Ray Allen appears unlikely to return to the Heat next season, writes Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. League insiders nonetheless believe that if the Heat’s trio of stars return, there’s a strong chance the team will try to re-sign Allen, too, so it seems his future is contingent on what LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decide to do. Indeed, those three will have much to say about what happens in free agency leaguewide, and Amico has more on the summer ahead and another member of the Heat as we highlight here:
- Several teams are expected to court Heat forward Shane Battier for an executive job or a gig related to player development, Amico hears. Battier recently reiterated his plans to retire at season’s end.
- The emergence of Brian Roberts has strengthened the belief around the league that the Pelicans will trade former lottery pick Austin Rivers this summer, according to Amico. Roberts is set to become a restricted free agent.
- Sources tell Amico they wouldn’t be surprised if several teams aside from the Knicks try to convince Steve Kerr to run their basketball operations. Kerr has expressed a desire to coach, but it looks like the leaguewide interest in him is as an executive, the role he held with the Suns from 2007 to 2010.
- Boris Diaw, Luol Deng, C.J. Miles, Marvin Williams, Luke Ridnour, Kris Humphries, Devin Harris and Jimmer Fredette are other free agents who appear unlikely to be back with their respective teams, Amico writes.
The Sixers are performing a tank job the likes of which the league has never seen before, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. While some have said the team is “making a mockery” of the game, Pompey says the team wouldn’t have been in contention this season even if they had held onto Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, and Spencer Hawes. Instead the team has set itself up to snag a quality player or two in the upcoming draft, as well as getting the opportunity to take a look at a number of young players to see if they fit into the team’s future, opines Pompey. He also believes that fans will change their tune this offseason when they see what the team can do with their abundance of draft picks and cap space.
More from where the sun rises:
- Recently signed to a 10-day contract, Darius Johnson-Odom sees an opportunity for himself with the Sixers, writes Max Rappaport of NBA.com. Because of the team being out of the playoff hunt, Johnson-Odom believes he’ll get his share of playing time in order to showcase his abilities.
- Jimmer Fredette is another player who thinks his new team will give him an opportunity. After years of playing inconsistent minutes and not having a defined role, he hopes to revitalize his career and the perception of his abilities around the league, writes Jason Jones of The Deseret News. He hasn’t seen many minutes for the Bulls yet, but Fredette believes he can thrive in Tom Thibodeau‘s system, according to Jones.
- Tom Moore of Calkins Media assesses Evan Turner‘s career with the Sixers and looks at where it might be heading now that he is with the Pacers.
The Knicks dropped a critical game Monday night to the Pistons, one of the teams ahead of them for the final playoff spot. The loss was the seventh in a row for the Knicks, who are six and a half games out of the playoffs. All of this is a boon for the Nuggets, who’ll receive New York’s first-round pick this year, as our Reverse Standings show. Here’s more from the beleaguered blue-and-orange:
- Tyson Chandler is under contract through next season, but he’s uncertain if he’ll want to re-sign with the Knicks, as Marc Berman of the New York Post observes.
- Newly signed Bulls guard Jimmer Fredette says playing for the Knicks “would have been a lot of fun,” given the team’s proximity to his hometown of Glens Falls, New York, but he’s not crestfallen that it didn’t happen, notes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
- Jeff Van Gundy, rumored as a head coaching candidate for the Knicks if they let go of Mike Woodson after the season, weighed in on the team’s struggles in an appearance on ”The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show” on ESPN New York 98.7. Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com transcribes the highlights.
Earlier today, Chuck Myron released the first edition of the 2014 Free Agency Power Rankings. Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, comes in at No. 8 on the list. Utah was unable to hammer out an extension with the soon-to-be 24-year-old before the season began and it seems like they’ll have to pay a hefty price to hang on to him this offseason. More out of the Northwest..
- It may come as a surprise, but Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports hears from a source that the Jazz never seriously pursued Jimmer Fredette. The former BYU superstar was on the open market after being bought out by the Kings and, of course, wound up inking a deal with the Bulls.
- Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman has a Q&A with the newest member of the Thunder, Caron Butler. Within the interview session, the veteran touches on why he chose to join OKC and what he brings to the Western Conference power.
- The Nuggets have a rising prospect waiting in the wings in Europe’s Joffrey Lauvergne, writes Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. The 22-year-old, currently playing in Serbia, was selected with the 55th pick in last year’s NBA draft by the Grizzlies and traded to the Nuggets on draft night. The 6-foot-11 power forward and center is turning heads with his stretch four skillset and three-point range.
Heat president Pat Riley says that he made a play for Caron Butler but ultimately things didn’t work out. ”We reached out to him. But he was very definitive with what he wanted. I don’t think it’s something we could have promised…We’re pretty deep. When you got James Jones and Udonis Haslem, Rashard Lewis in those positions, they’re waiting,” said Riley, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter links). More out of the East..
