Tag:free agency
Posted on: November 29, 2011 1:22 pm

Report: Celtics considering moving Rondo?

By Matt Moore 

The Boston Celtics are looking for one more title run with this group of All-Stars.

And they may be willing to sacrifice one of the Big 4 to get there.

In the ESPN report detailing Chris Paul's desire to join the Knicks, no matter how difficult that may be, another piece of info slipped in. This time, it was about the Celtics, and specifically, Rajon Rondo. From ESPN:
While Boston is not shopping Rajon Rondo, it would be open to trading him in the right deal, sources say. The Celtics feel they need more scoring to take the load off Paul Pierce.
via Chris Paul and New York's hopes - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN.

It's not the first time it's been suggested that Rondo could be on the block. He's consistently been mentioned as being included in talks, despite being one of the perennial league leaders in assist rate. Experts still have their doubts about him because of his inconsistent shooting and volatile personality. But there are some repors which indicate that this just isn't going to happen.

The Celtics moving Rondo would be more likely to occur in a move to acquire Chris Paul from the Hornets. With their projected available space in 2012, assuming they don't break the bank on Green or re-sign any of the big three to a massive extension, they should be in line to nab at least one major free agent, especially if Paul Pierce retires or is given the amnesty. A trade featuring Rondo, the Clippers' protected pick they acquired in the Perkins trade, and pieces might make Boston a great fit for Paul.

But it should be clear, the Celtics' management still believes very firmly in Rondo and what he's helped them accomplish. It's unthinkable that a point guard of Rondo's caliber would be traded, but that's the environment we operate in when Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are (potentially) on the market.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 9:31 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 10:46 am

Report: Lakers want Chris Paul AND Dwight Howard

By Matt Moore

The Los Angeles Lakers have a championship core. This same group of players were responsible for two out of the past three titles, and even without the services of Phil Jackson, there's every reason to believe that this team as-is can win another title with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum as its engine. But what comes after? The Lakers have begun looking to the future. They don't just want to stay competitive towards the end of Kobe Bryant's career, they want to transition seamlessly into their next phase of dominance.

And that means acquiring one of the big free agents in 2012, Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. Except they don't want one of those two. They reportedly want both.

From Mark Heisler, who covered the Lakers as a beat writer before taking up with SheridanHoops.com:
When the NBA couldn’t get a full ban on sign-and-trades, it left his Lakers in position to pull off a coup they’re dreaming of, which would make signing LeBron James pale by comparison.

If Dwight Howard and Chris Paul wind up on the market — a safe assumption as far as I’m concerned — the Lakers could offer Andrew Bynum for Dwight and Pau Gasol for CP3, or vice versa.

Nothing says that they will be enough to land either player, but it should put the Lakers in the running for both.

Oh, and Dwight likes the Lakers. Asked which All-Star he would most like to play with last season, he answered “Kobe Bryant.”
via Lakers will look to acquire Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.

Just to review. We just had a five-month lockout because teams were upset about large market teams acquiring multiple stars, scavenging small markets and leaving them with nothing. And the Los Angeles Lakers and their 17 professional basketball championships are aiming for both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Glad we lost those 16 games over this.

There are a large numbrer of reasons why this is unlikely to happen. For starters, Chris Paul reportedly has New York as his first choice. Secondly, the biggest advantage the Lakers have is the assets to trade for Paul which the Knicks don't have. But the new CBA does have one new stipulation to prevent such dealings, the extend-and-trade adjustments. While sign-and-trade restrictions don't take effect until 2013, early reports indicate that extend-and-trade restrictions are immediate. The changes say that the same setup that Carmelo Anthony used to get his way to New York and get the extra year on his deal via Bird Rights is different.

The changes to the CBA suggest that teams that extend-and-trade a player can only extend him for three, versus the maximum four-year extension or five year re-sign he gets for staying with the home team. The only way around that is a six-month waiting period. The Hornets could re-sign Paul to the full Bird rights extension and then trade him, but they would have to wait six months. But a more likely scenario would see the following scenario: the Lakers can trade for Paul in the final year of his contract and then extend him, but that must be done after six months. Which means, they have to acquire him six months prior to his free agency beginning on July 1. Which means they have to acquire him by... January 1. With a season starting on the 25th. Not exactly a lot of time to pull that off.

All of these elements are in place for Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams (should the Nets just give up for some reason) as well.

The most likely scenario involves Paul entering free agency, and then signing a four year contract with Los Angeles or New York. But if the Lakers were to acquire Paul prior to free agency, it would give them an extra year to offer Paul, and it's hard to imagine him passing that up. Max contracts with bird-rights are five years, as opposed to the four-year counting option-year of an extension.

