With the 2014 NBA draft behind us, it's time to turn all of our attention toward NBA free agency.
Free agency is scheduled to begin on July 1, but that hasn't stopped rumors from spreading like wildfire already. The rumor mill has been going nonstop since the playoffs began back in April. Teams that missed out on the postseason are looking to do big things, and even teams that were in the playoffs want to make large improvements.
This portion of the offseason is when things get crazy. Player movement is always interesting, but with so many big-name stars available, the entire landscape of the NBA might change in the course of a few weeks.
To make sure you aren't totally surprised when news breaks of a big signing, check out some of the latest rumors below.
Pau Gasol to Dallas?
After selecting Julius Randle No. 7 overall in the draft, the Los Angeles Lakers have likely signaled the end of Pau Gasol's tenure in Hollywood. There was never a guarantee that he'd return, but a player of Gasol's caliber certainly would have been welcomed back.
That said, the Lakers are probably moving on. One team that might be interesting in Gasol is the Dallas Mavericks, reports Tim MacMahon and Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
The Dallas Mavericks plan to be among the teams pursuing Los Angeles Lakers center/power forward Pau Gasol once free agency begins July 1, according to sources close to the situation.
The Mavs' level of interest in the 7-foot Gasol is largely dependent on his price tag, sources told ESPNDallas.com. The four-time All-Star, who turns 34 next month, is expected to take a major pay cut after making $19.3 million last season.
Despite his age, Gasol can still be a big-time contributor. The seven-footer averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 31.4 minutes per game last season. He suited up for just 60 games, though, and durability has often been a question surrounding Gasol during his career.
With this move, the Mavs are likely attempting to make one last run with Dirk Nowitzki before he retires. Nowitzki, 36, has been in the league since the 1998-99 season.
Lakers Dream Big
You can't blame the Lakers for dreaming.
ESPN's Chris Broussard reports that the Purple and Gold are hoping to sign both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony this summer. If James won't come to L.A., then they'll target Chris Bosh if he opts out of his contract with the Miami Heat:
Undoubtedly, the Lakers are tired of losing—and it's only been one season.
With Kobe Bryant in place, adding James and Melo would make for the most formidable trio in the history of the NBA. For perspective, it would be a healthy amount better than the Big Three of James, Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami—and that's even referring to the Big Three featuring a healthy Wade from three years ago.
Bosh sounds pretty sure of his future, though, and it doesn't look like he'll opt out, via Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:
Unless James and Anthony are chasing a situation where they can form a new Big Three, I don't expect them to sign in the same place. With James, Anthony and the Black Mamba on the same team, that's far too many shooters that need the ball in their hands.
There's probably a better chance that the Lakers will sign one of the aforementioned stars and trade for Kevin Love, though that's just speculation on my part. A potential starting five of Steve Nash, Bryant, Melo, Julius Randle and Love would be very strong.
The Washington Wizards were a pleasant surprise last season, going 44-38 and making a decent run in the playoffs. John Wall and Bradley Beal stole the show in the backcourt, but it was the veteran leadership of Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza that kept them afloat.
Unfortunately, both are free agents this summer.
J. Michael of CSN Washington reports that both Gortat and Ariza are top priorities for the team this offseason, however:
Gortat was stellar in 32.8 minutes per game last season, scoring 13.2 points and grabbing 9.5 boards per night. He also shot 54.2 percent from the floor, allowing Wall and Beal to use him as a safety net when double-teams inevitably came on the perimeter.
Ariza enjoyed perhaps the best season of his career in 2013-14. Used exclusively as a starter, Ariza averaged 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds in 35.4 minutes per game. He also shot a career-high 40.7 percent from three.
This team would have been drastically different without their exploits last season, so it's no surprise that Washington wants them back so badly.
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR
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