NBA Rumors: Breaking Down Chatter on Gerald Henderson, Brandon Jennings and More
2013 NBA free agency is starting to wind down, but there are still moves to be made that have the potential to be important to contending—and non-contending—teams during the 2013-14 season.
One such move came on Wednesday.
As Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Wednesday night, Andrew Bynum is joining the Cleveland Cavaliers on an incentive-laden, two-year deal that could be worth up to $24 million if the 25-year-old gets back to All-Star form.
Bynum was one of the few "big fish" left on the market, but there are still plenty of players who will help a franchise at some point next season who don't have new contracts.
Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, Nikola Pekovic, Gerald Henderson, Samuel Dalembert, Mo Williams, Gary Neal, Brandan Wright and Nate Robinson all remain unsigned. Each played valuable minutes last year, but for whatever reason, don't yet have security for the 2013-14 season.
There are still moves to be made during the 2013 NBA offseason.
From trades to thinning out the free-agent market even further, don't expect the calendar shifting toward August as a signal that the NBA is ready to slow down the rumor mill just yet.
We'll tackle the latest player movement rumors in this piece, and also break down what some of the chatter could mean for these players with respect to their playing fate next season.
Gerald Henderson (Restricted Free Agent)
Gerald Henderson just completed his fourth season with the Charlotte Bobcats, but the last (guaranteed) year of his rookie contract could also be the last year of his time in North Carolina.
According to Wojnarowski, the Bobcats are now exploring sign-and-trade options for the wing after reaching an impasse with respect to a contract extension:
After reaching an impasse with RFA Gerald Henderson, Charlotte's exploring sign-and-trade possibilities with multiple teams, sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 11, 2013
Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer later reported that the Bobcats still would rather keep Henderson in the fold, but are indeed exploring other options:
Source: Bobcats still prefer to re-sign Gerald Henderson, but other options possible: http://t.co/kIF9DVRpFG— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) July 11, 2013
Charlotte extended a $4.267 million qualifying offer to Henderson in late June, as this ESPN (via the Associated Press) report confirms.
The 12th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft, Henderson is coming off his best professional season. He averaged 15.5 points per game on 44.7 shooting for Charlotte last year, and also posted a career high (33.0) in three-point shooting percentage.
Henderson got to the free-throw line nearly five times per game, connecting at the charity stripe at an 82.4 percent clip.
Teams looking to add a Danny Green-like talent to their roster should seriously consider contacting Charlotte about making a deal for the 25-year-old from Duke.
With only four seasons on his NBA resume, Henderson is just starting to hit his stride. Teams are likely noticing, and ESPN 1500's Darren Wolfson mentioned the Minnesota Timberwolves as a team that might have an interest in Henderson's services:
Working on the timeline, which could easily be pre-Martin acquisition, but told #Twolves have talked to Charlotte about Gerald Henderson.— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) July 11, 2013
After the Timberwolves added Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger, Shabazz Muhammad and Corey Brewer in different moves this offseason, it would appear Henderson moving to Minnesota would now be out of the question.
But teams that still need perimeter shooting and scoring like the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers might be wise to look into what it would take to get the former Duke star into their rotation next year.
Another team to potentially monitor is the Houston Rockets, who have been trying to move Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik since the idea of a Dwight Howard arrival gained footing in town. According to CBS Sports' Ken Berger, the Rockets were open to the idea of moving both far before Howard's final decision came down.
It's purely speculation to list the Rockets (and every other team except Minnesota) as having interest in Henderson here, but the Bobcats could do worse than acquiring Lin/Asik and nabbing a draft pick in the process.
I believe Henderson is poised for a breakout year next season, and if Charlotte is indeed making pitches to other teams about a sign-and-trade then there will be no shortage of options for the Bobcats to sift through before making a final decision.
Brandon Jennings (Restricted Free Agent)
The Milwaukee Bucks offered a four-year, $32 million contract to Jeff Teague that was signed by Teague on Thursday. That signature signaled the end of any sign-and-trade discussions concerning the Bucks, the Atlanta Hawks and anything where Teague winds up in Milwaukee.
As Wojnarowski reported when Teague signed the offer sheet, the move could be the end of the Brandon Jennings era in Milwaukee.
Jennings was expected to be one of the top free agents at his position in the open market, but being restricted and teams having to deal with the idea that general manager John Hammond would match comparable offers likely drove away his market.
Shooting 39.9 percent from the field last year didn't help, either.
Jennings now has to contend with the idea that new head coach Larry Drew doesn't want him, even if he decided to return on the one-year qualifying offer that was extended to make him a restricted free agent.
What should Jennings' next move be?
I can't see Jennings sitting well with the idea that Teague would be making double ($8 million) what he would be making next season, especially after he was expected to garner serious interest in the free-agent chase and ultimately didn't.
And that doesn't even broach the possibility that he would be relegated to the bench.
That being said, Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated compared the two PGs in a recent piece and the outcome might surprise you—he listed Teague as the player further along in his career and the better free-agent guard signing.
Jennings and former teammate Ellis are now at the mercy of coming closer to their listed value than their previous demands, which is likely frustrating for two players who expected to take home nice paydays this offseason.
As mentioned above, Ellis won't get to Atlanta through a sign-and-trade for Teague. That being said, he isn't returning to Milwaukee, either. Atlanta is still on the board, along with a few other suitors.
According to NBA.com's David Aldridge, Ellis is deciding between three teams:
Wojnarowski mentioned Ellis as a target of the Bobcats if negotiations end up falling through with Henderson. To take it a step further, if Ellis is willing to back away from the $10 million per-year range, suitors around the league would line up to sign him in a sixth man role.
That being said, don't expect Dallas to be one of those teams. ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon said as much after speaking with general manager Donnie Nelson at a team summer league practice:
Don't expect Monta Ellis to be a Maverick: The Mavericks don’t expect to do any more summer shopping for backc... http://t.co/EPAHZMoVB1— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 10, 2013
Could we be seeing the end of the chatter about Ellis as a double-digit millions guy? As Aldridge reported on Thursday night, Andrei Kirilenko took a huge pay cut to join the Brooklyn Nets. Kirilenko made $10 million last year, but won't come near that number in Brooklyn.
Maybe it's time for Ellis to come to that same conclusion in his efforts to find a new team.
In other news, Metta World Peace is no longer a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
As reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, World Peace was amnestied by the Lakers on Thursday night. It was a move that the sports world had expected for quite some time, but the Lakers waited until Thursday to make things official.
If World Peace makes it through the amnesty bidding process, he'll become a free agent. According to Arash Markazi of ESPN LA, the man formerly known as Ron Artest is only looking to join one of two big-market teams:
If MWP becomes a free agent his top two choices will be the Knicks and Clippers.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 11, 2013
He has said he wants to stay in L.A. but would also like to play at MSG. Either way, it's L.A. or NYC for MWP.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 11, 2013
Since he'll make his 2013-14 salary despite being amnestied, there's a good chance World Peace will choose the same path that Andray Blatche did and sign a minimum contract with his new team.
That's it for the latest edition of NBA rumors. Expect the rumor mill to continue to churn until next season begins, and for those mentioned above to be heavily discussed until their futures are determined.
Follow Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.
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