Still Making Moves
A pair of veterans surfaced with new teams on Wednesday as teams continue to scour the waiver wire to bring in players for training camp.
The Clippers, in need of depth at the point guard position, added Dan Dickau in what was essentially a delayed trade with the Knicks. Los Angeles sent the rights to draft choice Jared Jordan to New York on Sept. 30 for cash considerations and the Knicks waived Dickau a day later to create a roster spot for Jordan. After clearing waivers, the Clippers quickly grabbed the five-year veteran to help Sam Cassell and Brevin Knight at the point while Shaun Livingston continues his return from a knee injury.
Just days after Tony Massenburg joined the Wizards in an attempt to make the roster after a season off, 15-year NBA veteran Stacey Augmon did the same by signing with the Nuggets. Augmon, who last played with Orlando in 2005-06, was an Olympian in 1988 and the ninth pick in the 1991 NBA Draft.
Training Camp Collection
Every year before training camp, NBA rosters temporarily inflate; coaches and front office personnel frantically scour basketball's unemployment line, liberally offering short-term contracts, hoping to find an undeveloped talent, if not, ideally, an undervalued one.
Already this month, which is but two days old, 50 players have signed new contracts. Though a handful of those are re-signings, or extensions of an existing deal, a vast majority of the deals involved players who have yet to make a name for themselves in the NBA, and are being given a rare opportunity to show that they belong at the highest level. Sadly, once training camp ends, most of the newly-acquired hopefuls will be unceremoniously cut, and when they are, the logic behind their availability will be reinforced. But for the time being, many International players and D-League stars are finally getting their shot, and, more than anything, are hoping to make it.
Notable NBA Names
The Phoenix Suns arguably made the biggest acquisition of the month when they signed Brian Skinner Monday, whose presence will provide them with some frontcourt depth. But other notable transactions included the Warriors re-signing their dynamic wing Mickael Pietrus, and the Pistons exercising their option to extend forward Jason Maxiell's contract through the 2008-09 season.
The Wizards helped make history Monday when they signed the involuntarily-nomadic Tony Massenburg, who, by joining Washington, becomes the first-ever NBA player to play for 13 different teams. The previous record was 12, held by Chucky Brown. Elsewhere, since, for the second time in three years, the Suns released a funny, though otherwise-useless white center when they let Pat Burke go this summer, Golden State jumped at the chance to bring a few more laughs to their locker room when they signed the fun-loving Burke. (You can see some of Burke's work here.)
Flintstone-for-life Mateen Cleaves signed with New Jersey, and former KU star Keith Langford found a home for training camp with the NBA Champion Spurs. Andre Barrett, best known so far for figuring prominently in Seton Hall's resurgence a few years back, re-signed with Chicago, while another guard who helped put his college team on the map, Virginia Tech alum Jamon Gordon, stayed close to his alma mater and signed with the Wizards.
A few rookies got deals, too, over the past two days, some of whom were drafted, some of whom were not. The Knicks signed Marist guard Jared Jordan, who the Clippers selected with the 45th pick, before they traded his rights to New York. The Knicks signed another team's second-round draft pick Monday when they completed a deal with Syracuse scorer Demetris Nichols, who was selected 53rd by the Blazers, but traded immediately as well. The Rockets also signed their second-round pick, Purdue forward Carl Landry, and the Blazers signed undrafted dunker Brent Petway, a University of Michigan product. Petway's frontcourt mate at Michigan, Courtney Sims, also inked a deal, agreeing to terms with the Pacers.
In the past two days alone, 17 D-Leaguers have been called up, recognized for exemplifying the thrust of their league and truly developing into NBA talents. The Nets and Heat, it seems, are the two biggest believers in the D-League's ability to incubate, inviting five and six D-League alumni, respectively, to their training camps this fall. And the Kings and Rockets are not far behind; each enter training camp with four former D-Leaguers on their roster.
Milwaukee's Busy Month
Although free agency began nearly three months ago, the Milwaukee Bucks just started shaping their roster for the upcoming season.
Over the past 17 days, Milwaukee signed two free agents and its second round draft pick, re-signed a key restricted free agent, waived two players and added an assistant coach. And we can't forget about the signing of first round pick Yi Jianlian on Aug. 29.
The Bucks, who re-signed Mo Williams and signed Desmond Mason in July, strengthened their backcourt by bringing back Charlie Bell on Sept. 20. The restricted free agent, who started 64 games last season, appeared headed for Miami before Milwaukee matched the Heat's offer to retain his rights.
The Bucks also signed Ramon Sessions, a second round pick out of Nevada, on Sept. 11 before inking Royal Ivey on Sept. 18 and Michael Ruffin on Sept. 22. They named Jarinn Akana an assistant coach on Sept. 14.
To make room for the new players, Milwaukee waived Damir Markota on Sept. 7 and Lynn Greer on Sept. 24. Its roster currently sits at 16 players.
In other NBA news, Golden State signed head coach Don Nelson to a new contract, waived Sarunas Jasikevicius and signed Troy Hudson.
Nets Give Invite to Allan Houston
Allan Houston, who is attempting a return to the NBA after retiring two seasons ago due to an arthritic left knee, was offered a training camp invite by the New Jersey Nets according to several sources, after his workout in New York on Tuesday.
