The Thunder have jumped into the race for Pau Gasol, and while there’s conflicting information about just how strong their chances are of landing him, it seems Oklahoma City is taking a more aggressive posture than in years past to try to upgrade its team. Here’s more from around the Northwest Division:
- Negotiations between the Jazz and Kent Bazemore have moved beyond the preliminary stage, but the team and the Austin Walton client aren’t close to a deal, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders first reported Utah’s interest.
- The Blazers have had preliminary talks about a deal with Steve Blake, who’d love to play in Portland again, sources tell Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. The team and the Joel Bell client are expected to continue the talks, Haynes adds.
- The Timberwolves were set to speak with the agent for free agent Dante Cunningham on Wednesday, but while the fellow client of Joel Bell has interest in re-signing with the team, the Wolves don’t necessarily feel the same way, observes Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. (Twitter links).
- The Wolves have interest in signing Kris Humphries to a one-year deal, according to Wolfson and Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling (Twitter link).
- Markel Starks, who went undrafted out of Georgetown last month, will play on the Wolves summer league team, in addition to doing the same with the Pistons, reports Zach Links of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link).
I appeared Tuesday on WWL radio’s Sports Talk With Bobby Hebert and Deke Bellavia in New Orleans to discuss NBA free agency, and already the tenor of the market is taking shape. Lucrative deals for shooting guards Jodie Meeks, Avery Bradley and Ben Gordon have dominated headlines so far, and Gordon’s deal in particular has many free agents optimistic about their own market values, as Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweets. The Raptors were already worried they were being priced out of retaining restricted free agents Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson before news of the Gordon deal hit, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Twitter link). Here’s more from around the league.
- Executives from multiple teams have been offered O.J. Mayo of the Bucks, Tayshaun Prince of the Grizzlies, Jeremy Lin of the Rockets, and Austin Rivers of the Pelicans in trade scenarios, league sources tell tell Kennedy.
- The Pacers have reached out to Rodney Stuckey, tweets Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star. He’s presumably a backup plan in case the team can’t reach a deal with Lance Stephenson.
- The Warriors could have signed Stuckey, who was willing to sign with the club for the mid-level exception, but they gave that money to Shaun Livingston instead, according to Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group (Twitter link).
- Spencer Hawes “likes everything about the Blazers” and is “very interested” in signing with them, a source tells The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman. Portland has made Hawes their top target among sharpshooting big men, but he’s still in no rush to come to deal, Freeman writes.
- Vince Carter is receiving a steady stream of pitches from the Heat and others, but the Mavs maintain strong interest in re-signing the swingman, according to Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link).
- The Magic claimed Willie Green off waivers Monday, and while they still had the chance to put him back on waivers before his non-guaranteed minimum salary became fully guaranteed, they didn’t do so before Tuesday’s deadline, so his money will stay on the books.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The Hornets have hired Trail Blazers scouting director Chad Buchanan as an assistant General Manager, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo (on Twitter). Buchanan will serve under GM Rich Cho, who gained full control of the front office when president of basketball operations Rod Higgins resigned last month.
Buchanan was in charge of Portland’s college scouting but had a fairly uneventful June as Portland didn’t have any picks in the 2014 draft. Buchanan has long been well-regarded in the Blazers front office and was considered for the GM job a couple of years back.
Plenty of teams are hoping for a chance to pitch to LeBron James, but the Wizards aren’t one of them, as owner Ted Leonsis explained in an appearance on 106.7 The Fan today. Scott Allen of The Washington Post has the transcription.
“You’d have to have cap space and you’d have to renounce all your free agents,” Leonsis said. “Then you’d have to be able to call their agent and say, ‘Would you think he would consider coming here?’ So, I never understood the grandstanding. Some of the bloggers have said, just get in the mix and throw your name out there. OK, so you generate positive pixels and it creates these faux expectations, and LeBron is in total control of his future. LeBron will do what LeBron wants to do. We have to be able to control what we want to control, and right now our main targets are retaining our players.”
Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:
- The Heat‘s top two targets for outside improvement appear to be Kyle Lowry and Luol Deng, but neither seem likely to end up with the team, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Deng is unwilling to take a discount to go to Miami, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com, probably putting him out of reach (Twitter link).
