June 29, 2016, 8:12 am
The NBA moves fast doesn’t it? Just 10 days after the Cavs shocked the world in the NBA Finals, we have already had a Championship parade in Cleveland, watched the NBA Draft and are now less than 40 hours away from the July 1 free agency period. J.R. Smith has barely had time to buy a T-shirt, let alone think about next season. Let’s get to free agency news and rumors.
THE DURANT SWEEPSTAKES ARE NEAR
All eyes are on Kevin Durant. With teams lining up at the door to roll out the red carpet, there are several suitors all but confirmed to host Durant as free agency begins. Oklahoma City will get their chance to make a pitch to their stud, and they are rumored to be joined by Golden State, San Antonio, Boston, Miami and the Los Angeles Clippers. Once Durant makes his decision, the free agency dominoes will fall where they may.
In addition to the six teams, teams with historic basketball meccas such as the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks are vying for meetings with KD. Durant is spending a lot of time with his Team USA buddies, including Carmelo Anthony, who would stop at nothing to get the star on their NBA team or at least get his foot in the door for appearances.
I’d still pit OKC as the favorite to keep their superstar, especially since they were up 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals over the Warriors. Not many other teams can offer better. OKC has beefed up their arsenal, too, by fleecing the Magic after trading Serge Ibaka for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantis Sabonis. Durant even went so far as to opine on the trade by calling it a “good move.” Call me crazy, but he just wants to be wined and dined. Who can blame him? This could be KD’s only chance to date around and feel special before that long-term commitment. I like OKC to put a ring on it.
AROUND THE ASSOCIATION
Defending champion LeBron James will not exercise his player option to return to the Cavs. Nothing to see here. He is staying home.
Lebron’s former teammate Dwyane Wade isn’t getting anywhere in his initial discussions with the Miami Heat. Everyone is taking a backseat to Kevin Durant, as he is obviously this offseason’s most eligible bachelor. He is every team’s primary goal. Things in Miami are in flux, as Hassan Whiteside is testing free agency and Chris Bosh‘s health is still a mystery. Wade is clearly seeking leverage, which is why Wade’s camp is making it know that he’s on the market. It would be hard to believe that he will actually leave, which is why Pat Riley is playing hard ball. This game of tug-of-war will be an interesting watch.
The Spurs are certainly playing musical chairs with their big man this offseason. Tim Duncan has exercised his player option of $5.6 million for the 2016-17 season, but he has not indicated whether he will play or not. Duncan is 40 years young and has been contemplating retirement for a few seasons now. His long time teammate Manu Ginobili is leaning toward playing next season, if that helps shed light on Duncan’s status. With Duncan’s uncertainty and David West testing free agency, the Spurs have made a qualifying offer to Boban Majanovic, which makes him a restricted free agent. They will have to match any offer if any teams want to mess with The Boban.
Unrestricted free agent Pau Gasol is on top of the Spurs’ free agent wishlist, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical. Gasol seems like a great fit for the Spurs (it’s a wonder why he hasn’t joined them sooner), but they might be lacking on defense when they play LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol side by side. Nevertheless, adding Pau Gasol to your contending squad is never a bad thing.
ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that the Hawks are weighing a run at unrestricted free agent Dwight Howard. The Dwight-to-ATL rumors have flown throughout his career, as he grew up and played his high school ball in Atlanta. With his numbers in decline, it will be interesting to see what kind of money Dwight receives in the inflated market.
Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said that the Nets will not trade Brook Lopez and that he wants Lopez to be a leader on the team. The Nets don’t have much to work with these days so it might be wise to give Lopez the boot, but to each his own. From a coaching perspective, it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to lose your best player.
The Grizzlies declined Lance Stephenson‘s $9.4 million player option. That’s a wise move. Stephenson will have to blow ears in a different jersey.
That will do it for Wednesday’s Daily Dish. For the latest NBA free agency news and rumors, follow @HoopBallTweets. I’m @RiazD on Twitter. Feel free to drop a comment or question about all walks of life. Enjoy the long weekend. Happy Birthday America!
July 19, 2019, 5:52 pmKostas AntetokounmpoPF, Dallas Mavericks
The Raptors are planning to claim Kostas Antetokounmpo off waivers, per Eurohoops' Nikos Varlas.
