1:25pm: The Magic have officially announced the signing of Maxiell in a press release.
11:58am: Free agent big man Jason Maxiell will join the Magic, according to Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News (via Twitter). Although Goodwill calls the news "official," there's been no announcement from the team yet, but it appears the two sides have an agreement in place. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports confirms (via Twitter) that it will be a two-year deal.
The Magic haven't been very active in free agency this offseason, which is no surprise, since it's not like the club is a player or two from contention. A report last week suggested Orlando wanted to add depth at point guard and center though. Since then, the team has agreed to sign Ronnie Price at the point, and has now agreed to terms with Maxiell. The 30-year-old isn't a traditional center, but the team sees him as someone who can play some minutes in the middle as well as at power forward, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter).
Maxiell is coming off a four-year contract that paid him $5MM annually, so he'll see his salary cut roughly in half — Goodwill tweets the two-year deal is worth about $5MM overall. Wojnarowski adds in his story that the second year of the contract will be a team option, which perhaps means it will be non-guaranteed.
The former Cincinnati Bearcat has spent his entire eight-year NBA career in Detroit, after being drafted by the Pistons in the first round of the 2005 draft. In his most recent season with the team, Maxiell started 71 of his 72 games, averaging 6.9 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 24.8 minutes per contest.
As teams clear cap space to finalize signings and trades, it may mean renouncing Early Bird or Bird rights to their own free agents, in order to remove cap holds from the books. Once a player is renounced, his previous team has no more claim to him that any other team — he could still be re-signed, but it would have to be done using cap space or an exception. Some of those decisions are more notable than others, but for completion's sake, we'll track the latest of these cap-clearing moves right here:
- Mo Williams is the most prominent name among the several whose rights the Jazz renounced today, according to the RealGM transaction log. Al Jefferson, DeMarre Carroll and Earl Watson, who already have deals to join other teams, are also on the list, as are the long-retired Brevin Knight and Greg Ostertag.
- Bobcats are set to re-sign Josh McRoberts, but they won't be using their Early Bird rights to do so, as they've renounced his rights, RealGM shows. The team also renounced their rights to Reggie Williams, who's heading to the Rockets, and it cut ties with DeSagana Diop, Byron Mullens and Jannero Pargo, too.
- Golden State will sign Jermaine O'Neal, so the Suns have renounced his rights, as well as their rights to Wesley Johnson and Diante Garrett, as RealGM notes.
- The Hawks have cleared out unwanted cap holds from their books, renouncing their rights to Hilton Armstrong, Erick Dampier, Devin Harris, Dahntay Jones, Randolph Morris, Zaza Pachulia, Johan Petro, Josh Smith, and Etan Thomas, according to RealGM.com's transactions log.
- RealGM.com also has the Trail Blazers renouncing multiple players, including Luke Babbitt, J.J. Hickson, Eric Maynor, and Nolan Smith.
- Most interestingly, according to RealGM.com, the Bucks have renounced their rights to Monta Ellis. That doesn't necessarily preclude a sign-and-trade, but it would mean the team would have to use cap space rather than Ellis' Bird rights to accommodate a deal.
- The Pelicans have renounced their rights to Louis Amundson, Xavier Henry, and Roger Mason Jr., the team announced today in a press release.
- In order to clear cap room for their signings, the Pistons renounced Will Bynum, Jose Calderon, Vernon Macklin, Corey Maggette, Jason Maxiell, and Ben Wallace, according to RealGM's transactions log. The Pistons plan to re-sign Bynum, but removing his $6MM+ cap hold and signing him to a smaller figure using cap space makes the most sense.
- After renouncing their rights to Chauncey Billups and Lamar Odom, the Clippers have also renounced Bobby Simmons, according to RealGM.com's transactions log.
Five or six teams are expected to go after Hawks free agent forward Josh Smith, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, and one of them will be the Pistons, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Detroit will have plenty of cap room for the maximum-salary offer Smith and agent Wallace Prather are likely to seek.
