There are seven preseason games around the NBA tonight, and not one of them involves a team from the Southeast Division. But that doesn't mean their aren't links coming surrounding the division that houses the current NBA champs. Let's keep track of them here:
- Ramon Sessions talked with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo!, explaining why he decided to opt out of his contract with the Lakers to sign a 2-year deal with the Bobcats. Sessions, who has bounced between teams throughout his career, was concerned that the Lakers may move him and was looking for some destination certainty, which he found in Charlotte.
- Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that should the Hawks stick to the 15 player roster limit, the last two spots will come down to James Anderson, Damion James and Anthony Tolliver. Point guard Carldell Johnson is still with the club, but will almost definitely miss the cut. Vivlamore adds that it is no guarantee the Hawks keep a roster of 15, but they need to get down to at least that by October 29.
- New Magic coach Jacque Vaughn says that, despite the loss of Dwight Howard, he intends to instill his own defensive philosophy this year which revolves around protecting the paint, says Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Robbins is skeptical is they have the personnel to do it, but Vaughn says, “The way we’re playing defensively is definitely geared toward the personnel that we have right now, for sure. It is a team defense based around five guys being in the right position at the right time."
- Brian Schmitz of the Sentinel writes that the Magic have essentially had a superstar in 19 of 20 years of the franchise's existence if you don't count the first three. Without Howard, Schmitz opines that the team's history tells us that it is only a matter of time before they find the next one. The question is, how long can they keep him once he arrives, whoever he is.
Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio has posted some thoughts from the weekend's preseason action, including impressions of players that have changed teams this offseason:
- Amico was impressed with the Dallas debuts of Chris Kaman and O.J. Mayo, both of whom signed with the Mavs this summer.
- Out of the several veterans the Clippers signed this offseason, Amico says that Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes made positive first impressions, while Lamar Odom looked considerably less impressive.
- Amico writes that Hornets rookies Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers had good performances in their preseason debuts.
- Second overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and third overall pick Bradley Beal had strong showings in the Bobcats' victory over the Wizards, Amico writes.
- New Bobcats acquisitions Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions also had strong performances off the bench, writes Amico.
SATURDAY, 3:26pm: The Bobcats have officially signed Sessions, according to a team release.
FRIDAY, 6:07pm: According to Yahoo! Sports reporter Marc J. Spears, Ramon Sessions will earn $5MM per season in his two-year deal (Twitter link).
THURSDAY, 4:46pm: Sources tell Spears that the deal will go for two seasons (Twitter link).
1:33pm: The Bobcats and Sessions have agreed in principle to a contract, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
12:27pm: The Bobcats are finalizing a deal to sign unrestricted free agent Ramon Sessions, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Sessions hit free agency after deciding not to exercise his 2012/13 player option with the Lakers.
Sessions has reportedly drawn interest this offseason from the Lakers, Mavericks, and Rockets, among other teams. However, the Lakers and Mavs both found point guards on the trade market (Steve Nash and Darren Collison, respectively), while the Rockets are still tied up with an offer sheet for Jeremy Lin.
If Sessions and the Bobcats reach an agreement, it would almost certainly mean the end of D.J. Augustin's time in Charlotte. The veteran Sessions figures to split time at the point with 22-year-old Kemba Walker. As for the financial details, the Bobcats have enough cap space to offer Sessions more than mid-level money, though I'd be surprised if they did — the years and salary the two sides are discussing are still unclear.
Antawn Jamison talked last week about the possibility of finishing his career with his hometown Bobcats, but it appears there's no shortage of options for the veteran forward. We learned last night that the Nets are discussing a sign-and-trade deal that would send Jamison to Brooklyn, and that the Lakers are in the mix too. As Jamison weighs his options, here are a few more Bobcats-related updates, courtesy of Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer….
- Charlotte appears re-engaged in trying to acquire Kris Humphries to upgrade their power forward spot (Twitter link). ESPN's John Hollinger tweets that DeSagana Diop would have to first be amnestied before Charlotte could offer Humphries a plausible salary.
