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NBA: June 29, 2005

Posted: Wednesday June 29, 2005 11:09AM; Updated: Wednesday June 29, 2005 11:37AM
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Eddy Curry
Eddy Curry's big-name friend could have an impact on his future.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

LeBron James is said to have befriended Eddy Curry and is pushing the Cavaliers to sign him as a free agent instead of Zydrunas Ilgauskas. One of those close to James, a shadowy figure around the NBA these days known as Wes, has grown close to Curry.
--Chicago Tribune

Stromile Swift could be high on their shopping list for that spot. Dawson has coveted swingman Donyell Marshall, who remains a productive player. The Rockets are entering free agency knowing only that Yao and Tracy McGrady will be in the starting lineup on opening night.
--Houston Chronicle

The Bulls will have about a $5 million starting salary to build a deal for a free agent, which might be enough to attract Michael Finley if the Mavericks release him, as expected. It might be enough to get Portland's Shareef Abdur-Rahim, anxious to find a playoff team after never making the postseason. Maybe Antonio Daniels, a Seattle free-agent combo guard, or athletic Stromile Swift from Memphis, an unrestricted free agent.
--Chicago Tribune

The festivities officially started when executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge stepped to the podium for a draft preview. Ainge silenced the crowd by joking he had traded Tony Allen for the No. 2 pick. Allen wasn't sure what to make of the announcement. After a couple of moments, Ainge finally said, ''I'm just messing with you. Sometimes our guys get too full of themselves."
--Boston Globe

Multiple NBA sources are saying the Milwaukee Bucks have been ''vigorously'' pursuing Doug Collins for a ''prominent'' role in the team's basketball operations.
--Chicago Sun-Times

[Larry]Brown added, "I want to be fair, but I really want to coach here. Joe [Dumars] told me my health is the most important thing and that he wants me here, so let's hope I can do this." Brown was also asked about the interest Knicks president Isiah Thomas has expressed in him. "I am close with Isiah, but I am coaching here," he said. "I've said over and over what my goal was and it hasn't changed. I can't see myself at this particular time coaching anybody else."
--Detroit News

Less than an hour after the draft, the Mavs had signed Michael Harris from Rice and Rawle Marshall from Oakland (Mich.) University to their summer league team. "There are no Marquis Daniels promises, but we're hoping we can get a couple of guys into summer camp," Nelson said.
--Dallas Morning News

If Raymond Felton was a lock, Sean May was no given. Having gone small with the fifth pick, the Bobcats wanted to go big with the 13th pick, and their first option, sources say, was Connecticut forward Charlie Villanueva. [Bernie] Bickerstaff was surprised when the Toronto Raptors took Villanueva just two picks after Felton.
--Charlotte Observer

Just last week, General Manager Mitch Kupchak said it was unlikely the Lakers would take a high school player, but there [Andrew] Bynum was, still available at No. 10, and there the Lakers were, delighted he had fallen that far, and Bynum will arrive in Los Angeles as early as today.
--Los Angeles Times

"We think we've got a great chance to fill the holes on our team with guys that are more proven, veteran players," [Mike] Dunleavy said. "It's not an exact science, but in doing our homework, as far as where guys could fit in and the type of team we have and who's out there and who's available, that's what we're saying." Among the shooting guards due to become free agents Friday are Ray Allen, Michael Redd, Larry Hughes and Cuttino Mobley.
--Los Angeles Times

Isiah Thomas is expected to use the Knicks' $5million mid-level exception to sign a free-agent center, probably Washington's Kwame Brown or Seattle's Jerome James. Of course, there is a possibility that [Channing] Frye and Mike Sweetney will be the team's starting center and power forward, respectively.
--New York Daily News

The Blazers were thought to be contemplating between Martell Webster and Houston high school shooting guard Gerald Green, who many rated above Webster athletically. But in the end, Webster's personality, maturity and polished demeanor could have swayed the vote.
--The Oregonian

The Sonics reportedly considered trading back in the draft with Portland and were looking at 7-2 Lithuanian center Martynas Andriuskevicius and 7-1 Serbia & Montenegro center Mile Ilic. Both were chosen in the second round.
--Seattle Times

Nate McMillan declined to discuss where the negotiations stand. He said he has been focused on the draft, but was aware of a report speculating that Portland owner Paul Allen was willing to give him twice what the Sonics are offering: a four-year, $18 million contract.
--Seattle Times