Pekovic’s incumbent team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, have reportedly extended him a four-year offer worth $48 million. In all likelihood, that gets it done. Pekovic is expected to make a final decision sometime early next week, but at this point, it seems unlikely that he will do better on the open market. Pekovic is coming off of a very impressive third season in which he averaged 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game for the Timberwolves. $12 million per year is exactly on par with what we were expecting for him. It’s not exactly a max. deal, but it’s not like Pekovic was able to drag the T-Wolves to the playoffs, so we think it’s fair. JULY 10 UPDATE — Pekovic is not going anywhere. He is very close to signing a four-year, $50 million deal to remain with the Timberwolves. The $12.5 million annual salary is no surprise, but the fact that the T-Wolves are willing to pony it up is.
Ellis is the top scorer on the free agent market, but he may not be available too much longer. It appears he will be a Bynum domino, with the Hawks and Mavs both in play. It remains to be seen if the Sacramento Kings will maintain their interest after acquiring Ellis’ old teammate, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, from the Milwaukee Bucks. But new Kings owner Vivek Ranadive is a big fan. Ellis is looking for $10 million per year, and there are only a few teams that have that to offer. We still believe he is a valuable commodity in the NBA, but he has been snubbed, thus far. We expect that to end soon, though. JULY 10 UPDATE — Ellis has fired long time agent, Jeff Fried. It likely symbolizes his displeasure with the way his free agency has played out. We can’t say we blame him, but do expect him to sign with someone over the next 24-48 hours. JULY 11 UPDATE — With negitiaions with Gerald Henderson at a standstill, Bobcats are kicking the tires. JULY 12 UPDATE — Ellis has comes to terms on a three-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks that will pay him between $25 million and $30 million.
Larry Drew has taken over the reigns in Milwaukee after spending the last three years as the head man in Atlanta. Apparently, he is the impetus behind the Bucks’ willingness to swap Brandon Jennings for Jeff Teague in a double sign-and-trade deal. Teague, while still somewhat raw, is the top remaining point guard on the market. At 25 years old, Teague is coming off of a career-best season, where he averaged 14.6 points and 7.2 assists per game while helping to lead the Hawks to a 44-38 record and sixth straight postseason berth. Unlike his fellow draft mates, Jrue Holiday and Ty Lawson, Teague was not shown the love by the Hawks, and it now appears as though they are open to trading him. JULY 11 UPDATE –The Bucks have signed to a four-year, $32 million offer sheet, triggering a three-day period during which they must either decide to match the deal, let Teague walk. Teague is on the record as saying he hopes the Hawks opt to let him walk. JULY 12 UPDATE — The Atlanta Hawks have until Sunday to determine whether or not they would like to match the offer sheet that the Milwaukee Bucks have extended to Teague. JULY 14 UPDATE — The Hawks have matched the four-year offer that the Milwaukee Bucks extended to Jeff Teague. Teague is now $32 million richer and is under contract with the Hawks for the next four years. A fair deal, all things considered.
Jennings has reportedly asked the Bucks to pony up $12 million per year for him to re-up in Milwaukee. That would make him a higher paid player than Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo—two All-Stars. Word is, the Bucks may cave to him, but are also considering a double sign-and-trade deal with the Atlanta Hawks that would net the Bucks Jeff Teague. Jennings accepting the one-year qualifying offer would make sense, especially considering the Lakers will have tons of cap space next season, a need for a young point guard, and Jennings’ being from Compton. But word on the street is that the Lakers have their eyes set on bigger fish, and Jennings will likely be with either the Bucks or Hawks next season. JULY 11 UPDATE — The Bucks’ signing of Jeff Teague to an offer sheet may spell the end of Jennings’ tenure in Milwaukee. If the Hawks opt to not match, the Bucks will begin scouring the league for sign-and-trade deals for Jennings. If the Hawks do match, though, the Bucks may find themselves in a position of weakness. JULY 12 UPDATE — Jenning’s future is directly tied to Jeff Teague. If the Atlanta Hawks opt not to match the offer sheet extended to Teague and Teague becomes a Milwaukee Buck, Jennings will likely be moved in a sign-and-trade. If Teague’s offer sheet is matched, though, the Bucks may have to attempt to mend the fence with Jennings after trying to replace him. JULY 14 UPDATE — The Atlanta Hawks have matched the four-year offer the Milwaukee Bucks extended to Jeff Teague, meaning Jennings is now the number one free agent on the market since Nikola Pekovic is expected to sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves this week. The Bucks have a lot of money to spend to get the the salary cap floor, and the options of who to spend it on are rather limited. Jennings asked the Bucks for $12 million a year. It’s a bit rich, but he has all of the leverage now. Do not be shocked to see a sign-and-trade deal happen, either.
It seems as though Bynum is getting close to finding his next NBA home. The Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks are all interested, at this point, it’s just a matter of how much guaranteed money he will get and how many years he will sign for. There is a major risk in signing Bynum, but in the past, we have seen big men such as Zydrunas Ilgauskus and even Tyson Chandler shake off a few years of being injury plagued and have a few decent years. A scintilla of hope still exists for Bynum and his fans. What will determine where he signs will probably boil down to how much guaranteed money he is offered. The Cavs and Mavs were both said to only be offering a one-year deal, but they are caving. JULY 10 UPDATE — The wait is over. Bynum will sign a partially guaranteed two-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The deal is potentially worth up to $24.5 million, but only $12 million is guaranteed.