- Within today’s article, Winderman has more from his talk with Riley, including a chat about the future of the Big Three and Dwyane Wade‘s recent emergence.
- Brett Brown knew that this would be a rough season, but the rookie 76ers coach admits that he really didn’t realize how difficult things would be, writes Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “To say I knew it was going to be like this is false,” said Brown. Philly is 15-44 and has lost 13 consecutive games after Saturday night’s home loss to the Wizards.
- Coach Mike Woodson says the Knicks didn’t consider guard Jimmer Fredette before he hooked on with the Bulls, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
- Sam Smith of Bulls.com gives his early impressions of new Bulls guard Jimmer Fredette. The guard spoke to the media about his time in Sacramento and what he hoped to do now that he’s in Chicago.
- Thanks to the state of the Celtics roster, new callup Chris Babb could see even more burn than he could have possibly envisioned, writes Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. Babb, who came up from the Maine Red Claws, says he was caught off-guard by his promotion.
Commissioner Adam Silver not only defended the Sixers, but praised the organization’s strategy for attempting to build a championship contender, writes Jason Wolf of USA Today. This comes a day after former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy slammed the Sixers’ apparent willingness to field a non-competitive team and tank a season to improve its draft stock. “I don’t agree with Coach Van Gundy at all,” Silver said. “I just came from the locker room, I just spoke to the coach. It’s an insult to the entire league to suggest that these guys are going out on the floor and aren’t doing their very best to win games.” Tom Moore of Calkins Media tweeted that Silver said the team isn’t tanking, but rather “building from the ground up.” Silver also told Moore (Twitter link) that he “doesn’t believe a team has to go all the way to the bottom to get to the top.”
More from around the east:
- Bob Finnan of The News-Herald relays why he thinks Jimmer Fredette would have been a bad fit with the Cavs. He cites the player’s size and lack of defensive ability making him a poor mesh with Mike Brown‘s system, in addition to the presence of Dion Waiters and C.J. Miles, who would limit Fredette’s minutes.
- Fredette will be available to play today against the Knicks, tweets K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Fredette put up a career high 24 points against them last month. Johnson also tweets that coach Tom Thibodeau doesn’t want to pre-judge Jimmer’s defensive abilities.
- Marc Berman of the New York Post (Twitter link) asked Fredette if the Knicks had shown any interest, and Jimmer said they hadn’t contacted him or his agent. Mike Woodson had indicated the Knicks didn’t want to wait on him, and they made their moves earlier with the signings of Earl Clark and Shannon Brown.
- With the Cavs Luol Deng set to become a free agent after the season, Bob Finnan of the News Herald thinks the team would be better served to re-sign Spencer Hawes instead. He cites Hawes’ production since arriving, as well as the age difference between the two. Finnan also notes that Hawes should come cheaper than Deng, which would allow for more cap flexibility.
- Brett Pollakoff of NBCSports.com discusses why the Knicks couldn’t deal Amar’e Stoudemire‘s expiring contract to a team that still hasn’t used its amnesty provision.
The Bulls announced today the team has signed guard Jimmer Fredette for the remainder of the season. The Octagon Sports client‘s $2.4MM contract had cleared waivers making him a free agent. Exact financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“We are very excited to add a player like Jimmer to our roster,” said Bulls GM Gar Forman. “We’ve followed him closely throughout his collegiate and professional career, and believe he’ll be the type of player that will fit in with our group and be an asset to the team.”
Chicago was the favorite to add Fredette following his buyout agreement with the Kings on Thursday. The third-year guard is averaging a career low in minutes and points this year, but is shooting .493 from three and having his most efficient offensive season in limited playing time.
The Bulls — an elite defensive team — are hoping the 10th pick from the 2011 draft can add some firepower to their offense, which is ranked 27th in both three-point makes and percentage this season. Fredette has averaged 7 PPG and 1.5 APG in two-plus years with the Kings, where some believe he was miscast as a point guard and buried behind other developing talent that Sacramento accumulated in the backcourt.
While other notable buyout players Danny Granger, Glen Davis, and Caron Butler have signed up with contenders in the Western Conference over the last week, Fredette chose an Eastern Conference playoff team that could give him an opportunity to shine before he becomes a free agent in the summer.
Eddie Scarito contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Sam Amick of USA Today first reported the agreement. Shams Charania of RealGM reported that the deal covers the rest of the season and doesn’t include any options (Twitter link).