- The Bobcats are interested in signing point guard Ramon Sessions, who turned down his player option with the Lakers.
- With the Mavericks preparing to amnesty Brendan Haywood, the center could be a fit for the Bobcats. Haywood spends the offseason in Charlotte, and the Bobcats are one of the few teams that would have the cap space to place a bid via amnesty waivers.
- If the Bobcats were to land Sessions and Haywood, they may no longer have any interest in sign-and-trade talks with the Pacers involving D.J. Augustin. Either way, it appears Augustin won't be a Bobcat next season.
- The Bobcats are targeting bigs, and while it's possible they could add another power forward, a center is more likely.
It's been another busy day of NBA free agency, and no team has been busier than the Nets, who've either signed, re-signed, acquired or traded 13 players today, according to the count of New York Times reporter Howard Beck (Twitter link). Many of those moves came as the team finalized earlier deals, like the swap for Joe Johnson, but some of the news was fresh, like the four-year extension for Brook Lopez. It doesn't appear GM Billy King and company are finished, either, as they're reportedly discussing a sign-and-trade deal for Antawn Jamison. We have plenty more on the moves to come here:
- At the bottom of a piece on the Jamison deal, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reports the Nets are aggressively shopping MarShon Brooks.
- Heat president Pat Riley left the door open for free agent Ronny Turiaf to return to the team, saying, "I wouldn't rule it out," according to Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida (Sulia link).
- The Blazers' primary goal in trades is to find a center, says Jason Quick of The Oregonian (Twitter link). That news came before Portland agreed to sign J.J. Hickson, however.
- The Warriors were close to a sign-and-trade for Lou Williams, and offered him more than the Hawks did, but Williams' desire to play close to where he grew up in Georgia won out, reports Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group. Williams would essentially have replaced the less expensive Jarrett Jack in the Dorell Wright trade (All four Twitter links).
- The Grizzlies' pursuit of Jerryd Bayless, whom they signed Wednesday, began Tuesday after Ramon Sessions, Randy Foye, Aaron Brooks and Lou Williams all turned down offers from the team, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports (Twitter link).
We're into the home stretch of the July moratorium, and it won't be long before all the moves that have been agreed upon in the last week are made official. In the meantime, teams have two more days to prepare for the next stage of free agency, and the rumors continue to swirl. You can track all of the contract agreements to date using our Free Agent Tracker, and you can follow many of today's free agent rumors right here, with the latest up top….
- There's a "pretty good chance" that Ben Wallace will return to the Pistons next season, a source tells Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News.
- A source told The Commercial Appeal (via Twitter) that it's unlikely that the Grizzlies will sign Russian guard Alexey Shved. Shved allegedly received offers from the Grizzlies, Cavs, and T'Wolves.
- However, the Grizzlies are working to bring veteran guard Willie Green to Memphis, The Commercial Appeal tweets. The soon-to-be 31-year-old averaged 7.6 PPG last year for the Hawks.
- A source with knowledge of Derek Fisher's free agency situation told Sam Amick of SI (via Twitter) that a return to the Thunder is possible, but the Cavs are the frontrunner at the moment. The Nets and Mavs are also possibilities but the Bulls and Knicks have gone in different directions (Kirk Hinrich and Jason Kidd, respectively).
- Antawn Jamison told David Scott of the Charlotte Observer that he will probably decide "in a week or so" on whether he’ll finish his NBA career with the Bobcats. Aside from the Bobcats and the Warriors, the veteran says he'll probably only consider title contenders.
- Courtney Lee confirmed he's interested in the Celtics, but said they're one of eight teams with interest in him, and added that the money has to be right (Twitter link via Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe).
- Aaron Brooks has yet to talk to anyone but the Rockets, he tells Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).
- The Mavericks have talked to Brazilian center Rafael Hettsheimeir, according to Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com. However, while a Portuguese report suggests Dallas has made a contract offer, the Mavs have yet to do so, says Caplan.