Houston, who will always be remembered for his game-winning running jumper against the Miami Heat in the 1999 NBA Playoffs (Watch on YouTube) and his role in the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team’s gold medal campaign, is stated to be high on several teams’ lists. The Nets, Mavericks, Cavaliers, Heat, and Spurs have all addressed interest in the two-time All-Star. A decision from Houston is expected in the next two weeks.
In other news, the Dallas Mavericks agreed to a five-year contract extension with Devin Harris. The former Wisconsin standout played a key role in the Mavericks reaching the 2006 NBA Finals and finishing with the NBA’s best record last season.
Nuggets, Sixers Complete Four-Player Deal
After nearly a month without a trade in the NBA, the Nuggets and Sixers struck a deal on Monday afternoon.
Denver, which had been pretty quiet throughout the draft and offseason, acquired Steven Hunter and Bobby Jones from Philadelphia in exchange for Reggie Evans and the draft rights to Ricky Sanchez.
“We’re very pleased with this deal,” Nuggets Vice President of Basketball Operations Mark Warkentien said. “Steven is an athletic, seven-foot big man; a Mile High runner that can block shots. We think his presence will provide us with a more balanced roster."
“We are excited to add Reggie Evans to our roster," said Sixers President Billy King. "He is an accomplished rebounder that we feel will make an immediate impact and will exemplify our commitment to hard work, rebounding and defense,”
The New Jersey Nets, meanwhile, signed free agent veteran forward Malik Allen.
K-Mart Cashes In
The Kings didn't waste much time before locking up Kevin Martin after a breakthrough 2006-07 season. Martin, who finished second in the voting for Most Improved Player after averaging 20.2 points a game in his third season, agreed to terms with Sacramento on an extension on Tuesday. He is expected to sign the contract soon.
"We're really excited to reach an agreement in principle with Kevin," said Kings President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie said. "We expect to finalize the contract in the very near future. He's one of the most exciting young players in the NBA. We look forward to watching him play for many years to come."
C's Add a Champion
After learning that Reggie Miller would remain retired and not return to play for the Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge went in another direction and agreed to sign defensive specialist James Posey to a two-year deal.
The eight-year veteran, who averaged 7.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for the Miami Heat during the 2006-07 season, was a central piece for Miami during its championship run in 2005-06. He shared the sixth man role with Antoine Walker the past two seasons.
Posey joins a stacked list of Celtic acquisitions this summer, which have included Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Scot Pollard, and Eddie House.
The Heat, meanwhile, are currently exploring the market for other options to replace Posey and Gary Payton, who Miami announced it would not re-sign. With Dwyane Wade expected to miss the first month of the season while rehabbing his shoulder, Pat Riley will likely add another veteran before training camp opens.
The Knick Killer Will Remain Retired
After working out and evaluating his physical condition for the past several weeks, the NBA’s all-time leading 3-point shooter, Reggie Miller, (2,560 total threes made) told The Indianapolis Star he has decided to remain retired and not return to play in the NBA.
Unlike some of the other greats, including Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, who have come out of retirement “The Knick Killer” concluded that he was not mentally ready to grind through an entire season.
Although Miller would have been an enormous addition for the Boston Celtics, especially after acquiring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett this off-season, Doc Rivers still has a formidable championship contender brewing in Beantown.
Allan Houston, meanwhile, is very excited about the prospect of returning to the NBA. Although Knick fans will always remember H2O for his first-round series-winning running jumper against the Miami Heat in 1999, recurring knee injuries forced the two-time All-Star to retire in 2005. The Akron Beacon Journal recently reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers are eyeing Houston to fill their needs for a consistent perimeter player.
A Flurry of Activity
While many eyes are still focused on whether Reggie Miller will give in to temptation and return to the court, three teams made under the radar moves on Thursday that could have significant impacts on their teams this season.
The Memphis Grizzlies, who already have second-year guard Kyle Lowry and drafted Mike Conley in the first round just a few months ago, added another point guard to the mix by acquiring the rights to combo guard Juan Carlos Navarro from the Wizards in exchange for a future first-round draft choice. Navarro was originally drafted by Washington in the second round of the 2002 Draft. The 6-foot-3 Navarro, who helped Spain to the 2006 FIBA World Championship and starred for FC Barcelona, will be reunited with fellow Spaniard Pau Gasol in Memphis.
While the Grizzlies are trying to regroup after a 22-win campaign, a pair of teams with championship aspirations each added a veteran piece to their bench.
The defending champion Spurs signed swingman Ime Udoka, who started 75 games for the Trail Blazers last season. The former D-League player averaged 8.4 points and led Portland in three-point shooting last season.
The Pistons also strengthened their bench with the addition of Jarvis Hayes. Hayes, who spent his first four
seasons with the Wizards, played in 81 games last season - starting 17 - and has averaged 8.9 points a game in his four-year career.
Say It Ain't So, Reggie!
That seems to be the prevailing sentiment among many Pacers' fans yesterday and today after news that the current TNT analyst is pondering hanging up the mic for one last chance at a ring.
Actually, it was my own thought, too, when I first heard the news. After all, two years ago I wrote the story that Reggie's playing career was dead and he was moving on to the next, less athletic, phase of life.