But if the Lakers want to acquire either player (or both, if we like fantasies), then they're going to need to trade some of that core. Specifically, Jim Buss would have to give up on his pet project, Andrew Bynum. Lamar Odom and pieces might be able to acquire Chris Paul, but there's no sense in bringing in Howard and pairing him with Bynum. Either playing power forward would be clunky and awkward. Where this leaves Pau Gasol is yet to be seen.

Hornets fans have to love all this. LOVE IT.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 3:09 pm

Sam Dalembert and the Heat share mutual interest?

Posted by Royce Young

Everybody's favorite game is back now that the lockout is (sort of) over: Fill out the Heat's roster! Last summer, it was a mad dash for Pat Riley to fit in pieces around LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. He did it by using his mid-level exception on Mike Miller and then piled in veteran minimum contracts to go with a few rookie deals.

It worked, and it didn't work. The Heat reached The Finals, but they definitely were missing an inside presence. Joel Anthony served his position relatively well, but the big man by committee structure wasn't all that successful. Juwan Howard, Anthony, Jamaal Magloire, Erick Dampier, Dexter Pittman -- I wouldn't say any of those were really a hit.

So here they are again with free agency coming and they're looking at the big man market. There's Tyson Chandler, but they have no shot at him. Same goes for Nene and Marc Gasol (unless there's a sign-and-trade, which there won't be.

Where could they turn? Here's an interesting name: Samuel Dalembert.

Via ESPN.com:
Don't count out the Miami Heat. Dalembert lives in South Florida, wants a chance to win a title and is Pat Riley's No. 1 target. If no team offers him significantly more than the mid-level, Dalembert could be Miami-bound.
Also, consider this from FoxSports.com:
Dalembert wouldn't say he would agree to [the mid-level exception]. But he did say "what is best for you might not be for the most money." And he definitely likes the Heat.

"I'm keeping all my options open, but Miami could be a good fit for me," Dalembert said.

Why is that?

"If you look at the playoffs with Dallas, you saw what Tyson Chandler did," Dalembert said, referring to the 7-foot-1 center who helped the Mavs beat the Heat in six games for the title last June. "He was basically a key ingredient for them to win a championship. And Miami didn't have somebody like that. Somebody able to stop (foes from) getting second shots and somebody able to rebound and finish. I could fill that role and be an asset for that team."
A paycut is the only way the Heat can get to Dalembert and it would have to be a big one. He earned $13.4 million last season and that was while not playing a whole lot in Sacramento. He earned it because he emerged as a major defensive presence in Philadelphia but his production has tailed off some due to injuries, and possibly age (he's 30).

It makes a whole lot of sense in every way, except for the money. Dalembert's Haitian-born, which isn't far from South Beach. He has relatives in the area. He lives in nearby Boca Raton. Dalembert's potentially "missing piece" material for a team that desperately needs a dominant rebounder and shot blocker. Which in previous days, Dalembert was exactly that. As Tom Haberstroh of Heat index notes, despite a disappointing 2010-11, Dalembert still grabbed 19.3 percent of his team's rebounds, which is far above his positional average.

The Heat could have competition though. The Knicks need big man help desperately and are more in a position to pay Dalembert better money. Not a whole lot better, but better regardless. And the interest is said to be mutual there as well.

This free agent market doesn't have the big name, splash type players in it, but it does have potential championship pieces. Dalembert being one of them, and he's going to draw some big attention.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:51 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 1:52 pm

Grizzlies to match any offer sheet on Gasol?

Posted by Royce Young

Last season the Grizzlies were a fun, surprise team. This year, they're a legitimate contender with real expectations.

But that hinges on one important thing: that Marc Gasol returns.

Gasol is a restricted free agent and with Memphis being a small market team that's supposedly a bit conscious of where it spends, Gasol could be a tricky piece to re-sign. Memphis just inked Rudy Gay, just inked Zach Randolph and just inked Mike Conley. That's a lot of money tied up already, so keeping the likely pricey Gasol could be an issue.

Especially since Gasol, along with Nene, might be the top free agent target out there. But he's a restricted free agent, meaning Memphis can match anything offered to him. And that looks to be an important part of this.

According to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, Memphis plans to match anything offered to Gasol.

"People with knowledge of (owner Michael) Heisley's thinking are convinced that the Grizzlies will match any offer sheet Gasol signs with another suitor."

Heisley had previously said back in May that it would be up to Gasol whether or not he stayed in Memphis.

"Marc will decide whether he wants to be here. We will aggressively go after him," Heisley said. "He's a restricted free agent, so we can match whatever's out there. But obviously if Marc wants to leave, I'm going to have a different attitude than if he wants to stay. I hope he wants to stay. And after what we've done in the playoffs, I think he will."

With Memphis's deep playoff run and Gasol in the center of it (literally), you can be sure that only strengthened Heisley's conviction to re-sign Gasol.

