Despite the fact that we are in the midst of an epic 2013 NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat, the swell of rumors regarding free agency and potential trades is only growing.
The usual suspect—Dwight Howard—is, of course, prominently involved, but a blockbuster that could involve Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and possibly more is gaining a bit of steam.
Let’s take a look at the latest buzz on D12 and the most recent reports regarding the Clips and C’s megadeal in the making in Tuesday’s rumor roundup.
Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers Still Attempting to Breach Impasse
Over the weekend, reports began surfacing that the Celtics and Clippers were having discussions on a deal that would send coach Doc Rivers and forward Kevin Garnett to L.A.
However, Boston GM Danny Ainge asked for center DeAndre Jordan, guard Eric Bledsoe and two first-round draft picks in return for these assets, a price that the Clippers front office allegedly balked at.
Talks stalled after, but are back on as of Monday afternoon, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski:
Celtics and Clippers are still engaging on a Doc Rivers-Kevin Garnett deal and hope remains of finding an agreement, league sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 17, 2013
The main tenets are being altered, as Bledsoe is reportedly no longer on the table (as per Wojnarowski):
Without Bledsoe, source tells Y! that Celtics are "pushing for increased financial flexibility," instead of more draft considerations.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 17, 2013
If an agreement is to be struck, the Clippers will likely have to absorb at least one of the Celtics’ multiyear contracts in order to provide some cap relief to an organization that will be in full rebuilding mode after the trade (as per Wojnarowski):
Boston wants to unload at least one multi-year contract onto the Clippers to get this deal done, source says.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 17, 2013
There’s also the issue of Jordan, whom the C’s are apparently not enamored with—as per Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix—due to his lack of free-throw shooting and scoring skills. He’s also wildly overpaid, as the big man is set to make more than $22 million in the next two seasons.
Boston isn't exactly giddy about DeAndre Jordan, either. He's an overpaid center who can't score or make free throws.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) June 17, 2013
What is becoming quite apparent is that a deal is extremely likely to be completed between these two franchises—which were originally in talks about a potential KG deal back in February.
It’ll be interesting to see how these issues get resolved and who moves where when the dust finally settles.
Dwight Howard Joining Forces With Monta Ellis?
Monta Ellis has opted out of the final year—and $11 million—of his contract and is now preparing to test his value in free agency this offseason.
While this decision was rumored during the season and immediately after the Milwaukee Bucks were eliminated from playoff contention, ESPN’s Chris Broussard first reported that it became official on Monday.
It has opened the door for Ellis, one of the league’s most dynamic players, to team up with Dwight Howard—one of the two elite unrestricted free agents in 2013.
Broussard noted that D12 still wishes to partner up with Chris Paul—the other top player on the open market—but would consider joining Ellis if that doesn’t pan out.
Apparently the two have long desired to play together, but haven’t had an opportunity to make that happen until now.
Who will Howard partner up with?
Many of the teams eyeing Howard are reportedly interested in Ellis, a short list that includes the Los Angeles Lakers—who would have to complete a sign-and-trade to acquire him—Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks.
If Howard and Paul don’t end up on the same roster this summer—and that seems to be a long shot at best—it would not be surprising to see D12 opt for Plan B and link up with Ellis.
Los Angeles Lakers Won’t Deal Dwight Howard
If a suitor for Howard doesn’t have the cap space this summer, it likely doesn’t have much of a chance to acquire the superstar.
According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, the Lakers will either re-sign last year’s prized offseason acquisition or let him walk away in unrestricted free agency in order to get the cap space.
It’s a blow to teams like the Clippers, who were reportedly interested in trading star forward Blake Griffin and Bledsoe to their in-town rivals in exchange for Superman.
However, the Lakers know that they would be well positioned to rebuild in 2014 with Howard off the books.
If Kobe Bryant is willing to take a pay cut from the exorbitant $30.5 million he will make in 2013-14, L.A. could keep him aboard and still find the space to add two max-contract free agents next summer.
GM Mitch Kupchak is smart enough to bring the Lakers back to prominence, even if the club suffers a down year and is spurned by Dwight Howard next month.