Then again, I guess you don't have to be the most fit player in the league to come in for 15 minutes a night, run from one arc to the other and spot up for open triples, a job for which the 42-year-old Miller certainly qualifies.
But, just because the World Wide Leader is reporting the possibility, some Pacers fans, like those over at Indy Cornrows, aren't taking the comeback too seriously, reading into Miller's comments:
"I'm always flattered when my name is mentioned as someone who can still help an NBA team win a championship," Miller said Wednesday in a statement relayed to The Associated Press by the TNT network. "I've had limited discussions with Celtics management about their roster and a potential role for me. At this time, I'm enjoying my role as an analyst with TNT."
Celtics fans, meanwhile, are living life in the fast lane
, trying to wrap their heads around all of the offseason shuffling their team has done and figure out if their team really has a shot at banner No. 17.
I'd say it's a little too early to declare them league champs, but it's never too early to consider just how much improved the C's are after shaking up the roster. Jeff Lenchiner at Inside Hoops (via Celtics Blog) valued the team at a conservative No. 9 in his latest offseason power rankings. Not bad considering the team finished the season at No. 29, as they did in our final rankings on NBA.com.
For more on the Celtics and reports on Reggie Miller's future, click on over to Celtics Blog, which has a solid listing of the day's links.
Does Jermaine O'Neal want to be traded?
Or does he not?
Or does he?
People are confused.
Maybe he wants to go to L.A.? Or maybe find a new jersey in New Jersey?
Regardless, Larry Bird says he's going to keep doing what he's doing, and if that includes sending O'Neal to another team, then that's what happens.
(Major props to Pacers.com's Conrad Brunner for being all over this story.)
Pacers fans, however, have been less than pleased with the request.
Meanwhile, the Mavs nabbed Eddie Jones, and continue to cast their lonely eyes toward C-Webb.
Finally, the Celtics added height to their front line with Scot Pollard, who hasn't played more than 49 games in three years.
Barnes Happy to Remain a True Warrior
For the first time in his career, Matt Barnes will play for the same team in consecutive seasons. After jumping around from franchise to franchise in his first three years in the league, including stops with the Clippers, Kings, 76ers (twice, although did not play in his first stint with Philadelphia due to a knee injury) and Knicks, the UCLA alumnus will again suit up for the Golden State Warriors after signing a one-year deal on Monday.
Barnes, who averaged 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game for the Warriors during the 2006-07 regular season, proved significant in Golden State’s historic upset over the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. The four-year pro and former D-League standout nearly racked up a triple-double in the series-clinching Game 6 triumph with 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
The Warriors, who on draft night acquired lottery draft pick Brandan Wright from the Charlotte Bobcats for Jason Richardson, are expected to be much improved in the frontcourt. With the emergence of Andris Biedrins last season and further developments from Patrick O’Bryant and Al Harrington, Golden State will be a force to be reckoned with in 2007-08.
KG Goes to the Hub
'Tis official. The Minnesota TImberwolves send Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics for five players, two first round picks and the lease to Faneuil Hall.
We're kidding about the last one, though the Celtics did send the most personnel for one player in NBA history, a five-to-one swap. Throw in those two draft picks, and we're talking seven guys for one former NBA MVP and a 10-time All-Star.
As for reaction? You can scope it here.
Here We Go Again
Are the Celtics close to forming a triple-headed monster of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen? Multiple media outlets, including FOX Sports.com, are reporting that Boston is close to acquiring Garnett from Minnesota and that the deal could be done within 48 hours.
According to reports, the Timberwolves would acquire young big man Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff's contract and possibly other players as well in exchange for the 10-time All-Star. The move, in addition to the draft-day trade that sent Allen to Boston, would immediately make the Celtcs contenders in the East.
Stay tuned for more updates.
Hornets Reload with Peterson
Just days after losing Desmond Mason to the Milwaukee Bucks, the New Orleans Hornets signed free agent Morris Peterson.
Peterson is the same age as Mason and has similar career stats, 12.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, and should be a nice fit for a squad that fell just a few games short of making the playoffs. If the guard/forward can match his statistics in 2005-06, where he averaged just under 17 points and five rebounds per game, Peterson could be just what the Hornets need to push them to the next level.
With the loss of Mo Pete, the Raptors lose the longest-tenured player in franchise history and the squad's all-time leading scorer.
Other signings that occurred today included Antonio McDyess signing an extension with the Detroit Pistons and Travis Deiner signing with the Indiana Pacers. One of the better sixth men in the game today, McDyess decided not to opt out of his contract but rather to stay with the team he has been with for the past three seasons.
Deiner, the former second-round pick of the Magic, holds a career mark of 3.8 points per game. During his years in college at Marquette, the guard averaged over 15 points and five assists per game.
We Meet Again
After signing Jake Voskuhl to a one-year contract on Friday, the Milwaukee Bucks added former NBA Slam Dunk champion Desmond Mason to their roster on Monday. The seven-year pro signed a multi-year deal with the team he played for from 2003-05.
Mason, who averaged 13.7 points and 4.6 rebounds a game this past season with the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, is expected to fit in very well with a young and talented Bucks squad.
Milwaukee, which early in the 2006-07 campaign won eight straight and appeared likely to be a playoff contender, faded after the All-Star break due to several injuries. Team USA participant Michael Redd missed 28 games with a left knee injury and a strained left patellar tendon, while Charlie Villanueva sat out the final 18 games with right shoulder tendinitis.
During his first stint with the Bucks, Mason was a fan favorite. He came to Milwaukee as part of a blockbuster trade in ’03 that brought him and Gary Payton to the “Cheese State.”
Expect the Bucks, who likely will start Andrew Bogut, Villanueva, Mason, Redd and Mo Williams, to quickly become a threat in the Eastern Conference.
Welcome to The Emerald City
After spending the last two seasons in Phoenix, Kurt Thomas will now join a loaded frontcourt, with the likes of Nick Collison, Chris Wilcox and newcomer sensation Kevin Durant, in Seattle after the Suns traded the 12-year pro to the Sonics on Friday morning.
The Sonics also received 2008 and 2010 first-round draft picks, while the Suns claim a conditional 2009 second-round pick and a trade exception.
Thomas, 34, averaged 4.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 18.0 minutes in 67 games (13 starts) with the Suns last season.
The Return of the Franchise
BRRRRRRRRRRRReakin': The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Steve Francis has opted to return to Houston. (Hat tip to AOL Sports Fanhouse for this one... And maybe we need to change the poll...)
"For Just One Dollar More, You Can Get a Large..."
Are we there yet?
Or more specifically, have all the free agents found a team yet? No?
Just take a quick scan of the more marquee names still moving, still looking for a seat in this game of NBA musical chairs: Steve Francis, Chris Webber, Desmond Mason, P.J. Brown, Gary Payton. (And when we say marquee, we're talking about old-time single-theater marquees when movie houses were named Bijou, Majestic, Alahambra. Why? Because every dude in that group, save Dez-Mase is old -- plus-30, and Mason turns 30 in October.)
Anyway, you can let us know who you think the best free agent of the rest is. You can go out to the lobby (NBA.com home page) and cast your vote. No, it doesn't count for anything, but go and vote. And while you're out there get me some Raisinets, please. I'll get you back later.
Meanwhile, it looks as if Francis has narrowed his choices to two: Miami and, well, they really don't say, but the Clippers, the Rockets and the Mavs have been in the mix.
In other point guard news, really now. Can you see Stephon Marbury in Italy? I think it would be a hoot.
In the Second City, they shored up their front line by re-signing Andres Nocioni and signing the oft-signed Joe Smith.
Could Memphis hold a Barnes raising?
Jamaal Magloire says he's tough. The Nets will find out next season.
One Orlando writer prints his wish list for the Magic.
Finally, ESPN.com has the skinny on the Milwaukee Bucks (reported) signing we've (or some) have all been waiting for!
A Busy Tuesday Evening
Two former D-Leaguers, a veteran big man and an Argentinian superstar secured homes on Tuesday afternoon.
Just a few months removed from the NBA D-League, restricted free agent Kelenna Azubuike has locked down a future with the Golden State Warriors. Azubuike, the first GATORADE Call-Up of the 2006-07 season, re-signed with Golden State after appearing in 41 games as a rookie with the Warriors.
Meanwhile, 2004-05 NBA D-League Most Valuable Player Matt Carroll has also decided to rejoin the team that gave him a future in the NBA. Carroll, who became an unrestricted free agent on July 1, re-signed with Charlotte after wrapping up his third season with the team.
Just four days after losing unrestricted free agent center Mikki Moore to the Kings, New Jersey quickly turned to a veteran big man to fill its frontcourt void by inking Jamaal Magloire to a one-year deal. "My only objective is to enhance and make things better (in New Jersey)." Magloire said in a conference call on Tuesday. "I am a scorer and a rebounder."
The Houston Rockets also filled a hole in their frontcourt on Tuesday by signing one of Europe's top players. Luis Scola, a native of Argentina who was drafted by the Spurs in the second round of the 2002 draft, signed a contract with the Rockets. The deal will become effective following the buyout of his contract with the Spanish team Tau Ceramica of the Euroleague.
Moore, Blake Finally Cashing In
Former NBA D-League blue-collar worker Mikki Moore
and the Sacramento Kings reached an agreement
. The nine-year veteran registered career highs by averaging 9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds, including .609% from the field, and started 55 games. In addition, he posted 14.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Moore was productive the entire season as he displayed low post scoring ability, tenacity on defense and swift footwork on the blocks. By earning this payday, he creates opportunities for other D-League hopefuls.
Steve Blake, a four-year veteran out of the University of Maryland, decided to sign with the Portland Trail Blazers. Blake, who was a member their of the 2005-06 roster, flourished with the Nuggets as he averaged 8.3 ppg and 6.6 apg during the final 49 games of the season.
On another note, the Orlando Magic signed center Dwight Howard, a 2006-07 All-NBA Third Team member, to a contract extension. In this year's NBA Playoffs, Howard, who became the fourth player in Magic history to earn All-NBA honors (Shaquille O’Neal, Anfernee Hardaway, Tracy McGrady), recorded 15.8 ppg, 14.8 rpg, 1.8 apg and 1.00 bpg.
