- Unrestricted free agent Jamal Crawford has meetings set with the Clippers, Knicks, Magic, Mavericks and Heat for when the free agent signing period kicks off, Brad Turner of The Los Angels Times reports (via Twitter).
- The Clippers are interested in re-signing unrestricted free agent center Cole Aldrich, but will face competition from the Suns and Magic for the big man’s services, Turner tweets.
4:18pm: The Pistons have announced via press release that the trade is official.
2:25pm: The second-rounder headed to Detroit in the proposed deal will be a 2019 pick, according to Charania.
1:00pm: Within his full report on the proposed deal, Charania writes that the Magic would simply absorb Meeks into their cap room without sending out another player in return. The Pistons would receive a conditional second-round pick, and would also gain a trade exception worth Meeks’ salary — the exact amount of that exception would depend on whether the deal is finalized in June or July.
Of course, if Detroit’s total team salary – including cap holds and exceptions – slips below the salary-cap threshold in the new league year, the club would lose that trade exception.
12:50pm: The Pistons are nearing an agreement on a trade that would send veteran guard Jodie Meeks to the Magic, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). It’s not clear yet what Detroit will receive in return for Meeks.
We heard around the time of the draft that the Pistons were shopping Meeks in the hopes of finding him a new home. Given how available he was, the return for Meeks likely won’t be significant, but we’ll have to wait to see whether Orlando is sending back salary in return, or whether the Pistons will simply shed some salary while picking up a draft pick or the rights to an overseas player.
Signing Meeks was one of Stan Van Gundy’s first moves as the Pistons’ president of basketball operations during the 2014 offseason, but the move hasn’t worked out, due in large part to Meeks’ health issues. The Kentucky product has missed 101 regular season games due to various injuries since arriving in Detroit.
In 63 total games over the last two years, including just three in 2015/16, Meeks averaged 10.9 points and 0.9 steals per game while shooting 35.3% from three-point range. The 28-year-old has one season and $6.54MM left on his contract — if he’s healthy in 2016/17, that’s a decent price for a veteran shooter, considering the sort of big-money deals we expect to see handed out in free agency this summer.
If an NBA team intends to turn a player eligible for restricted free agency into a restricted free agent, that team must issue a qualifying offer before the new league year begins on July 1st. Clubs are gradually making those qualifying-offer decisions official, with Evan Fournier among the latest group of players to receive a QO from his team.
The Magic announced today in a press release that they’ve extended a qualifying offer to Fournier. That one-year offer figures to be worth about $4.434MM, a salary the 23-year-old will easily exceed on the open market, either on a new deal with Orlando on an offer sheet from another team. The Magic also confirmed within their press release that they’ve given Dewayne Dedmon a QO, as reported yesterday. The team won’t issue a QO to Andrew Nicholson, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Other players receiving qualifying offers from their respective teams include Miles Plumlee, who got a QO from the Bucks, per Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link), and Tim Frazier, who received a QO from the Pelicans, according to RealGM’s transactions log. Plumlee’s offer will be worth about $3.113MM, while Frazier’s will be worth a modest $1.18MM.
A restricted free agent who receives a qualifying offer is welcome to sign that QO and return to his current team on a one-year deal. However, many RFAs will sign offer sheets with another suitor or work out a multiyear agreement with their current team. The club issuing the QO has the right of first refusal, meaning that team can match any offer sheet the RFA signs.
- The Magic announced today in a press release that they’ve finalized Frank Vogel‘s coaching staff, with Chad Forcier, Corliss Williamson, and David Adelman coming aboard as assistants.
- Now that Serge Ibaka is in the mix, the Magic‘s next roster moves will be designed with ensuring that Ibaka wants to re-sign in Orlando when he reaches free agency a year from now, writes Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel.
The prevailing wisdom heading into free agency has suggested that Kevin Durant is likely to sign a two-year contract with a second-year player option this summer. After all, opting out a year from now and signing a long-term deal at that point figures to be the best way for the star forward to maximize his earnings.
Still, we’ve heard whispers that Durant may prefer to simply sign a long-term pact now to avoid having free agency looming over him for another year, and Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders cites sources close to the former MVP who echo that sentiment. According to Kyler, Oklahoma City remains the frontrunner for Durant, but the free-agent-to-be will hear out and consider all his suitors, and could make a long-term commitment to the team he signs with, whether that’s the Thunder or another club.
Here’s more from Kyler on a few of this summer’s top free agents:
- Mike Conley is expected to listen to some free agent pitches, but will likely give the Grizzlies the last word, writes Kyler. Conley would like to see Memphis be aggressive about adding talent to fortify the roster if he’s going to return. If the veteran point guard decides to go elsewhere, the Mavericks, Rockets, Spurs, and even the Nets are among his potential landing spots, per Kyler.
- The Lakers, Mavericks, Celtics, and Hornets are some of the teams expected to make a push for Hassan Whiteside if the Heat waver on offering him a max contract, says Kyler.
