The drama of the 2014 NBA draft may be in the rearview, but a frenzy of offseason activity is only just getting started.
There's already plenty of talk about potential blockbuster trades possibly going down this year, and in just a matter of days, the free-agency period will officially begin.
While some teams are either rebuilding or attempting to get under the salary cap, others will be aggressive over the summer in an effort to accumulate as much top-notch veteran talent as possible.
With so many big names set to hit the open market this year, let's get a head start on the action and look over a few juicy rumors to recently surface on the Web.
Knicks Confident on Keeping Melo
One of the biggest names slated to test the waters of free agency this year is Carmelo Anthony.
The forward had a great year with the New York Knicks last season, posting an average of 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the floor and 40.2 percent from downtown.
Tas Melas of NBATV tweeted an interesting stat of his own:
For as well as Anthony played, the Knicks were absolutely lackluster. This led to the disgruntled forward looking to hit the open market. Well, new president Phil Jackson apparently had other ideas.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Knicks are rather optimistic about keeping Anthony in the fold:
The New York Knicks are increasingly optimistic about their chances of re-signing star Carmelo Anthony even as he readies himself to talk to other teams next week, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com that Knicks officials, while not willing to trumpet it publicly with free agency fast approaching, are quietly confident about their odds of retaining Anthony thanks in part to the idea that new team president Phil Jackson and the high-scoring forward have "connected" to some degree.
So, what's the cause for this sudden change of heart?
Stein reported a possible answer for that as well:
Furthermore, one source close to the process told ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne that Jackson is planning to make a determined attempt to try to recruit his former Los Angeles Lakerscenter Pau Gasol to replace the freshly traded Tyson Chandler alongside Anthony on the Knicks' front line, despite the fact New York is limited to offering Gasol less than $4 million for next season.
Obviously, Jackson has very close ties with Gasol from their time in Los Angeles. Could that be enough to lure Anthony back to New York? The tension is growing significantly.
Lakers to Lure Carmelo with Gasol
Apparently, the Los Angeles Lakers have the exact same idea as the Knicks.
According to a report from Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com, the Lakers are looking to lure some top-notch free agents with one of their own:
Although the Lakers' ideal free agency scenario involves convincing both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to come play for them this summer, according to a source with knowledge of the team's thinking, they are not ruling out the return of the four-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion Gasol by any means.
The idea of having Gasol and Anthony together in a frontcourt is appealing to any NBA team. Add in the possibility of acquiring the services of LeBron James, and the necessity to keep Gasol in the fold becomes even more significant for the Lakers.
Los Angeles also selected the powerful, NBA-ready Julius Randle in the first round of this year's draft, making the team's frontcourt situation this coming season seem all the more appealing.
Arash Markazi of ESPN tweeted his comical take on the situation:
If the Lakers can keep Gasol in the fold, it may not be too far-fetched to think a player like Anthony or James could find his way out west.
Ariza Is a Hot Commodity
Trevor Ariza was great for the Washington Wizards last season. The forward put up some impressive numbers, averaging 14.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 45.6 percent from the floor and 40.7 percent—a career high—from downtown.
His strong performance paid off, as Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweeted Ariza is garnering plenty of interest:
It also appears as though Ariza is expecting a rather lucrative long-term deal. A former journeyman—he's played for six team in 10 seasons—Ariza recently sold his lakefront home near Orlando, according to Neal J. Leitereg of the Los Angeles Times.
One team that has been linked to Ariza at this point is the Toronto Raptors, according to Kevin Rashidi of Canada.com:
According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, the Toronto Raptors are expected to express interest in free agent small forward Trevor Ariza this offseason. Ariza would fill a big void at the three spot which was one of the needs that GM Masai Ujiri mentioned numerous times following the end of the playoffs.
Depending on which other teams aside from Toronto are showing interest, we may have a bidding war on our hands once July 1 rolls around.
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