Luke Walton also re-upped with his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers. Walton is a four-year veteran and has the second longest tenured on the current roster behind Kobe Bryant. Derek Fisher will sign with the Lakers after he clears waivers. Fisher, who was a member of the Lakers dynasty that won three straight NBA championships with L.A, agreed in principle to a three-year, $14-million contract.
Lastly, the New Orleans Hornets will finally get Morris Peterson, after they agreed to a four-year deal. The Hornets signed Peterson to an offer sheet in 2004, but the Toronto Raptors eventually matched the offer. The Raptors chose to head in another direction this time around with the acquisitions of Jason Kapono and Carlos Delfino.
Carter, Stackhouse Re-sign With Teams
and Jason Kidd
have been quite the duo the past few years. These two will continue to give other teams fits as teammates as eight-time All-Star Vince Carter
has re-signed with the Nets for four years
Twelve-year pro Jerry Stackhouse has also decided to stay put, re-signing with the Dallas Mavericks. Terms of the deal were undisclosed. This will be his four season with the squad after being traded from the Wizards along with Christian Laettner and the draft rights to Devin Harris for Antawn Jamison and cash considerations on June 24, 2004.
A Day Later, Who's Left?
Funny how things work out, huh?
Four short years ago, Memphis missed out in the lottery for the top overall pick in the Draft and had to give up their No. 2 selection to the Pistons as final payment in a trade made years before. Detroit picked Darko Milicic, who really never found the success -- though he does have a championship ring -- of other 2003 Draftees, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.
Now, after a year-and-a-half stopover in Orlando, the Grizzlies end up with Milicic on their roster after all.
Milicic isn't the only Magic player on the move, as the free agency signing period officially got underway. Grant Hill, the often-injured former All-Star, will look for a ring of his own with the Phoenix Suns this season.
Meanwhile, Orlando wasted no time using up its available cash by landing arguably the summer's highest-profile free agent, Rashard Lewis.
The other elite name out there, Chauncey Billups, returned to his current squad, the Pistons, as did Bobcats swingman Gerald Wallace.
So, who's left?
There are plenty of names with the restricted and unrestricted designation, but a few notables are being linked with clubs, while others figure to fall in line as the summer winds on.
One of the biggest names not inked to a contract is Vince Carter. But before any GMs try to get Vinsanity on the horn, understand he's really off the market, too; only a matter of miles has held up an official signing.
Working the phones, though, is Bulls' GM John Paxson, who's looking for some additional help up front now that Argentine Andres Nocioni is set to return for five more years.
A free agent big man not mentioned in the above article is Jamaal Magloire, who could be New Jersey bound.
Across the Hudson River, could Isiah Thomas be eyeing Steve Blake as a successor for Stephon Marbury?
Blake is but one of the many point guards still looking for work. Milwaukee's Mo Williams could be making a move to South Beach. If not there, then maybe just south of Milwaukee.
But don't count out a return to the Bucks.
While Williams basically has his options, Golden State's Matt Barnes future address seems less certain.
Barnes was quoted in the Sacramento Bee, saying he hadn't received the offers he'd hoped after a successful season with the Warriors.
But, as free agency continues, Barnes and a number of others should continue to field respectable offers for their services. As they do, we'll continue to keep an eye on all the movement and rumors.
Report: Darko's a Grizzly, Wallace Still a Bobcat
It appears that Darko Milicic
is headed to Memphis, while Gerald Wallace
is staying put in Charlotte.
After the Magic recently waived Milicic to make cap room to acquire Rashard Lewis, the free agent center has agreed in principle to a three-year deal with the Grizzlies, according to ESPN.com.
Meanwhile, the Charlotte Observer reports that Wallace has agreed to a new contract with the Bobcats. According to the source, the deal is expected to keep Wallace in Charlotte for six more seasons.
The Moratorium Has Been Lifted!
It's official. The salary cap, tax level and mid-level exception have been set for the 2007-08 season and have been announced
. NBA free agents can now sign on the dotted line. Check back here throughout the day and for the rest of the summer for the latest deals.
Less Than 12 Hours To Go
Like all dreams, well, I'm afraid this can't last forever. You have only until midnight, and...
Midnight? Oh, thank you...
Oh, now, now, just a minute. You must understand, my dear: At the stroke of twelve, the spell will be broken, and everything will be as it was before.
Forgive me. Cinderella is all my daughter wants to watch these days, so when thinking about the moratorium (a.k.a. "the spell") ending at midnight tonight, the above dialogue is the first thing that comes to my mind.
Of course, things won't be as they were before when the moratorium ends. (And they weren't really in the movie either. The Grand Duke came to Cinderella's house the next morning, Cinderella put the glass slipper on her foot, and all of her dreams came true, as she went from rags to riches.)
Speaking of riches, Rashard Lewis is ready to cash in, but the Magic and Sonics are trying to work out a deal that can benefit all parties.
Rather than just signing Lewis, the Magic would like to make a sign-and-trade deal, in order to free up some cap room to bring Darko Milicic back. Of course, Darko is also pursuing other options himself.
The Bulls will sign Andres Nocioni, but that's it for now.
Not surprisingly, point guards are of great importance to coaches in this league, as evidenced by Mo Williams being the only free agent Pat Riley has spoken to so far and George Karl's words about Steve Blake.
