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CAN THEY FLY WITHOUT WINGS?
Posted by By Brad Friedman on July 7, 2006 at 1:10 p.m. ET

HAWKS RESTRICTED FROM MULTI-YEAR DEALS

In the latest chapter of the ongoing dispute between estranged Hawks part-owner Steve Belkin and the remainder of the Atlanta Hawks ownership group, a Maryland judge has ruled the Hawks are not to sign free agents to multi-year contracts or to make trades for players who have multi-year contracts.
-- [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

The ruling doesn't affect negotiations already underway, including the Hawks' agreement to sign free agent point guard Speedy Claxton, or any of the Hawks' draft picks.
-- [ESPN.com]

Atlanta is reportedly $18.2 million under the salary cap, and was in position to be a major player on the offseason market if they choose to.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

There's more to this story: by only being able to take on one-year contracts, it looks as though free agent forward Al Harrington may walk away from the Hawks without Atlanta being able to complete a sign-and-trade.

ALSO SIDELINED

The Knicks -- who've made deal after deal in the Isiah Thomas era -- will likely have a quiet summer as well. Thomas appears more focused on coaching than making trades or wooing free agents, and owner James Dolan reportedly isn't enthusiastic about adding to the team's payroll.
-- [New York Post]

Although Zeke admits to being "a little freakish" about Dolan's challenge to get the Knicks in shape or be out of a job, Thomas' goal for his 23-win team -- despite being financially handcuffed -- is to make the playoffs.
-- [New York Daily News]

Meanwhile, the Heat figure to be frugal as well, with Dwyane Wade's contract extension perhaps their only major transaction this summer. Not wanting to pay the luxary tax, don't expect the Heat to use its $5 million mid-level exception.
-- [Miami Herald]

OK, BUT WHO IS ACTIVE?

The Celtics are exercising the options on Al Jefferson, Delonte West, Sebastian Telfair, and Gerald Green
-- [The Boston Globe]

Check out this email to TrueHoop.com centered on the Nuggets' decision to quickly reach a deal with Nene, and what that agreement may mean for Kenyon Martin. The Denver Post even wrote a story on it.
-- [TrueHoop.com, Denver Post]

The Bulls reportedly are interested in Seattle restricted free agent Chris Wilcox. With much of the club's money spent on Ben Wallace this offseason, could Chicago ship recently acquired guard J.R. Smith in a sign and trade for Wilcox?
-- [Chicago Sun-Times]

Rumors are swirling around Allen Iverson and the Celtics, but Paul Pierce isn't buying it until it's a done deal.
-- [The Boston Globe]

The Wizards and restricted free agent Jared Jeffries reportedly have reached an impasse in negotiations.
-- [The Washington Times]

Toronto free agent guard Mike James, who's met with the Rockets and Timberwolves, calls the free agent process "surreal".
-- [The Toronto Star]

Minnesota free agent Marcus Banks, meanwhile, just wants to "get this over with."
-- [Las Vegas Review Journal]

MOVEMENT CONTINUES
Posted by By Jeff Dengate on July 6, 2006 at 12:45 p.m. ET

MORE REPORTED DEALS

Moratorium. A noun, as defined by Webster's: A temporary pause in activity.

The league's general managers must not be familiar that meaning of a word on the periphery of their lexicon. Instead, the word could be thought to mean: A time when no ink can be put to paper. That's because, while there's nothing official and in writing, there's been no shortage of activity.

It's important to keep in mind that none of these deals are official. They're all reported by local media outlets based on verbal agreements and statements made by the parties involved. Things can, and sometimes do, change between now and when the i's are dotted and t's crossed. After all, it was only two years ago that Carlos Boozer bolted for Utah.
-- [USA Today]

That said, the Bulls continued to make noise on the Player Movement front. GM John Paxson has made just about every move imaginable to get his team over the just-making-the-Playoffs hump.

First there was the team's moves on Draft night, acquiring Tyrus Thomas. Then, it struck in free agency by snagging Ben Wallace, as we talked about yesterday (see below).

