Latest free agency news, rumors
The 2010 NBA free agency period began at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 with players allowed to officially sign with teams on July 8. Here's all the latest news and rumors to keep you up to speed with this summer's elite free-agent class.
LEE HEADED TO WEST COAST: The Warriors have acquired David Lee in a sign-and-trade deal with the Knicks, according to FanHouse. Lee, a free agent on July 1, has agreed to a six-year contract worth approximately $79 million. In return, the Knicks garner Kelenna Azubuike, Ronny Turiaf and 2008 first-round pick Anthony Randolph. [Fanhouse]
BOSH S&T: The Houston Rockets, Charlotte Bobcats, Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors have discussed a deal that would send Chris Bosh -- who on Thursday orally agreed to join the Heat -- to Miami by way of a sign-and-trade, guaranteeing Bosh the sixth year on his deal that he has coveted, a source familiar with the discussions told SI.com.
The framework of the deal would send Bosh to Miami, Jared Jeffries and Michael Beasley to Charlotte, Tyson Chandler to Houston and a fill in player from Houston to Toronto. The teams continue to negotiate but the source warned that the deal was "unlikely to happen" at this time.
-- Chris Mannix
HAYWOOD RE-UPS WITH MAVS: The Mavericks agreed to a six-year, $55 million deal with center Brendan Haywood, SI.com has confirmed. Haywood was traded to Dallas at the February trade deadline last season and averaged 8.1 points, 7.4 boards and 2.0 blocks in 28 games for the Mavs.
As, perhaps, the top center on the market this free-agent season, Haywood also drew interest from Miami and Cleveland. [Chris Mannix, SI.com]
HARRINGTON LOOKING: Free agent Knicks forward Al Harrington has interest in Utah, New Jersey, Orlando and the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources told SI.com. Harrington is also interested in returning to the Knicks but it is unclear whether the interest by New York, which recently signed Amar'e Stoudemire, is mutual.
-- Chris Mannix
MIAMI TROIKA?: As first reported by Newsday's Alan Hahn and followed by ESPN's Chris Broussard, LeBron James is leaning toward Miami, where he would join fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. @alanhahn, @Chris_Broussard]
HEAT'S O'NEAL IN TALKS: Former All-Star center Jermaine O'Neal is in discussions with Boston, Dallas and Denver, a source familiar with the talks told SI.com. Multiple sources stress that no deal for O'Neal is considered imminent with each team evaluating what O'Neal, 31, can still offer. Sources say any offer for O'Neal will be for two seasons at close to the $5.8 million mid-level exception. [Chris Mannix]
BULLS GET THEIR MAN: The Bulls have reached an agreement with free-agent power forward Carlos Boozer. The deal is for five years and $80 million, SI.com has confirmed. The deal was first reported by ESPN. [Chris Mannix]
DOES BOOZER HOLD KEY TO LBJ'S HEART? With rumors swirling that LeBron James may find teaming with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami impossible to resist, a handful of LeBron suitors have turned their attention to Carlos Boozer, reports ESPN's Chad Ford. "Sources said that on Wednesday, the Bulls, Cavs and Nets all intensified negotiations with Boozer, hoping that landing the 28-year-old power forward could entice LeBron." [ESPN]
KD HAPPY IN OKC: It appears not every potential superstar free agent needs to make a spectacle of a job search. At least not Kevin Durant, who tweeted: "Extension for 5 more years wit the #thunder." See how east it can be, LeBron. [@KDthunderup]
BOSH TO MIAMI: Chris Bosh has agreed to play alongside Dwyane Wade in Miami, SI.com has confirmed. It's unclear if Bosh has accepted a $125 million offer through a sign-and-trade with the Raptors, or if he's taken a $96 million maximum contract outright. The two are expected to announce their decisions later today.
