NBA Rumors: Latest Developments for Top Free Agents

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVJune 1, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers sets up a play as he dribbles up the court during a 93-77 Clipper victory for their 11th straight win at Staples Center on December 19, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

NBA free-agent talk is starting to get spicy around the league, as tempers are flaring and suitors make pushes for the star players who will become available July 1. 

We know there is enough talent in this free-agent class to severely shift the landscape of the Association, but what we don't know is how it will play out. Several teams are desperate to hang onto their stars, while others look to make major additions by grabbing a franchise talent.

While some teams aren't making the right moves to keep their superstar, others are taking advantage and making room to add a big-time talent.

Let's take a look at the latest buzz surrounding this year's top available players. 


Chris Paul

The Los Angeles Clippers are in a messy situation with point guard Chris Paul, and it just got quite a bit messier.

ESPN's Chris Broussard reported that Paul is "angry" with the Clippers organization in the wake of their handling of coach Vinny Del Negro's firing. This comes after owner Donald Sterling strongly implied that the firing came as a result of pleasing his superstar player. 

Here's what Broussard's source had to say about CP3's current feelings about how he was treated by the Clippers.

"He's angry right now and his anger is directed toward the Clippers organization. Chris is a man of principle and if he feels like you've gone against his principles, it will affect how he feels about you. He's very agitated that his name has been put out there as the reason for Vinny's firing. He had nothing to do with it."

This type of development surely isn't something that will make or break the Clippers' chances of retaining Paul, but it's something worth following to see how badly CP3 is taking the news. Some players care more about their reputation than others, and it's certainly understandable that Paul would take offense to the owner putting the blame on him. 

Don't count the Clippers out just yet as the favorites for Paul, but things surely just got a little bit more interesting in the wake of Sterling's comments. 


Dwight Howard

This Los Angeles superstar has shown quite a bit more interest in shopping himself around to the other 29 franchises, and that was confirmed Friday by a slew of reports.

Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News reported Howard is interested in meeting with both the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets when the free agency period starts in a month. 

Both of these teams have long been rumored to be in the running for the star center, but it seems one team has the upper edge. Matt Moore of CBS Sports reported the Rockets are receiving "hopeful signals" of D12's increased interest in joining James Harden and company next season. 

While the Lakers can still offer more money to the happy-go-lucky player and are viewed as the favorites to land him, this development only proves that you can't assume when it comes to Superman.

If L.A. doesn't do some big-time convincing, they could see their future franchise player head for the Lone Star State before too long. 


Kevin Garnett

All of that talk about Kevin Garnett ending his playing days is getting quieter and quieter. 

According to what ESPN's Jackie MacMullan told CSN New England, KG is "likely" to return to the Celtics for the 2013-14 season. 

We heard similar speculation about Garnett's future in Boston during last summer, but it was quickly ousted after he signed a three-year, $34 million deal. Though now, after a first-round exit in the playoffs and with a weaker team, the questions have started to stir again.

MacMullan said she's hearing that KG is aiming to come back for one more year, but that the ball is in his court and the Celtics are waiting for him to make a decision before deciding on other moves that will reveal the future of the franchise. 

After the type of career that Garnett has had, almost any basketball fan could appreciate him coming back for one last victory lap. 


Monta Ellis

It's been common knowledge for some time that Monta Ellis would look long and hard at suitors in the 2013 free agency period, and that notion is becoming more and more obvious. 

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported Ellis is increasingly interested in signing with the Sacramento Kings, where he'd reunite with new head coach Michael Malone. The two developed a close relationship when Malone was an assistant coach in Golden State and Ellis was the team's star player. 

Ellis is widely expected to opt out of his $11 million clause in the final year of his contract with the Bucks, which would spark a betting war for his services as one of the NBA's most lethal shooting guards. 

After averaging 20 points in each of the last three seasons before dropping to 19.2 points per contest this year, Ellis is sure to be paid handsomely no matter where he ends up. But as of now, it's looking more and more like he'll be joining forces with DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento.