NBA Rumors: Breaking Down the 25 Biggest Potential Moves of the Offseason
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As of 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1, the NBA entered its moratorium period, which means free agency as well as the rumors that follow are officially in full swing.
Because of the moratorium, no free-agent acquisition can take place until July 11. That’s 10 days where players must wait to sign contracts and 10 days where we can talk about the good, the bad and the completely ridiculous rumors that come our way.
With the draft behind us, we’ve already seen players switch jerseys. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jrue Holiday have all been traded, and teams are gearing up for the 2013-14 campaign as well as the highly touted 2014 draft.
Now the focus is on free agency, and it’s time to sit back and enjoy as the Association provides entertainment day in and day out.
Los Angeles Lakers to Pursue Nick Young?
The Los Angeles Lakers might have their hands full with Dwight Howard at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they can’t focus their energy elsewhere until the two sides officially meet.
Not long after free agency kicked off, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that L.A. called to inquire about Nick Young. Shelburne said that “several teams” called about Young.
The 28-year-old is known as a volume scorer with absolutely no conscience. The combination of him and Kobe Bryant could be fun to watch for a number of reasons, as the two of them would either explode for points or drive each other completely insane.
Either way, that’s high-quality entertainment.
Mo Williams to Leave If Not Named a Starter?
Mo Williams is an unrestricted free agent, and according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, he’d like to return to the Utah Jazz.
The catch? If he’s not named a starter, he’ll look outside of Utah for his next NBA deal.
The Jazz recently traded up to take Trey Burke in the draft, and it’s clear that the college player of the year is a major part of the team’s future. Spears reported separately that we can expect the team to go slow when it comes to Burke, but the question is: How slow is slow?
Williams wants to return, but his future will be dependent upon how quickly the Jazz want Burke in the starting lineup.
Kris Humphries on the Move Again?
The Boston Celtics shook up the NBA on draft night when they sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets. One of the pieces they received in return was Kris Humphries, but it looks as if the forward could be on the move for the second time during the offseason.
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated has stated on Twitter that the Charlotte Bobcats are a possible suitor for the forward. Mannix reported in a separate tweet that discussions have taken place in the past about a Humphries-Ben Gordon swap and that a similar deal could resurface with Boston.
Gordon’s time in Charlotte has felt like a short-term move since his name came up at the 2012 trade deadline, and if Boston decides that it wants the 2-guard, it now has the piece to go get him.
Brooklyn Nets to Target Kyle Korver?
In a summer full of Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Josh Smith rumors, Kyle Korver is going to make a quiet splash. He’s hardly the biggest name out on the market, but he’s arguably the best shooter.
Korver is the kind of player who knows his role, and according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Brooklyn Nets are a shoo-in to land the three-point specialist.
Stein also reported before the moratorium began that the “line will be long for Korver.”
If something falls through, the 32-year-old will have his fair share of choices, but with Brooklyn apparently not worried about the luxury tax, it seems like a match ready to be made sooner rather than later.
Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks
Chalk this one up as a fact—not a rumor. The New York Knicks have traded Marcus Camby, Steve Novak and draft picks for Andrea Bargnani, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
The story originally broke via Howard Beck of The New York Times.
The New York Knicks made positive strides during much of the 2012-13 season, but by the end of the year, it was clear that they were still behind the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers in the race out East.
The Knicks have apparently decided that Bargnani is the piece to upgrade their roster, and the big man will join the crew in New York with hopes of chasing a ring in 2014.
Eric Bledsoe Finally on the Move?
Eric Bledsoe has been a popular target for teams as of late, and with the offseason in full swing, the chances of him being moved appear to be rising.
ESPN’s Marc Stein has reported that the Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors are leading the pack when it comes to the point guard. The report says that the Raptors have “significant” interest and that the Magic have discussed a deal that would send Arron Afflalo to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Bledsoe, at 23 years old, is a top candidate to be moved over the summer, and that notion is made even more likely with the news from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that Chris Paul will accept a five-year deal worth $107 million to return to L.A.
Marcin Gortat Staying in Phoenix?