-- Ian Thomsen
FELTON IN LIMBO: With the Bobcats apparently showing little interest in re-signing point guard Raymond Felton, the Heat, Knicks and Nets all are eyeing the five-year veteran, reports Yahoo!'s Marc Spears via Twitter. Unfortunately for Felton, none of those teams will firm up plans to meet or make an offer until the Big 3 decide their own fates. [@SpearsNBAYahoo]
HEAT DEALING? As Miami anxiously awaits Dwyane Wade's decision, Pat Riley and Co. have been busy on the phone, talking with the Mavericks for Brendan Haywood and the Jazz for Carlos Boozer, reports the Dallas Morning News. The Heat are said to be talking about sending Michael Beasley and perhaps Jermaine O'Neal to Dallas for Haywood or simply O'Neal to the Jazz for Boozer. [Dallas Morning News]
BOWER BOWS OUT: Hornets GM Jeff Bower has taken himself out of the Nets GM search, according to the Big Easy Buzz Blog, an official blog of the Hornets. After interviewing for the post in recent days, Bower released a statement that said the Nets post "is not the right fit for the Nets or myself." Guess $18 billion in assets doesn't buy what it used to. [Big Easy Buzz Blog]
CAVS LOVE BOSH: DOES HE LOVE THEM?
The Cavaliers and LeBron James are working to convince Chris Bosh to make Cleveland his new home, reports ESPN's Chris Broussard. The Raptors reportedly have told the Cavs they are open to a sign-and-trade for their free-agent superstar, who has made no secret of his desire to get a max contract. But ... Bosh also has made it clear he prefers to play in Chicago, Miami or the New York area. Before anyone breaks put the champagne in Cleveland, though, the AP's Tom Withers tweets that reports of a deal are "very premature" and that no players have been discussed. [ESPN via Twitter] [@twithersAP]
MELO INCHING TOWARD NEW DEAL? Not so fast, Amar'e Stoudemire. Even as the Knicks' newest addition lobbies for him, Carmelo Anthony is close to accepting a three-year, $65 million extension from the Nuggets, an NBA source tells the Denver Post. But the Post also reports Anthony may not be in a rush with his wedding to attend this Saturday and a host of free-agent moves still to come. While Anthony has said Denver "has pieces," the Nuggets' playoff ouster prompted him to add, "they definitely need to add something, definitely." [Denver Post]
DUHON FALLS UP: After all but being shoved out the door in New York, Chris Duhon has found employment with the Magic, agreeing to a four-year, $15 million deal with Dwight Howard and the Magic, reports ESPN's Chad Ford. Not a bad haul for someone who shot 37.3 percent last season. [ESPN via Twitter]
PROKHOROV'S VISIONS OF MIAMI: After meeting with this summer's Big 3 free agents, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov assessed the landscape for his club in a conference call, writes Chris Broussard of ESPN. While he mused that he believes the Nets have a great shot at acquiring LeBron James, the Nets mulit-billionaire felt strongest in his belief that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would end up playing together in Miami. That doesn't mean LeBron wouldn't join them, but that he would diminish his brand if he did. [ESPN]
SHAQ MULLING HAWKS OFFER: Apparently, the Hawks are still shopping. After getting Joe Johnson to agree to their $119 million max offer, the team has drawn interest from free agent center Shaquille O'Neal, who, according to FanHouse.com, is seriously considering a two-year deal that starts at the mid-level exception of $5.8 million.
Shaq played 53 games, averaging 12 points and 6.7 boards for the Cavaliers last season, which came to a surprisingly quick end for Cleveland in the second round of the playoffs. "I think he wants to see how everything shakes out with all the free agents, but he's seriously considering Atlanta's offer," a source told FanHouse. "He wants to play two more years, and he wants it to be with a contender. He thinks he can help them become a serious one.''
The Hawks have been looking for a stronger presence in the post, and they could transition Al Horford to power forward if O'Neal takes over down low. The Hawks have also been looking into trading power forward Josh Smith, according to sources around the league. [FanHouse]
NUGGETS VOW TO KEEP 'MELO: Carmelo Anthony will be in Denver next season, no matter what. At least, that's what ESPN.com's Chris Broussard is reporting. A Nuggets official told Broussard that "There is no way we are trading Carmelo Anthony. We're 100 percent certain of that."
The Nuggets have offered Anthony a three-year, $65 million extension that would keep him in Denver through 2015. And though he's eligible to opt out of his contract and become a free agent after next season, a new collective bargaining agreement will be in place, meaning he could end up walking away from tens of millions of dollars. And that is why the Nuggets are confident their star will stay. He has until July 1, 2011 to accept. [ESPN.com]
AMAR'E AGREES: Stoudemire has agreed to a deal with the Knicks, SI.com has learned.
RAPS NEARING DEAL?: While the Raptors wait for Chris Bosh to make a decision, the team has reportedly become "close" to reaching an agreement in principle with a free for some, if not all, of its mid-level exception. Names were not given, but the Toronto Star said Matt Barnes, Ronnie Brewer, Shannon Brown and J.J. Redick could be potential targets. [Toronto Star]
LEE COULD BE TOP SIDEKICK: Free agent forward David Lee has a drawn a lot of interest from teams, especially the Timberwolves. Lee spent all of Saturday in Minnesota and, according to the New York Post, the Knicks have received sign-and-trade offers of Al Jefferson from the 'Wolves and Monta Ellis from the Warriors.
Depending on who else New York gets in free agency, the team may be open to a sign-and-trade with Lee, but it would have to maintain his Bird rights with a salary cap hold of $10.5 million, and the salaries of both Jefferson ($13 million) and Ellis ($11 million) exceed Lee's cap hold. So, as NBA.com's John Schumann explains, Lee's best opportunity would be to play for a team that lands one of the big three free agents: LeBron, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. [NBA.com]
NETS EYE REPLACEMENTS FOR THORN: While the Nets await LeBron's decision, they've tried to land a replacement for team president Rod Thorn, who is resigning July 15. And according to the Bergen Record and Yahoo! Sports, Thorn and Nets coach Avery Johnson met with Pistons president joe Dumars and Hornets GM Jeff Bower on Saturday. Thunder GM Sam Presti is also on New Jersey's shortlist of candidates.
Dumars was named the league's Executive of the Year in 2003, and led the Pistons to six straight Conference Finals, two NBA Finals and a 2004 title. Bower helped lead the Hornets to a franchise-best 56 wins in 2008 after they posted just 18 victories three years prior.
The Nets, who got a new owner, new coach and will soon get a new home, have $30 million to spend in free agency and are considered among the top contenders to land big names like LeBron, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Thorn's situation was one of the team's biggest drawbacks, but if it can get a new president in place, Mikhail Prokhorov's club may have an ever bigger advantage over others in the Free Agent Sweepstakes. [Bergen Record, Yahoo!]
WADE RETURNS TO MIAMI: Dwyane Wade returned home Monday morning after a string of free-agent meetings in Chicago over the weekend. The Heat leaked his travel plans overnight and told fans to show up at 8 a.m. to welcome the star back home, but the plan didn't work out as hoped.
Wade became aware of the gathering ... after he left Miami International Airport. For the hundreds of Heat fans that got up early to greet Wade -- wrong time, wrong place, no party at the airport. [AP]
AGENTS: JOHNSON TAKES HAWKS' OFFER: Joe Johnson has agreed to the Hawks' six-year, nearly-$120 million offer on Sunday, his agent Arn Tellem confirmed in a blog post at Huffington Post. Once the deal is officially signed, on July 8, the Hawks will have about $63 million in on the books for 10 players next season. Johnson was hesitant on taking the Hawks up on the offer when it was presented last week, and there was speculation he was interested in playing for a big market team, like the Bulls or Knicks. But according to Tellem:
"When the free-agency period kicked in, Joe made a point of talking to the Hawks first. Their owners and new coach, Larry Drew, impressed Joe with their commitment to making the team championship-caliber. In turn, Joe felt equally committed to the Hawks, his teammates and the city of Atlanta.
"With all his success, Joe remains as grounded as he was a decade ago at our first meeting in Little Rock. His priorities are his family, his friends and his game. Joe could have forced a sign-and-trade deal for five years with another team, but he decided that winning in Atlanta would be more meaningful. When the Hawks offered the maximum -- six years -- he happily reciprocated.
"For his next act, Joe plans to actively recruit other top free agents to Atlanta, a place not unlike his hometown, where he feels comfortable and appreciated." [Huffington Post]
DIRK STAYING IN DALLAS: Dirk Nowtizki has agreed to stay in Dallas, his adviser Holger Geschwindner confirmed to The AP late Saturday night. The deal was first reported by ESPN and is worth nearly $80 million over four years -- $16 million less than the maximum Nowitzki was eligible to receive and probably would have received if he had stayed on the market. [ESPN]
AMAR'E ON RECRUITING TRAIL: Amar'e Stoudemire is close to finalizing a five-year deal with the Knicks, and the All-Star forward told the Daily News that he's close to convincing another big name to join him in New York.
"I've talked to Carmelo Anthony that he needs to come out here," said Stoudemire during his visit to the Big Apple on Saturday. "I've talked to Tony Parker. Both guys are ready to join me if I decide to come here. So we will see if we can work it out."
Stoudemire took in a Broadway play Saturday evening and met with coach Mike D'Antoni for brunch on Sunday before heading to the Bronx for the Yankees-Blue Jays game. Talks reportedly went well -- he and D'Antoni weren't on the greatest terms in Phoenix -- and a deal would be in place by Monday. [NY Daily News]
CELTICS MAKING MOVES?: According to the Boston Herald, the Celtics are intrested in trading for Portland's Rudy Fernandez and Phoenix's Leandro Barbarso. The C's would likely use Rasheed Wallace's contract to get Barbosa, who is set to earn $7.1 million next season and has a player option worth $7.6 million for 2011-12. Wallace is due $6.3 million, meaning the arrangement would work under the NBA's mid-level exception rules. Fernandez is set to earn $1.2 million in 2010-11 with a player option for $2.2 million the following season. But while the Celtics have added new names to their radar, center Brad Miller still ranks high on their list and the team continues to pursue the big man.
Boston is still trying to retain sharpshooter Ray Allen, but unlike Paul Pierce, who agreed to a deal at the start of free agency, Allen seems more inclined to explore his options on the market. [Boston Herald]
WADE TO DECIDE NEXT WEEK: After meeting with the Knicks, Nets, Heat and twice with the Bulls, Dwyane Wade said he hopes to announce his decision next week. "I've got a decision to make, and I've got a weekend to think about it," Wade told Chicago's NBC-Channel 5. "Hopefully, at the beginning of next week sometime, I'll make that decision."
All the teams he met with have an enough cap space to get two max free agents, with Miami in a position to bring on two max players to work alongside Wade.
The All-Star said he had "very interesting" meetings with his Bulls and said the idea of playing for his hometown intrigues him. But as Ian Thomsen point out, Wade's second meeting with Chicago officials could have been for various reasons, not necessarily about his future with the team. And if he does decide to leave Miami for Chicago, it would mean Heat president Pat Riley misread his star player, which is doubtful. [AP, SI.com]
BYE, BYE SIGN-AND-TRADE?: If Chris Bosh wants out of Toronto, he'll have to make it happen on his own -- and at a discount. The Raptors won't engage in a sign-and-trade to help the free agent forward land a maximum contract elsewhere, reports ESPN.com's J.A. Adande. As the "home" team, the Raptors can offer Bosh $125.5 million over six years, while rival teams could only offer max deals worth $96.1 million over five years.
If this is true, a possible move to Houston will have to be thrown out since the Rockets don't have enough cap space to get Bosh outright. Same goes for those three-way partnerships with LeBron and Dwyane Wade, which hinged on a Bosh sign-and-trade. [ESPN]
KNICKS MOVE ON TO MILLER: As Joe Johnson moves closer to agreeing to the Hawks' max offer, the Knicks have turned their focus to Mike Miller, according to the New York Daily News' Frank Isola. The team feels the Washington guard is a strong alternative to Johnson, and the Knicks hope to get a verbal agreement from him and Amar'e Stoudemire sometime over the next three days. [NY Daily News]
BLAZERS TARGET MASON: The Trail Blazers are interested in free agent guard Roger Mason, according to the Oregonian. "We've talked quite a bit,'' Mason's agent, Mark Bartelstein said. "There are ongoing conversations.''
The 6-foot-5 former San Antonio Spur had his best season in 2008-09 but his stats dropped off last season because of a hand injury. Bartelstein said nearly a dozen teams have taken an interest to Mason. The Blazers, meanwhile, have also shown interest in guards Jordan Farmar, Wesley Matthews and Chris Quinn, as well as forward Louis Admundson. [Oregonian]
WOLVES EYE LEE: All-Star forward David Lee is meeting with the Timberwolves on Saturday, but team officials will have to make their pitch quick, according to Marc Spears. The free agent -- who could become the top power forward on the market once Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer agree to deals -- has already met with the Heat and Bulls and is scheduled to sit down with the Nets.
Lee's meeting with the Wolves could be further proof that Al Jefferson's time in Minnesota is quickly expiring.
The Knicks have also reportedly discussed using Lee in a sign-and-trade to get Spurs point guard Tony Parker. [Yahoo! Sports]
AMAR'E'S SIDEKICK: The Knicks are thisclose to securing Amar'e Stoudemire to a five-year deal, and now the team is targeting Spurs point guard Tony Parker, reports the New York Daily News. Stoudemire spent much of Friday trying to convince another All-Star to join him in the Big Apple, and while Joe Johnson has been thrown out there, the team is seriously considering making a trade for Parker -- a trade that may include David Lee.
Other point guards who have drawn the Knicks' interest are Chris Paul, Raymond Felton and Luke Ridnour. Wilson Chandler and Eddy Curry could be used as trade pieces, and if the latter is dealt, a deal for Dallas center Brendan Haywood could become the Knicks' top priority. [NY Daily News]
STOUDEMIRE, JOHNSON REUNION UNLIKELY: Amar'e Stoudemire will arrive in New York Saturday night and will meet on Sunday with Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, his former coach with the Suns, according to Ian Thomsen. If the Knicks can convince him to agree to their five-year max offer, they can then work to add another player to join him. The biggest name to come up in that case is Joe Johnson, who's been hesitant about agreeing to the Hawks' maximum offer because he would like to reunite with his former Phoenix teammate, Stoudemire. But joining Stoudemire in New York would require Johnson taking a paycut. Don't expect that to happen. [Ian Thomsen]
WADE 'SERIOUS' ABOUT CHICAGO: Dwyane Wade and his agent met with the Chicago Bulls for the second time on Friday night and sources say Wade is "seriously considering" a max offer to join the Bulls, sources told SI.com.
While Heat owner Micky Arison and president Pat Riley have been in Cleveland courting LeBron James, Wade has been traversing the country taking meetings with the Bulls and Knicks. Friday night, Wade and Chris Bosh met with Bulls at agent Henry Thomas' office in Chicago. Bosh, who is also represented by Thomas, is believed to be another top target for Chicago, which has about $30 million in available cap space. While it has long been assumed that Wade would re-sign with the Heat -- and be joined in Miami by a top free agent -- the Bulls' interest has cast some doubt over Wade's commitment to remain in Miami.
-- Chris Mannix
BULLS KEEPING BUSY: In addition to meeting with Dwyane Wade for a second straight day, Chicago also met with a slew of power forwards on Friday: Utah's Carlos Boozer, New York's David Lee and Toronto's Chris Bosh. To top that, the Bulls have a scheduled meeting with The King on Saturday. [AP]
LAKERS INK BLAKE: With Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar's future with the team unclear, the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to terms with veteran point guard Steve Blake on a four-year, $16 million deal Friday. The pass-first floor general played with the Clippers and Blazers last season and should provide a boost to the team's backcourt. [LA Times]
AMAR'E, KNICKS CLOSE: After spurning the latest offer from the Suns, Stoudemire appears to be working toward a move to New York. As Ian Thomsen confirmed, the Knicks have an offer on the table for at least five years and $100 million to the All-Star forward. According to the New York Times' Howard Beck, Stoudemire could meet with the team in New York as soon as Sunday to finalize the deal. [SI.com, NY Times]
HAWKS CLOSING IN ON JOHNSON: Joe Johnson and the Hawks are finalizing the details on a six-year, $119 million deal and it's expected to be completed soon, a source told Yahoo! Sports. Hawks GM Rick Sund reportedly received the green light to offer the All-Star guard a max contract. [Yahoo!]
