Free agency roundup: It’s bedlam out there

We know what you are thinking: OMG! TMI! WTF?

There is so much news out there regarding free agents and potential trades, it is nearly impossible to keep up with it all.

No problem. This morning, we will bring you a rundown of what’s going on with roughly one-third of the NBA’s player population either unsigned, potentially on the move or suspiciously quiet.

So let’s have at it:

Dwight Howard: That sound you hear is crickets — an odd silence. During the late stages of the lockout, Howard’s camp would not allow reporters from the Orlando Sentinel to cover his charity game, because he does not want to hear the inevitable question: Are you planning to stay or go? ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported early todaywhat Mark Heisler reported here eight days ago: The Lakers are trying to acquire BOTH Howard and Chris Paul. Heisler, meanwhile, updated the scenario in yesterday’s column on this site and later sent out a tweet: BYNUM + LAMAR = CP3: Insiders say CP3 is likelier to move. Trade protects Lakes against Drew injury, can still offer Pau for Dwight whenever.

Chris Paul: ESPN.com reports that the Clippers, Warriors, Rockets and Hawks have shown the most interest in trading for Paul, according to sources briefed on the talks. The Clippers and Warriors are the Hornets’ preferred trade partners, but both California teams have hesitations because they want to be sure that Paul is committed to stay. Yahoo Sports says a Pau Gasol-Chris Paul trade would not be enough to satisfy the Hornets.

Nene: The Brazilian big man has emerged as the No. 1 free agent — with a caveat. Teams that want to take a shot at acquiring Dwight Howard, such as the New Jersey Nets, have Nene as their fallback target. If the Howard situation remains murky when training camps are due to open Friday, it exacerbates the confusion. Former AP colleague Aaron Lopez, now with Nuggets.com, tweeted:  (George) Karl on potentially losing Nene: “Would I jump off the bridge? I’d probably get mad for a day and then get excited the rest of the time.” Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports Larry Bird is flying to Denver to meet with Nene today.

Jamal Crawford: Sam Amick of SI.com reports: A source close to the 12-year veteran guard said he was contacted on Monday by Indiana, Atlanta, New Jersey, Minnesota, Phoenix, Chicago, and Orlando. The Bulls and Magic are believed to be interested in signing Crawford via sign-and-trade, as they are over the salary cap and would only be able to offer the midlevel exception (a four-year deal starting at $5 million). When asked on Sunday who was leading the pack for Crawford’s services, the source named, in order, New Orleans, Phoenix, Chicago, Atlanta, New Jersey, and Indiana.

Tyson Chandler: It is sounding more and more as though the Mavs would not be crushed if they lose their starting center to a team that is going to overpay him. The fallback is moving Ian Mahinmi into the starting five, ahead of leading amnesty candidate Brendan Haywood. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com says the Mavericks are considering hoarding cap space for a run at Deron Williams, offering him a chance to play in his hometown.

Deron Williams: The former Besiktas point guard went on WFAN radio in New York yesterday and said he is “sure” Howard would re-sign with the team for its move to Brooklyn if the Nets were able to acquire him in a trade. On the prospect of signing with the Knicks as a free agent, Williams said: “That would be very unlikely,” adding that there was a 90 percent chance he stays with the franchise. But later, in speaking with the team’s beat writers, Williams acknowledged the Mavericks were a free agency possibility. “I want to win a championship. I’m not interested in being part of a five-year rebuilding process, but I don’t think that’s what the Nets want to do either,” he said.

Grant Hill: The New York Knicks have been told they are “definitely in the hunt.” That is the word from Marc Berman and Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. SI.com’s Amick reports: While Hill himself has said the chances are good that he’ll return to Phoenix, he has narrowed his list down to the Suns, Knicks, Bulls and Spurs with the Warriors, Celtics and Clippers trailing.

Shane Battier: He was the runner-up for Sean Flanery’s Tweet of the Day in the wake of a report that Battier’s list still includes Miami, San Antonio, Indiana, Toronto, Memphis, Boston and his former Memphis team. Oklahoma City has also had discussions with either Battier or his camp. Tweeted Battier: “My favorite part of the day is waking up and hearing where the insiders have me going. News to me, ha! Looking forward to talking to teams.”

Andrew Bynum: His Twitter account has been deleted, reports Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times.

Samuel Dalembert: He told Chris Tomasson of FOXSportsFlorida that the Rockets are the frontrunners: “Houston, that one is the best,” said Dalembert. He later added, “I’m interested in the Rockets. They have a good team over there, a running team.” Dalembert, who averaged 8.1 points and 8.2 rebounds last season, did say “chances are still open” he could re-sign with the Kings. He said he exchanged text messages with Sacramento coach Paul Westphal on Monday.