Blake Murphy of The Athletic reports that the Raptors were interested in adding Antetokounmpo last season, but had their plans dashed when Dallas took Antetokounmpo with the final pick in the draft. He's incredibly raw still, but has the physical build that the Raptors seem to love in their developmental projects.
Source: Nikos Varlas on Twitter
July 19, 2019, 5:38 pmB.J. JohnsonPF, Sacramento Kings
The Kings have waived B.J. Johnson.
Johnson had a decent showing in Summer League but never seemed likely to last in Sacramento given the team's depth at forward. After making seven appearances on a pair of 10-day contracts with the Hawks last season, Johnson will look to find more concrete footing in the league this season.
Source: Jason Jones on Twitter
July 19, 2019, 5:07 pmKostas AntetokounmpoPF, Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs have waived Kostas Antetokounmpo, per Shams Charania.
The youngest Antetokounmpo was Mr. Irrelevant in the 2018 draft but only appeared in two games with the Mavs last season. Dallas opens up a two-way contract slot and will likely find a more NBA-ready player on the market, while Antetokounmpo will look to latch on with another team for camp. Perhaps the 20-year-old can make it a family affair, with both of his older brothers playing in Milwaukee.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
July 19, 2019, 4:46 pmChrist KoumadjeC, Philadelphia Sixers
The Sixers have agreed to a one-year, partially-guaranteed deal with rookie Christ Koumadje according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic.
Rich Hofmann of The Athletic reports that it will be an Exhibit 10 deal. Koumadje went undrafted but flashed his defensive potential by averaging 2.4 blocks in only 13.6 mpg at Summer League. The 7'4" big man will be a developmental project for Philly and is not part of the fantasy landscape for the time being.
Source: Michael Scotto
July 19, 2019, 4:34 pmJames HardenPG, Houston Rockets
James Harden has taken his name out of consideration for the FIBA World Cup this summer.
Harden will be focusing his efforts on getting ready for next season. There figures to be a large adjustment coming with Russell Westbrook replacing Chris Paul, and Harden playing alongside a ball-dominant scoring guard rather than a distributor will be something that figures to have a rough patch or two. Still, Harden reportedly told the Rockets that he's comfortable with playing off the ball more, so it should work out. Team USA, meanwhile, figures to be just fine considering the depth of talent available.
Source: Jonathan Feigen on Twitter
July 19, 2019, 4:12 pmJosh GrayG, New Orleans Pelicans
Josh Gray has agreed to a two-way deal with the Pelicans.
Gray had a cup of coffee with the Suns back in 2017-18 and spent last season playing in Korea. The former LSU product has always been adept at stacking up steals, but he's unlikely to see much playing time given the backcourt depth in New Orleans.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
July 19, 2019, 4:08 pmChristian WoodPF, Detroit Pistons
Christian Wood will be competing for backup center minutes this season, per Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.
Markieff Morris and Thon Maker will be his primary competition, and Wood has the edge if Detroit is looking for some strength and rebounding. If they're looking for shooting, then it's safe to say that we'll see some smaller bench groups this season. Wood has been dominant at the G-League level and had some monster games at the end of last season but it's not a great landing spot for fantasy value given that Detroit's roster is built on their frontcourt stars. Deep-league owners should keep an eye on that battle in the preseason.
Source: Keith Langlois on Twitter
July 19, 2019, 2:24 pmJustin HolidaySG, Indiana Pacers
Justin Holiday has agreed to a one-year deal with the Pacers as of Friday's reports.
Holiday will likely be a wing option off the bench for a secretly deep Pacers squad. There's some potential here if he can find an appropriate minute load.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
July 19, 2019, 1:08 pmIsaiah PineiroPF, Sacramento Kings
The Kings agreed to a one-year, partially guaranteed deal with Isaiah Pineiro on Friday.
This seems like just a depth move for the Kings to have a G-League option for this upcoming season. He played for the Kings in Summer League and clearly impressed enough to get a contract.
Source: Michael Scotto on Twitter
July 19, 2019, 11:34 amKosta KoufosC, Sacramento Kings
Kosta Koufos has reached an agreement with CSKA Moscow according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo.
Haynes goes on to say that Koufos' deal will make him the highest paid American in all of Europe next season, so it's safe to say that it was an easy sell for Koufos who appeared to be facing a rather tepid market. His deal will also include an NBA option that will allow him to opt out of his contract should he decide to return to the States.
Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter