The NBA offseason is usually at its slowest point during the month of August, but a wave of financial conservatism—brought on by the newest collective bargaining agreement—has many franchises still working diligently to score the best-possible players on the cheapest-possible contracts.
By now, most eligible marquee players would be locked up to long-term extensions and almost every single name-brand free agent would be on a roster, but that simply isn’t the case.
Let’s take a look at who is still looking for a new deal, which star player is hoping to get paid and more in Friday’s rumor roundup.
DeMarcus Cousins Extension on Way?
Despite a tumultuous three-year tenure with the Sacramento Kings, superstar center DeMarcus Cousin is in line for a major contract extension in the coming months.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Cousins’ power agent—Dan Fegan—is in active discussions with the organization to score a long-term extension for his client.
Does Cousins deserve a max deal?
Fegan has already negotiated a five-year, $80 million deal for Washington Wizards star point guard John Wall and is pushing the Milwaukee Bucks to dole out more than $10 million per season for Larry Sanders.
Cousins, who has averaged 16.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game since being drafted No. 5 overall in the 2010 draft, is likely worth a max contract—even with his multiple shortcomings.
Although he is still developing and has had his fair share of issues with maturity, the 6’11”, 270-pound center has the size and raw skill to become one of the best big men in the league.
It’ll be quite interesting to see if the Kings decide to cave and offer the max or to shake it up and end up going in another direction.
Ivan Johnson’s Options Dwindle
Ivan Johnson put together a solid two seasons after finally breaking into the league back in 2011 with the Atlanta Hawks but is having trouble finding a suitor this summer.
According to ESPN New York’s Jared Zwerling, the big man was in talks with the New York Knicks, but after the club signed Jeremy Tyler, the likelihood of the two sides to strike a deal has slimmed.
Ivan Johnson has been in talks w/ #Knicks but may not be in running after Tyler signing. Source: "It narrows the possibility some for sure."— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) August 8, 2013
The Knickerbockers also inked veteran point guard Beno Udrih to a one-year deal on Thursday—as per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst—which makes for 14 guaranteed contracts currently on the roster.
Knicks have agreed to terms with PG Beno Udrih for $1.27M, according to sources. Knicks payroll with luxury is now $119,800,137— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) August 8, 2013
Although Johnson would be a solid 15th body, there are still training camp and many hopeful players looking to make a splash and earn minimum contracts.
Zwerling reported last week that Johnson was seeking the mini mid-level exception, which a source said would be tough to come by at this juncture but still could be on the table—just not in New York.
Expect Johnson to keep his options open and work hard to find a way to remain in the Association.
Anthony Tolliver Down to 3
Free-agent forward Anthony Tolliver can provide a team size and three-point shooting, so it’s no surprise that he’s a hot commodity on the open market.
According to Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype, Tolliver is now deciding between three teams in the NBA and will make his decision by the end of the weekend.
The 28-year-old has been the definition of a journeyman during his five-year tenure in the Association, spending a season each with the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers before settling down for two years with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
He played the 2012-13 campaign with the Atlanta Hawks, playing in the postseason for the first time in his career.
Tolliver holds averages of 6.1 points and 4.0 rebounds since entering the league, along with a three-point-shooting percentage of 32.5—respectable for a stretch power forward.
Keep an ear to the ground, and expect to hear the veteran announce his decision shortly.