- Hornets free agent power forward Josh McRoberts and the Blazers have mutual interest in a deal, as Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com hears.
- The Wizards would like to bring back free agent point guard Garrett Temple, but they face competition from the Heat, Magic and Bulls, who have also expressed interest, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
- The Hawks are interested in re-signing Elton Brand, but the Knicks are eyeing him, too, writes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
10:27am: The Cavs, too, are considering a run at Monroe, according to Stein (Twitter link).
9:52am: There’s a “high possibility” the Pistons will swing a sign-and-trade if Monroe gets a max offer from another team, a source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
TUESDAY, 12:58am: The Hawks also contacted Monroe tonight, a source close to the situation tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball insiders (on Twitter).
9:48pm: The Blazers also have serious interest in a sign-and-trade for Monroe, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
8:53pm: The Pistons have made it known that they want to keep Greg Monroe but won’t rule out a sign-and-trade if his price tag gets to be too high, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stein adds (link) that the Hawks are one team that keeps coming up as a potential suitor for Monroe when he officially becomes a restricted free agent.
You can add the Magic to the list of teams that are said to have interest in the big man, Stein tweets. Monroe, who is ranked fifth in Chuck Myron’s Free Agent Power Rankings for this summer, figures to have many suitors in the coming weeks. However, the big man doesn’t sound all that eager to take a free agency tour.
“Most people would rather, if possible, not to have to go through it and just re-sign with the team they are with so you can have some stability and be secure,” Monroe said earlier this month. “Right now it’s like the draft process all over again. You don’t know if you will have to change cities or where you will end up. It’s a good thing that there are teams out there that want me. But at the end of the day, if I didn’t have to do it, I wouldn’t have a problem with that either.”
The Knicks made a call to Carmelo Anthony shortly after free agency began overnight to remind him of their desire to keep him in New York, as Al Iannazzone details. That’s not surprising, of course, and while the Knicks feel confident in their ability to reel Anthony back to the Big Apple, his first face-to-face is today with the Bulls. Here’s more from the first day of free agency:
- The Lakers, Bulls, Mavs and Warriors made the first calls to Pau Gasol, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (on Twitter).
- The Jazz spoke with restricted free agent Gordon Hayward tonight, a league source tells Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (on Twitter). Both sides are expected to continue talks later today. Utah also has high interest in retaining Marvin Williams, Jones says (Twitter links).
- A league source tells Joe Freeman of The Oregonian (on Twitter) that the meeting between the Blazers and Spencer Hawes “went very well.”
- The Lakers, Heat, Bulls and Thunder all reached out to Caron Butler, according to TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link).
- K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune adds Kirk Hinrich to the list of free agents with whom the Bulls have had contact since last night (Twitter link).
- After the Hawks called Kent Bazemore and the Celtics followed suit, the Mavs, Lakers and Suns also made contact with him, in that order, Kennedy tweets.
- The Celtics contacted Jordan Hill directly and also spoke to his reps at BDA Sports Management, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (on Twitter).
- The Rockets will meet with James Johnson, TNT’s David Aldridge tweets.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The Knicks are still viewed in league circles as the favorites in the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. The team is confident that it will get the final sales pitch with Anthony, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). The latest free agent rumors from around the league..
- The Rockets, Suns, Bulls, and Warriors are all expected to make plays for Kevin Love if they miss out on LeBron James and/or Anthony, tweets Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press.
- The Pacers are targeting Xavier Henry in free agency to replace Evan Turner, tweets Shaun Powell of Sports On Earth.
- Bucks free agent guard Ramon Sessions‘ camp received calls from three teams in the first hour of free agency, a source tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter).
- The Grizzlies, Nets, Spurs, and Thunder have expressed in free agent point guard Sebastian Telfair, a source tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (via Twitter). Telfair played in China last season. For the Nets, Telfair could be a potential replacement for Shaun Livingston if he goes elsewhere.
