NBA Rumors: Playing Fact or Fiction with the Latest Free-Agent Buzz
Despite how distracted football season may have you by now, NBA free agency is actually still going on, and there are plenty of fresh rumors out there to dissect as far as where veteran players are going or not going.
Michael Redd, Kenyon Martin, Tracy McGrady and Derek Fisher are all veterans who have been really good players in the past. Now, each is searching for a job as teams begin to question what these players can continue to bring to the court on a night-by-night basis.
The rumors vary in scope and subject. One player is rumored to be near signing with a mystery team. A few are still unsigned because they think they are worth more than NBA teams apparently do. Still another has seen talks with a championship contender cool off after that team signed another similar player.
Some of these are true, while others will certainly end up being false. Knowing which is which can be tricky, so read on to find out.
Mickael Pietrus Nearing Deal with Mystery Team
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Mickael Pietrus spent an unimpressive 2011-12 season with the Boston Celtics, and he's now a free agent. However, it looks as if his status as a free agent could be coming to a close soon.
According to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 in Minneapolis, there is no recent news in regards to Pietrus and the Minnesota Timberwolves, but the shooting guard could be close to signing with someone else:
The idea that no team is mentioned in this particular rumor makes one suspicious.
The Timberwolves would be a decent fit for Pietrus, but he has already stated that he will not take the veteran’s minimum, which is probably all the T-Wolves could offer. This just sounds too fishy to me, possibly a negotiating ploy.
Spurs and Knicks Possibilities for Tracy McGrady
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Tracy McGrady was, at one time, one of the elite players in the NBA. He was much-maligned, but no one can deny how talented he was. Now, he is a 33-year-old veteran struggling to find an employer.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, McGrady worked out for the San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks earlier this week. Both teams are looking for role players to fill out their rosters, and each is determining whether McGrady can fit with their team.
This particular rumor probably has elements of truth and fiction. While I trust Wojnarowski and his sources that McGrady worked out for these teams, I have no belief that either team will end up signing him.
He will probably end up in China before it is all said and done.
Kenyon Martin Could Consider Retirement
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Kenyon Martin has been a tough defensive enforcer for over a decade in the NBA. Despite the player he is and has been, it appears as though he is not getting the type of deals that he wants, which could lead to his retirement.
According to Sam Amick of SI.com, Martin is drawing interest primarily from teams that are only willing to offer the veteran’s minimum to him. Amick speculated that this could lead to the 34-year-old sitting out until midseason or retiring.
As much as I enjoy Amick, I have to call him on this one. There is no way that Martin, who showed himself to still be effective in a bench role last season, will retire.
Waiting for a better contract is a possibility, but retirement is not.
Memphis Grizzlies Not Interested in Michael Redd
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Former Milwaukee Buck Michael Redd is searching for a new team this offseason, and it appears that, whatever team he chooses, the Grizzlies are not in the running. Unfortunately for Redd, that apparently was not up to him.
According to a tweet by the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Grizzlies have no interest in paying Redd what he would command:
Re: Griz roster. The team isn't pursuing guaranteed contracts. Michael Redd isn't on the radar as rumored because he would cost $1.7 million.—Commercial Appeal (@CAGrizBlog), September 12, 2012
The Grizzlies are desperate for perimeter scoring after the loss of O.J. Mayo in free agency. However, Redd probably is too expensive for them to take a gamble on. While he would fill a need, it is not worth putting the rest of that talented team at risk.
Leandro Barbosa to the Lakers Talks Have Cooled
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Leandro Barbosa struggled as an Indiana Pacer last season, averaging just eight points per game. However, he played very well in the London Olympics, and he certainly has something left in the tank at age 29.
However, the chances of him joining former teammate Steve Nash with the Lakers is not looking as good as it was.
According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, talks between Barbosa and the Lakers cooled off after L.A. signed Jodie Meeks:
Leandro Barbosa told @balanacesta that talks with the Lakers cooled once L.A. signed Jodie Meeks. However, Steve Nash has been recruiting him.—Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA), September 11, 2012
Barbosa would be a great player for the Lakers to have, especially considering how well he performed while in Phoenix with Steve Nash. This rumor is true though, because even the Lakers do not have unlimited roster spots. The signing of Meeks does make it even more difficult for Barbosa to get to L.A., even if just for limited-roster-space reasons.
Derek Fisher Has Remote Chance of Returning to OKC
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Derek Fisher played a pivotal role in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s run to the NBA Finals last season and postseason. While that role did not translate to much on the court, it was an invariably valuable one off of it. However, it is unlikely the Thunder will bring him back.
According to Sam Amick of SI.com, Fisher is unlikely to return to the Thunder for a number of reasons—the main one being the depth they already have at his position.
Oklahoma City does not need Fisher to come back. Backup point guard Eric Maynor will be back from an ACL tear, and he should be an improvement over Fisher. Second-year guard Reggie Jackson will play third fiddle, and he showed some nice things last season.