- Yi Jianlian is drawing interest from Panathinaikos and other teams overseas, but he remains focused on signing an NBA deal, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Meanwhile, after spending the 2011/12 season in Greece, Joey Dorsey is drawing interest from some NBA teams, tweets Wojnarowski.
- The Mavericks are expected to resume talks with unrestricted free agent point guard Ramon Sessions today, reports Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com.
- Courtney Lee met with the Celtics this weekend and Boston is interested in a sign-and-trade for him, but a number of other teams have Lee on their radar as well. Between ESPN.com's Marc Stein and SI.com's Sam Amick, the following teams are listed as suitors for Lee: The Timberwolves, Hawks, Pacers, Mavericks, Suns, Bulls, and Wizards.
- According to Stein (Twitter link), Rockets coach Kevin McHale met with free agent point guard Aaron Brooks on Sunday night.
Jeff Green reached an agreement to remain with the Celtics on Saturday, while Aaron Brooks became an unrestricted free agent after the Suns withdrew their qualifying offer to the guard. What will Sunday bring? Here are the latest rumors on a number of free agents still on the market:
- Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter) identifies the Nets and Knicks as the frontrunners in sign-and-trade talks to land Marcus Camby. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News says that in addition to meeting with the Knicks in Houston, Camby held a conference call with the Nets (Twitter link).
- Ken Berger of CBS Sports tweets that Brandon Rush could be an option for the Timberwolves or Trail Blazers, whichever team loses out on Nicolas Batum. Also, Berger includes Shannon Brown in the mix of suitors for Courtney Lee, O.J. Mayo, and Lou Williams once the two-guard dust clears (Twitter link).
- Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas says that the Mavericks will resume talks with Ramon Sessions on Monday. Along with Dallas, the Rockets appear to interest the free agent point guard because of the opportunity to start.
- According to CBSSports.com's Ken Berger, the Knicks had a "very productive" meeting with Marcus Camby today.
- The Magic still do not know if Spaniard Fran Vasquez will be joining the team next season,tweets CBSSports.com's Ken Berger. Vasquez was a lottery pick in 2005.
- The Bulls will not pick up C.J. Watson's option, and are attempting to deal him before July 10th, tweets Hoopsworld.com's Alex Kennedy.
- The Mavericks, Rockets, Knicks, Hawks, Suns, and Bucks are all interested in signing guard Randy Foye, tweets CBSSports.com's Ken Berger.
- According to a tweet from the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn, Greg Stiemsma's agent said his client did not receive a $3MM offer sheet from the Timberwolves.
- The Celtics are interested in Courtney Lee after meeting with the free agent shooting guard on Saturday night, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
- Even with the addition of Hinrich, the Bulls have Michael Redd and Gerald Green on their radar, tweets Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald.
- Brooklyn head coach Avery Johnson says the Nets' focus is to re-sign Brook Lopez as trading for Dwight Howard remains out of their control, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. The team has begun negotiating with Lopez on an extension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).
- With Camby postponing a meeting with the Heat, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel considers the likelihood of signing Greg Oden similar to how the team added Eddy Curry last season.
- The Knicks brass will meet with Marcus Camby in Houston on Sunday with hopes that the big man will land in New York to serve as a backup for Tyson Chandler, says Marc Berman of the New York Post.
- Look for the Celtics to explore internal options to replace Ray Allen rather than spend excess money on players who may not prove to be a good fit in Boston, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com.
- The Bucks have emerged as a potential landing spot for Kirk Hinrich as they look to improve their backcourt depth, tweets Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio, but Milwaukee will have to look elsewhere as Hinrich reached a verbal agreement with the Bulls earlier on Sunday.
Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago reported
earlier that the Bucks
presented Kirk Hinrich
with an offer of about $4 MM per year, while the Bulls
have made an offer somewhere between the veteran's minimum and around $2 MM per year. The proposed length of either deal is still unknown. Although the Bulls have been relatively quiet at this point during the offseason, Sam thinks that Chicago could eventually become financially viable for free agent point guards such as Ramon Sessions
, Raymond Felton
, Jerryd Bayless
, and Delonte West
, who could be available if they are not acquired during the first wave of free agent signings. Derek Fisher
and Jonny Flynn
were also mentioned as potential additions.
We are currently less than four days away from the end of the NBA's moratorium period, and here is the rest of what we've heard around the league this evening…
- Ersan Ilyasova plans to meet with Bucks owner Herb Kohl on Tuesday, which is seen as an important opportunity in the team's effort to retain the 6'10'' forward (Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times reports). Earlier this week, we reported that Milwaukee offered a deal worth around $40MM over five years.
- Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio tweeted that the Lakers are scheduled to meet with unrestricted free agent Jodie Meeks early next week. In another tweet, Amico says that the Celtics have reportedly stepped up their interest in O.J. Mayo, but thinks Boston would likely have to add him via a sign-and-trade.
- Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune tweeted that although the Timberwolves express interest in Anthony Tolliver, the team has not made any promises. Zgoda also added via Tolliver's agent that there are five other teams that have shown interest.
- Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer answered some questions from Cleveland fans about the Cavaliers' offseason. While the team appears committed to keeping Anderson Varejao, Boyer thinks that his name will be brought up by other teams during trade discussions. With regards to free agency, she believes that Anthony Tolliver, Sonny Weems, Jonny Flynn, and Royal Ivey could be targets.
- Ben Golliver of the BlazersEdge wonders if there are more front office changes coming after the resignation of Larry Miller, considering that the Trail Blazers still have executives held over from two prior regimes (Twitter link).
- Carmelo Anthony publicly endorsed the Knicks' efforts to recruit Marcus Camby, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday.
- Bulls forward Taj Gibson told Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago that he'd like the team to keep Omer Asik and would be ecstatic if the team somehow found a way to bring unrestricted free agent Kirk Hinrich back to Chicago. The two had been teammates during Gibson's rookie season.
- Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes about Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva as two players who will look to stake their claim as the stretch-four in Lawrence Frank's rotation. Both are in Orlando participating in summer league practices, but only Daye will compete on the Pistons' summer league team.
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel talked about Jameer Nelson's return to the Magic and what it means for his leadership role moving forward.
Earlier today, we learned that the Rockets are no longer the frontrunner for Marcus Camby as the big man isn’t overly thrilled with the direction that the club seems to be going in. While the veteran hopes to play for the here-and-now, Houston’s moves this summer indicate that they plan on rebuilding. Here’s the latest on Camby and the Rockets..
- Camby will keep his visit with the Heat on Saturday and is not interested in signing for the veteran’s minimum, meaning that he could only join Miami via sign-and-trade, tweets Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida. Tomasson also wonders if Shane Battier, a draft pick and cash entice the Rockets for Camby?
- A source tells Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida (via Twitter) that Houston would consider a sign-and-trade with any team for Marcus Camby if they like what they could get back in return. He adds that the Heat are in the mix. Another source told Tomasson that the club could be enticed by a deal from the Heat involving draft picks and/or veterans who could mentor their young talent.
- Aaron Brooks and the Rockets have Rockets have mutual interest in a return, a source tells Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter), but a deal not close. The outcome also won’t hinge on the Jeremy Lin decision.
- The Rockets have “touched base” with Ramon Sessions and Raymond Felton, a source told Feigen (Twitter link) but it’s unlikely that either guard signs with Houston. Earlier this evening it was reported that the Rockets were in play for Sessions.
The Rockets are now in play for free agent guard Ramon Sessions, a source tells Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com. The 26-year-old is said to be seeking a starting job and the security of a multiyear deal, something that the Mavericks seem prepared to offer. We ran down the day’s free agent rumors earlier today, here’s the latest batch..