The Celtics are also reportedly high on Smith, and teams that miss out on Dwight Howard could be in the mix as well. It's unclear how much of a priority retaining Smith will be for the Hawks, but Atlanta can give him the best financial offer. The maximum starting salary for Smith, a nine-year veteran, will be 30% of the salary cap, or approximately $19.5MM, but the Hawks can give him a five-year deal instead of the four years other teams can offer. They can also give him 7.5% raises each season, as opposed to the 4.5% raises he'd get from the Pistons and everyone else.
Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said he's targeting help at point guard and the wing, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press notes, so the team would seem to envision Smith as a small forward rather than a power forward.
The Pistons made one decision affecting their cap space Saturday, keeping Viacheslav Kravtsov for $1.5MM for next season rather than waiving him while his $500K partial guarantee was still in effect. Rodney Stuckey's contract is only guaranteed for $4MM if he's waived today, but the Pistons plan to keep him, according to MLive's David Mayo. Detroit also plans to renounce its cap holds on all of its free agents, including Jose Calderon, whom the team is unlikely to pay more than $7MM annually to re-sign, Mayo writes.
The Pistons and Corey Maggette had mutual interest in his return a few months ago, but he won't be back, and neither will Jason Maxiell, according to Mayo.
After a very productive year in China, Shavlik Randolph is playing some of the best ball of his NBA career for the Celtics, but as he tells Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, he's not about to take his current role for granted.
"I’m not the kind of player who can even think about relaxing," Randolph said. "I’m not really gifted enough or talented enough to relax and still go out there and perform. Some guys are, but I’m not. And, look, this can all change in any game. Washington played big (in Sunday’s win by the Celtics), so we needed size. Maybe that got me more time. But I’m going to be ready whatever my role is."
Here's more from around the Eastern Conference:
- Jay-Z has begun the process of selling his small share of the Nets in order to be able to become a certified NBA agent, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. According to Wojnarowski, rival agents are anxious about the rapper's ability to attract top prospects and current stars, given his cultural standing.
- With Jason Maxiell facing unrestricted free agency this summer, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press suggests that the forward has likely played his last game with the Pistons. Maxiell, an eight-year veteran, has spent his entire NBA career with the club.
- One of basketball's newest Hall-of-Famers, Gary Payton, tells Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun that he thinks it's unfair to consider Raptors head coach Dwane Casey as on the hot seat. "I think he shouldn’t be under fire, but that’s just the way business goes," Payton said. "I think he understands that and I think he’ll be fine. Give him one more year, ’til you let Rudy [Gay] be there for a whole year and see what happens."
- In his latest piece for the Sporting News, Sean Deveney names the Bucks, Hawks, and Cavaliers as a few teams that could be hunting for a new head coach this summer.
- Writing for SheridanHoops.com, Jon Pastuszek of NiuBBall.com wonders if Yi Jianlian could help a playoff-bound NBA team, listing the Celtics, Pacers, and Knicks among the potential fits.
The Pistons were inactive on deadline day, having already been involved in their lone trade last month, when they acquired Jose Calderon from the Raptors. But that doesn't mean that Detroit wasn't exploring its options leading up to the deadline.
According to Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News, the Pistons spoke to the Trail Blazers about swapping J.J. Hickson and Jason Maxiell. However, Portland wanted the Pistons to include a first-round pick, which Detroit was unwilling to do. Maxiell also drew some interest from the Spurs, reports Goodwill.
Besides Maxiell, another Piston on an expiring contract, Will Bynum, received a little interest. The Thunder inquired on Bynum before eventually trading Eric Maynor to the Trail Blazers and acquiring Ronnie Brewer from the Knicks, says Goodwill.
With 10 days left until the trade deadline arrives, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld surveys the market in his latest NBA AM piece, covering the latest rumors related to the Pistons, Bucks, Raptors, and Jazz. Here are the highlights from Kyler:
- The Pistons are "open for business," and would have interest in unloading Rodney Stuckey and/or Charlie Villanueva. There's also been speculation that Detroit could be convinced to move some of their own players on expiring contracts, such as Will Bynum and Jason Maxiell.
- Josh Smith and Gerald Henderson are expected to be among the Pistons' free agent targets this summer, according to Kyler.
- Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are unlikely to be dealt by the Bucks, but Drew Gooden, Samuel Dalembert, and perhaps even Ersan Ilyasova could be had. The price for Ilyasova would be high, however, and so far potential suitors such as the Raptors and Nets seem unwilling to pay that price.
- The Raptors are seeking frontcourt help and looking to find a taker for Andrea Bargnani, but haven't made significant progress on either front.
- Although Ric Bucher reported yesterday that the Jazz are more likely to trade Paul Millsap than Al Jefferson, Kyler suggests the opposite may be true, since Millsap is viewed as the free agent more likely to be re-signed or signed-and-traded in July.
- Any team willing to take Raja Bell off Utah's hands, perhaps in a larger deal, might receive more consideration from the Jazz, says Kyler.
Despite being the subject of trade rumors over the summer, Brook Lopez's strong play this season means he's likely to remain with the Nets at this year's trade deadline. If it were up to Deron Williams, there wouldn't even be a conversation about it.
"We’re happy with Brook," Williams told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. "Brook is our center. He’s having an All-Star year. I don’t see Brook going anywhere."
Here are a few more Wednesday links from around the Eastern Conference:
- Jonas Jerebko downplayed a story out of Sweden that suggested he was unhappy with the Pistons, as Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press writes. "I didn't read the story," Jerebko said. "So I don't know what it said. Everybody has a right to their own opinion. It's media. They probably twisted it."
- In a piece for MLive.com, David Mayo examines a few possible Pistons trade candidates, including Jerebko, Jason Maxiell, and Will Bynum.
- The Bobcats have begun conducting market research on a potential nickname change, now that the Hornets are set to become the Pelicans, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. The Bobcats are sending surveys to season-ticket holders and polling the Charlotte market to see if a name change would affect buying habits, says Bonnell (Twitter links).
- Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun takes a look at the Raptors' looming decisions on Kyle Lowry and Jose Calderon.
- In his latest mailbag, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel addresses the unlikely possibility of the Heat acquiring Dwight Howard and the impact he expects Chris Andersen to have in Miami.
Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News tweets that Jason Maxiell has decided not to opt out of the final year of his contract, locking him into a $5MM salary in Detroit next year. Last we heard from Maxiell, the Pistons big man and his agent were considering testing free agency.
Maxiell has been limited in his effectiveness over seven seasons on the Detroit bench and probably assumed that leaving $5MM on the table would not be very prudent. He signed a four-year, $20MM extension with the Pistons that took effect in the 2008/09 season. Maxiell will hit free agency after next season.
Jason Maxiell remains uncertain if he will exercise his player option with the Pistons for next season, reports Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News. The 29-year-old forward has until June 28 to decide whether he will return to Detroit for $5MM or test the free-agent market this summer. Maxiell's agent, Andy Miller, is currently using the month of June to determine how his client would fare if he declined his option and made his services available to the rest of the league. The Pistons are expected to select a big man in the first round of the draft, which has made Maxiell's decision more difficult.
"If a team was telling me they were interested in Max but decide to go big in the draft, it would affect some things," Miller said. "If I had a sense as far as who was drafting whom and had the foresight, it doesn't matter who the player is conceptually."
The former Cincinnati star signed his current four-year, $20MM extension after breaking out during the 2007/2008 season in which he finished ninth in the Sixth Man of the Year vote. Maxiell's play has been inconsistent since then due to inconsistent playing time stemming from his fluctuating weight as he finished this past season averaging 6.5 PPG and 5.1 RPG. As such, Maxiell is unlikely to receive $5MM on the open market given the current economic climate across the league, but Miller still wants Maxiell to be aware of all of his options.
"Because this is his first time experiencing this, our thrust is to make sure we bring him up to speed and prepare him for the process," Miller said. "I don't know if there's ever a comfortability when a player is headed into the unknown, be it the (best) player or (worst) player, because changes are abound."
There are 53 days remaining until 2012's free agent period gets underway, as Hoops Rumors continues to examine the stock of many of this summer's top available players. While we think we have a good idea of players' values heading into the offseason, there's no telling how high the bidding might go for certain free agents. Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld takes an early look at what players might benefit from an overly aggressive suitor or two, naming 12 candidates to be overpaid in free agency.
Here are a few other odds and ends from around the NBA: