sights on a perimeter sharpshooter for the Pistons, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (on Twitter). Keith Langlois of Pistons.com agrees, and hints that the team could hit the trade market as well (Twitter link).
Tyreke Evans has been one of the most intriguing stories in free agency so far, with the Pelicans having extended a four-year, $44MM offer to the 23-year-old. Still, Evans has yet to agree to sign that offer, and there's no guarantee he'll do so, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweets. The situation remains fluid, and Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link) believes if the Kings make Evans a comparable offer, he'd prefer to sign it and stay in Sacramento.
Let's round up a few more of today's free agent updates….
- As they continue to explore the possibility of making a big splash, the Warriors are trying to set up a meeting with Josh Smith, according to Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group (via Sulia). However, Smith doesn't seem as interested in the Warriors, who Thompson says "aren't going to jump as high as others to get him."
- Don't expect a whole lot of movement in talks for Nikola Pekovic until after Dwight Howard makes his decision, says Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (via Twitter).
- Sean Deveney of the Sporting News says (via Twitter) the Cavaliers are being extremely aggressive in their pursuit of Earl Clark, meeting with him yesterday and again today, though no offer has been extended yet.
- Dorell Wright met with the Thunder yesterday and was presented with one- and two-year contract offers, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, adding that Wright received a similar proposal from the Trail Blazers. The Spurs, Grizzlies, and Mavericks also have interest in Wright, says Spears (via Twitter).
- Australian forward Joe Ingles is drawing interest from four NBA teams, reports Shams Charania of RealGM.com, listing the Pacers, Grizzlies, Bucks, and Clippers as possible suitors for the 25-year-old.
1:43pm: A source tells Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman that OKC's interest in Wright is "preliminary" and that the two sides haven't engaged in serious talks yet (Twitter link).
1:05pm: The Thunder have begun an aggressive pursuit of free agent swingman Dorell Wright, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Wright appears to represent a lower-cost option for Oklahoma City if the team is unable to retain its own free agent shooting guard, Kevin Martin.
Speaking of Martin, the Thunder have a phone conversation scheduled with the former King and Rocket for this afternoon, tweets ESPN.com's Marc Stein. Considering all the attention Martin has received so far today, it's looking increasingly as if the Thunder will be outbid for him, but the club would like to concoct a sign-and-trade, if possible, tweets Stein. Even that may be tricky though, given OKC's lack of cap flexibility.
Wright is coming off a $4.11MM salary with the Sixers, while Martin earned $12.44MM in his lone season with the Thunder.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities has plenty on all things Timberwolves in his latest dispatch, including a look at the itinerary for president of basketball operations Flip Saunders that sheds some light on the team's order of free agent priorities. Here's what Wolfson is sharing:
- The team's top targets appear to be Mayo, Redick and Martin, Wolfson tweets.
- Saunders will meet with O.J. Mayo, and he could meet with Andre Iguodala as well, since agent Rob Pelinka has them together in Los Angeles. Iguodala, though, is probably out of the team's price range, Wolfson writes.
- Saunders will then see Wasserman Media Group clients J.J. Redick and Mike Dunleavy Jr. Dorell Wright will likely meet with Saunders as well. Finally, Saunders will take his reported meeting with Rick Adelman favorite Chase Budinger, who's strongly interested in signing with the Bucks.
- Kevin Martin is on the Wolves' radar, too, according to Wolfson. If Saunders can't land him or any of the above targets, he'll turn to Marco Belinelli.
- Though it's more likely that Andrei Kirilenko will sign elsewhere, he'll still consider re-signing with Minnesota, a source tells Wolfson. The team made phone calls and held meetings last night, but it did not reach out to Kirilenko, Wolfson tweets.
- Owner Glen Taylor's strong preference is to stay out of the luxury tax, and it's likely the team will remain below the tax line, but if Saunders can make a "can't miss" proposition to become a tax team, Taylor may consent to doing so.
- We'd heard that the team plans to waive Greg Stiemsma before his non-guaranteed contract becomes fully guaranteed later this month, and Wolfson says the same is true for Mickael Gelabale, though Wolfson believes the team may try to find trading partners for them in the meantime.
- J.J. Barea, Luke Ridnour and Derrick Williams are the others on the team's trading block.
- The team has not reached out to Carlos Delfino, Wolfson reports via Twitter.
Before the tipoff of tonight's Sixers-Lakers game, Philadelphia GM Tony DiLeo made it known that the club has not had trade discussions about center Andrew Bynum, according to Tom Moore of Calkins Newspapers. DiLeo also rejected the notion that the Sixers have talked to the Timberwolves about swapping forward Dorell Wright for point guard J.J. Barea.
A recent piece by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports intimated that the 76ers have talked about trading the injured big man and cited one source as saying that the club was fishing for a starting caliber center. When asked if the Sixers are looking to make a move prior to the February 21 trade deadline, DiLeo said management would do something, “if we can improve our talent level.” DiLeo also said they aren’t targeting a specific position and that the club wants to see what the team looks like when healthy.
Meanwhile, the idea that the Sixers have discussed a Wright-Barea swap with the Mavs comes from an NBA source who spoke with Moore. Wright, 27, was acquired by Philly in a three-way deal this summer that sent Jarrett Jack to the Warriors and the rights to Edin Bavcic to New Orleans. Wright started every game he played in for Golden State over the last two years, averaging 13.8 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 33.5 minutes per contest. However, he has seen his playing time dip to just over 20 minutes per game with averages of 6.9 PPG and 4.2 RPG.
A glance around the Eastern Conference on Thanksgiving Day:
- The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Ira Winderman writes that the Heat do not see a need for free agent forward Kenyon Martin. Winderman says if Miami makes any move, it will be to sign or trade for a defensive-minded point guard.
- Dorell Wright, acquired by the 76ers this summer, is not fazed by his decreased playing time, writes Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs.com.
- Nate Taylor of the New York Times attributes the Knicks' early-season success to their defensive focus.
- Jack Appleman of the New York Times examines the impact Gerald Wallace has on the Nets on the defensive end.