Marc Gasol: In a Q & A with beat writer Ron Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, owner Michael Heisley said:  I understand that he’s looking to be paid. And I think he should be paid. We’re going to match what anybody offers. … He’s going to get double figures (at least $10 million). Heisley also said the Grizzlies have a “real chance”over the next 2-3 years to win a championship.

DeAndre Jordan: The Clippers have made him an offer for five years and $40 million, Yahoo.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. No other team can offer the restricted free agent more than a four-year contract, meaning someone would have to offer more than $10 million per year to outbid what appears to be a preemptive strike from the Clippers. Either that, or (just a thought) they are inflating Jordan’s value and leaking it as part of a strategy to do a sign-and-trade for Howard.

Andrei Kirilenko: More than 10 teams have contacted his agent, and beat writer Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake City Tribune believes the chances of Kirilenko re-signing with the Jazz have grown slimmer.

Caron Butler: Several news outlets are reporting that after a meeting with the Chicago Bulls on Monday, Butler will meet with at least four teams, including the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, New Jersey Nets on Wednesday and possibly the Detroit Pistons on Thursday.

Nick Young: Michael Lee of the Washington Post says the Wizards intend to retain the restricted free agent, but realize that they will have competition from several teams, including Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, Sacramento and Phoenix.

Glen “Big Baby: Davis: Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports Celtics president Danny Ainge called Davis as soon as it was allowed and make a pitch for the restricted free agent to stay, and the sides have been talking for several days about what it will take to retain him.

Jason Kapono: Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports the Lakers are close to locking him up for two years at $1.3 million per season. Bresnahan also learned that the Lakers will open the season with three games in three nights. Someone should tweet that to Howard.

 

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  1. Jerry says

    AgentZiko
    December 6, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Rumor out of LA’s side.

    LAKERS GET:

    CP3, Raja Bell

    UTAH GETS:

    Pau Gasol, Trevor Ariza

    NEW ORLEANS GET:

    Al Jefferson, Paul Milsap

    I JUST heard about this 10 minutes ago from a source that it is being discussed.

    That was a comment on Hornets247 post. He knows a Lakers front office guy supposedly. The timing of your tweet earlier about the Jazz being the possible 3rd team seems interesting. Millsap & Jefferson are both from the South. Millsap is from Monroe, Louisiana & AlJeff is from Monticello, Mississippi. Doubt it plays a factor but I did find that interesting. Hornets could use Millsap’s rebounding for sure & AlJeff’s scoring if they were unable to resign West.

    • says

      And you still have the albatross contract of Emeka Okafor. Why would New Orleans do that to itself, that doesn’t improve their value as a franchise. 3 big men that equal $30M in Salary and not 1 of them is a franchise player. There is no cap relief or young prospects involved in that trade. It doesn’t make basketball sense

      • Matthew says

        I would have to agree that if the Hornets are trading Paul, bad contracts have to follow him. You never get equal value when trading a superstar, so the Hornets need both young talent, which Gasol is not, and the ability to purge ugly contracts so that they can make some key signings in next year’s free agency.

        • Jerry says

          Okafor would definitely have to be moved for young talent or draft pick somehow somewhere if that trade were to go down. Maybe to a team desperate enough for a big if they can can’t sign Chandler or Nene?

          If Paul will ONLY sign extension with Lakers, then AlJeff & Millsap isn’t that horrible of a return imo especially since Hornets is such small market it’s hard for them to get bigs to sign there?

  2. says

    Dwight & CP to the Lakers just isn’t happening. The idea that it is even possible is ridiculous. New Jersey or the Clippers will end up with another superstar when this is all said and done. The Lakers will have the other.

    • ignarus says

      I know the Clippers have the pieces to put together a good trade package, but after Baron Davis signed only to have Elton Brand do whatever he could to get out, it seems that serious players can’t trust their careers with a guy with Donald Sterling’s rep.

      And if Blake Griffin *does* re-sign with Sterling, there’s no more leverage on the guy to try and win something. What are the odds that Vinny Del Negro gets replaced for the good of the franchise?

      • says

        Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe, Aminu are what would make the Clippers attractive to a young superstar. Not Donald Sterling. (And I’m not saying the Clippers are more attractive than anyone else, they just have the most trade chips & a 2nd franchise player to pair with one of those guys, so they should be considered one of the favorites to make it happen). The Clippers supposedly are willing to take a chance on one of them without the assurance of an extension, just they won’t include Eric Gordon in any such deal. Which can still be a more attractive package than anything most any other team can offer. I’m with you though, that Sterling has made the Clippers a scary prospect for any player’s career.

  3. ignarus says

    Chris — who has the combination of draft picks and young talent to actually help either NO or ORL rebuild following a trade of one of their superstars?

  4. Edgar says

    What are the chances that Chris Paul or Dwight Howard decides to reverse the James/Bosh/Williams/Melo superstar trend and re-ups with the hometown team for a max extension with a Dirk/Kobe-like no trade clause?

    If I read your column about the economics of the contract situation correctly, there are only two ways for either Howard or Paul to get max possible money: get traded now (or before the deadline) opt-out and re-sign with the new team, or finish the year where they are, opt-out and re-sign at home… Both of those situations guarantee $30 million more in salary than a simple opt out and sign elsewhere, right?

    I remember Kobe demanding a trade a while back… Cooler heads prevailed and look how that turned out. Of course, things are different in every case, but surely Howard and Paul’s people remember how ‘The Decision” and the Melo drama were perceived by the public. Is any one of them thinking they might buck the trend and try to pull a Jordan (who didn’t win his first title until his seventh season at age 27)?

    Also, what chance do the Hawks have in getting CP3? Seems to me that Josh Smith and Al Horford are every bit as attractive trade-wise as Bynum or Gasol…

    • ignarus says

      I have to wonder if anyone’s going to refuse to do a sign & trade to force someone to actually choose between free agency and money.

      • Edgar says

        It worked for Joe Johnson… he makes more money than each of Miami’s ‘Big Three’ and he’s still on his old team.

    • ignarus says

      Cooler heads didn’t prevail with the Kobe trade situation — he had a no trade clause and wouln’t go to Chicago if it razed the roster to get him there. Then “Kwame-for-Pau” happened.

      An analog to that would be Deron WIlliams getting traded to Orlando. Clearly defined self-interest would prevail in that situation, too.

      It literally took the creation of a title winning squad to shut Kobe up… and neither Paul nor Howard have been trashing their teammates and openly bitching about management.

    • Matthew says

      I thought the Nuggets should have told Melo to bend over and grab his ankles in the exact manner you laid out Edgar. I suppose what they got back from the Knicks was good enough though. I don’t think holding on to disgruntled players in the NBA works. Does too much harm to team chemistry. How else do you explain Denver playing so well after the trade last year?

      Could Orlando and New Orleans do sign and trades next year with Howard and Paul if they don’t get what they want now? I’m not sure if the new CBA prevents this. The free agent class is much better next year, so it would seem to make sense to hang on to these guys unless someone overpays for them this year.

  5. James says

    Lakers should get Philly involved to get Chris Paul. Send Pau and 2013 1st rd pick. Philly can send Evan Turner, Mareese Speights, and Spencer Hawes to the Hornets, with Lakers throwing in Darius Morris. Philly would basically get Pau to replace Hawes, and with the way they played after the bad start, they could be really good. Hornets get Turner, who needs the ball, and 3with guys 22means and younger. Lakers get CP3.

    • ignarus says

      So Hornets would be essentially tradeing CP3 for Evan Turner??

      That’s not substantially different from CP3 leaving for nothing, except management gets to be the guys who sent CP3 to the Lakers for Evan freaking Turner.

  6. Mike_214tx says

    Off the subject completely, but has Tim Thomas filed his retirement paperwork? I know the released him from his contract twice so he could be with his ill wife. Is he interested in signing on with a team? he filled in admirably in early 2010 when Dirk was out with elbow injury.

  7. Trey says

    Pacers looking at Nene…does that mean Hibbert is available? Pacers also rumored to have interest in Millsap and the Jazz need a PG. Could a deal of Millsap for Collison/Posey work for both teams?

    • Matthew says

      Don’t the Jazz have Harris? And who would be playing PG for Indiana? I don’t see the Pacers giving up Collison for an average PF. They felt like they traded for their PG of the future when they got Collison. While last year was obviously uglier than they had hoped, Collison is still only 24. They aren’t moving him unless they get an obvious upgrade at PG, i.e. Rondo or Paul.

        • Matthew says

          George Hill has averaged 2.4 assists per game in his career, while averaging almost 25 minutes in those games. I know he put up decent assist totals when he filled in for Parker, however, I think he’s more of a combo backup guard, no?

  8. Jared says

    The only way I can see this is if LA ropes in a third team that can send a young chip to New Orleans. Something like Gasol to GSW for Curry and a bad contract; Curry to NO; Paul to LA. Then LA trades Bynum and Odom for Howard. Would GSW consider this to achieve better roster balance? Are there other teams that would trade a blue chip young player for Gasol?

  9. says

    Actually submitted the following to the Nets (I’ll skip the bulk of the email, but I’m saying forget Dwight Howard):

    1. Sign Nene – strong defensive big man who can score
    2. Sign David West – scoring power forward who is from NJ and is a great locker room guy
    3. Trade Lopez to Clippers for Eric Gordon and Eric Bledsoe – Clippers get a C stud to go against Lakers, Nets get a SG stud and quality backup PG
    4. Sign and trade Humphries – this is the tough one, but he would likely be willing to go to a few places:
    Portland for Luke Babbit and Greg Oden – Aldridge can play center but isn’t a big rebounder; Babbit slides in at SF and Oden is a short term gamble
    New Orleans for Trevor Ariza and a 2014 pick – Ariza slides in at SF or created bench depth; Hump gives Paul a running buddy to replace West
    San Antonio for McDeyse and a 2014 pick – San Antonio needs youth; Antonio comes off the books after this year and the pick will be decent in 2014

    • Gummibear737 says

      sounds good except that Lopez is not in Eric Gordon’s league. i don’t think alot of people realize how good he is/going to be.

      still i agree that Lopez can bring back a quality SG, but not Gordon unfortunately.

      Team you describe is solid 5-6 seed but possibly not enough to get Deron to resign.

      On the other hand, if you get Dwight Howard and Deron together then you’re building a perennial contender.

      • Matthew says

        Agreed. Clippers aren’t even willing to trade Gordon in a Paul deal. They surely aren’t going to trade them for a center that averaged, gulp, 6 rebounds per game last year. I think people are over-rating Lopez. While he’s probably better than 2/3 of centers out there, he’s not even in the discussion of elite big men.

  10. TJL says

    Who and what would the Knicks backup plan or Plan B be at PG if they fail to get Paul; whether its this year or next year?

    • Gummibear737 says

      resign billups for cheap and/or steve nash. use rest of cash for defensive big man and SG although fields/iman could develop into viable starter at off gaurd

    • Matthew says

      Why do you even waste ur time thinking about Paul on the Knicks? They have zero trade chips. It ain’t happening.

  11. says

    Mavs always seem to approach trades, salary cap, etc with a different approach than any other team. Are they playing a long game here? 11 years of playoffs and one championship; its been great. But the team is old, with marginal younger prospects. Are they planning a 2-3 year mini rebuild?

  12. Gummibear737 says

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=cpnq2qu

    Gay is expandable because of his price tag and the luxury tax given that Gasol will get paid. Toney add needed depth. Billups is an expiring contract but is a great pickup for a run this season. He’s still better than Conley for 2012 season because of leadership, offensive efficiency and clutch performance.

    of course its not the best deal Hornets can get but if Paul applies a bit more pressure by hinting he’ll sign as free agent with Knicks then hornets might consider.

    • ignarus says

      Paul isn’t going to sign with the Knicks as a free agent — they blew their cap space (and all their trade chips) on bringing in Melo (a big mistake, IMO).

      Paul isn’t going to extend & trade anywhere and Paul isn’t going to get traded somewhere that doesn’t have any trade chips that can actually help the Hornets rebuild.

      CP3 is a franchise centerpiece guy — they’d need something similar back in return or something that would help them rebuild from the ground up.

      Otherwise, it’s worth it to take their chances with making Paul choose between their offer or someone else’s in free agency.

  13. Matt says

    Chris…If the Lakers had choose between Paul and Howard who would they choose. Seems like Paul for Bynum, etc makes more sense

      • ignarus says

        hard to see anyone jumping at the opportunity to take on boozer’s contract given his injury risks, poor defense and habitual playoff shrinkage.

  14. Evan says

    sources are confirming that magic ceo bob vanderweide will be stepping down” If true, what does this say about what is going on in orlando?

  15. Matthew says

    Why do people print stupid stuff like the Lakers want BOTH Howard and Paul? What would be news worthy is if a team didn’t want either. Guess what? The Lakers aren’t getting BOTH guys. If they want Howard, they’re probably going to have to give up both Gasol and Bynum. That leaves them with no assets to try and get Paul. And I highly doubt the Hornets would accept Lamar Odom, a perfect candidate to go on a pot binge if he got traded from LA to a terrible NO team, and Bynum, who knows how healthy his knees are, for Paul. Teams like the Warriors can offer a ton more. Now, whether or not Paul would sign an extension with a team like the Warriors is a whole different story. Regardless, I’m fairly certain a dozen teams could offer a better package for Paul.

  16. ignarus says

    except for deals involving chris paul and/or dwight howard, this is going to be the summer of buyer’s remorse.

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