- The Nets reached out as soon as the negotiating window opened to their own free agents Paul Pierce, Livingston, and Alan Anderson, a source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- The Blazers have strong interest in signing a stretch four, tweets Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. Spencer Hawes, Boris Diaw, and Josh McRoberts are among their targets.
- Blazers GM Neil Olshey met with Hawes and his agent, Greg Lawrence, tonight in Los Angeles, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).
- Channing Frye would be open to returning to the Blazers, writes Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. “Of course coming back would be an option,” Frye wrote in an e-mail. “I love the city, the fans, and the players they have are top notch.”
- Nick Young was contacted by the Lakers and a number of other teams, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com (via Twitter).
The Clippers believe they have a real chance of stealing Paul Pierce away from the Nets now that Jason Kidd is no longer coaching in Brooklyn, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Of course, it has been long speculated that Pierce could be tempted by a reunion with former coach Doc Rivers.
Besides the Clippers, the Blazers, Grizzlies, Bulls, Mavericks, and Rockets all reached out to Pierce tonight, Stein tweets.
Kidd was dealt to the Bucks this week in exchange for a pair of second round draft picks. The guard-turned-coach reportedly made a power play for personnel control and possibly a more lucrative contract and was denied. At that stage, the Nets granted Kidd permission to talk with the Bucks about their opening. It wasn’t long before Bucks co-owner and former Nets minority owner Marc Lasry had a framework in place for Kidd to replace coach Larry Drew.
Pierce has made nearly $185MM in his career, per Basketball-Reference, so he could certainly afford to take less money to head west and join the Clippers.
The Cavs used the No. 1 overall pick on Andrew Wiggins last week, but GM David Griffin is making a concerted effort to engineer other significant upgrades this summer. He’ll also be at work trying to keep some of his club’s existing talent around. Here’s the latest from Cleveland:
- New coach David Blatt is a part of the Cavs’ meeting tonight with extension candidate Kyrie Irving, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).
- Stretch big man Spencer Hawes is drawing interest from a bunch of contenders including the Blazers, Rockets, and Mavs, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The Clippers and the incumbent Cavs were previously reported as also being interested in Hawes.
- Unrestricted free agent C.J. Miles will meet with the Pacers on Tuesday, tweets Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
A new doctor has declared Clippers owner Donald Sterling mentally fit after a comprehensive medical examination in Las Vegas over the weekend, a source with knowledge of the situation told Shelby Lin Erdman of CNN. The testing was arranged by one of Sterling’s attorneys and conducted with one of the top dementia and Alzheimer’s disease specialists in the country. More out of the West..
- Free agent Mo Williams has no meetings set with other teams and his “only goal” is to sign a new deal with the Blazers, a source tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (on Twitter).
- New Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo sounds intent on exercising his opt out after the 2014/15 season. “It’s probably something that I always anticipated, even beyond when I first signed this deal with Denver,” Afflalo told Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. “I knew my game, I knew my maturity, I knew I would grow as a player. And I wanted to have that option as I got older and I progressed as a player. So hopefully I’ll out-perform my contract and put myself in a better situation. That was my intent from the beginning, even before this year, was to play out the four years and progress as a player.”
- Grizzlies swingman Mike Miller tells Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal (via Twitter) that he’s meeting with his agent tomorrow in Los Angeles before talking with four or five clubs. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies can prevent him from looking around if they come to him with the right deal.
- A source tells Sean Deveney of the Sporting News (on Twitter) that there are four or five suitors out there for Jordan Hill, including the Rockets and Mavs. He’s not ruling out a Lakers return and will take his time through the process with an eye on a longer deal.
- Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak says the club is putting Julius Randle through a series of physicals this week to test his foot though, right now, he doesn’t expect surgery, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- There is strong mutual interest in Vince Carter‘s return to the Mavericks, but several playoff teams are expected to express interest in the 37-year-old swingman, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. The Heat, Thunder, Blazers, and Raptors are among the playoff teams that are seen as potential fits for VC, according to a source.
- Warriors coach Steve Kerr is discussing an assistant coaching job on the staff with Luke Walton, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).
- Lakers unrestricted free agent Kent Bazemore is expected to draw interest from the Hawks, Celtics, and Suns among others, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.