The NBA is recovering from its collective draft hangover just in time to start the madness of free agency. We have big news coming out of Boston, plus all the latest NBA buzz as we gear up for the start of free agency at midnight ET.
- Kevin Garnett is remaining a Celtic, writes Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. “[Garnett's] loyalty to coach Doc Rivers made him likely to return to Boston once he decided to keep playing. One NBA executive said Garnett would have only left the Celtics if they didn’t make him a solid contract offer,” Spears writes. The deal is three years for $34 million, according to Spears’ sources.
- The Grizzlies want to get a shooter this summer and are setting their sights high. The top of the all-time 3-point list, in fact. Memphis is strongly rumored to be pursuing Ray Allen, according to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “Memphis, according to sources familiar with the team’s plans, will offer Allen its full mid-level exception ($5 million) in hopes of luring him away from other suitors – such as Miami – with only the mini-mid-level ($3 million) to spend,” writes Tillery. Randy Foye, Kirk Hinrich, and Andre Miller are also mentioned as names on the Grizzlies’ wish list.
- Allen, however, might prefer to go to Miami for a shot at another title, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com: “The Heat, according to sources, have made Allen their prime offseason target and will pursue him strongly when free agency opens Sunday at 12:01 a.m. ET.” But the Heat can’t get into a bidding war for Allen, with only $3 million to offer. The Suns have cap room and are interested, writes Windhorst, and the Celtics could also hang onto him for one more go-round with their “Big Four.”
- Here’s a lengthy piece from ESPN.com’s Marc Stein on Steve Nash’s future. Some highlights: Nash says “…for the first time I realize that it might not be Phoenix. I would have said even in the middle of (last) season or last year that I would have thought I probably would have stayed in Phoenix forever. But it’s come to a point now where I’m facing the reality that’s not (the case).” Stein also says Toronto is “widely believed” to be willing to offer the most money for Nash, and there could be an opportunity for him to reunite with Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas (assuming Deron Williams stays in Brooklyn).
- Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star has a piece on the Pacers’ plans for this offseason: “The team’s free agency strategy is simple. Re-sign [Roy] Hibbert and [George] Hill so they can keep their starting unit together, then add pieces to their bench.” Wells names O.J. Mayo and Brandon Roy as players the Pacers could go after.
- At the end of this piece from Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times on the Lamar Odom trade, there’s a few notes about the offseason plans of the Clippers, who are expected to make attempts at re-signing guards Chauncey Billups, Randy Foye, and Nick Young. Meanwhile, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will be deciding whether to accept big extension offers.
- The only Sixers player to play every game last season, Jodie Meeks, did not receive a qualifying offer from the club, meaning he could soon become an unrestricted free agent, according to John Finger of Comcast SportsNet Philly. Meeks’ qualifying offer would have had to be about $3.3 million. Finger says the Sixers also did not make qualifying offers to Sam Young and Xavier Silas but did make one to center Lavoy Allen.
- Al Iannazzone on Sulia: “I spoke to Steve Novak earlier today. he was elated the union won the appeal for his “early Bird” rights. Novak called it “huge” because that was the only way for him to continue to play with Jeremy Lin and the Knicks. He will receive plenty of interest, but he feels the Knicks want him back and said he’s “optimistic” about being back.”
- Deron Williams and Jason Kidd are a package deal, according to Ric Bucher of ESPN the Magazine. “Kidd, who has indicated that he hopes to serve as a backup to Williams either in Brooklyn or Dallas, also recently purchased a home in East Hampton, a source close to Kidd said.” Bucher adds that “another source with business ties to both Kidd and Williams says that the two already have decided to play together for the Nets next season. However, multiple sources say Williams is still torn about his decision.”
- Marc Berman of the New York Post gives some insight on the Knicks’ strategy heading into Jeremy Lin’s free agent negotiations: “Lin becomes a free agent tomorrow at 12:01 a.m. and [Knicks' GM Glen] Grunwald can offer him a maximum four-year deal starting at $5.5 million with 7 percent raises — a package worth $24.5 million. Don’t expect it. Grunwald will see if Lin gets an offer in that neighborhood as the first full-fledged, free-agent period since the lockout plays itself out.”
- Luis Scola could have a new home soon. According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Rockets are “actively shopping” the veteran forward. This isn’t unexpected, as the Rockets came away with forwards Royce White and Terrence Jones in the draft and still may be pursuing Dwight Howard.
Dan Malone just completed his sophomore year at University of Kings College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is spending the summer in Baltimore, where he covers the Single-A minor-league baseball team the Aberdeen IronBirds for OriolesHangout.com. He will be blogging for SheridanHoops this summer.