Of course, Riley's got some competition for Williams, and money may be the issue.
It's also what could keep Mikki Moore and Ime Udoka from resigning with the Nets and Blazers respectively.
The Raptors may be looking at another former Euroleaguer.
And now Ron Artest is happy to be a King.
Well, it's actually 12:01 a.m. ET on Wednesday.
That's when the NBA's 10 day moratorium is lifted and teams may resume signing contracts.
It's the "Gentlemen, (re)start your engines" moment that we've been waiting for since the flurry of trades went down on Draft night on June 28.
So, what should we expect to happen? Which players will switch jerseys faster than Madonna switches musical genres come Wednesday? Let's look to the links:
What do Darko Milicic, Anderson Varejao and Mikki Moore all have in common? Not goofy hair since Darko got rid of his frosted tips. No, the common trait that these three big men share is a mutal interest in them by the Memphis Grizzlies.
It looks like there will be no mo' Mo Pete in Toronto after the forward out of Michigan State spent the first seven years of his career north of the border, making the Dan Majerle transition from inside dunker to outside shooter. The question remains, however: Will it be the Jazz or the Hornets for Peterson?
He only averaged 3.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals in the Mavericks' historic first-round loss to the Warriors, but despite those numbers it appears that Dallas is bringing back Devean George. In that same article the rest of the Mavs' options are explored:
The Mavs still have cards to play in free agency. They have the mid-level exception, expected to be valued at about $6 million, and a $1.83 million exception. Both exceptions can be used to sign one or more players.
Free agents still on the Mavs' radar include Gerald Wallace (Charlotte), P.J. Brown (Chicago), James Posey (Miami), Matt Barnes (Golden State) and possibly Mickael Pietrus (Golden State).
Reaching The Finals was nice, but in order for Cleveland to continue to stay near the top of the basketball universe is to retain talent. Mike Popovich of the Canton Repository reports on all the ins and outs of the salary cap that GM Danny Ferry is surely studying closely.
Ron Artest, a New York Knick? We can't make this stuff up, folks.
Just because Maurice Williams listens to music from the Miami Vice soundtrack, does that mean he wants to join the Heat? Williams' agent, Mark Bartelstein, described his client's meeting with Miami coach Pat Riley as "productive."
If the Lakers end up acquiring Kevin Garnett, at least one writer is ready to give all the credit for the move to none other than Kobe "the truest competitor" Bryant.
And finally, Peter May of the Boston Globe still wants the Celtics to make a run at Andrei Kirilenko.
Some other teams have signed their new draft picks. The Houston Rockets signed the No. 26 pick of this past draft, Oregon point guard Aaron Brooks, to a guaranteed two-year deal.
Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns have signed the No. 29 pick from the draft, Alando Tucker, to a guaranteed two-year deal as well. Tucker was a First-Team All-American forward and Big 10 Player of the Year at Wisconsin.
The Abridged Sunday Click
The Sunday Click is a weekly trip around the web to see what NBA columnists are writing.
With most of the writers taking some well-deserved time off, there's just a few links to link to today...
Scott Howard-Cooper of the Sacramento Bee says the free agent market dried up fast ...
Just like that, it was over before it seemingly had started, a free-agent derby all but finished a week into bidding in a yawning outcome. And then everyone had to find another way to kill time before the next Kevin Garnett trade rumor.
-- Read More
But David Aldridge of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that Sixers fans should not get anxious, and that the team should take advantage of its competitors salary situations next year ...
You are forgiven if you don't see light at the end of the 76ers' tunnel.
Their draft has potential, which may pay off in time but usually gets incumbent coaches fired. Nor are they in any position to go after meaningful free agents.
Yet the first week of free agency - the negotiating period began last Sunday - hasn't gone all that badly from the Sixers' perspective.
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And Sekou Smith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes a look at five players with Atlanta ties who are in a new position thanks to the activity of the last couple of weeks ...
With the 2007 NBA draft, add former Georgia Tech stars Thaddeus Young (Philadelphia) and Javaris Crittenton (Los Angeles Lakers) to the contingent of players with local ties. Here's a look at how the fortunes of five area players have been altered over the past 10 days through the draft and free agency.
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Mr. Big Shot Stays in Detroit
The Pistons made sure one of the premier free agents didn't stay on the market much longer when they signed point guard and former Finals MVP, Chauncey Billups, to a five-year deal that is reportedly worth $60.5 million. The Pistons hold the fifth year of the contract as an option, making Billups the highest-paid player on the Pistons' payroll.
In other news, the Golden State Warriors inked forward Brandan Wright, the No. 8 draft pick out of North Carolina two a two-year contract that has an option for two more years. It has been rumored that Wright may be traded, and the Warriors signing Wright leaves that option available, since no draft picks can be traded for 30 days.
Also, the Utah Jazz have signed Rice University's Morris Almond, the No. 25 pick of this year's draft. Almond, who was third in the nation in scoring last season, hopes to bring some scoring punch to Utah's shooting guard position.
Contrary to the name of this article, many players have decided to stay put and sign some contracts. Headlining the names of players who are going to suit up with the team that holds their rights is the Mavs' Jerry Stackhouse. The super sixth man secured a three-year deal that both sides said is valued at more than the mid-level exception ($6 million annually).
