The NBA rumor mill is swirling fiercely, which is an indication that the offseason is about to get extremely interesting as organizations begin signing and trading some big-name players.
There are several stars on the open market this summer, which should make for an exciting offseason. Some will attempt to team up to create super-franchises, whereas others will look to sign deals where they can be the leader and contribute the most on a nightly basis.
Franchises with limited funds will be seeking out deals with other teams in order to maximize return and put an improved team on the floor in 2013-14 and beyond. There are also teams that will be looking to dump some payroll in order to open up cap space for future years.
Coaches will also be in many of the conversations in the coming months, as several teams are seeking new guys to control the lineups and create plays.
So, what’s the latest buzz from the Association? Here’s a look at what everyone is talking about these days, including coaching changes, trades and free agency.
Doc Out, Frank In?
Over the last few days, the big talk has been about the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers working on a deal that would send Doc Rivers west. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that even though those talks have ended, Rivers still isn’t sure about coming back to Boston next season.
As Wojnarowski writes, Rivers still has three years left on his deal. It’s clear that Rivers has interest in coaching other franchises and if he doesn’t want to coach the Celtics in 2013-14, Boston needs to start figuring out who its next coach is going to be.
A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast SportsNet New England names two candidates who could end up taking Rivers’ position:
While Vinny Del Negro wouldn’t be a bad option, Lawrence Frank is the coach who is more intriguing. Frank spent a season with the Celtics back in 2010-11 as an assistant on Rivers’ coaching staff. He later left to go coach the Pistons, but was fired back in April after going 54-94 in two seasons.
Frank is familiar with the Boston organization and used to be a good coach back in his days with the New Jersey Nets. Frank’s time in Detroit was bound to be a bust. If general manager Danny Ainge is seeking replacements for Rivers, it’s highly suggested he take a deep look at Frank.
Three Teams With Eyes on Ellis
Monta Ellis told the Bucks that he’s going to see what’s out on the market this summer, opting out of the final year of his deal, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN. Ellis scored 19.2 points, grabbed 3.9 rebounds and had 6.0 assists per game this past season, playing in all 82 games.
Broussard also reports that the Hawks, Mavericks and Lakers are all teams that have interest in the point guard. He notes that the only way Los Angeles could land Ellis would be via a sign-and-trade, which seems unlikely.
Atlanta needs to prepare itself for the potential departure of unrestricted free agent Josh Smith. Smith has been one of the team's better players over the years and if he decides to sign elsewhere, that’ll leave around 18 points per game off the board for the Hawks.
The Mavericks probably won’t be looking to spend a lot of money this summer, but could definitely use a star guard. Mike James and O.J. Mayo are both unrestricted free agents and Darren Collison is a restricted free agent. If the Mavs are prepared to spend the money, Dallas would be an attractive landing spot for Ellis.
Getting a player like Ellis isn’t going to be a priority for the Lakers this offseason. Instead, their full focus will be on Dwight Howard and whether he will re-sign with the team. Ellis and Howard could team up if Howard and Chris Paul can’t sign with the same team, according to Broussard.
Indiana Will Likely Keep Granger
As previously mentioned, the Clippers are on the hunt to add some big names this summer. It appears that Los Angeles won’t be getting Rivers—or Kevin Garnett—but they’re still looking into who’s available. Danny Granger is one player who isn’t.
Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN report that the Clippers have engaged in conversations with the Pacers in a deal that would include Eric Bledsoe and Granger. But ESPN’s duo says that Indiana will likely hang on to Granger since it feels he can help take down the Heat next season.
Granger couldn’t help his team defeat Miami this past postseason, as he only played in five games the entire year after undergoing surgery for a knee injury. Over the course of his eight-year career, the forward has averaged 18.1 points and 5.2 rebounds in 33.1 minutes per game.
Indiana nearly upended the Eastern Conference champions this season, and having Granger on the floor certainly would’ve aided the Pacers’ Finals hopes. The Pacers have a great nucleus, centered around Granger, Paul George and Roy Hibbert, among others. Keeping Granger seems like a smart move. Next year could be the year for Indiana.