When the Phoenix Suns selected Alex Len with the fifth pick in the draft, it instantly made Marcin Gortat expendable. However, according to Dave Dulberg of Arizona Sports, the team may keep the big man after all.
Per Dulberg’s report, GM Ryan McDonough has no plans to trade Gortat. Len is coming off a foot surgery, and keeping "The Polish Hammer" is the ultimate insurance policy.
McDonough admits that Gortat’s long-term future is less predictable, but for the time being, expect to see the 29-year-old as the starting center on opening night.
Houston Rockets Are Done with Jeremy Lin?
It’s no secret that Jeremy Lin has yet to live up to his New York Knicks "Linsanity" days. The bigger problem, though, is that he also hasn’t lived up to the contract he signed with the Houston Rockets.
It’s true that the point guard has only been with the Rockets for one year, but according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com, the team might be looking “to dump” his salary moving forward.
Lin’s contract, worth approximately $25 million over three years, will cost the organization $5 million in 2013 and $15 million in 2014. The Rockets would love to have that kind of money available during free agency, and if they can find a way to move the contract, they’d be smart to explore their options.
One of those options, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, is the Detroit Pistons. The Rockets would look to acquire Jose Calderon in sign-and-trade fashion.
Houston Also Making Omer Asik Available?
Along with making Jeremy Lin available, the Houston Rockets have called a number of teams about Omer Asik, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports.
Per Berger’s report, the Rockets are extremely confident they will convince Dwight Howard to sign with them this summer. If that ends up being the case, Asik will be expendable, and the Rockets are apparently already seeing who’s out there.
Also in the report is the idea that the Philadelphia 76ers may be one team interested in the big man. The team’s new GM, Sam Hinkie, is a former executive with the Rockets, which could lead to friendly discussions about the center down the road.
Kevin Martin Leaving OKC?
Kevin Martin has entered free agency with a number of teams looking his way. According to a report by USA Today Sports’ Sam Amick, those teams are expected to be the Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies.
The report also states that Martin is “seriously considering leaving” despite having an interest in continuing his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The motivation for Martin to leave revolves around his role. He played the 2013-14 season as a sixth man, but you know somebody as talented as he is would love to be back in a starting lineup.
OKC must now decide how much money it is willing to shell his way and if it’s willing to adjust his role at all within the current system.
Tyreke Evans and the New Orleans Pelicans?
Tyreke Evans has fallen into a rare category of NBA players, and it’s not an endearing one. He’s regressed every year since his rookie season, leaving some wondering if he peaked during his very first year in the league.
While questions of his production are legitimate, his talent gives teams hope that better days are ahead. One of those teams is the New Orleans Pelicans, and according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the two parties sat down as soon as free agency began.
Stein learned shortly before free agency began that the guard had scheduled a meeting with the Pelicans. Rumors from other sources came and went that contradicted Stein’s report, but as it turned out, the meeting was very real.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports has reported that the Pelicans were ready to make a “big offer” but that Evans would take time to make his decision.
Brandon Jennings In, J.J. Redick out of Milwaukee?
Brandon Jennings’ relationship with the Milwaukee Bucks has been a complicated one. We’ve heard him talk in the past about how he wants to play for a bigger market, but it’s come to light recently that he would welcome a return to the organization that drafted him in 2009.
ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported just hours before the NBA’s moratorium began that the Bucks guard expressed via email his desire to continue his career in Milwaukee. In the report, Jennings states that he wants to “do more for the city and the franchise.”
J.J. Redick, on the other hand, may have already played his last game with the team that traded for him midseason. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski has tweeted that it is becoming “less and less likely” that Redick returns, and in a separate tweet, he noted that sign-and-trade situations were beginning to emerge.
New York Knicks Are Interested in Monta Ellis?
According to a Yahoo! Sports report, you shouldn’t expect to see Monta Ellis in a Milwaukee Bucks uniform in 2013-14.
In the report, it’s stated that there has already been a “mutual parting of the ways” between Ellis and the team. It’s also said that Ellis would have interest in the Sacramento Kings—although the interest may not be mutual on the organization’s side.
One team that has already made it clear they’d like Ellis is the New York Knicks, per Ken Berger of CBS Sports.
Other teams interested in Ellis could be the Atlanta Hawks and the Dallas Mavericks. The Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs could also enter the sweepstakes, but they would all have to be creative with cap space to make it happen.
Can Utah Actually Keep Both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap?
The Utah Jazz have been a focal point of the NBA rumors circuit since the trade deadline, and it has everything to do with their two big men, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.
With a roster that contains four solid bigs—including Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter—it’s been widely assumed that the team would look to trade one—or let one walk—to open up space for the younger two to develop.
Yahoo! Sports, however, has learned that the Jazz would like to keep both players on board for the 2013-14 season. The Charlotte Bobcats, though, are prepared to go after Jefferson, according to Matt Moore of CBS Sports.
The big question becomes about money. If Jefferson commands too much on the open market, the Jazz could let him go as an unrestricted free agent.
Balancing out the roster has been a concern in Utah as of late, and while the move to draft Trey Burke helps, letting Jefferson walk might have to be the next step.
Top Destinations for O.J. Mayo
O.J. Mayo’s future has been up in the air for years. He was constantly on the block with the Memphis Grizzlies, and despite signing with the Dallas Mavericks in 2012, he’s now a free agent again in 2013.
Sam Amick of USA Today has listed the Utah Jazz, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers, Charlotte Bobcats and Chicago Bulls as the 2-guard’s top suitors.
Mayo has yet to live up to the expectations he set for himself following a solid rookie season, but he showed with the Mavs that he can be a reliable scoring option when given the opportunity.
Where he lands is a big question mark at this point, but the bigger question is whether he’ll earn a long-term or short-term contract.
Top Destinations for Andre Iguodala
Andre Iguodala opted out of the final year of his contract, and while that doesn’t mean he’s leaving the Denver Nuggets, it does mean he’ll test his value with a number of suitors in free agency.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, there are a handful of teams who will compete for Iguodala’s services. The teams included are the Nuggets, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans, Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.
Whether the motivation is money or championship aspirations, each of these squads has something to offer. There’s also the issue of whether Iguodala wants to accept a situation where he’s a role player as opposed to being a No. 1 option.
Iggy is widely considered a second-tier star, but his two-way capabilities on the floor will make him a sought-after commodity during free agency.
Is LaMarcus Aldridge Staying or Going?
LaMarcus Aldridge has been through multiple rebuilds with the Portland Trail Blazers. He’s an All-Star forward who is considered one of the best stretch 4s in the game. And while he has a newfound sidekick in Damian Lillard, it appears his time in Rip City might be winding down.
Before the draft, rumors began to swirl regarding Aldridge’s happiness in Portland. Jason Quick of The Oregonian reported that the big man considered Portland to be “too small” and “too boring.”
Prior to draft night, ESPN’s Chard Ford and Marc Stein reported that the Blazers had discussed a package with the Cleveland Cavaliers involving the No. 1 and No. 19 picks.
Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald also reported that the Chicago Bulls could be in the running, as people close to the situation believed Aldridge had declared he would like to play in the Windy City.
Portland fans can find comfort in the fact that Aldridge claims he has not requested a trade, per Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. The Trail Blazers would be remiss not to explore their options with two years left on Aldridge’s deal, but it doesn’t appear as if anything is imminent at this time.
Chris Kaman to Talk with Blazers?
Chris Kaman has been on the Portland Trail Blazers’ radar for quite some time now. He was looked at as a possible free-agent signing during the summer of 2012, and according to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian, the two sides plan to discuss that same possibility one year later.
It’s no secret that the Blazers need a center. It's been that way for a long time, and Kaman is a big enough body to impact a game alongside LaMarcus Aldridge.
Golden State Warriors Shopping David Lee?
Not long after free agency began, the Golden State Warriors were looking to see what was available for David Lee, per Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.
At 30 years old, Lee is coming off of surgery to repair a torn hip flexor. That said, he’s always been a great rebounder who can score well, and the team began testing his market value in multiple places.
The Warriors tried to snag Andrea Bargnani from the Toronto Raptors and LaMarcus Aldridge from the Portland Trail Blazers. Neither team took the bait, which means Lee’s value is likely not as high as the team expected.