The Grizzlies would likely have to adjust in order to keep Gasol as part of the core. O.J. Mayo will likely be packing his bafs (he's a restricted free agent in 2012) and Shane Battier likely won't be re-signed (he's unrestricted). So Mayo, who the Grizzlies tried to trade at the deadline last year, will likely be something the Memphis tries to move at some point this season as well.

Re-signing Gasol means Memphis basically would be putting all its long-term eggs into the basket of Gay, Gasol, Randolph and Conley, which isn't a bad core. But is it a championship one? Eh...

Memphis also could sign Gasol to an extension, and is able to pay him more and for longer than any other team. As for being restricted, remember, under this new collective bargaining agreement, the Grizzlies have three days instead of seven to match. And seeing as how the Grizzlies struggle with deadlines (hello O.J. Mayo trade), someone better be on the ball in Memphis.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:30 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 2:54 pm

Pacers exploring trade and free agency

By Matt Moore 

The Indiana Pacers are coming off of fascinating season. They started off hot as fire, then cratered a bit. Jim O'Brien was fired, and then interim coach Frank Vogel took them to the playoffs, where they had as competitive a five-game series against the Bulls as a five-game series can be. So they're looking to upgrade the team and make a run, right now. They brought in George Hill through trade, and now are looking for more additions. 

The Indianapolis Star mentons a pretty intriguing option through trade: Paul Millsap
The Pacers talked to the Utah Jazz about forward Paul Milsap prior to the draft. Expect them to make a phone call to the Jazz again. The 26-year-old Milsap, a Pacer killer in the past, averaged a career-high 17 points last season.
via Mike Wells: A look at players the Pacers might pursue | The Indianapolis Star | indystar.com.

Millsap would make for the power forward the Pacers are looking for in free agency through David West or Nene. If they were to trade Roy Hibbert as part of the package, thiy could sign Nene, then add Millsap making one of the better front courts in the Eastern Conference, along with Danny Granger. The Pacers are clearly looking to enter the conference race right now, instead of waiting to see their young pieces develop. 

The question is, what's the objective? Can the Pacers win a title with Danny Granger as their best player? They've put together an interesting, fast, young team that can defend at one end, hit from the perimeter, and get out in transition. But do they have a team that could get hot and go on an unpredictable run to the title? OK, it wouldn't be unpredictable if we could answer that. But the point is that the Pacers are loading up for what is likely a team whose ceiling is the second round. 

Have to try something, I guess. The Pacers surprised people last season. If they spend wisely, and that's a big if, they could do the same this year with heightened expectations.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 12:01 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 1:34 pm

Crawford and Knicks have mutual interest?

Posted by Royce Young

The free agent pool isn't all that deep, but there are a couple decent prizes out there. One that's drawing a good amount of interest around the league is Jamal Crawford who has been flirting with Portland a bit and Miami, but just mainly because LeBron's been tweeting about him.

But according to the New York Daily News, Crawford also has some interest in returning to New York.

"Crawford is one of the top available free agents, and according to a source close to the veteran shooting guard, he prefers returning to the New York area if he does not re-sign with the Atlanta Hawks."

It's fairly unlikely that Crawford re-ups with Atlanta as the team shunned him all last season while he searched for a new contract. The Knicks would love to have his scoring punch to add to Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, but Crawford is likely looking for more than the mid-level exception. And with the Knicks current cap situation, they probably can't do much more than that.

Especially if the Knicks really are going to to try and straighten themselves out for a run at Chris Paul or Deron Williams next summer.

Crawford recently dropped agent Aaron Goodwin and signed with Andy Miller, according to the report. Miller's roster? Chauncey Billups, Jared Jeffries and Roger Mason. Miller's also based out of New Jersey. Not that those things actually mean all that much in terms of Crawford going to New York, but it certainly doesn't mean nothing.

The Knicks though are more in need of post help than another scorer. While Crawford would be enticing because of his scoring abilty, the Knicks need defensive help and a strong big man to play center. Stoudemire was forced to play the 5 all too often last season and with Ronny Turiaf as the likely top option there right now, the Knicks need help.

With that and the cap situation, really the only way Crawford ends up in New York is via sign-and-trade. And then again, are the Knicks willing to spend that money and completely blow any chance, no matter how small it may be, of snagging CP3 in 2012?

So consider this: The report says Crawford has interest in returning to the "New York area" next season. Guess who is in the New York area and will be even more there than in the past? The Nets. With their move to Brooklyn and the fact Crawford's new agent is based in the area, the Nets could be a strong option for Crawford. It makes a decent amount of sense too as the Nets need something to go next to Williams. They have to show Williams they're committed to building a winner and splashing for a guy like Crawford could be a start to saying so.
Posted on: November 27, 2011 8:16 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 11:52 am

Report: Lakers limited in amnesty market

By Matt Moore 

Update: Important note from James Ham at Cowbell Kingdom, the clause for the amnesty in the leaked proposal reads as follows:

Each team permitted to waive 1 player prior to any season of the CBA (only for contracts in place at the inception of the CBA) and have 100% of the player’s salary removed from team salary for Cap and Tax purposes.

