We hope you're enjoying your holidays and today's NBA quintuple-header! As we look forward to the rest of tonight's action, let's round up a few more odds and ends from around the Association....
- Derek Page of HoopsWorld explores whether Derek Fisher's release from the Mavericks could eventually lead to a reunion between Fisher and the Lakers. For his part, the veteran point guard doesn't sound like he's ready to officially retire or immediately sign elsewhere: "My family is my priority and that is where I choose to be. I won’t close
the possibility that I will play again, however for now my family and
being close to them remains the priority."
- Mark Cuban fielded a variety of questions in a recent Reddit AMA, and the Dallas Morning News has rounded up a few of Cuban's basketball-related answers.
- We heard earlier that Turkish team Fenerbahce Ulker would buy out Shelden Williams' contract with Elan Chalon, but Emiliano Carchia of Sportando tweets that such a move now appears unlikely. Williams is expected to finish the season with the French club.
- Carl Landry, who signed a two-year deal with the Warriors over the offseason, has been everything Golden State hoped for and more, says Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News.
- ESPN.com's Chris Broussard delivers a lengthy profile on Rich Paul, longtime friend and now agent to LeBron James.
- Shelvin Mack and Garrett Temple both spoke to the media about signing with the Wizards, and the team's official site has the videos.
A holiday for most of us, December 25th is one of the most eventful days of the year on the NBA calendar, with five marquee matchups lined up for Christmas Day. Two scuffling Atlantic Division contenders, the Celtics and Nets, are in action in Brooklyn, while the Lakers look to extend their winning streak to five games later this afternoon against the Knicks. A Finals rematch (Heat/Thunder), an inter-conference battle (Rockets/Bulls), and a Western Conference showdown (Clippers/Nuggets) are also on tap later in the day.
As we enjoy an action-packed slate of games and wish you happy holidays, let's round up a few odds and ends from around the NBA:
- Despite Keith Smart's recent issues with DeMarcus Cousins, the Maloofs have "given every indication" that the Kings expect to keep Smart around for the duration of his contract, which runs through the 2013/14 season, according to Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee.
- The Mavericks don't have any immediate plans to recall first-round pick Jared Cunningham from the D-League, tweets Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Cunningham was assigned to the Texas Legends two weeks ago.
- After losing Derek Fisher, the Mavericks figure to explore their options at point guard, but for now coach Rick Carlisle tells Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News that Darren Collison, Dominique Jones, and Rodrigue Beaubois "are our guys."
- Rookie Alexey Shved has emerged as an important piece on a Timberwolves roster that has been hit hard by injuries, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.
- Shelden Williams, who signed with French club Elan Chalon this offseason, has been bought out by Fenerbahce Ulker and will join the Turkish team, according to a TrendBasket.net report.
- Jarvis Varnado, signed by the Celtics this week, tells A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com that he feels "blessed" by the opportunity.
- Nick Gibson of Ridiculous Upside examines the unique contract Gustavo Ayon had signed in Spain before he was bought out by the Hornets and eventually flipped in a sign-and-trade for Ryan Anderson.
French team Elan Chalon announced that it has signed forward Shelden Williams, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (via Twitter). Williams did not land with an NBA team this offseason, despite being one of the top rebounders remaining on the open market.
The big man hooked on with the Nets just prior to the 2011/12 season and wound up starting 35 games in place of Brook Lopez, who missed the bulk of the year. Williams averaged 4.6 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 22 minutes per contest, forming a strong rebounding frontcourt alongside Kris Humphries. The former fifth-overall pick in the 2006 draft has spent time with seven NBA teams across six seasons.
It may not be many more days until our long national Dwightmare is over. Yesterday's reports on Howard suggested talks involving the Magic, Nets, and Cavaliers were getting serious, and that Orlando plans to make "one last sweep" around the league before deciding whether to accept the Nets' offer. While we wait to see if anything is agreed upon today, here are the latest rumblings on the Howard front:
- Chad Ford's ESPN.com report includes some more slight tweaks to the framework described below. Ford adds Chris Duhon to the list of players headed to the Nets, suggests the Magic would receive one fewer first-rounder (a total of three instead of four), and says the Cavs would receive $3MM in cash.
- Ford's report, along with tweets from the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, suggest that the Cavs and Clippers still aren't entirely on board. The Plain Dealer tweets that talk of a deal getting close is premature, while Berger says the Clips haven't agreed to anything yet and are one of several potential fourth-team facilitators in the mix (Twitter links).
- It "sounds like" the Magic, Nets, and Cavs have found a fourth team to facilitate the Howard blockbuster, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. According to Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Twitter link), that team is the Clippers -- Los Angeles would acquire MarShon Brooks in exchange for a lottery-protected first-round pick, which would go to the Magic.
- In addition to the framework described by Wojnarowski below, the Magic would also receive Armon Johnson from the Nets in the proposed deal, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, who cautions in a second tweet that pieces could still move in or out.
- Before either team agreed to any deal, Magic doctors would need to examine Brook Lopez and Nets doctors would need to examine Dwight Howard, says Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links).
- Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports had the details of the proposed three-team blockbuster: The Nets would receive Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson, and Earl Clark, the Magic would receive Brook Lopez, Damion James, Shelden Williams, and Luke Walton, and the Cavs would receive Kris Humphries, Sundiata Gaines, and Quentin Richardson. The Nets would also send three first-round picks to the Magic, one to the Cavs, and would send MarShon Brooks to a fourth team to acquire another first-rounder for the Magic.
- A source tells the Cleveland Plain Dealer that a deal involving the Cavs looks doubtful at this point (Twitter link).
- Don't expect a Howard deal to go down today, tweets Brian K. Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. Getting Andrew Bynum from the Lakers would be Orlando's best deal, but the club is concerned about his knees holding up, Schmitz tweets.
- Kris Humphries would be seeking a four-year deal with the Cavs and wouldn't be willing to sign a one-year deal, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Sign-and-trades require a three-year minimum, but only one year needs to be guaranteed. Frankly, with a rumored 11 to 14 players involved in the proposed deal, and many of them needing to be involved via sign-and-trade, I'd be surprised if Humphries was the only player that could hold things up.
- We should expect resolution on the Nets/Magic talks pretty soon, according to Alex Raskin of HoopsWorld, who says Brooklyn intends to move on if a deal can't be consummated in the near future.
- The Nets are willing and able to take on Jason Richardson's salary in the proposed three-team deal, tweets Chris Broussard of ESPN.com.
- Bob Finnan of the News-Herald hears that the Nets want one of the Cavaliers' first-round picks in the trade, which could be a dealbreaker for Cleveland.
- Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal and J.A. Adande of ESPN throw some cold water on the Howard talk. A source tells Adande that "to act like it's almost done is overblown" Twitter link), while Lloyd continues to hear that there's "isn't much to it" on the Cavs' end (Twitterlinks).
- Numerous reporters, including Fred Kerber of the New York Post (Twitter link), are noting that the talks between the Nets, Magic, and other teams have "a lot of moving parts," but that progress is being made. According to Kerber, the odds are better than 50/50 that Howard is sent to the Nets.
- Magic brass are meeting this morning to discuss whether to pull the trigger on the proposed Nets/Cavs deal, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.
- A fourth team may be entering the mix to take MarShon Brooks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who adds that up to 14 players could be involved (Twitter link).
- Although the Cavs look like the Nets' best bet to find a taker for Kris Humphries, Brooklyn has found traction on two other possible scenarios, says Wojnarowski.
Five days into free agency, a number of big names, such as Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, are off the market. But there are still plenty of players out there looking for contracts. We'll wrap up many of today's free agent updates right here, with the latest items added to the top of the page throughout the day....
- Antawn Jamison had dinner in Charlotte with Bobcats executives Rod Higgins and Rich Cho, writes Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links). The former UNC star has also been talking to Warriors general manager Bob Myers, Jamison's former agent, and will chat with head coach Mark Jackson in the near future.
- The Mavericks have reached out to Ramon Sessions for a second time and pitched a starting job to the veteran point guard, writes Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com.
- Rashard Lewis will visit the Heat this weekend after having his contract bought out by the Hornets, reports David Aldridge of NBA.com (Twitter links). The Hawks and the Knicks are among other teams interested in the veteran forward.
- The Timberwolves' offer to Nicolas Batum now exceeds $11MM per season, reports John Canzano of The Oregonian (on Twitter). The Trail Blazers told Batum during a meeting this afternoon that the team will match any offer the player receives, tweets Jason Quick of The Oregonian.
- Even with the addition of Jason Kidd and the likely retention of Jeremy Lin, the Knicks remain in the market for a third-string point guard, tweets Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Lakers remain interested in retaining restricted free agent Devin Ebanks and will match any deal barring a huge offer, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.
- Andrei Kirilenko wants to return to the NBA, but "wants way too much money" and may end up staying in Russia, according to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld (Twitter links). Kirilenko plans to make his decision by Aug. 1 on whether he will sign with an NBA team, says Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (on Twitter).
- Ric Bucher of ESPN.com names the Mavericks, Rockets, Pacers, Clippers, Knicks, and Suns as teams that still have a shot at O.J. Mayo (Twitter link). I'd guess the Clips are off that list after reaching deals with Jamal Crawford and Chauncey Billups.
- Bucher adds in the same tweet that the Mavs, Pacers, Spurs, Kings, and Jazz are in the running for Chris Kaman.
- Asked about the Pacers pursuing Courtney Lee or O.J. Mayo, Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star tweeted that Mayo is Indiana's "clear No. 1 choice." Whether that means he's the team's top free agent target overall or just compared to Lee, it's clear that Mayo is very much on the Pacers' radar.
- Teams are offering Ryan Anderson frontloaded contracts to make it difficult for the Magic to retain him, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.
- Ramon Sessions has been contacted by several teams, including the Mavericks, but not the Knicks, according to Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio. A multiyear deal and a starting spot remain Sessions' top priorities, says Amico (Sulia and Twitter links).
- Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com names Jordan Hill, Kirk Hinrich, Antawn Jamison, and Shelden Williams as some players the Warriors have reached out to so far in free agency.
- According to Steinmetz, the Warriors may not match an offer sheet for Brandon Rush if it approaches $5MM. Steinmetz hears that the Raptors may be considering an offer for Rush, though given Toronto's agreement with Landry Fields, that would surprise me.