Marc Stein's final ESPN.com Weekend Dime of the season doubles as his awards ballot, and he has LeBron James winning MVP, of course. More intriguing are his selections in some of the tighter races: George Karl for Coach of the Year, Kevin Martin for Sixth Man of the Year, Tim Duncan for Defensive Player of the Year and Jrue Holiday for Most Improved Player. Stein also has plenty of news from around the league, as we round up:
- Before the season, the Hawks offered Josh Smith a three-year extension for the maximum amount, which would have been about $45MM, but Smith made it clear he wanted to hit free agency. That's no surprise, since an extension would have meant a smaller annual salary than he can sign for as a free agent, per collective bargaining agreement rules. The Hawks, wary of letting Smith walk, aggressively pursued trades, according to Stein, but wound up keeping him when an offer from the Bucks wasn't to their liking.
- Bucks GM John Hammond is publicly heaping praise on coach Jim Boylan, but Stein hears Boylan has little to no shot of retaining the job, based on the team's late-season slump.
- Doug Collins may join the Sixers front office or simply become an adviser to the team if he decides to step away from coaching.
- Justin Holiday's deal with the Sixers includes a team option for next season, and it appears the deal is partially guaranteed for $50K, becoming fully guaranteed if he's not waived by August 15th.
- The Nets also have a team option on Kris Joseph's deal for 2013/14.
- A source insists to Stein that the Jazz will retain Tyrone Corbin for the final year of his contract next season, regardless of whether the team makes the playoffs.
- Jermaine O'Neal, 34, is leaning strongly toward playing again next season. He signed a one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Suns last summer.