After Josh Smith agreed to head to Motown, Kirilenko became our top power forward on the market. His 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game last season show he still has a lot left in the tank, but the money is drying up for the 32-year old. He left $10 million on the table when he opted out of the final year of his deal and that looks to be a mistake. The Cavaliers still have money to spend and are said to be interested, but only if they cannot come to terms with Andrew Bynum. San Antonio tried and failed to obtain him through a sign-and-trade. JULY 10 UPDATE — Kirilenko is still on the market and may be courted by the Brooklyn Nets after their plans to sign Bojan Bogdanovic fell through. Only problem? The Nets can only afford to pay Kirilenko $3.18 million via their taxpayer mid-level exception and AK-47 left three times that much on the table to become a free agent. JULY 11 UPDATE — Well, apparently, the tazpyer mid-level exception was enough. Peter Vecsey of the New York Post reports that Kirilenko has agreed to join the Brooklyn Nets on a two-year deal, with a player option for the second season. JULY 12 UPDATE — The Nets have officially announced the signing of Kirilenko, to the dismay of many of the NBA’s general managers.
Henderson is on record as saying he would like to return to Charlotte, and after signing Al Jefferson and allowing Byron Mullens to walk, the Bobcats have yet another decision to make. It seems as though the money has been spent on the guards, and for Henderson, the market is drying up. We would not be surprised to see a multi-year extension to remain in Charlotte, especially since Monta Ellis, Jeff Teague and Brandon Jennings will likely gobble up the remaining money that’s out there for guards. Henderson is a restricted free agent, for the record, so the Bobcats can match any offer for him. JULY 11 UPDATE — After reaching an impasse in negotiations with restricted free-agent guard Gerald Henderson, the Bobcats are discussing sign-and-trade possibilities with multiple teams, Yahoo reports. JULY 12 UPDATE — The Bobcats were considering signing Monta Ellis after their negotiations with Henderson hit a snag, but now that Ellis is Dallas-bound, Henderson’s chances of remaining in Charlotte have improved.
8. Metta World Peace (Small Forward, Los Angeles Lakers)
All things considered, the 12.4 points, five rebounds and 1.6 steals World Peace gave the Lakers last season were a nice bounce back from his miserable 2011-12 season, but the Lakers, obviously, do not want to pay the luxury tax if they are not making the playoffs (a real possibility), and made a cost cutting move here that makes more sense than amnestying Kobe Bryant. Technically he is not a free agent until he clears waivers, and he has his sights set on getting to the Knicks — and only the Knicks. His volatile nature may turn some GMs off, but if there are guys willing to sign Bynum, there may be guys willing to claim World Peace. JULY 10 UPDATE — World Peace wants the Knicks, and he would fit nicely there. Unfortunately, he does not have much of a say as to whether he will end up there. Once the Lakers amnesty World Peace, we expect him to be claimed off of the amnesty waivers, but stranger things have happened. JULY 12 UPDATE — World Peace will officially hit the waiver wire at 5pm ET on Friday, so his fate will be known at 5pm ET on Sunday. If no under the cap team submits an amnesty claim on him, he will become an unrestricted free agent on Sunday evening and is widely expected to sign with the New York Knicks. JULY 14 UPDATE — Metta World Peace has cleared amnesty waivers without being claimed by any NBA team that is under the cap. As a result, he became an unrestricted free agent as of 5:00pm ET on Sunday. His suitors are said to include the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and a few other teams.
9. Corey Brewer (Small Forward, Denver Nuggets)
Tony Allen, who ranked No. 13 in our original ranking, was shown the love by the Memphis Grizzlies, who signed him to a four-year deal worth $20 million. Brewer, like Allen, is a superb defensive talent whose offensive game, while respectable, is not on par with his defensive abilities. It is somewhat surprising that a shooter like Kyle Korver got paid so handsomely while Brewer is still looking for a home. But from what we have seen, Brewer will be an integral cog on a winning team, and it now looks like he can be had for cheap. Minnesota seems most interested. Despite coming off of a very successful season, the Nuggets are a much different team. They have a new head coach in Brian Shaw and no longer have Iguodala. Do they want to retain Brewer? JULY 10 UPDATE — Another one bites the dust. The makeover in Denver will continue, as Corey Brewer is closing in on a three-year deal worth $15 million with the Minnesota Timberwolves, per ESPN’s Marc Stein. The deal may be a sign-and-trade, but since Brewer is unrestricted, we can be certain he’s headed back to Minny.
The league is loaded with quality point guards, so it is not much of a surprise that Williams has gone overlooked and has been mostly forgotten. A return to Utah has not been ruled out, especially after Williams averaged 12.9 points and 6.2 assists per game for the Jazz last season, nearly leading them to a playoff berth. However, with Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson both gone, it is time for the youth movement in Utah, and Williams, if he stays, will have to take a hefty pay cut and a demotion. He would likely be backing up Trey Burke sooner or later.