The big news of the night was the Sixers officially retiring Allen Iverson‘s #3 during a halftime ceremony at tonight’s contest with the Wizards. Iverson had officially announced his retirement back in October. He averaged 26.7 PPG and 6.2 APG in 914 career regular-season games, and scored 29.7 PPG in 71 career playoff games. Iverson, who also saw action with the Nuggets, Pistons, and Grizzlies, was an 11-time All-Star, a four-time scoring champion, a three-time member of the All-NBA First Team, and won the MVP award in 2001. Congrats go out to A.I..
More from around the Eastern Conference:
- Gary Neal is overjoyed at the trade that sent him to the Bobcats, writes Dan McCarney of MySanAntonio.com. Neal told McCarney that he got on the first available plane out of the city, as he wasn’t fond of how he was utilized in Milwaukee, nor about the direction of the franchise. Neal stated, “I’m excited to be playing meaningful basketball again. After three years of being with the Spurs, with every possession of every game counting I’m just glad to being back to that. I’m a little too old for the tanking situation.”
- Jay Yeomans of the Deseret News analyzes how Jimmer Fredette fits in with the Bulls, who he is rumored to have reached an agreement with earlier today.
- With free-agency right around the corner, Carmelo Anthony must be taking notice of how much has gone wrong with the Knicks, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday.
- If ‘Melo is really committed to winning, then he should follow the example of Miami’s “Big-Three”, writes Moke Hamilton of SNY.tv. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all took less to fit in under the salary cap, and Anthony should consider that before signing his next contract, opines Hamilton. It will be the only way for him to bring other star players to New York.
- The Knicks might attempt to acquire Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau after the season if they let go of Mike Woodson. Marc Berman of the New York Post looks at why the Knicks should try, the probability of the Bulls letting him go, and what it might cost.
- Tom Moore of Calkins Media looks at what Sixers GM Sam Hinkie can do with the five second-round picks the team has in this year’s draft.
- Metta World Peace has interest in joining the Pistons, according to his brother, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Luke Adams contributed to this post.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey said today that he asked Mark Cuban about acquiring Dirk Nowitzki this summer out of fears the Warriors would keep Dwight Howard from coming to Houston, according to ESPN (Twitter link). Cuban didn’t realize Howard hadn’t committed to the Rockets, and interpreted the proposal as a taunt over the Mavs‘ failed pursuit of Howard. Morey made his remarks at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and we’ve got more from that meeting of the minds as we pass along the latest from the NBA:
- Former Raptors and Suns GM Bryan Colangelo admitted that he attempted to tank a few seasons ago, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. Presumably, that happened during his Raptors tenure.
- Jimmer Fredette piqued the interest of the Celtics, but it ”wasn’t a good fit for either side,” as president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told reporters today, including Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).
- The Timberwolves have no interest in Fredette for “myriad reasons,” according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link).
- Some within the Lakers organization wanted to retain Pau Gasol through the trade deadline to keep his Bird Rights, but Gasol writes in his blog that L.A.’s financial advantage to re-sign him won’t play into his decision (translation via HoopsHype). The 7-footer says he wants to go where he can help a team win a title, but he’s not ruling out a return to the Lakers.
- Caron Butler‘s role on the Heat would have been similar to the one Mike Miller played in recent years, and part of his decision to instead join the Thunder centered on the chance for more playing time, notes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter links).
- The top half of the lottery picks in this year’s draft will be a star-studded bunch, but there are still other potential franchise-changing players in the mix, writes Zach Harper of CBSSports.com, who examines five potential steals.
The Bulls appear on the verge of a deal with Jimmer Fredette, and although coach Tom Thibodeau wouldn’t address the soon-to-be former King specifically with reporters, he dropped strong hints that Fredette is the sort of player the team wants to add. Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com rounds up the coach’s remarks.
“We could always use shooting so we’ll see,” Thibodeau said. “I know (Bulls executives are) looking at a number of guys right now. But any time we could add shooting, we’re interested. I think the more shooting you have the more it opens up the floor. It’s just to create the space, too. We want to open things up where we could attack off the dribble with our cuts, things of that nature. But it’s also how you complement your primary scorers, so we feel that’s an area of need.”
There’s news about Thibodeau himself amid the latest from Chicago:
- Bulls vice president of basketball John Paxson operations issued another dismissal of rumors that Thibodeau will leave the team this summer over disagreements with the front office, notes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “He is not going anywhere. … I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that our team is the best prepared in the NBA with Tom as our head coach,’’ Paxson said Thursday on WGWG-FM 87.7.
- Sources close to the Bulls tell Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald that they didn’t have strong interest in Danny Granger or Caron Butler, despite reports putting them in the mix for both.
- Trade chatter surrounded Mike Dunleavy and Kirk Hinrich before the deadline, but the Bulls never engaged in serious talks to deal away either of them, according to Sam Smith of Bulls.com, who answers reader questions in his latest mailbag column.