Pekovic has been the top free agent on the market for quite some time now, and the latest suggestion is that he is simply ensuring that the four-year, $50 million offer that is reportedly on the table from the Minnesota TImberwolves is the best offer that he is going to get. It probably is, but until he signs it, Niko-watch remains in full effect. With the amnesty deadline now past, unless a new team can free up substantial cap space, Pekovic will likely re-sign in Minneapolis. His agent, Jeff Schwartz, can made a counteroffer. Schwartz also reps Kevin Love. Owner Glen Taylor is optimistic a deal will get done. JULY 24 UPDATE — Word out of Minneapolis is that Pekovic’s camp was hoping for an offer between $55 million and $60 million to show up, but that now seems like a long shot. It has gotten to the point where Pekovic should probably no longer be considered a free agent, since he is restricted and the T-Wolves really do not have much competition in terms of signing him. Unless things fall apart, he will remain in Minnesota. JULY 25 UPDATE: Will Wolves owner Glen Taylor intercede with a phone call? “I can and I would, but at this point of time, I’ve not been asked to nor am I inclined to just because I think I know where the contract negotiations are,” Taylor said Wednesday. “And it’s not at a critical stage or anything like that.”
According to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld, the Bucks’ well-chronicled pursuit of Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague was never really about Jennings, it was about cost. Jennings reportedly asked the Bucks for $12 million per year, while the Bucks offered Teague only $8 million. Now, the two are locked in a stalemate that could result in Jennings being signed-and-trade to the Pistons as much as it can result in him accepting the one-year qualifying offer and hitting free agency again next season. Who knows? Maybe he will end up on the Los Angeles Lakers with Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. JULY 24 UPDATE — Kevin Zimmerman of SBNation made a great video that explains how bad of a point guard Jennings is, and that has something to do with why he is still unsigned. The $12 million demand he made of the Bucks was a bit much when it was first reported, and as of right now, with no other suitable offers on the table, it is looking like the Bucks—who may re-sign Jennings for closer to the $8 million that Jeff Teague got—may get Jennings back on the one-year qualifying offer of $4.5 million. Jennings, then, would re-enter the free agency market next summer.
Like Pekovic, Henderson is a restricted free agent who is looking to ensure that he accepts the best deal. Coach Steve Clifford told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer that he sees bringing Henderson back as one of the team’s priorities heading into the late summer, but at this point, Henderson’s accepting the one-year qualifying offer is a distinct possibility if the sides cannot come to terms on an agreement. As a restricted free agent whose productivity seems to have gone unnoticed, Henderson’s odds of receiving a lucrative offer seem close to nil. JULY 24 UPDATE — Henderson reportedly wants to be paid similarly to O.J. Mayo—$8 million per year. Obviously, the Bobcats are in no rush to fork over that kind of cash. We may see a one-year qualifying offer acceptance here.
Although it would make some sense for the Jazz to bring back Mo Williams, no deal is imminent. Earlier this month, Williams was linked to the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks recently re-signed Jeff Teague and could use Williams to add to its backcourt depth, although he and Lou Williams might be superfluous. Williams is said to be considering taking less money to join a contending team. A reunion with LeBron James may not be out of the question, but neither would Williams heading to Oklahoma City, San Antonio or Chicago. If he is willing to lower his salary demands, plenty of teams would have him. JULY 24 UPDATE — Williams’ days in Utah seem to be over, and the veteran wants to sign with a contender, we hear. The Chicago Bulls expressed interest in him earlier this free agency season, but if Williams is willing to take a significant pay cut from the $8.5 million he earned last season, he will have a number of contenders on his tail.
5. Mike Miller (Small Forward, Miami Heat)
Like Metta World Peace, Miller’s time as a free agent may be very short-lived. Thunder general manager Sam Presti had a sit-down with Miller and his representatives Friday. It is said that the Thunder are the front-runners for Miller, with Memphis also in the mix. The demand for his talent is all due to his performance in the past two NBA Finals. After averaging just 4.8 points in just 15 minutes during the regular season, Miller played heavy minutes in the Finals and shot 11-of-18 from behind the 3-point line in the series. JULY 20 UPDATE — Denver Nuggets are now in the picture, too, and the Houston Rockets have extended an offer, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. JULY 24 UPDATE — The full list of suitors, to our knowledge: Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, and Houston Rockets. JULY 25 UPDATE — The GRizzlies have emerged as the winners, getting Miller on a two-year deal (the second season is a player option).
6. Greg Oden (Center, Unrestricted Free Agent)
Oden managed to play just 82 games over the first five years of his career. After sitting out the entire 2012-13 season, he apparently wants back, and there are a number of teams willing to give him an opportunity. The New Orleans Pelicans are prepared to pay him $3 million this season, and may offer a second year as well. Meanwhile the Dallas Mavericks—who are offering less money—are amongst the other teams courting him as well. His immense potential and relatively young age of 25 have created a market for Oden. The risk-reward is quite high, but only if Oden’s three microfracture knee surgeries are truly a thing of the past. JULY 24 UPDATE — Oden is being chased by at least six teams—the Mavericks, Kings, Heat, Spurs, Hawks, and Pelicans. He is expected to make a decision next week, and is reportedly leaning toward either the Spurs or Heat.
Despite putting together an impressive run with the Chicago Bulls in last season’s playoffs, Robinson has not received the lucrative, multiyear contract he was hoping for. The New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets are among the teams that have knocked on his door, but the latest news suggests that the Washington Wizards are the team angling for Robinson’s services. If Nate the Great keeps on signing babies, though, his stock may not recover. Seen at Vegas Summer League spaking with various team execs. JULY 24 UPDATE — Nate Robinson has signed with the Denver Nuggets for the team’s bi-annual exception. Two years, $4 million.
8. Gary Neal [R] (Shooting Guard, San Antonio Spurs)
All is quiet on the Neal front. The Spurs would surely like to keep him, but procured insurance, Marco Belinelli, in the event that Neal—still a restricted free agent—receives an offer that is too rich for the Spurs to match. The Spurs committed $36 million to re-signing Tiago Splitter and may not have much more to spend, especially considering the inevitable extension that will be doled out to Kawhi Leonard. JULY 24 UPDATE — The Spurs will pull their qualifying offer to Neal, making him an unrestricted free agent. JULY 25 UPDATE: — Looks like the Milwaukee Bucks are the frontrunners — for now. Would play for a fraction of what they paid J.J. Redick and Monta Ellis.
9. Beno Udrih (Point Guard, Orlando Magic)
Last season, Udrih earned a whopping $7.3 million. Whether or not he is willing to take a substantial pay cut may have something to do with him remaining on the open market. He is not one of the sexier point guards available, but the 14.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 8.1 assists he averaged over the final nine games of the season for the Magic means something. And no, it is not an aberration. He has been a solid point guard since he was a member of the Sacramento Kings many moons ago.
After his childhood friend Metta World Peace signed with the New York Knicks, the hope here is that Odom, another New York City native, follows suit. The Knicks need another big. The Lakers would like him back, but aside from them, there does not seem to be much of a market for Odom. His athleticism has waned, but he can still pass and handle the rock. JULY 24 UPDATE — The Clippers and the Lakers are the only teams that have registered serious interest in Odom, and the Clippers may be on the verge of re-signing him.