9:25pm: Telfair’s deal covers only one season, Wojnarowski confirms.
8:32pm: Sebastian Telfair will sign with the Tianjin Ronggang Gold Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, agent Andy Miller tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Several NBA teams were monitoring the 28-year-old point guard prior to camp, and just this morning he appeared to be among the veterans likely to draw interest around the league. Telfair will instead play overseas until at least February, when the Chinese regular season ends, which leaves open the possibility that he winds up back in the NBA before 2013/14 is over.
Telfair also considered playing in Europe, though that option probably wouldn’t have allowed him to become available to NBA teams again so soon. The former lottery pick began last season as the backup point guard with the Suns, but he finished the year third on the depth chart in Toronto after a midseason trade. He averaged 5.6 points and 2.6 assists in 16.6 minutes per game for the season, some of the lowest numbers of his nine-year career.
China has become a popular Plan B for NBA free agents in recent years, and Telfair is one of several players who spent last season in the NBA to reach an agreement with a team in China’s top-flight league this offseason, as our International Player Movement Tracker shows. He’ll join fellow former lottery pick Shelden Williams, who also reached a deal with the Gold Lions this month.
In Sam Amico’s latest piece for FOX Sports Ohio, he focuses on last August’s Dwight Howard trade, which initially looked like a questionable move for the Magic. Given the fact that Orlando ended up with the best long-term pieces in the deal, it’s an illustration of why we shouldn’t immediately decide whether teams “won” or “lost” a trade or signing, writes Amico. The FOX Sports Ohio scribe also shares a few rumors and rumblings from around the NBA, so let’s check out the highlights….
- An Eastern Conference executive tells Amico that his team has heard from the Lakers recently, and that word around the league suggests L.A. may look to make a “substantial” move before the season begins. Pau Gasol isn’t untouchable, writes Amico.
- Given the questions surrounding Steve Nash‘s health and age, a young scoring point guard may be on the Lakers‘ wish list, though it won’t be easy to obtain one.
- The Nuggets are also potentially willing to make a move or two before the season, and Amico speculates that a trade candidate like Jimmer Fredette or a free agent like Richard Hamilton could be a fit.
- Hamilton, Sebastian Telfair, and Daniel Gibson are among the veteran free agents who may draw interest before opening night.
- The Cavaliers seem to “really like” camp invitees Matthew Dellavedova and Jermaine Taylor, but are unlikely to have the room to keep both on their regular season roster. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team tried to get the odd man out to join the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s D-League affiliate.
NBA training camp spots are filling up fast, and that's prompting a few hopefuls to cast their eyes overseas. Sometimes a relatively fat contract with an international team is too tempting to pass up for a mere training camp invitation, and that appears to be the case for a former member of the Jazz, as we detail:
- Jerel McNeal arranged for his release from the Jazz this week so he could sign a lucrative deal overseas, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reveals that the shooting guard is heading to play in China (Twitter link). Wojnarowski simply says McNeal has a deal with Zhejiang, so it's unclear whether he means the Zhejiang Chouzhou Golden Bulls or the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions.
- Several NBA teams have had interest in Sebastian Telfair during the offseason, but he's thinking about signing a deal to play in Europe, HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy reports in the same piece.
- Chris Wright will join France's ASVEL Villeurbanne, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (via Twitter). The Chris Wright from Dayton is in camp with the Raptors for the next month, so this is presumably the guard from Georgetown.
Luke Adams contributed to this post.
Although he has been the subject of plenty of rumors and reports since free agency opened two months ago, Sebastian Telfair remains unsigned. The veteran point guard continues to draw interest from NBA teams though, according to Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio, who tweets that the Celtics, Lakers, and Spurs may be in the mix.
It's not clear whether those clubs have just kicked the tires on Telfair, or whether their interest is more serious, but none of them have been cited so far this offseason as a potential suitor. Previously, the Knicks, Nets, Heat, and Thunder were mentioned as a few possible destinations for Telfair, though some of those teams have since signed other players.
