NBA Free Agent Rumors: Analyzing Chatter on Monta Ellis, Andrew Bynum and More

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIJuly 8, 2013

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 21:  Monta Ellis #11 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on April 21, 2013 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Rumors are still swirling amidst the 2013 NBA free agency period, and many of the big remaining names are making headlines as of Monday.

July 10 marks the date where the Association lifts its moratorium, which makes players eligible to officially sign contracts with new clubs. Just two days away from then, it appears several of the open market's top commodities are closing in on deciding their respective futures.

Let's take a look at the latest chatter circulating about the top targets, with an analysis as to what these developments could mean to their prospective suitors.


Ties to Kings' Owner Could Land Monta Ellis in Sacramento

For the first six-plus seasons of his career, 27-year-old Monta Ellis played for the Golden State Warriors, and new Kings owner Vivek Ranadive was a minority partner in the ownership group in Oakland.

Ken Berger of CBS Sports points all of this out in his latest report, which cites multiple league sources who say Sacramento is in discussions with Ellis concerning a free-agent deal.

It would certainly be an intriguing move, given Ellis' explosive scoring ability, but his asking price is rather high at $12 million. That has the team looking to move Jimmer Fredette and reserve big man Chuck Hayes in a trade to clear enough cap space to accommodate that demand.

That all confirms what ESPN's Marc Stein reported early on Monday, and he specified the Cleveland Cavaliers as the destination for Fredette and Hayes.

The roughly $5.7 million Hayed will make in 2013-14 is pricey for a bit player, but his deal expires the following year. Fredette is expendable after one year if necessary, too, since he has a team option in 2014-15, per

The Cavs could use a reserve sharpshooter and another player in their frontcourt rotation, and have ample cap space to absorb those contracts.


Cleveland Cavaliers Emerge as Legitimate Destination for Andrew Bynum

As it turns out, general manager Chris Grant appears to be gravitating towards a greater commodity up front than Hayes.

The former Los Angeles Lakers All-Star center is reportedly a serious target for Cleveland, and it was initially reported by Stein. Stein noted the Cavs would go no further than a one-year offer, but as hinted at before, Cleveland has the flexibility to offer Bynum the most money:

Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio spoke to a source with knowledge of the situation and indicated that the Cavs aren't bluffing when it comes to Bynum:

Although he's proven to be one of the best centers in the game when he's on, there are undoubtedly red flags for Bynum in terms of injuries and inconsistencies when he is on the court. What he does provide is a surefire scoring threat the Cavs could desperately use in the post.

Well, if he's healthy, that is. Bynum would be an absolute steal if he's able to stay on the floor and give Cleveland a wonderful inside-out game with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters as catalysts on the perimeter.

The Dallas Mavericks are cited by Stein as another potential destination, but the 25-year-old Bynum should be enticed by the young pieces Grant has assembled for the Cavaliers' bright future.

Plus, new head coach Mike Brown coached Bynum for one season in LA, which is when Bynum was an All-Star selection.


Sign-and-Trade Exchange Involving Brandon Jennings and Jeff Teague?

The report that Stein released discussing Fredette and Hayes was actually headlined by Brandon Jennings and Jeff Teague, who most recently played for the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks, respectively.

Ex-Hawks coach Larry Drew now helms the Bucks and evidently wants his old point guard back to run the show in Milwaukee.

Both point guards are very fast and quick and have similar overall styles. Jennings is a streaky shooter but can create for his teammates and has improved from the three-point line.

On the other hand, Teague is a better distributor who averaged 7.2 assists this past season and under three turnovers while also pouring in 14.6 points. It seems he's only getting better, and he has a clear shooting superiority over Jennings.

Trade discussions involving players with comparable skill sets and potential seem a bit odd, but TC Media's Brett Poirier is privy to some inside knowledge:

Teague would get to play under the coach that has mentored him to success with the Bucks.

As for Jennings, he could be taken under the wing of new Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, a longtime San Antonio Spurs assistant.

Spurs superstar Tony Parker testified when Budenholzer was hired by the Hawks that his former assistant was a huge part of San Antonio's success, and Popovich called him more of an assistant head coach, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.

Not only will Jennings' new possible team have a better shot at being a more immediate factor in the East, but he may also be hitting the jackpot in playing for what could be the league's new great coach.