By NBA.com staff reports
Posted Jul 8 2009 11:12AM
Talks between the Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors on a sign-and-trade deal that would send free agent forward Shawn Marion to Dallas continued Tuesday, with the two teams trying to find a third team that can help pull off the deal. A third team will likely be necessary because the Raptors cannot take on any additional salary from Dallas in order to maintain the cap room they've cleared to sign free agent Hedo Turkoglu to a five-year, $53 million contract.
The Mavericks would be willing to move guard Jerry Stackhouse and his partially guaranteed contract; he is scheduled to make $7 million next season, but only $2 million of that is guaranteed, with Marion going to Dallas. But even that $2 million is too much for Toronto to take on and be able to sign Turkoglu. Hence, a third team is necessary. (Ironically, the Blazers, whom Turkoglu left at the altar last weekend, have $8 million in cap room, and could easily absorb a contract like Stackhouse's. It is hard to see Portland being very interested in helping Toronto, though, after all that has transpired in recent days.)
Another option would be convincing one of the few teams with cap room, like Oklahoma City, into taking an expiring contract. But so far, the Thunder has been reluctant to get involved in many deals, choosing to stick to their long-developed plan to save room for the future, when they know they'll have to extend Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook.
|LARGEST TRADE EXCEPTIONS|
If trading falls through, Dallas's best hope may lie in convincing teams with existing trade exceptions to use them to absorb a contract. Several teams have large exceptions that will expire either later this month or early next year. But it's highly unlikely that most of them will be interested in using the exception, which would only get them closer to the luxury tax threshhold.
The list above details the amount of the exception, the player that the team traded to help create the exception and the day the exception expires:
Denver, for example, will almost certainly not use either of its trade exceptions.
A source indicated Tuesday that the Raptors may be trying to create room to take Stackhouse's $2 million guaranteed salary by finding a home for forward Kris Humphries, who has two years and $6.1 million left on his contract. Humphries will make $2.9 million this coming season, and the Raptors would, in this scenario, trade him for cash (thought to be $3 million, the maximum allowed). They would also get $3 million from Dallas for taking Stackhouse, which would actually make the deal a profitable one for Toronto when they buy out or waive Stackhouse at the $2 million.
Marion, one of the top small forwards in the league this decade, would be a significant upgrade to Dallas' rotation. The Mavs could move Josh Howard to shooting guard to make room for Marion. Shooting guard has been a hole in Dallas' lineup for years.
-- David Aldridge & Art Garcia
Andersen agrees to re-sign with Nuggets
A source close to the discussions said late Tuesday that Denver Nuggets free agent center Chris Andersen has agreed with the team on a five-year, $26 million contract extension.
Andersen was Denver's top offseason priority, and the team moved quickly to re-sign him, meeting with the veteran, who turned 31 Tuesday, and his representatives this past weekend. Because Andersen did not possess his "Larry Bird" rights, which would have allowed the Nuggets to exceed the salary cap to re-sign him, the only way the Nuggets could keep him was to use the mid-level exception. They did not use all of it, though, because they are right at the tax threshold (and above next year's threshold of $69.92 million), and wanted to backload Andersen's deal.
"Everything they said they would do, they did," said a source close to Andersen. "They said he was their priority, and they came out to see him, and they got it done."
"I think what we're trying to do is make things work for each other," the source said. "There's mutual respect between Chris and the Nuggets."
Because Denver is already perilously close to paying luxury tax next season -- the Nuggets have already committed $70 million in salaries to 10 players, including first-round pick Ty Lawson, and last year's tax threshhold of $71.15 million is likely to come down for 2009-10 -- the Nuggets are trying to back-load Andersen's deal, paying him less up front and more of the deal in the final few years.
Andersen has found a home in Denver, where he played early in his career, and where he returned last season after a brief stint in New Orleans toward the end of the 2008-09 season. He came back to the Hornets after serving a two-year suspension by the league for substance abuse, but wasn't in shape and didn't play much. Last season he came back strong, drawing a cult following in Denver for his defense and rebounding off the bench for the Nuggets. Re-signing him is their top offseason priority.
-- David Aldridge
LeBron's reported promise pretty hollow
The Cavs aren't having any luck in getting free agents to come to Cleveland this summer. And the possible departure of LeBron James could certainly be a reason why.
While most players would love to play with the MVP and have a good chance at a ring, free agents are thinking long term. And apparently, they think James may leave Cleveland next year when he becomes a free agent.
According to an ESPN report, James called Trevor Ariza, hoping to convince Ariza to spurn the Rockets and agree to sign with Cleveland. ESPN reports that on James' call to Ariza, Ariza asked James if he would be with the Cavs beyond next season and James told him he would.
Of course, if James had told Ariza that he would be leaving or acted even the least bit unsure of his future, he would have defeated the whole purpose of the call. From there, everyone would be reporting that James is heading to New York (or some other destination), and whatever chances that the Cavs had to sign an impact player would be gone.
Apparently, Ariza wasn't exactly convinced. Promises are meant to be broken, after all.
NBA contracts can't be broken, though. And James can do a lot more than just promise a free agent that he'll be around ... he can sign a contract extension with the Cavs on Wednesday and erase all doubt.
If James really wanted Ariza (or Ron Artest or Rasheed Wallace, for that matter) to sign with the Cavs, he would have agreed to an extension last Wednesday to tell the basketball world that he'd be in Cleveland for the next three years.
That James hasn't agreed to an extension far outweighs his promise to Ariza. And the fear of abandonment shall continue to haunt the city of Cleveland.
-- John Schuhmann
Bibby staying put in Atlanta
Mike Bibby will re-sign with the Hawks for three years and about $18 million. Bibby isn't necessarily the perfect fit at point for the Hawks (a true play-making point would get more out of Josh Smith), but he's a good shooter who can play off of Joe Johnson.
The Hawks need another player to take the next step to contention, but they're busy trying to bring back Marvin Williams and Zaza Pachulia. They added Jamal Crawford in a June 25 trade and could still former Hawk Josh Childress, who played in Greece last season. But they still need more offensive firepower to take the pressure off of Johnson.
Bibby staying in Atlanta isn't a surprise, and leaves Andre Miller as the only unrestricted point guard who can make an impact on a new team next season.
-- John Schuhmann
Kristen Ledlow has the latest news from around the Association.
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