Now the team is wheeling and dealing, shipping the last of the "Baby Bulls," Tyson Chandler, to the Hornets for P.J. Brown and J.R. Smith.
-- [New Orleans Times-Picayune, Chicago Tribune]

Chandler, apparently, is excited about the opportunity.
-- [Chicago Sun-Times]

ESPN Insider, John Hollinger, however, says the move only puts the Hornets square atop the list of this offseason's losers list.
-- [ESPN.com Insider]

While Hollinger isn't thrilled about that move for either team, the Mailman delivered to Jazz fans a more positive outlook on the team's most recent addition.
-- [Salt Lake Tribune]

Likewise, Marquis Daniels' agent, Glenn Schwartzman, delivered to his client the promising news that he would get a new opportunity in Hoosier country. Here's the take from Dallas and Indiana.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Indianapolis Star]

STAYING PUT

A number of players have found home to be just fine, thank you; No need to look to greener pastures this time around. Among those reported to be staying put:

Joel Przybilla, much to the chagrin of one San Antonio scribe.
-- [San Antonio Express-News]

The Blazers big man, however, says he likes where Portland is headed.
-- [The Oregonian]

Nene is staying is Denver and one report suggests the timing was just right for the Nugs.
-- [Denver Post]

While Nene might have commanded more from other teams, the thought could be that a knee injury limited the market value of Matt Harpring. That's just fine by the Jazz, who seems to be intent on keeping its forward around for another four seasons.
-- [Deseret Morning News]

LeBron? Uh, LeBron, you there?
-- [The Columbus Dispatch]

BIG BEN TO BULLS?
Posted by By Jeff Dengate on July 5, 2006 at 12:00 p.m. ET

WALLACE, PISTONS MOVE ON

So, there goes Big Ben ... and with him, the Pistons success? Really? Just like that?
-- [Washington Times]

Can't say I entirely agree with that. Sure, Wallace's departure is going to hurt the Pistons, but at what cost? Or, for the Pistons, I should ask, at what savings?

If the reported figures are true, the Bulls will be on the hook for $15 million a year when Wallace is into his mid-30's. That folks, constitutes a lot of bread for an undersized -- he's generously listed at 6-9; 'fro included? -- player who only produces on one end of the floor.

But, just how effective will Wallace remain a few years from now when age starts to catch up with him?

To wit, look at Wallace's stat lines since his career-best 2002-03 campaign, when he averaged 39.4 minutes, 15.4 boards and 3.15 blocks a night. Those three categories have steadily declined since then, settling at some of the lowest he's ever produced in a Pistons uniform. Last season Wallace managed only 11.3 boards and 2.21 blocks per game.

Even so, the Bulls might be thinking they got a good deal right about now, but did they overpay?

Absolutely, says John Jackson. And that's okay. It is. It really was the only way they were going to lure a player of Wallace's caliber to make Chicago a serious player in the East.
-- [Chicago Sun-Times]

So, what does that move mean for Wallace's new teammates?
-- [Chicago Tribune]

Well, it likely means Tyson Chandler probably won't be one. Talk has Chandler Oklahoma City bound.
-- [Chicago Sun-Times]

Wallace's departure to Chicago also leaves the Pistons with moves of their own to make. It's reported that the team has come to terms with Nazr Mohammed, which would cause the team to take a hit on defense, but then again, they'll still have one of the better defensive units in the league. Mohammed's addition, however, will give the team a somewhat more credible post option on offense, while eliminating the concern in tight game situations -- free-throw shooting woes.
-- [USA Today, Detroit News]

It also means Ben won't go down in Detroit sports lore with the likes of Steve Yzerman, Al Kaline, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Barry Sanders, Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars -- those players who finished their careers in the Motor City.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

Of course, the above mentioned players all began and ended their careers in Detroit. It could be said, Wallace's didn't really take off until he arrived in Detroit in 2000.

Now, it appears to be over.

And it leaves Motown with mixed reactions.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

The Hawks roster won't change that much this summer.
(David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Pistons coach Flip Saunders on Wallace's departure:

"Ben brought a lot of things for us. With him gone, we're going to have to adapt in the areas where his strengths were. In other areas, we might be better."
-- [Detroit News]

2005-06 ARCHIVE
June 27 -- Feeling A Draft
May 9 -- A Tale of Two Styles
May 5 -- The Wait Continues
April 28 -- One for the Little Guy
April 19 -- Still Mostly Cloudy
April 14 -- You Can Do Magic
April 6 -- Work to be Done
Mar. 31 -- Will Suns Rise?
Mar. 24 -- Artest Fit For A King
Mar. 17 -- Almost Doesn't Count
Mar. 10 -- A Magical Game
Mar. 3 -- Revenge of the Herds
Feb. 13 -- The Heat is On
Feb. 10 -- Left Out in the Cold
Feb. 3 -- We're Going Streaking!
Jan. 27 -- Trade Winds Blow
Jan. 23 -- Points a Plenty
Jan. 20 -- Give the King a Break
Jan. 13 -- Who's the Man?
Dec. 1 -- Welcome Back, Larry
Nov. 17 -- League Pass Surfing
Nov. 10 -- Setting OWGs Straight
Nov. 4 -- Season Underway
Oct. 27 -- The Central Is Stacked
Oct. 19 -- All Dressed Up
Oct. 14 -- LeBron Out Of Hospital
2004-05 -- Archive
2003-04 -- Archive