- Kyler identifies the Heat as a potential dark horse in the Al Horford sweepstakes, if Whiteside does leave Miami. Horford is believed to be the next target on the team’s wish list, and that interest may be mutual, Kyler writes.
- There’s mutual interest between Rajon Rondo and the Nets, who could be the favorites to land the point guard. However, according to Kyler, Rondo wouldn’t want to be Brooklyn’s only high-profile addition this summer, so the Nets might have to make a commitment to another notable free agent if they hope to lure Rondo.
- Dwight Howard could end up being a primary target this offseason for teams like the Bucks, Trail Blazers, and Hornets, who aren’t necessarily expected to get involved with many top-tier free agents, per Kyler. Sources close to Howard and the Magic indicate to Kyler that the odds of D12 returning to Orlando are slim, despite the fact that the team expects to be active on the open market.
- Kyler adds the Lakers and Grizzlies to the list of teams with interest in Ryan Anderson, and notes that there’s mutual interest between Anderson and the Wizards. Sources also tell Kyler that Anderson would prefer to land with a playoff team.
- After dealing Victor Oladipo to the Thunder, the Magic are extremely interested in unrestricted free agent guard Jamal Crawford, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.
- New Magic coach Frank Vogel is bringing over Spurs assistant Chad Forcier to join his coaching staff in Orlando, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets.
Six teams – including the Thunder – have lined up free agent meetings with Kevin Durant so far, but there are still a handful of other clubs vying for the opportunity to sit down with the star forward. According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, one of those clubs is the Hawks, who are trying to “wedge their way” into the KD sweepstakes.
As July approaches, Atlanta’s top free agent priorities involve re-signing Al Horford and Kent Bazemore, but the Hawks are also working to convince Durant and his representatives to allow them to make a face-to-face pitch. According to Stein, the chances of such a meeting occurring appear dim for now, but Grant Hill – a member of the Hawks’ ownership group – is expected to lead the club’s lobbying efforts, giving Atlanta a glimmer of hope.
Atlanta’s pursuit of Durant may be a long shot, but if the team falls short in its pursuit of its top target, it has at least one more big-name free agent on its list of possible alternatives. Stein reports that the Hawks are strongly considering pursuing Atlanta native Dwight Howard, who will also hit the open market this week.
According to Stein, the Hawks would go after Howard with the idea of playing him alongside Horford in their frontcourt. However, Howard could also represent a viable alternative at center if Horford ultimately signs elsewhere. While Atlanta is optimistic about retaining the All-Star center, Horford is expected to draw interest from the Lakers, Rockets, Magic, Pistons, Wizards, Celtics, and Nets, among other teams, Stein writes.
The Hawks are currently projected to have about $47MM in guaranteed salary on their books for 2016/17, which includes cap holds for their two first-round picks, but not Jeff Teague‘s $8MM salary. Even if the team re-signs Horford, there could still be room for another max or near-max salary.
The Magic will not extend a qualifying offer to Andrew Nicholson before this week’s deadline, meaning the 26-year-old will hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent rather than as an RFA, reports Zach Lowe of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
Nicholson, the 19th overall pick in the 2012 draft, had a solid rookie season in Orlando, averaging 7.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game, with a .527 FG%. However, his role didn’t increase at all over the course of the next three seasons, and he has yet to repeat his PPG and FG% marks from that rookie year.
If the Magic had elected to make Nicholson a restricted free agent, it would have meant extending him a qualifying offer worth about $3.395MM, and it would have given the team the opportunity to match any offer sheet he signed with another team. Instead, Nicholson will be free to sign anywhere. His cap hold of approximately $5.951MM will still apply to Orlando’s books until the team renounces his rights or he signs a new contract.
While Nicholson won’t exactly be one of the most-coveted free agents on the market in July, he may draw interest from teams that believe he can be used better than he was in Orlando. After shooting no three-pointers in his rookie year, Nicholson did try to develop a long-distance shot in subsequent seasons — he made 41 of 114 three-point attempts (36.0%) in 2015/16, which could appeal to potential suitors.
- Another free agent guard, Jamal Crawford, is anxious, but excited, for free agency to begin, as Dan Woike of The Orange County Register details. Woike reports that Crawford has a meeting scheduled with the Clippers, but is also expected to receive interest from the Knicks and Nets, among other teams. The Heat, Raptors, Mavericks, and Magic may also have interest in Crawford, per Woike.
As for DeRozan, he reportedly has no plans to meet with any teams besides the Raptors, and Amick suggests the All-Star guard may even be willing to accept a little less than the max from Toronto if it helps the team accommodate a new deal for Biyombo. If DeRozan does explore the market though, he’ll have no shortage of suitors. Amick lists the Clippers, Warriors, Heat, Knicks, and Magic as clubs with interest in DeRozan.