BUCKS FINALIZE DEAL WITH SALMONS
Free agent guard John Salmons has verbally agreed to a five-year, $40 million deal with the Bucks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski. The agreement will include incentives for another $5 million with the Bucks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski. . [ESPN]
MAVS OFFER NOWITZKI THE MAX
Mavs president Donnie Nelson met with Dirk Nowitzki's advisor, Holger Geschwindner, Friday morning in Dallas, where Nelson was expected to offer the former MVP a deal for $96 million over four years, reported Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com. The offer is the most the Mavs can offer Nowitzki, whom the team hopes it can meet with and finalize the deal with on Saturday. [ESPNDallas.com]
WILL SLOW AND STEADY WIN CHILDRESS?
Should the Hawks' pursuit of Johnson be successful, Atlanta likely won't have the money to match any offers restricted free agent Josh Childress receives. And if that is the case, writes the Washington Post's Michael Lee, the Wizards appear to have a strong interest in adding the swingman, who has spent the last two years playing in Greece. "He was among the players the Wizards considered taking in 2004 before dealing the fifth pick to Dallas in a trade for Antawn Jamison," writes Lee. "President Ernie Grunfeld was in Paris for the EuroLeague Final Four and watch[ed] Childress and former All-Met player Linas Kleiza lose to Ricky Rubio and Juan Carlos Navarro of Barcelona in the championship game. Recently, new Wizards owner Ted Leonsis wrote in his blog that Washington "will be the tortoise" in rebuilding, but with Childress perhaps an easy target, Washington might be unable to resist a step or two ahead of pace. [Washington Post]
WARRICK IN, STOUDEMIRE OUT?: Hakim Warrick agreed to a four-year, $18 million deal with forward Hakim Warrick, sources told Yahoo! Sports. Warrick spent last season with the Bucks and Bulls, averaging 9.6 points on 48.2 percent shooting, his lowest marks since his rookie season in 2005-06 with Memphis.
The deal for Warrick may hint toward Amar'e Stoudemire leaving. The team's talks with their All-Star forward stalled as Stoudemire's agent, Happy Walters, told the Suns that his client isn't ready to commit. Phoenix made a last-minute proposal to Stoudemire, offering him a max contract with the first three years worth nearly $71 million guaranteed. Incentives for possible fourth and fifth seasons were offered, but were put in place out of concerns over Stoudemire's previous eye and knee injuries.[Yahoo! Sports]
PIERCE TO STAY A CELTIC: Paul Pierce agreed to a four-year, $61 million deal with the Celtics, according to the Boston Herald. Only the first three years of the contract will be fully guaranteed, with a mutual options for the fourth year. Pierce last week opted out of the final of year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent, and though the terms of his new deal weren't immediately available, the Herald claims his 2010-11 salary will be significantly less than the $21.5 million he was scheduled to get. [Boston Herald]
JEFFERSON EXPLAINED: Richard Jefferson's decision to leave $15 million on the table by opting out of the final year of his contract with San Antonio puzzled a lot of people around the league. But there may be a method to Jefferson's perceived madness.
Sources close to Jefferson say that while the veteran forward understands how much risk is involved in leaving such a staggering amount of money on the table, Jefferson, 30, believes he can recoup that money by signing a long-term contract with another team this summer. Sources say Jefferson believes that if he stayed with the San Antonio, where he averaged 12.3 points per game last season, the lowest output since his rookie year, for the final year of his contract he would have decreased his value even more heading into a likely lockout year in 2011.
While Jefferson is open to returning to the Spurs, sources say he would like the opportunity to return to the New York area. Jefferson played seven seasons with the New Jersey Nets.
-- Chris Mannix