Meanwhile, the Sacramento Kings inked center Spencer Hawes, the No. 10 draft pick out of Washington. They also signed undrafted guard Mustafa Shakur out of Arizona. Lastly, the Detroit Pistons have signed their two first-round draft picks, Rodney Stuckey (No. 15) and Arron Afflalo (No. 27), for at least the next two seasons.
Entry Sponsored by the Letter "H": Hill, Humidity, Heat
ESPN.com reports that Grant Hill has agreed to exchange the mid-90s and high humidity summers of Orlando for 110-plus degree Phoenix summers.
("It's a dry heat!" they say. I say, "So is an oven. You don't see me jumping into one..." But I digress.)
And this headline should be obvious to anyone who watched the Cavaliers struggle through the Finals: Offense a priority for Cavs. Let's hope so.
Meanwhile, in the Crescent City, the Hornets are what they are.
That Rashard Lewis guy? He could have helped super rookie Kevin Durant make the transition from playing against the boys to playing against the men.
Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel tells Heat fans who have been begging their squad to make some free agent moves to shut their key lime pie holes.
The Grizzlies like Andres Nocioni, so says the Chicago Sun-Times. (By the way, if you click this link in time and look at the masthead, the Sun-Times says the weather in Chicago is "Glorious.")
Some players have secured their futures for the time being. Matt Carroll, a 3-point specialist with the Bobcats last season, agreed to a six-year deal with Charlotte on Wednesday. Although interest was reported by other teams, Carroll will sign with the Bobcats because six years was the maximum length that could be afforded under the current contractual system.
In other news, the Indiana Pacers added some depth in their backcourt by agreeing to a deal with Kareem Rush, formerly of the Bobcats. Rush spent last season playing in Lithuania and has four other years of experience playing in the NBA.
Rashard to Hold the Keys to the Magic Kingdom?
If the NBA.com bat phone rings after 2 a.m. during the free-agency moratorium, it usually means something big just (reportedly) went down. Consider this latest case no different.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein is reporting that Rashard Lewis, perhaps the most sought-after prize among this year's free agents, has agreed in principle to leave the Seattle Sonics and join the Orlando Magic.
Of course, as we all know by now, this is not a done deal, as teams are prohibited from officially signing players until July 11. Expect more on this story once the sun comes up.
Free Rangin' on the Web
As you can see below some teams wasted no time agreeing in principle to deals with various free agents.
Meanwhile, SI.com's Marty Burns wasted no time being bored with the whole thing already. Couldn't we even wait 'til Wednesday?
Never fear. His compatriot, Paul Forrester, breaks down the teams that could be big players.
Anyway, the L.A. Times reports the Clippers could be interested in a "Franchise" player if said player becomes a free agent. Whether you believe the Clippers are what this headline says, well, that's up to you.
In Central Florida, they're wondering if they should charge up that Hill again.
Heading south to South Beach, one writer says the Heat can't continue to drag their feet in the sand, especially with Jason Kapono bolting Miami for Toronto. A question for all: When's the last time someone flew North for the winter?
Speaking of the North, in this case the Pacific Northwest, even if Rashard Lewis were to re-sign with the Sonics, who would coach him? The Sonics are working on that.
The Knicks' Isiah Thomas also made an overture to Lewis.
So have the Magic.
Could the Mavs win the heart of Gerald Wallace?
Will the Bucks throw mo' money at Mo Williams?
The Pistons have opened the phone lines to talk to Chauncey.
Francisco Oberto looks as if he's staying put.
And finally, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News said (or at least the headline does) that free agency rules "favor the home team." Good. That's the way it should be.
Reports: Carter, Kapono, and Walton Reach Agreements
Within the first 24 hours of free agency, it's reported that Vince Carter, Jason Kapono and Luke Walton have already reached agreements.
However, deals will not be official until July 11 when the moratorium on free-agent signings expires.
A day after the Nets announced Carter had opted out of the final year of a contract, The Newark Star Ledger reported Sunday that the 10-year forward will remain in New Jersey after reaching a contract agreement with the Nets.
ESPN's Chris Sheridan reports that Walton will stay in Los Angeles after receiving a call from Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak one minute after midnight to express the team's interest in retaining him.
ESPN also reported Sunday that Kapono will become the first free agent to change cities after reaching an agreement to leave the Miami Heat for the Toronto Raptors.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, meanwhile, reports that Sonics general manager Sam Presti sat down with free agent Rashard Lewis in Houston, his hometown, on Sunday. The nine-year pro opted out of his original seven-year deal that he signed in 2003 to become an unrestricted free agent.
In addition to Seattle, Orlando, Miami, and Houston have all stated to have interest in the former All-Star forward.
Reports: Talks Continue In K.G. Trade
A quick look this morning at the rosters for the Timberwolves and Lakers showed no changes, which can only mean that the team that once played in Minneapolis and the city's current resident have not struck a deal to move a superstar.
It seems that while the teams are talking, there are fewer parties involved than what some reports had stated.
Out of the picture is Boston.
Maybe the Celtcis didn't like what they'd receive under such a scenario?
That makes O'Neal the latest in a string of All-Star caliber players that reportedly have not been too keen on the green.
