Most of the executives to whom ESPN Insider’s Chris Broussard has spoken believe the Bulls will make a run at Carmelo Anthony this summer. Some are “completely convinced” Chicago will go after him, Broussard writes. A rival GM thinks the team’s confidence in Nikola Mirotic‘s ability will play heavily into the team’s decision regarding Anthony. A report in recent days indicated the Bulls are among the front runners for last year’s scoring champ. Broussard has plenty more in latest piece, and we’ll round it up here:
- Rajon Rondo quickly ended extension talks with the Celtics, and the discussions didn’t even get to the numbers stage, according to Broussard, who says the point guard wants to keep his options open as he seeks a payday and a winning situation. Rondo has expressed his commitment to Boston, but the Knicks, who remain interested in trading for him, view him as the perfect complement to Anthony.
- A GM tells Broussard that it’s “a 100% certainty” that Kevin Love will sign with the Lakers after next season. Most executives who’ve spoken to the ESPN.com scribe also believe the former UCLA star is headed for the purple-and-gold.
- The Lakers might be willing to overpay Eric Bledsoe to bring him aboard via restricted free agency this summer, a source tells Broussard. Suns owner Robert Sarver has indicated he’s willing to match any offer for the point guard, so it’d be a surprise if Bledsoe wound up back in L.A.
- If the Celtics, who are looking to clear cap room, can find takers for Gerald Wallace, Jeff Green and Avery Bradley, “they’re gone,” Broussard says. It’s not a surprise that GM Danny Ainge would be quick to unload Wallace, but his apparent enthusiasm for moving Green and Bradley is noteworthy.
- The Raptors had engaged in trade talk with other clubs about DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry before their run to the top of the Atlantic Division, but Toronto is no longer looking to move DeRozan, barring an substantial offer. Broussard hears the Raptors are not high enough on Lowry to offer him a sizable contract when he hits free agency this summer, but an opposing GM thinks Toronto will hang on to Lowry through the trade deadline because of fears about alienating the fan base.
- The Pacers will only trade Danny Granger if another team “blows them away” with an offer, Broussard writes.
- Broussard detects a strong sense around the league that the Pistons are eager to trade Josh Smith.
- The Sixers would be willing to take back a little bit of salary to acquire draft picks for their veterans, according to Broussard. I assume he’s referring to long-term salary commitments rather than players on expiring deals.
- The strong play of the Grizzlies has quieted chatter surrounding Zach Randolph, Broussard reports.
- The Heat are interested in Andrew Bynum, but they’re unwilling to pay him more than the minumum salary, an executive tells Broussard. Bynum is reportedly holding out for more than that.
- GMs who spoke to Broussard identified the following players as candidates to be traded before the deadline: Andre Miller, Jameer Nelson, Emeka Okafor, Kenneth Faried, Shawn Marion, Dion Waiters, Jarrett Jack, Francisco Garcia and Arron Afflalo.
The Rockets have been offering Francisco Garcia to other teams in trade talks of late, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, who passes along the news amid his weekly power rankings. Rumors about Garcia have been virtually non-existent since he re-signed with Houston in August to a two-year deal for the minimum salary, so this appears to represent a change in course for GM Daryl Morey.
The 32-year-old swingman hasn’t played over the last 10 days while suffering from left knee tendinitis, but he’s been part of the team’s rotation all year, averaging 20.3 minutes per game. His offensive production has been paltry, as he’s averaged only 5.8 points on 5.5 shot attempts per contest, with a career-low 9.5 PER. His three-point accuracy this season, at 34.2%, is off from his career mark of 36% and down even more from last year’s 37.4% rate. His lack of a long-range threat may be fueling Houston’s desire to move him, since the team relies heavily on outside shooting from its wing players.
Garcia’s deal includes a player option for next season. He’s significantly cheaper than he was last season, when he made $6.1MM. The Kings traded him to the Rockets at the 2013 deadline.
8:41pm: Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes that the second year of the deal is a team option, instead of a player's option as had been originally reported. Team options on veteran contracts are rare, so perhaps year two is simply non-guaranteed.
AUGUST 1ST, 6:37pm: Houston GM Daryl Morey took to Twitter to announce Garcia's official signing, which had been held up as Garcia traveled overseas.
JULY 6TH: The Rockets have re-signed guard Francisco Garcia to a two-year, $2.6MM deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link) first reported that the two sides were nearing agreement. Garcia will have a player's option in the second year of his new deal and will also have bird rights after year one, Wojnarowski tweets.
Houston decided against picking up their costly club option on Garcia but still wanted him back in the fold. Rather than pay the 31-year-old swingman $6.4MM, the club will get him back for a fraction of the price. Garcia had interest from teams looking for a solid wing defender who could also shoot it from three point range comfortably, including the Knicks and Lakers.