Boston currently has 14 players on guaranteed contracts, plus Donte Greene and three camp invitees, so the C's may not have much room for Telfair. That goes for the Spurs as well, who seem to be well-stocked at point guard already, with Cory Joseph, Nando De Colo, and Patrick Mills capable of playing the point behind Tony Parker. As for the Lakers, they already have Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmar under contract.
Telfair, 28, appeared in 59 games last season for the Suns and Raptors, averaging 5.6 PPG and 2.6 APG in 16.6 minutes per contest. His .362 FG% was a career-worst mark, but many of his other rates, including a 10.9 PER and .353 3PT%, were in line with, or better than, his career averages.
HoopsWorld's Eric Pincus ranks the top six front offices in the NBA. Not surprisingly, the Heat and team president Pat Riley are No. 1 after back-to-back championships. They scored another victory this week, beating out a handful of other suitors for Greg Oden and convincing him to sign for the minimum. They're not content to stop there, as we detail amid the latest from South Beach:
- The Heat remain interested in Sebastian Telfair, sources tell HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy (Twitter link). A pair of reports bookending July show that Riley and company have been consistently eyeing the veteran point guard, while the Knicks and Thunder have drawn multiple mentions as well.
- Miami has little to lose in its minimum-salary commitment to Oden, opines USA Today's Sean Highkin, writing for the Indianapolis Star.
- Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside wonders whether the Heat will send Oden down to the D-League at some point this season as he works his way back to health. Oden's technically a five-year vet, even though he's played only 82 career games, so he and the player's union would have to consent to the assignment. Still, the Heat would have greater latitude to oversee his rehab stint now that they run the basketball ops of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, as Schlosser points out.
Restricted free agents like Nikola Pekovic, Brandon Jennings, and Gerald Henderson represent the most intriguing names left on the free agent market, but in his latest piece for HoopsWorld, Alex Kennedy takes a look at a few unrestricted free agents who have flown more under the radar. Here are some highlights from Kennedy:
- Corey Maggette considered retiring to pursue a front office job, but it looks like he'll postpone that plan for at least a year. Maggette would like to play for a contender, and could likely be had for a one-year, minimum-salary deal.
- Although more than a dozen teams, including the Bulls and Clippers, have expressed some level of interest in DeJuan Blair, the big man still hasn't been able to secure the sort of multiyear offer he's seeking.
- There continues to be mutual interest between the Knicks and Sebastian Telfair, who has also attracted some interest from contenders like the Heat and Thunder.
- The Nets nearly signed Jamaal Tinsley earlier in the offseason, but opted for Shaun Livingston instead. Tinsley is now considering teams like the Mavericks, Rockets, Bobcats, and Suns.
- Keyon Dooling still appears likely to make a decision on a team within the next week, and he figures to land a one-year contract worth the veteran's minimum.
- After turning down the Bobcats last summer to join an apparent contender (the Lakers), Antawn Jamison could end up returning home to Charlotte this time around, according to Kennedy.
While the Nets have stolen the NBA headlines in New York for the most part this offseason, the Knicks have been busy as well lately. Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald met with the media today, after adding Metta World Peace and re-signing J.R. Smith in the past week.
- Grunwald said Smith's knees shouldn't be a long-term issue, which is why he had no qualms committing four years and $24.7MM to the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN New York. SNY's Adam Zagoria adds that the team is hopeful that Smith will be ready for the start of the regular season. Grunwald was no doubt responding to the concern that was expressed after news broke that Smith underwent knee surgery less than a week after the Knicks re-signed him. Grunwald said that the decision to hold off on the surgery came from Smith, who probably didn't want news of his surgery to impact free agency.
- Grunwald also addressed the possibility of Carmelo Anthony opting out of his deal after the upcoming season, writes Zagoria, who opines that the situation could loom over the team like a black cloud. To no one's surprise, Grunwald stressed the team's desire to keep Anthony in New York long-term, saying, "We obviously love Carmelo. We think he's great for New York and New York's great for him." Anthony's player option for 2014/15 is for $23.5MM. Should he opt out, he would be eligible for a new five-year contract from the Knicks, adds Zagoria.
