NBA Free-Agent Rumors: Latest Buzz as Negotiations Officially Begin

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJuly 1, 2013

Feb 01, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum (33) prior to the game against the Sacramento Kings at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated the Kings 89-80. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Teams and free agents are officially free to negotiate and agree to deals. These agreements can become official on July 10 when the NBA lifts its moratorium on signings and trades.

Chris Paul's destination is seemingly sealed, per ESPN's Chris Broussard. The All-Star point guard is reportedly returning to the Los Angeles Clippers. Broussard reports that teams have been told not to bother contacting Paul with free-agent offers.

Most other top-tier free agents still have meetings scheduled with potential suitors. Other second-tier players may have to wait for teams to explore their top priorities.

With rumors set to be made fact or fiction, here's the latest buzz in NBA free agency.


O.J. Mayo Highly Coveted

After averaging 15 points per game and shooting 40 percent from three-point range, Mayo is a hot commodity on the NBA free-agent market.

Sam Amick of USA Today reports as many as seven teams are potential suitors for the 25-year-old shooting guard.

The salary Mayo commands is of course key, but of the teams mentioned by Amick, the L.A. Clippers and the Chicago Bulls offer him the best shot at winning a championship. Mayo could fill a big void for either team as both could be a 2-guard away from reaching the NBA Finals, or even winning it all in the Bulls' case.

That said, Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld reports that the Jazz may actually be the team that pursues Mayo hardest.

The team that offers the best balance of money, playing time and a chance to win will likely be the victors in the chase for Mayo.


Andrew Bynum Has Suitors...Really

Despite last season's debacle of hairstyles, bowling accidents and zero games played, teams are still interested in signing Andrew Bynum.

At least four teams are rumored suitors for the 25-year-old center, per Yannis Koutroupis of Hoopsworld.

The Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets are believed to be the L.A. Lakers' biggest competition for Dwight Howard, so their interest in Bynum is likely a backup plan if they lose the D12 sweepstakes.

The Hawks also have the money to offer Howard a max deal, but aren't serious contenders for his services. When healthy, Bynum is almost as productive as Howard. During the 2011-12 season, Bynum averaged 18.7 points 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game.

That was the Bynum the Philadelphia 76ers were hoping to get when they traded for him last summer. That's also the Bynum any potential suitors would love to see this season.

Because of his injury issues, any team interested would be wise to offer an incentive-laden two-year deal, preferably with a team option for the second season.

If things work out, he could be a nice value and consolation prize to the loser of the D12 chase. 


Kevin Martin Will Draw Interest from OKC and More

According to Marcus J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Kevin Martin will be another free-agent shooting guard teams are interested in acquiring.

Of the teams listed by Spears, the Thunder give Martin the best chance to win, but we all know there are other factors involved.

The Thunder didn't get an opportunity to see how far a core of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Martin could take them because of Westbrook's injury.

With their All-Star point guard expected back at 100 percent, the Thunder may pay the cost to keep Martin in the fold.


New Orleans Looking To Add More Ex-Sixers?

Spears also reports that the New Orleans Pelicans are seriously considering signing former Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers swingman, Andre Iguodala.

The Pelicans traded for Iguodala's former teammate, Jrue Holiday on draft day. The reunion would make the Pelicans one of the up-and-coming teams in the Western Conference.

A starting five of Holiday, Eric Gordon, Iguodala, Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis would be solid.

Even if the team brought Anderson off the bench to allow Davis to play his more natural position of power forward, the lineup would still be good with the free agent at center.

The Pelicans would probably have to rid themselves of some salary to sign Iggy, but this would prove the team is serious about winning sooner rather than later.


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