Although there hasn't been a ton of action on the signing front since NBA free agency opened on Monday, there is no shortage of buzz when it comes to where and when some of the top names on the market might sign.
This year's free-agent class is stacked with talent and seemingly every team in the league is trying to sign someone of significance. With that in mind, this promises to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable free-agent periods in recent memory.
There is no telling how things will ultimately play out, but rumors are swirling and picking up steam with each passing day.
Here is the latest buzz surrounding some of the top players on the open market as teams continue to make their pitches in pursuit of marquee free agents.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Sacramento Kings made former Denver Nuggets guard Andre Iguodala a sizable four-year $56 million offer to become the cornerstone of the franchise. Since Iguodala was unwilling to give the Kings a definitive answer with regards to the offer, though, Sacramento pulled it off the table and Iguodala is now left wondering where he might end up.
As USA Today reported, source tells Y! that Sacramento has withdrawn its four-year, $56 million offer from Denver free agent Andre Iguodala.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 3, 2013
While Iguodala is a great all-around player, the Kings might ultimately be happy with their decision. The 29-year-old shooting guard contributes in a number of categories as he averaged 13 points and more than five rebounds and five assists per game last season for the Nuggets. He may soon be exiting his prime, though, and he doesn't score enough to be considered a true franchise guy.
The Kings are a team in transition and they aren't likely to make the playoffs during the upcoming season with or without Iguodala. Paying him $14 million per season could have become a major roadblock down the line, so perhaps Sacramento did itself a favor. As for Iguodala, he may now turn his attention back to the Nuggets. He fit in very well with their ensemble cast last season and could do some big things under new head coach Brian Shaw.
As one of the most exciting and explosive guards in the NBA, it should come as no surprise that there is plenty of interest in Monta Ellis. What is somewhat surprising, however, is the fact that the New York Knicks may be among his top suitors. According to Sports Illustrated, the Knicks would love to sign Ellis, particularly with reigning Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith hitting the open market and potentially planning to sign elsewhere.
Report: Knicks express interest in Monta Ellis http://t.co/PWb9UCfp8u— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 1, 2013
Ellis going to the Big Apple seems like a match made in heaven as he is the type of consistent scoring threat who can complement Carmelo Anthony, but the Knicks have a lot to overcome. According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Knicks can only offer Ellis a $3.2 million mid-level exception. Considering the fact that Ellis opted out of an $11 million deal in Milwaukee to become a free agent, it seems unlikely that he would take such a drastic pay cut.
With that said, Berger is reporting that Ellis has shown a willingness to take less money if it means playing for a winning team. Even so, an $8 million decrease is significant. According to Berger, the Nuggets, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns are also interested in Ellis, so he will have some options. Ellis' numbers of 19 points and six assists per game last season suggest that he should get a mountain of money in free agency, so New York's chances don't look great at this point.
Which free agent will have the biggest impact next season?
After averaging 18.5 points per game for the Memphis Grizzlies as a rookie in 2008-09, it seemed as though shooting guard O.J. Mayo was destined for greatness. He began to fall out of favor in Memphis, however, and he ultimately landed with the Dallas Mavericks this past season. The Mavs didn't have a great year, but Mayo enjoyed a resurgence of sorts as he averaged more than 15 points and four assists per game while hitting over 40 percent of his three-point shots. Because of that, Mayo figures to have plenty of suitors in free agency.
Mayo played a sixth man role in his final two seasons with the Grizzlies, but he was a full-time starter in Dallas last season as he started all 82 games. Mayo's versatility makes him an attractive option for many teams as he has proven capable of scoring off the bench or doing so as a starter. One team that has a severe lack of depth in the backcourt is the Utah Jazz, so it isn't much of a shock to learn that the Jazz have interest in Mayo, according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.
The Utah Jazz will pursue O.J. Mayo, according to sources. They're going after him hard. I've been hearing that since their season ended.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 30, 2013
The Jazz have other things to worry about as well with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap hitting free agency, but if they are able to re-sign one of those bigs while also bringing in Mayo, they will be an intriguing team to watch next season.
Utah already has a couple of promising, young big men in the form of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, and it also drafted point guard Trey Burke, so the foundation is in place to make some progress during the upcoming season.
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