The NBA free-agency period won't officially start until Tuesday, but rumors have still been swirling about some of the biggest names set to hit the open market.
Coming into the summer, the two clear-cut players at the top of every team's wish list are LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. After breaking into the league together in 2003, they are the hottest commodities for any franchise that is hoping to make a huge roster move this summer.
Recent rumors surrounding the two superstars appear to be centered on both returning to their respective teams, but that could quickly change in the coming months.
As for some other big names, Chandler Parsons might be splitting from the Houston Rockets for greener pastures and a huge contract. Meanwhile, Pau Gasol might be rejoining his former coach Phil Jackson with the New York Knicks.
With the rumor mill clearly still spinning, here's a look at the latest crop of rumblings from around the league.
James Is Not Scheduled to Meet with Free-Agent Suitors
When it comes to free agents this summer, none is more coveted than James.
The four-time MVP has solidified his place as one of the best in the league but hasn't committed to re-signing with the Miami Heat. But don't worry, Heat faithful: Miami isn't the only team he hasn't responded to this offseason, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
Teams hoping to schedule free agent meetings with LeBron James next week have not been able to as yet, sources told ESPN— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 28, 2014
After winning two NBA championships and earning the Finals MVP award during both, James has an opportunity to yet again bolt from a franchise for a better situation. Where that might be is hard to figure out, with James having a nearly perfect situation in Miami.
As for the rest of his teammates, SportsCenter notes that the Big Three are all having conversations about their contracts:
DEVELOPING: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade & Chris Bosh are discussing contract terms among themselves. http://t.co/8O7PvVTK3s— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 29, 2014
All signs seem to be leaning toward James and the rest of the Big Three returning, but nothing is a given with the 10-time All-Star. With the forward not responding to requests from other teams to this point, it looks like a good omen for the Heat.
Knicks are Feeling Optimistic About Anthony, Targeting Gasol
Here's a breakdown of nearly every team's offseason wish list: (1a) LeBron James, (1b) Carmelo Anthony.
Both are lethal scorers and potentially future Hall of Famers but could be heading in completely different directions this summer. While it appears James might not be on the move, Anthony's future looked completely up in the air after not making the postseason in 2013-14.
Apparently, the Knicks know something we don't, as Windhorst notes their thoughts on the Melo situation:
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.
The Zen Master might just be able to pull off the impossible. Phil Jackson has seen success with multiple superstars including Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, but wooing Anthony back to New York might be another huge moment in his career.
Jackson has already done a good job this offseason of boosting the roster by shedding Tyson Chandler and acquiring Cleanthony Early during the 2014 NBA draft. Though the rookie is an unknown at the next level, he adds the youth necessary to show Anthony that the team is still building toward the future.
As for other stars that Jackson plans to put around Anthony, Windhorst notes that ESPN's Ramona Shelburne is reporting the Knicks might be making a move for Gasol. The 33-year-old was part of two championships with Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers and would be a great replacement for Chandler.
With talks officially beginning on Tuesday for free agents, New York might not be out of the mix for Melo.
Parsons Has Five Possible Franchises After His Services
Though he's clearly not of the same caliber as either Anthony or James, Parsons is a great young player who has a chance to immediately impact any team that signs him.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports the latest on Parsons' offseason plans:
The Rockets are interested in re-signing Parsons, league sources said, but his future could also be affected by what happens to Golden State Warriors forward Klay Thompson and New York Knicks free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony.
...The Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks have primary interest in signing Anthony as a free agent, but also could chase Parsons if they don't, a source said.
Much like every team, Parsons will be closely watching Anthony, and the 25-year-old's plans could be contingent on where the superstar lands. After being selected in the second round out of Florida, Parsons has been a sensational bargain for the Rockets.
With a roster that already includes James Harden and Dwight Howard, keeping Parsons in the mix will be crucial for the future of the franchise. As for the other teams in the mix, he would be a solid secondary option if they can't bring in Anthony.
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