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MARKET VALUE
Posted by Jeff Dengate on July 22, 2005 11:30 a.m. ET

QUALITY PLAYERS STILL AVAILABLE

Well, it's not quite on par with news of Ray Allen returning to Seattle, but reports making news today have Marko Jaric and Nikoloz Tskitishvili, among others, being claimed on the free agent market.

Jaric and Tskitishvili represent the number of solid players still left for the taking as the free agent signing period approaches. During the last three weeks, in which teams could talk with free agents but not sign contracts, a number of top flight names made news -- including Larry Hughes, who is likely bound for Cleveland -- by verbally agreeing to terms of a contract. The names you're likely to hear now include role players who will help fill team needs, rather than a superstar who can turn a club around.

The Nuggets are one such team looking for help at a position -- their backcourt -- where they believe the Clippers' Marko Jaric could provide relief. Jaric is believed to be visiting the Nuggets on Tuesday, one day after talking with the Cavaliers, however, he is a restricted free agent and the Clippers can match any offers.
-- [Rocky Mountain News]

While Jaric tests the waters, Tskitishvili has found an offer from the Timberwolves to his liking. The seven footer broke his hand in summer league play after registering 25 points and 10 rebounds in his first contest.
-- [Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Reg. req'd]

At 22 years of age, Tskitishvili has the all-important "upside." Meanwhile, NBA veteran Toni Kukoc is rumored to possibly be returning to the Chicago Bulls for the upcoming season.
-- [Chicago Tribune, Reg. req'd]

With reports of Milwaukee re-signing Michael Redd and extending an offer to the Clippers' Bobby Simmons, it's thought to be doubtful Kukoc will return to Milwaukee this season.
-- [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Also rumored to not be returning to his team is Bonzi Wells. Stories are surfacing that have the Clippers and Grizzlies talking trade. In an effort to be fair and balanced, let's get a look from both cities. We'll start in L.A.
-- [Los Angeles Times, Reg. req'd]

Here's the take from Memphis.
-- [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

The Kings are also rumored to be interested in Wells, however, it's believed any offers are held up by the possibility of landing Shareef Abdur-Rahim. As you may recall from stories over the past week or two, Abdur-Rahim is thought to be all but signed, sealed and delivered to the Nets.
-- [New York Post]

But, with no ink put to paper until the player signing moratorium is lifted, there's always a chance of a player changing his mind.
-- [Sacramento Bee, Reg. req'd]

The above names, and those rumored to have already agreed to deals, aren't the only players waiting for the moratorium to be lifted. The Times-Picayune gives us a story of more than just how to pronounce Arvydas Macijauskas, who showed up in New Orleans only to learn he's no Hornet ... yet.
-- [New Orleans Times-Picayune]

There's also no Magic happening in Orlando just yet. With the extra time before contracts can be announced, the team is not changing its approach to its search for a free agent guard.
-- [Orlando Sentinel, Reg. req'd]

I HEART THE NBA

Lakers' rookie Ronny Turiaf is the latest in a growing list of players with ticker trouble.
-- [Los Angeles Times, Reg. req'd]

Eddy Curry's pump has teams worried, but the Bulls center is prepared to play when the season opens.
-- [Chicago Sun-Times]

The Wolves' Fred Hoiberg underwent heart surgery in late June and is focused now on recovery, not basketball.
-- [Star Tribune, Reg. req'd]

Dwight Howard and Grant Hill are showing some heart to kids in Southwest Atlanta.
-- [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Reg. req'd]

FINALLY ...

Despite knowing Pistons' fans will settle for no less than a return trip to the Finals, Flip Saunders eagerly embraces his task in Detroit.
-- [ESPN.com]

HOLDING PATTERN
Posted by Jeff Dengate on July 21, 2005 12:30 p.m. ET

WADING THROUGH THE KEYWORDS

When it comes to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, you've likely heard many terms tossed around: "Moratorium" and "amnesty" are two such keywords that may cause some confusion for basketball fans.

Only the parties involved in drawing up the new agreement really know what's going into the deal, however, there have been a number of reports making the rounds to suggest guys like Michael Finley will be shown the exit through the new "amnesty" rule. Or, that the player signing "moratorium" will be extended beyond this Friday.

What does it all mean? Well, we're awaiting official word along with you, but we'll try to sort out some of the pieces with the help of our friends in the media. Ready?

In past years, teams were able to negotiate with free agents beginning July 1, however, no contracts could be signed until July 14. With the new agreement being reached in principle during The Finals and now being committed to paper, that period was extended to July 22 for this year. Now, we're hearing the deal is not finalized and tomorrow's free agent signing period is believed to be extended into sometime next week.
-- [New York Times, Reg. req'd]

That means Ray Allen won't officially return to the Sonics until the moratorium has been lifted. Likewise, Larry Hughes is still a free agent with the Wizards and Stromile Swift is still a stone's throw from Graceland. For now ...

News of the delay comes as no surprise to some, who are saying it's "no big deal."
-- [Sacramento Bee, Reg. req'd]

Big deals, however, are another issue being addressed in the new collective bargaining agreement. Reports on the new "amnesty" rule are mainly coming from Dallas and New York, where it's rumored Michael Finley and Allan Houston will be cut under a one-time allowance to help the team save cash.
-- [SportsIllustrated.com]

The loss of a Finley or Houston is not a certainty, but it sounds as though Finley in particular is preparing as though it's a likely outcome.
-- [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Reg. req'd]

The provision is expected to work like this: A luxury-tax-paying team can release a player to avoid paying additional taxes on that player's salary. Considering teams over the salary cap pay one dollar for each dollar they exceed the cap, a club like Dallas could avoid paying twice on Finley's contract.
-- [ESPN.com]

The catch: The team is still on the hook for the player's salary, which also would could against the team's cap space until the contract expires.

After a player is released, he is free to sign with another team -- we're hearing Denver has an interest in Finley -- and the player can not re-sign with his original team until his original contract expires.
-- [Denver Post]

While both of these issues have major implications on how, and when, a team will take shape, we first must await the finalized version of the Collective Bargaining Agreement to see who'll be playing where next season. Stay tuned.

CALLING THE SHOTS

With rumors of Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas soon to meet about the Knicks' head coaching position, we begin to wonder what will go down with Stephon Marbury if Brown is running the show in New York?

It's widely believed Marbury will need to change his game if he and Brown are to co-exist in Madison Square Garden. The style to which Marbury would need to conform? The way Brown played, of course. "The right way." Pass first. Play tough D. Wins are the only stat that matters to Brown.
-- [New York Post]

Brown's style doesn't always jive with Marbury's style, as evidenced last summer, when, as reports claim, Brown wanted Marbury sent home before last year's Olympics in Athens.
-- [New York Daily News]

Then again, Brown and his Finals MVP point guard, Chauncey Billups, often clashed in Detroit over the number, and quality, of shots Billups hoisted. After winning a title together, their relationship became a bit more harmonious.
-- [Kansas City Star, Reg. req'd]

But, with rumors that Marbury may be available for the right price, some scribes are thinking nothing stands in the way of Brown guiding the Knicks.
-- [Bergen Record]

HELP WANTED
Posted by Jeff Dengate on July 20, 2005 12:30 p.m. ET

MUST BE ABLE TO WORK NIGHTS, WEEKENDS

It wasn't exactly a scene from the Apprentice, but the end result was the same. Although it's unlikely Larry Brown heard a snarling "You're fired!" at the end of his show, it was clear Brown would not be returning to Donald Trump's, er, Joe Dumars' boardroom.

On Tuesday, the Pistons and Brown reached a settlement, ending the Hall of Fame coach's two-year tenure in Detroit in which he led them to back-to-back Finals appearances.
-- [Detroit News]

Whether you prefer to call it a firing, as Brown does ...
-- [Detroit News]

... or you wish to say Brown was let go, released, relieved of his duties, whatever ...
-- [NBA.com/Pistons]

... it's all just a matter of semantics, but the situation is the same: The Pistons are without a coach and Larry Brown is looking for work.

Pistons fans are familiar with the coaching search process, having weathered a number of bench changes since Chuck Daly held court during the Bad Boys' run.
-- [Detroit News]

So, before Flip Saunders' bio is prepared for the team's 2005-06 Media Guide -- most prognosticators believe Saunders is the front-runner for the job -- the city of Detroit is still trying to sort out just exactly what transpired between coach and team.

Some are thinking it was time for Larry to go.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

While others are wondering how Brown will be remembered.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

No doubt, Brown now has some options, which includes pursuing his "dream job" of coaching the Knicks.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

Or is it the Knicks who will be doing the pursuing? Isiah Thomas is sure to be knocking on the door at Brown's Long Island home this week, if he hasn't already made the visit.
-- [New York Daily News]

Brown told the New York Daily News he doesn't see himself coaching next season. He left the door open, however, saying, "But you never know."
-- [New York Daily News]

The newly-available coach is maintaining he would like to see current Knicks coach Herb Williams keep the job while Brown deals with his health issues.
-- [New York Post]

One scribe isn't buying the rhetoric, though, and is giving the Brown-Knicks marriage to take place inside two weeks.
-- [New York Newsday]

But, Larry Brown in New York could never work. Or could it?
-- [New York Times, Reg. req'd]

Regardless, it appears the dream could soon become reality for Brown, while his former team looks for new guidance.
-- [New York Newsday]

AD/DC

Yesterday we asked if Antonio Daniels was set to follow Nate McMillan to Portland. Shows what we know. Reports filtering out of Washington suggest that Daniels is likely to join the Wizards backcourt when the player movement moratorium is lifted.
-- [ESPN.com]

Daniels would join Caron Butler -- reportedly is on the trading block in exchange for Kwame Brown -- to help fill the void left by Larry Hughes, who is set to head to Cleveland.

The Cavaliers also look to be making more waves in free agency. The dailies there are reporting that Donyell Marshall is the team's most recent acquisition.
-- [Akron Beacon Journal, Reg. req'd]

Will Sarunas Jasikevicius also make a verbal pact with the Cavaliers and finally hoist a shot in the NBA? The former University of Maryland sharpshooter was best man at Zydrunas Ilgauskas' wedding. Big Z, as you'll recall, is expected to re-sign and remain in Cleveland.
-- [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

Kyle Korver and Willie Green have also apparently agreed to stick with their club, each reportedly reaching six-year deals with the Sixers.
-- [Philadelphia Inquirer, Reg. req'd]

BROWN OUT?
Posted by Jeff Dengate on July 19, 2005 12:00 p.m. ET

LARRY BROWN RUMORS HEAT UP

With talks of free agent negotiations and signings trickling in at a much slower rate than the first half of July, newspapers from Detroit to New York had a few extra column inches today to devote to the Larry Brown-Detroit Pistons saga.

The latest reports coming out of Detroit have the Pistons and the coach who led them to two straight Finals appearances working out the details for a divorce. Or as some are calling it: a buyout.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

Brown's agent, Joe Glass, acknowledged to the Detroit News there is some type of compensation talk taking place between the coach and the team, however, he says of the team's decision on the coaching matter, "If arrangements have been made, they were not mutually agreed upon." Translation: He believes Brown is being fired.
-- [Detroit News]

Glass also tells the New York Post that because Brown is being fired, he'll be free to choose where he coaches next season with no restrictions.
-- [New York Post]

That news is clearly music to the ears of Knicks fans, who have been hearing the rumors for weeks that Brown may, or may not, be roaming the Garden sidelines come October.
-- [New York Daily News]

While nothing is official in Detroit, and all reports are merely speculation at this point, it sounds as though a decision is close to being made. But how did the decision come about? Mitch Albom believes he may know why.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

And if the reports bear some truth, ESPN's Marc Stein believes he knows what is in store for all parties involved.
-- [ESPN.com]

So, if Brown is out in Detroit, who will step in to the head coaching spot? The name making the rounds and expected to be announced this week is former Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

But, the bar is set high in Detroit, where a recent run of success has resulted in four consecutive 50-win seasons under two different head coaches, highlighted by the 2004 NBA Championship. The knock on Saunders is that his teams have only gotten past the first round of the playoffs once -- although that one trip was to the Western Conference Finals in 2004.
-- [Detroit News]

Some believe Saunders is the perfect candidate for the potential opening in Detroit. The Midwestern native is known for getting along with his players while still commanding control of the team.
-- [Detroit News]

So, Brown or Saunders in Detroit? The issue is sure to be heavily debated before a decision is formally announced.

FREE AGENTS ON THE MOVE

It appears, after a lengthy wait, the Nets may be getting their man. Reports have surfaced linking New Jersey and free agent Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
-- [New York Post]

In Memphis, rookies Lawrence Roberts and Hakim Warrick look to get more time after Stromile Swift reportedly opts for Houston.
-- [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

Is Antonio Daniels considering a move to Portland, following former coach Nate McMillan? One who would benefit from such a move is Sebastian Telfair, who would be under the tutelage of his point guard coach and one of the top reserves who had his best season in 2004-05 under McMillan.
-- [The Oregonian]

Sam Dalembert, fresh off a tour of China as part of the Basketball without Borders Asia program, is exploring his options and meeting with the Hawks.
-- [Philadelphia Daily News, Reg. req'd]

MOVEMENT CONTINUES
Posted by Jeff Dengate on July 18, 2005 11:45 a.m. ET

RILEY SAYS VAN GUNDY IS HEAT COACH

When we last looked in on the latest coaching rumors, Pat Riley was swatting away reports that he would be manning the head coaching duties again in Miami this season.

This past weekend, hoping to silence the stories circulating, Riley stressed he would not dismiss Stan Van Gundy just so he could return to coaching.
-- [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Reg. req'd]

"I've already made one change," Riley stated. "Nobody talks about that. I made a change. I stepped down and moved Stan in."

Van Gundy had been Riley's top assistant for six seasons when Riley stepped aside before the 2003-04 season began, and Van Gundy slid those 18 inches down the bench.

Another long time assistant moving a few seats down to the head spot appears to be Seattle's Bob Weiss. New reports have the Sonics offering a deal to Weiss, who played all 82 games for the Sonics during their inaugural season in 1967.
-- [Tacoma News Tribune]

Weiss is the latest in a line of candidates mentioned for the opening left behind when Nate McMillan departed for Portland. Previously, the Suns' Marc Iavaroni had been rumored as a successor to McMillan, however, Iavaroni has said he will remain as an assistant in Phoenix.
-- [Arizona Republic]

Moving east, Larry Brown and the Pistons are still discussing his future with the team, according to recent reports. Brown remains confident he will return to the sidelines in Detroit.
-- [New York Post]

Herb Williams' future in New York is believed to hinge on Brown's decision in Detroit. Williams, meanwhile, is preparing for the coming season as though he will be the head coach in the Big Apple.
-- [New York Daily News]

ALL QUIET ON THE PLAYER MOVEMENT FRONT

Player movement rumors have quieted a bit as teams continue to wait out the player signing moratorium, which expires July 22.

One of the most recent stories making rounds is Antonio Daniels meeting with Jazz vice president of basketball operations Kevin O'Connor. Daniels is considered one of the best guards left on the market after reports of Ray Allen, Michael Redd and Larry Hughes all agreeing to deals, and the Suns reportedly saying they'll match any offer for Joe Johnson.
-- [The Salt Lake Tribune]

Elsewhere, are the Nets still working on a deal that would bring Abdur-Rahim to New Jersey?
-- [New York Daily News]

And, are the Timberwolves considering sending an offer in Marko Jaric's direction?
-- [Minneapolis Star Tribune, Reg. req'd]

Orlando, it seems, is intent on taking a wait-and-see attitude toward free agency.
-- [Daytona Beach News-Journal]

When signings commence, and if the rumors have been accurate, there are going to be some winners and losers in this year's free agency period.
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd]

TIP INS

Recent draftee Julius Hodge made an impression on Magic Johnson as the rookie squad beat the veterans in Magic's 20th Midsummer Night's all-star basketball game.
-- [Rocky Mountain News]

Ron Artest has slipped on a Pacers uniform in game action, averaging 21.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 31.3 minutes per contest at the Minnesota Summer League.
-- [NBA.com]

After remarking that he wouldn't come in dead last as long as Chris Webber was playing in the Tahoe Celebrity-American Championship, Charles Barkley finished second-to-last -- one spot behind Webber, who finished third from last.
-- [Philadelphia Daily News, Reg. req'd]

Will Abdur-Rahim don a Nets uniform next year?
(Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty Images)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Indiana assistant coach Dan Burke on Summer League invitees Jimmie 'Snap' Hunter and Maurice Carter:

"Guys like Snap and Mo Carter are out there making hustle plays and taking charges. And if you'll take a charge in a summer-league game, that says something about you."
-- [Pacers.com]

2004-05 ARCHIVE
July 15 -- Coaching Carousel
July 5 -- On The Move
June 28 -- Making the Grade
June 27 -- Confidence, Mate
June 7-23 -- The Finals Blog
June 3 -- Conf. Finals
May 27 -- Conf. Finals
May 20 -- Conf. Semifinals
May 13 -- Conf. Semifinals
May 5 -- Round 1
Apr. 29 -- Playoffs 2005 Begin
April 19 -- Giving It Away
April 12 -- Playoff Bound
April 5 -- Draw the Curtain
March 29 -- Battling for Position
March 22 -- Gone a Long Time?
March 15 -- Deja View
March 8 -- Top to Bottom
March 1 -- Dynamic Duos
Feb. 25 -- Much Adieu About
Feb. 16-20 -- All-Star Blog 2005
Feb. 15 -- Random House
Feb. 9 -- Reserves, Deserves
Feb. 1 -- All-Starters
Jan. 25 -- South by Southwest
Jan. 19 -- My Kind of Town
Jan. 11 -- 'S Wonderful
Jan. 4 -- Points Well Taken
Dec. 29 -- New Year's Wishes
Dec. 21 -- A Wonderful Life
Dec. 14 -- How Good is Good?
Dec. 7 -- Getting Medieval
Nov. 30 -- LeBron vs. Dwyane
Nov. 23 -- Playing Good Ball
Nov. 16 -- SuperbSonics
Nov. 9 -- Hitting the Blue Note
Nov. 3 -- Bling, Bang, Boom
2003-04 -- Archive