- Grunwald confirmed that the team is looking to add a point guard to go behind Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. Zagoria lists Aaron Brooks, Sebastian Telfair, Toure Murry and J.R.'s younger brother Chris Smith as possibilities to fill the role, but adds that Grunwald expressed interest in waiting until training camp to let it play out.
It sounds like the Knicks will fall short of landing Samuel Dalembert, who's close to a deal with the Mavs. As Knicks GM Glen Grunwald and company search for free agent help, they're limited to handing out no more than the $1.7MM portion of their mini mid-level exception that remains after the team used part of it to re-sign Pablo Prigioni. Still, the team has plenty of targets, as we detail:
- The Knicks are in the lead for Kenyon Martin, a source tells Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com. Since Martin played on the Knicks last season, the team can ink him using Non-Bird rights, but that would still provide a salary of no more than about $1.6MM.
- Nate Robinson, Aaron Brooks, Daniel Gibson, Charles Jenkins, John Lucas III, A.J. Price, Nolan Smith, Sebastian Telfair and Toure Murry are all point guards the Knicks are considering, Zwerling writes.
- Robinson would consider signing with the Knicks, but only if he doesn't receive a more lucrative offer from another team, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. The team reached out to the diminuative point guard recently, but as we heard yesterday, a few other clubs have interest in him, too.
- Jerome Jordan, Liam McMorrow and Jeremy Tyler will draw close attention from the Knicks during the Las Vegas summer league, according to Zwerling. There's a "big chance" Tyler will draw an invitation to Knicks training camp, perhaps with a partial guarantee, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
- Mike Woodson is intent on keeping Carmelo Anthony at power forward, prompting the club to search for a veteran small forward to use alongside him. Zwerling points to Raja Bell, Josh Childress, Dahntay Jones, Metta World Peace, Mickael Pietrus and Shawne Williams as some of the small forwards drawing the Knicks' eye.
- Al Harrington, who seems to be drawing close to a buyout from the Magic, is another Knicks target, Berman adds.
We learned earlier today that the Clippers have interest in signing free agent Antawn Jamison, but the veteran might not fit into their plans so easily. The club is also targeting Lamar Odom and since they're unlikely to get both, it's a one-or-the-other scenario for the Clippers, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Here's more from around the Association..
- The agent for Greg Stiemsma told Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (via Twitter) that there's still a chance that his client could return to the Wolves after being waived earlier today. The conversation Zgoda had made it seem as though the move was procedural and that there is still mutual interest in a new deal.
- Meanwhile, the Wolves continue to talk with Minnesota's own Alan Anderson, agent Mark Bartelstein told Zgoda (on Twitter).
- A source tells Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter) that Toney Douglas is being looked at by a couple of teams to fill a backup role. The Knicks could be in play for him as he offers defense, three point shooting, and a decent transition game.
- More from Zwerling (on Twitter) who says that Sebastian Telfair might not be in play for the Knicks after all due to financial reasons.
Let's round up the latest news, notes, and rumors out of the Atlantic Division….
- Chris Copeland's agent John Spencer isn't ruling out his client returning to the Knicks, but he expects to receive offers starting at higher than $1.75MM. As Marc Berman of the New York Post writes, after committing a portion of their mid-level to Pablo Prigioni, the Knicks only have about $1.75MM left on their MLE. Using that remaining money on a power forward like Elton Brand is more likely than a Copeland reunion, according to Berman.
- Assuming Copeland doesn't take less to remain in New York, the Pacers, Lakers, Jazz, and Nuggets are in play for him, according to Spencer.
- Agent Andy Miller tells Berman that his client, Sebastian Telfair, would "consider the Knicks very strongly." New York is eyeing another point guard and has also been in touch with reps for Earl Watson, Will Bynum, Aaron Brooks, and Devin Harris.
- The second year of the Raptors' agreement with Julyan Stone won't be fully guaranteed, says Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Smith notes within the same piece that it remains extremely unlikely Toronto uses its amnesty clause next week.
- Celtics GM Danny Ainge had long targeted Brad Stevens as a potential replacement for Doc Rivers, as Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe writes (subscription required). Ainge himself confirmed at this morning's press conference that Stevens was his first phone call after the Rivers transaction, tweets Sean Deveney of the Sporting News.