So, the two teams are left to hammer out a deal on their own.
Is it worth it for the Timberwolves to trade K.G.? One writer looks at the pros and cons for the organization.
All that aside, pulling off such a deal will be no easy task. But anything is possible.
More player movement news making the dailies, bullet style:
Are the Suns about to trade up in Thursday's Draft?
Chauncey Billups made it official: he's going to test the waters.
The Raptors don't even have a Draft pick, yet they might before it's all over.
Jose Calderon isn't being shopped, but that's no guarantee he'll remain on the Raptors' roster.
Gar-Not Going To Beantown
Maybe you've heard by now, but reports have it that K.G. pretty much told the city of Boston, "thanks but no thanks."
That news wasn't all bad for everybody in Beantown, though, as not everybody there was rolling out the welcome mat.
But, if there was a deal in place, as it sounds like there was, and Garnett basically turned it down, that can only mean one thing, right? That K.G.'s days in Minnesota are numbered.
So, if not Boston, then where does the Big Ticket go?
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Phoenix is his top destination.
When the question was posed to his agent Andy Miller, however, the response was: "Too early. Ask me in two days."
The Chicago Tribune's Sam Smith answered one fan's question about whether Garnett would "voluntarily" go to the Windy City:
"I actually doubt it," Smith replied in his mailbag. "I still think he'd like to end up in L.A., where he lives. I'm guessing he's had enough of winters and great lakes."
So, let's turn our attention back to Phoenix and, in particular, why that might not be so likely.
Aside from the fact that any realistic scenario seems to include Amare Stoudemire, there also appears to be a matter of money.
That, according to Jerry Brown over at the East Valley Tribune, could be too high a figure for the Suns ownership to swallow.
Another possibility is that Shawn Marion -- one of the players believed by some most likely to be traded this summer -- could be packaged in a deal. But, as the couple articles above state, he could essentially squish any deals if he doesn't like the destination. Apparently Marion could opt out of his contract next summer, meaning a team would give up an awful lot for what could amount to a one-year rental of the Matrix. Hardly an ideal situation.
So, what have we learned from this whole situation?
Well, Garnett and Boston's No. 5 pick can be had if the price is right.
Admit it, you don't know your Bird Rights from your MLE, right? Then check out this Q&A with Orlando's GM Otis Smith and Scott Herring, the team's VP of Basketball Administration, for a primer on many of the terms you will hear thrown around during this offseason.
Now that the 2007 NBA Championship has been determined, we here at NBA.com are turning our attention to what may come to be known as the summer of indecision, helping you wade through the myriad possibilities that may arise with free agency, trades and the NBA Draft.
Will he stay or will he go?
Yes, I'm referring to Kobe Bryant
Is he being shopped or not?
Is he going to be the No. 1 pick? Or will it be the other guy?
Greg Oden and Kevin Durant
More than likely, that last question is going to be answered first, when Commissioner Stern calls out the name of Portland's top Draft pick on June 28.
Those others ... well, they might not be answered any time soon, if ever.
After all, the principals involved might not know what they want, as ESPN's Marc Stein reminded us two days ago:
"You undoubtedly haven't forgotten Kobe's whirlwind media tour May 30, during which he flopped back and forth between asking to be traded and hoping to retire a Laker in a daylong stream of interviews."
But this week, amid the dustup over the now infamous cellphone video clip, the Lakers' message remains that they "will continue to pursue every avenue possible to improve our team with (Bryant) as the cornerstone."
And it seems the media isn't even sure which team to speculate about a possible trade. Will it be Chicago? Phoenix? Why not New York?
Meanwhile, some are saying KG could be headed to Boston.
The Celtics say they've talked about a possible swap.
The Wolves, on the other hand, say they weren't so much talking as they were listening ...
... Like they have in the past.
So, it sounds like there's a lot of talk but nobody's saying anything. Portland's new GM Kevin Pritchard fits in just fine then. Pritchard has held his hand close to his chest since his team won the Draft Lottery, saying all the right things about both Oden and Durant, thus far.
Yesterday he had a little more to say about the Ohio State big man after working him out in Portland.
"We've watched tons of film on this kid, so we know who he is basketball-wise," Pritchard was quoted by The Oregonian. "And it was really refreshing to see a kid say, 'I know I can do better in this workout.' He is a kid who is tough on himself, and I like that about him."
That alone doesn't mean the boss is sold on building his franchise around him just yet, though.
"I expect Kevin Durant to come in here and be an assassin," Pritchard said. "I think he is going to come in here, show everybody what he can do, and he is going to try and prove to us that he is the No. 1 pick. We like what we saw from Greg, but we are going to keep an open mind throughout the process."
Will the decision ultimately come down to a fan vote?
Right, doubtful ...
Regardless, the Sonics aren't faced with such a decision; they simply opt for whichever player is left on the board five minutes into the Draft.
Your team not in a position to make a play at one of the aforementioned players? Well then, have a look at the available free agents out there as well as the contract and free agent status of your own team and get talking about what your team needs to do this summer.
We'll keep following the latest on trades and player movement, once teams and players can put ink to contract. There's an NBA mandated moratorium, where contracts can be negotiated but not be signed, between July 1 and 10.
So, keep checking back for all the latest on the offseason's player movement.