Andrew Bynum in Cleveland?
Andrew Bynum may have spent the 2012-13 season on the sidelines, but teams apparently still remember what he can do when healthy and on the floor.
According to Yannis Koutroupis of Hoopsworld, Bynum will be sought by the Portland Trail Blazers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Koutroupis also mentions that any team who misses out on Dwight Howard could also target Bynum.
Despite the initial report, the Blazers could be out of the running. Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com says that a “well-placed source” has confirmed that the team is not interested in the center.
That leaves the Cavaliers as the main suitors, and a Bynum signing would be a huge step in the midst of a rebuild.
Detroit Pistons 1st to Talk to Josh Smith
Josh Smith has been one of the hottest names over the past year when it comes to trade and free-agent speculation. Now that free agency has finally arrived, it’s clear that there will be plenty of suitors for the ultra-athletic forward.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne has reported that there will be five to six teams interested in Smith. She also notes that his negotiations will be “affected by what Dwight [Howard] does.”
However, of the five or six teams interested in Smith, it was the Detroit Pistons who landed the first meeting with him, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
Yahoo! Sports has reported that Smith is actually “open-minded” when it comes to the thought of returning to the Atlanta Hawks. Nobody is going to be shocked if Smith opts to leave, but the door has been left open for the versatile forward to return.
Boston Trading Rajon Rondo?
The Boston Celtics are in the midst of a full rebuild, and Rajon Rondo could be the next to trade jerseys.
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have already been sent to the Brooklyn Nets, and at this point, it doesn’t make sense to keep Rondo around. Yes, he would be a good piece to have two years from now when new talent has arrived, but there’s no point in remaining mediocre when you’re targeting a high draft pick in 2014.
Whether or not Dallas is truly in the mix, expect the Celtics to shop their star point guard. He’s been on and off the block for years, and with the team officially moving on to the next chapter, this could be the summer we finally see him traded.
Dwight Howard to Re-Sign with the Los Angeles Lakers?
When it comes to Dwight Howard, rumors have been swirling for the past two years. There’s plenty of speculation about where the superstar will land, but when looking at his situation, you have to first look at the Los Angeles Lakers.
Howard ultimately signed off on a trade to L.A. during the 2012 offseason, and now he has a chance to sign a max deal that will keep him in a major market for the next five years. The problem for the Lakers is that they’re not considered the favorites to land the NBA’s best center.
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, “there is very little chance” that Howard rejoins the team. Los Angeles went all in on the big man a year ago, but it’s looking more and more like a one-year rental.
Howard’s first year in L.A. was disastrous for everyone involved, but that doesn’t mean the team is giving up on the big man. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne has reported that Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash will be involved in the Lakers’ pitch on Tuesday.
L.A. still believes it can woo the big man at this point in the process, but it’ll be up against a few major competitors when it's all said and done.
Dwight Howard to the Dallas Mavericks?
If Dwight Howard doesn’t re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, the question becomes: Where will he sign?
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Dallas Mavericks will meet with Howard. The gathering will be led by owner Mark Cuban and forward Dirk Nowitzki, as the team will look to persuade him with talks of being the best player on a team who recently won a title.
Howard has been connected to Dallas for quite some time. During the summer of 2012, it was widely thought that he would look to pair up with Deron Williams as one of the newest members of the Mavs.
That thought was shut down when Williams re-signed with the Brooklyn Nets, but there’s still a chance Howard could choose to play alongside Nowitzki as he looks for a championship.
Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets
If Dwight Howard spurns the Dallas Mavericks, there’s still a good chance he could land in the Lone Star State.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Houston Rockets were granted the first meeting with Howard, which took place as soon as the league’s moratorium period began. It’s a fitting move, as Wojnarowski also calls them the “front-runners” in the Howard sweepstakes.
The Rockets have a number of selling points that they likely pitched to the center. Not only do they have a roster and a coach who will cater to his needs, but he can earn more money as a result of having no state income tax.
According to a separate post by Kennedy, the big man will eventually meet with the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks. At this point, however, the Rockets appear to be in the lead when it comes to the game's best center.