In his NBA AM piece for HoopsWorld on Monday, Steve Kyler explored the upcoming free agencies for a number of point guards on playoff teams. Today, Kyler turns his attention to the shooting guards in the postseason who could be hitting the free agent market this summer. Let's round up the notable tidbits from his piece....
4:22pm: Garnett has not ruled out accepting a trade to Los Angeles, a source tells Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. The Clippers, who began their efforts to land Garnett with the Bledsoe-Butler package more than two weeks ago, have always been willing to increase their price, Deveney writes.
3:42pm: Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe hears the teams have not discussed Garnett, and that the Clippers don't want to approach the luxury tax line (Twitter link). The Clippers are about $1MM shy of the $70.307MM tax threshold, but acquiring Garnett for Jordan and Bledsoe would save the team money. The other version of the deal, sending out Green, Turiaf and Butler, would likely make the Clippers a taxpayer.
2:51pm: Though Garnett has said he won't waive his no-trade clause under any circumstances, the Clippers are confident they can persuade him to come to L.A. if the Celtics tell him it's a deal they want to make, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
SATURDAY, 10:45am: Sean Deveney of the Sporting News tweets that the Clippers' primary incentive to do the trade is Del Negro's belief that Jordan isn't a championship-caliber center. He writes that the team discussed the possibility of trading for Anderson Varejao before the Cavs' big man's season-ending injury.
FRIDAY, 12:53am: Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro would be willing to do the deal, but the team's front office is "totally against the move," according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. Clippers executives would prefer to send out Willie Green, Ronny Turiaf and Caron Butler for Garnett (Twitter links).
12:11am: The Celtics and Clippers have been in consistent contact about a trade that would send Kevin Garnett to L.A. for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan, report Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Factions within both teams are debating whether the deal would be the best course of action. This appears to be the latest incarnation of a proposal that would have sent Bledsoe and Caron Butler to Boston for Garnett.
After that rumor surfaced a couple of weeks ago, we heard that Garnett would not waive his no-trade clause unless he was dealt to L.A., which is close to his home in Malibu, Calif., and also unless the Celtics also traded Paul Pierce. While no Pierce trade appears imminent, sources tell Wojnarowski and Spears that Garnett's close relationship with Clippers guard Chauncey Billups could help coax him into accepting the swap.
The Clippers have been reluctant to deal Bledsoe without knowing what Chris Paul will do in free agency this summer, but the team's front office is becoming increasingly confident Paul will re-sign, according to the Yahoo! report. Many within the organization believe Garnett would strengthen the team's title hopes, which explains the team's pursuit. It appears that the Clippers initiated talks of the earlier Garnett-Bledsoe-Butler proposal.
Wojnarowski and Spears point out that acquiring Bledsoe would allow the Celtics to deal away Rajon Rondo without getting a point guard in return, and earlier tonight a report surfaced about a potential Rondo/Dwight Howard swap. As I wrote then, it appears Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is aggressively pursuing his options as Thursday's trade deadline nears. Ainge has reportedly been looking for something to get "really, really excited about" in any deal for Garnett, and it's unclear whether Bledsoe and Jordan would be enough to satisfy that requirement.
From a salary perspective, the deal works out well for the Celtics. It would only add $674,432K to the team's salary, leaving about $2MM under Boston's $74.307MM hard cap, plenty of room to pursue another player to fill out the team's injury-depleted roster. Jordan's four-year, $43MM contract includes a 15% trade kicker, but because it was signed after the league's current CBA went into effect, the Clippers would have to absorb the extra money if they trade their center, and not the team that acquires him.
Earlier today, Earl Bloom of the Orange County Register touched on several aspects of the Clippers' offseason. While their summer has certainly been dwarfed by that of their Staples Center co-tenants, the Lakers, who added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Clips have certainly made some significant moves. Which of the Clippers' new acquisitions do you think will have the biggest impact? Vote in the poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.
Sources tell Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld that the Lakers would be "far more comfortable" building around Dwight Howard rather than Andrew Bynum. If today's rumored four-team trade comes to fruition, the Lakers would get their wish. Pincus has a few more items of note in his latest piece, and we'll hit the highlights here:
The Magic may be subject to criticism in some areas, but the team's current problems can't be blamed on player development, says Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Robbins looks back at the team's draft picks and projects over the last few years and concludes that the club has done a reasonably good job of developing young talent, even if not all the success stories still play in Orlando. Here are a few more Friday afternoon odds and ends from around the NBA:
The Clippers have acquired Willie Green from the Hawks in exchange for the draft rights to Sofoklis Schortsanitis, the team announced today in a press release. Green was a free agent, so the deal is a sign-and-trade, as the Hawks confirmed in their own release.
Since Green was coming off a minimum-salary deal and only had Non-Bird Rights, he couldn't have received much of a raise. Still, it's likely more than a minimum-salary deal, since the Clippers could have signed him outright if they intended to pay him the minimum. I would guess the Clips will use the traded player exception acquired in the Reggie Evans trade to absorb Green's salary. Green could sign for a first-year salary up to about $1.48MM, while the Evans trade exception is worth about $1.62MM.
Green, 31, adds a little more depth to a Clippers' backcourt that lost Randy Foye, but added Jamal Crawford and retained Chauncey Billups. Green posted a career-high 13.9 PER for the Hawks in 2011/12, averaging 7.6 PPG and career-best shooting percentages of .471/.442/.857 in 17.4 minutes per game.
For the Hawks, the move nets them a small trade exception (worth Green's 2012/13 salary) along with the rights to Schortsanitis. The Greek center seems unlikely to ever make the leap to the NBA, having been selected by the Clippers in the second round of the 2003 draft. Still, if the Hawks didn't intend to re-sign Green, at least they were able to acquire a small asset for him.
The Spurs have made a handful of signings so far this summer, but every contract agreement they've reached has been for one of their own players -- unrestricted free agents Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw will return, along with restricted free agents Danny Green and Patty Mills. Even the team's one new addition, Nando De Colo, wasn't a free agent, since San Antonio held his NBA rights exclusively. The Spurs are standing relatively pat this offseason, not pursuing outside free agents, and that's just fine with coach Gregg Popovich, as he tells Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.
So while the remaining free agents on the market aren't likely to draw a ton of interest from San Antonio, there are plenty of other potential destinations out there. Here's the latest on a few available players:
At the start of this year's free agent period, the Grizzlies were pursuing relatively big-name free agents such as Ray Allen, willing to offer the full mid-level exception. At the time, I expressed some skepticism that Memphis could offer the full $5MM mid-level if the team hoped to re-sign Darrell Arthur and Marreese Speights.
Sure enough, since agreeing to terms with both Arthur and Speights, the Grizzlies have turned their focus to the $3MM taxpayer MLE, says Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. According to Tillery, Memphis is eyeing players like Jodie Meeks, Willie Green, and Jordan Farmar.Green and Farmar are asking for the full mini mid-level, while Meeks and rumored target Sonny Weems could probably be signed for a little less than $3MM, says Tillery. The Grizzlies are also said to be eyeing Jerryd Bayless, who is now an unrestricted free agent, though I'd guess he'll receive offers worth a little more than the mini mid-level.
For his part, GM Chris Wallace remains confident that the Grizzlies will add a shooter and a backup point guard, despite not landing their initial targets.
"All the people we're talking to [now] have a track record," Wallace said. "Have they made All-Star teams? No. But how many free agents out there have? We were involved with Ray [Allen]. We offered him more money [than the Heat]. We were right there with Jason Terry. We've talked to a ton of people since this started."
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....