This morning's headlines:
- Report: Rose, Bucks expected to talk again
- Reports: Pelicans in pursuit of Rondo
- Bradley sees 'perfect situation' in Detroit
Report: Rose, Bucks expected to have second meeting -- Early in the free agency wooing period, there was talk of a meeting between former Kia MVP Derrick Rose and the Milwaukee Bucks. As the free-agent market is starting to dry up a bit, it seems Rose and the Bucks are set to talk again, per Chris Haynes of ESPN.com:
Representatives for free-agent point guard Derrick Rose and officials from the Milwaukee Bucks are in discussions to schedule a meeting as early as this weekend, league sources told ESPN.
Once a date is finalized, the meeting is expected to occur in Los Angeles, sources said.
The two sides have already met once during free agency to discuss pairing Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP, with the Bucks' nucleus of rising star Giannis Antetokounmpo, sharpshooter Khris Middleton and Rookie of the Year recipient Malcolm Brogdon.
The main obstacle on an agreement to relocate to Milwaukee has been compensation.
Milwaukee is approximately $1.6 million over the tax. The Bucks have $7.6 million of the full mid-level exception available but can use only $4.4 million to sign a free agent. Exceeding a salary of $4.4 million would trigger the NBA hard cap and restrict the Bucks from exceeding salaries of $125.2 million. Currently, Milwaukee has a payroll of $120.7 million. In order to make a more lucrative proposition, the Bucks have to shed salary via a trade.
Big man John Henson could be a prime trade candidate.
There is mutual interest and motivation from both sides on finding the 6-11 center a new home, league sources tell ESPN. Henson, a shot-blocking specialist, has three years and $32 million remaining on his contract.
Reports: Pelicans, Rondo discussing deal -- It didn't take the New Orleans Pelicans long at all to re-sign incumbent starting point guard Jrue Holiday to a deal in free agency. Now that he's locked up, the Pelicans are searching for his backup and have eyes for veteran Rajon Rondo. Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate has more on the talks, which were first reported by ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe:
Team representatives met with free agent point guard Rajon Rondo on Thursday morning in Louisville, Kentucky, ESPN reported. League sources confirmed the meeting to The Advocate — which involved Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry and general manager Dell Demps — and indicated it “went great."
It’s still unclear whether the nine-year veteran has come to an agreement with the team, but it’s clear the Pelicans are targeting a point guard to pair with Jrue Holiday, whom New Orleans signed to a five-year, $126 million contract this month.
This comes less than a day after the Pelicans were linked to Detroit point guard Reggie Jackson in potential trade talks, according to media reports.
Rondo is a four-time All-Star and a four-time member of the NBA’s All-Defensive team, but he hasn’t played to All-Star levels since the 2012-13 campaign. He has played for four teams over the past three seasons, including last year’s stint with the Chicago Bulls, with whom he averaged 8.8 points, 6.7 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 69 games.
But Rondo’s lauded passing, driving and defensive skills could mesh alongside the offensively aggressive Holiday, whom the Pelicans have expressed an interest in playing more at shooting guard.
Financially, it’s not clear how Rondo would fit. It would take a significant pay cut from his $14 million salary of last year to get him onto a Pelicans roster that is operating over the salary cap but under the luxury tax.
And, if he is indeed the Pelicans’ most sought-after point guard, New Orleans would still need to persuade him to come. ESPN reported the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in signing Rondo to a one-year deal.
Pistons expecting a lot from new addition Bradley -- The Boston Celtics' rise over the past few seasons from scrappy, young team to No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference wouldn't have happened without Avery Bradley. Yet as Boston aims to take its next step with new addition Gordon Hayward, the Celtics had to part with Bradley to create the salary cap room they needed for Hayward. Bradley was introduced in Detroit yesterday and Rod Beard of The Detroit News has more on the guard's new team and opportunity ahead:
For both Van Gundy and Bradley, it was time for a change, and Bradley is bringing that mindset with him to help become one of the leaders on and off the court for the Pistons.
“There were a lot people who would have been sad but it was an amazing feeling for me. It was a new chapter for me and a great opportunity to play with a lot of great players like Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond,” Bradley said. “Not only that, but to play for someone like coach Stan. I understand he is an amazing coach.
“I always wanted to play for someone like him, who always hold you accountable and pushes you — not to take anything away from Brad Stevens or Doc Rivers. Those are two great coaches, but this is a coach who is able to push me every single day and help me reach my full potential.”
Paired with Reggie Jackson — who flew from California to Detroit for the news conference — Van Gundy is anticipating an upgrade with his guard tandem, after they parted ways with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who went to the Los Angeles Lakers this week.
“With these two, we have one of the best backcourts in the league and we’ll be expecting a lot out of Avery on the offensive end of the floor,” Van Gundy said. “He can guard either guard position and we’re looking forward to his play on the court, his leadership and welcoming him and his family here to Detroit.”
It’s a time of change for Bradley, who said he hasn’t visited the city of Detroit, but got his first look on Thursday. He rushed back home to be with his wife, who is expected their third child in the coming days.
He’s smiling at the opportunity with the Pistons and the chance to bring a new attitude to the team with his energy and enthusiasm.
He said he sees it as an opportunity to improve himself and grow as a player, all in a different setting.
“I told my wife the other day: it’s perfect timing. We’re rebuilding our team and the city is rebuilding at the same time,” he said. “It’s perfect. We couldn’t have asked for more perfect timing or a more perfect situation.
“It’s our chance to help the city be excited about Detroit basketball, because in the near future, we have a chance to be a very good team.”
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