Salary of amnestied players included for purposes of calculating players’ agreed-upon share of BRI.

A modified waiver process will be utilized for players waived pursuant to the Amnesty rule, under which teams with Room under the Cap can submit competing offers to assume some but not all of the player’s remaining contract. If a player’s contract is claimed in this manner, the remaining portion of the player’s salary will continue to be paid by the team that waived him.
via Cowbell Kingdom.com - A Sacramento Kings Blog.

Because a player will not have the right to refuse a bid, the Lakers would not have the ability to bid on Davis or Lewis because they are over the cap. This could have dramatically bizarre impacts on the entire process. 

Original post:

The whole point of the "competitive balance" aspect of the lockout was to try and limit some of the patterns wherein teams like the Lakers would have inherent advantages in the free agency and trade market. Regardless of whether you believe those measures were legitimate or not, that's the alleged point and a big reason why half of the games missed are absent from the schedule. But one potential ramification of the new rules is that the Lakers could wind up improving their already stacked roster,  which surprised everyone by not making the Finals last season. 

The Lakers could be aiming to bring in Baron Davis or Rashard Lewis, according to a report from the LA Times:
The Lakers are curious to see if veteran point guard Baron Davis gets cut by Cleveland. He has two years and $28.7 million left on his contract, though he can be signed for substantially less than that. The Lakers also want a shooter and are monitoring whether forward Rashard Lewis (two years, $43.8 million remaining) gets waived by Washington.

Because the Lakers are so far over the salary cap with a current payroll of about $90 million, their only real spending tool in free agency is the mid-level exception, which will shrink dramatically from last year's five-year, $29-million maximum for such a player.
via Lakers basketball: Lakers have new coaches, many questions for 2010-11 season - latimes.com.

The Lakers are widely expected to exercise the amnesty clause on Luke Walton, freeing up some salary space, though they'll still be in luxury tax category. With most of the  tax restrictions not expected to take effect until 2013, the Lakers should be in position to use the MLE on either player. Davis is a much better fit for need considering the Laker's strength at both power forward with Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, and small forward with Metta World Peace, Odom, Matt Barnes, and occassionally Kobe Bryant able to play the spot. On the flip side, a replacement has been needed for Derek Fisher for quite some time, and Davis would be an ideal candidate with his range.

Davis also is heavily involved in Hollywood through his film production company. This kind of move would represent the exact kind of move the lockout was designed to stop. Instead, the Lakers, who have won two of the past three championships, could be geared to add a former All-Star who fits perfectly with their roster. 

The more things change, the more things could potentially stay the same.
Posted on: November 27, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 3:55 pm

Nene is going to get PAID

By Matt Moore 

We've already told you that Nene is the top free agent in the market. But the thing is, it's a weak market. The best players are in restricted free agency and therefore are difficult to acquire. The unrestricted market is full of players with huge limitations or age and injury concerns. As such, you'd expect spending to be limited. After all, teams just got done holding a five-month lockout based on saying that spending to much on players is the problem. 

Nope! Back to the market with their pockets full of change they go!

First, from the New York Post:  
The players the Nets likely will pursue have been out there: Nene, Tayshaun Prince, Jamal Crawford. Then there is always the sign-and-trade route, which seems more feasible again as the new deal apparently will allow for immediate sign-and-trades like in the past.
via Nets ready to get to work on Williams, 'going home soon'.

OK, well, sure, the Nets want to sign him. The Nets are always looking to overpay for a free agent. See: Outlaw, Travis. But surely there's not some sort of huge buyer's market for him, right? Nene is excellent at what he does, but he's not a star. Teams aren't goin to go gaga... oh. From the Houston Chronicle:  
The Rockets have some hard decisions to make. They’re going all out for free-agent center Nene. He’s 29 years old and coming off a season in which he averaged 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Nene is 6-11, 250 pounds, and Morey believes putting him in a lineup with Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin would give the Rockets three to build around.
via Rockets will target Nene in free agency, and if they don’t get him, will consider a full-blown reconstruction. | SportsJustice | a Chron.com blog.

Then you have the Nuggets, who have a world of cap space and every intention of re-signing the Brazillian center. If this winds up being an arms race, they have a good chance as anyone, given Nene's comfort level there. Then there's the possibility Nene could forgo the money and instead opt to chase a ring, putting the Knicks and Heat on the radar. Either way, Nene's goin to be the most sought-after player on December 9th, and there's a pretty good possibility that after a summer talking about controlling costs, a team is going to dramatically over-commit in pursuit of Nene.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com