As shown in the Hoops Rumors Agency Database, Garcia is represented by Aaron Goodwin.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey confirms that the team has waived James Anderson and Tim Ohlbrecht, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The team also renounced its rights to Francisco Garcia and Earl Boykins, Feigen notes via Twitter, but that's just a procedural move in Garcia's case. Renouncing Garcia's $9.15MM cap hold clears space necessary for the Rockets to finalize their other moves this summer before they officially re-sign Garcia to the cheaper two-year, $2.6MM deal they've agreed upon.
Anderson and Ohlbrecht were each about to enter the second year of a three-year minimum-salary deal with the Rockets, but the final two seasons were non-guaranteed for both players, so Houston clears them completely off its books. Anderson was the 20th overall pick in the 2010 draft, but the Spurs declined to pick up the third-year option on his rookie-scale contract, making him a free agent last summer. He spent training camp with the Hawks, re-signed with the Spurs early in the season, and wound up with the Rockets in January after San Antonio let him go. Ohlbrecht was undrafted out of Germany, but Houston picked him up in February in the hopes that the 6'11" center could develop into a frontcourt contributor. Neither he nor Anderson played an integral role for the Rockets this past season.
The Rockets declined their $6.4MM team option on Garcia last month, but the team was still stuck with his hefty cap hold until renouncing his rights today. The team could have made that cap hold disappear simply by formalizing the agreement on Garcia's new contract, but perhaps the club intends to use its cap room to bring aboard Dwight Howard and the rest of its free agent bounty first, and squeeze Garcia's deal in using part of the $2.652MM room exception. The $884,293 cap hold for Boykins, who didn't play in the NBA in 2012/13, was simply a placeholder, so it's no surprise the Rockets renounced him.
As a pair of Bynums continue to draw interest from Eastern Conference teams, let's check out a few more noteworthy items from around the East….
- Bulls GM Gar Forman has received plenty of calls this offseason from teams interested in discussing trades, but seems content to stand pat for one more year, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Francisco Garcia's agent, Aaron Goodwin, tells Marc Berman of the New York Post (Twitter link) that his client turned down an offer from the Knicks in part due to avoid losing his Bird rights.
- The Cavaliers had interest in Nikola Pekovic, but the big man "wants to stay in Minnesota," a source tells Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio (Twitter link). For now, Cleveland appears to have shifted its attention to Andrew Bynum.
- Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com passes along a few updates on the Knicks' potential free agent targets.
- Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg Sports reports (via Twitter) that the 76ers have hired former MSG Sports president Scott O'Neil as their new CEO, with the team confirming the move in a press release. Former CEO Adam Aron will remain a Sixers co-owner and board member. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News first reported in June that O'Neil was close to joining the club in an executive role.
The Rockets have been the toast of the NBA's free agency period after agreeing on a deal for free agent Dwight Howard last night, but since the move they haven't rested on their laurels. General manager Daryl Morey has signed Omri Casspi from the Cavs, and re-signed Francisco Garcia.
But Morey and the Rockets aren't done as they're testing the waters to shore up their backcourt and figure out what to do with Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, who have been offered in trade packages as the Rockets look to team James Harden and Howard with a third superstar.
The offering of Lin and Asik comes despite reports from Ken Berger at CBSSports.com earlier today that the Rockets may keep Asik and Lin next year. Asik has already voiced his displeasure at staying in Houston to back-up Dwight at center.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets that a rumored Pelicans sign-and-trade for Asik, which sources originally revealed to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnawrowski, hasn't even been discussed, and if it had the Pelicans would not be interested in the former Bulls center who took on a larger role with the Rockets this year. Let's look at a couple more rumored moves involving the Rockets this afternoon:
- Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle says the Rockets are interested in the Nuggets' unrestricted free agent Corey Brewer (Twitter).
- The Rockets are also looking at Houston native and Cavs free agent, Daniel Gibson, tweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, but cautions they're holding off on signing him for now.
- Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets that with the Mavs and Warriors both currently looking to sign Suns unrestricted free agent Jermaine O'Neal, the Rockets might also be in the running.
- Because the Rockets signed Casspi and Garcia to two-year deals, they're not reimbursed for parts of contract over $884,293 tweets Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld.
As we continue to await resolution on the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, here are a few odds and ends from around the NBA, with a focus on Howard and several other free agents:
- Matt Barnes remains in play for both the Lakers and Clippers for a contract worth around the mini mid-level, tweets Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Exploring what the Knicks will do with the rest of their own mini mid-level exception, Zwerling hears that the team is looking for a small forward who is a solid wing defender and can shoot the three. Francisco Garcia, Carlos Delfino, and Dahntay Jones could be potential targets, says Zwerling.
- Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com considers both potential outcomes for the Mavericks in the Howard derby, examining what Dallas will do if Howard signs elsewhere and how the team could add complementary players if Howard commits to the Mavs.
- In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton attempts to breaks down Howard's chances of winning on the court with each of his five suitors. The Rockets top the list, with the Hawks unexpectedly placing second.
- Don't expect Chauncey Billups to sign with the Pistons this summer, writes Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press.
- Unrestricted free agent Ivan Johnson has parted ways with longtime agent Larry Williams of Union Sports, tweets Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. Once Johnson finds new representation, we'll be sure to update the change in our agency database.
Now that the Trail Blazers have struck a deal to acquire a big man (Robin Lopez), the team figures to move on to address other needs. As Jason Quick of the Oregonian tweets, Portland's focus could shift to a wing player next, with Francisco Garcia, Matt Barnes, and Corey Brewer representing possible targets.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the Association:
- Andre Iguodala will likely make a decision on a team early next week, according to Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter).
- The Knicks are likely out of the running for Matt Barnes and Nate Robinson now that the team no longer has its full mini mid-level exception, tweets Zwerling.
- Before they agreed to sign C.J. Watson, the Pacers expressed interest in Robinson, says Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld (via Twitter).
- Kennedy also tweets that free agent shooter Anthony Morrow has been in contact with the Lakers, Spurs, Suns, Rockets, and Knicks.
- A source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post (Twitter link) that the Mavericks weren't willing to commit $8MM a year to J.R. Smith, let alone $10MM. The market for Smith was fairly modest, according to Berman.
- Jared Dudley wasn't looking to be traded out of Phoenix, and is open to returning to the Suns at some point down the road. But as he tells Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, if the Suns were going to move him, Dudley couldn't have asked for a much better fit than the Clippers.
Here's a look at the latest from the Eastern Conference on a busy first evening of free agency:
- Al Jefferson will be meeting with the Bobcats on Wednesday, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, but Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer doesn't believe much will come of it (Twitter links).
- The small forward position is still a need for the Knicks and they inquired about both Francisco Garcia and Matt Barnes, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post (via Twitter).
- The Knicks spoke with Nate Robinson's representatives, but don't count on the diminutive point guard winding up back in New York, Berman tweets.
- The Celtics are set to be a taxpayer in 2013/14, but president of basketball operations Danny Ainge hinted today that the team will try to get under the tax line, as Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com notes. Still, it looks like Rajon Rondo will be sticking around Boston.
- The agreement between Mike Dunleavy and the Bulls figures to help second-rounder Erik Murphy make the Chicago roster, tweets K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
- Beno Udrih's agent told Sean Deveney of the Sporting News (on Twitter) that his client is "less likely" to re-sign with Magic but a return is "not impossible". The Pinnacle Management client has ten teams interested in him, according to his agent, though he wasn't specific on which clubs. Deveney has heard that the Wizards and Celtics are among those with interest, though the Wizards are probably out, with Eric Maynor coming aboard.
- The Pacers officially announced that they have hired Nate McMillan as associate head coach.
- Patrick Ewing will be Steve Clifford's associate head coach in Charlotte, with Bob Beyer, Stephen Silas, Bob Weiss and Mark Price filling out the Bobcats staff, according to a team press release.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
More free agent updates? More free agent updates! Let's round them up….
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer confirms a report that the Bobcats are going after Al Jefferson, but though the team is said to be a likely suitor for O.J. Mayo, he doesn't appear to be in their plans, at least for now.
- The Nets are interested in Shaun Livingston as a potential backup to Deron Williams, tweets Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Jason Quick of the Oregonian reports (via Twitter) that the Trail Blazers will speak to the reps for Matt Barnes and Francisco Garcia today or tomorrow.
- The Bucks are one of a half-dozen teams interested in Zaza Pachulia, tweets Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times.
- Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien and head coach Dave Joerger were meeting with free agent guard Tony Allen earlier today, according to Chris Herrington of the Memphis Flyer (via Twitter).
- Celtics GM Danny Ainge told A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com (Twitter link) that his team hasn't been making calls to free agents today. No big surprise there, considering the rebuilding direction in which the C's are headed.
- Ainge did tell Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Twitter link) that he made a courtesy call to Dwight Howard to see if there was any interest on Howard's end in a sign-and-trade to Boston, but the answer, of course, was no.
- With the exception of Chris Andersen, the Heat aren't entering free agency with their eye on any specific free agents, opines Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
- Expect to see Garrett Temple back with the Wizards, says J. Michael of CSNWashington.com, tweeting that an agreement could come later this week.