The 2014 NBA free-agency period is in full swing, and while many teams are playing the waiting game while LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony make their ultimate decisions, there's still a bevy of talented players searching for new homes.
Adding players who may not be a team's centerpiece but will certainly make a huge impact as part of a supporting cast is absolutely crucial to the success of any franchise—we saw the Miami Heat struggle with this issue during the NBA Finals.
So, with plenty of rosters in a state of flux—and in a constant search to add quality pieces going forward—let's take a look at a few juicy rumors to recently surface around the Web.
Isaiah Thomas Is a Hot Commodity
Aside from James and Anthony, Isaiah Thomas may be one of the most coveted free agents on the open market this year—and rightfully so.
Last season, Thomas broke out in a big way, averaging 20.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game with the Sacramento Kings. He'll be a welcomed addition to any team in need of a point guard.
Well, according to Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report, the Los Angeles Lakers are one such team:
Hearing Lakers are "real possibility" for Isaiah Thomas. Heat still pursuing, but LA has the $. Nothing happens 'til Melo & Bron make moves.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) July 6, 2014
Of course, like many teams, nothing may happen here until James and Anthony are locked up. However, one team that may not have to wait is the Detroit Pistons.
Zwerling reported the team is still very much interested in Thomas as well:
Detroit's still in the mix for Isaiah Thomas. They were on to Thomas early in free agency & I'm hearing they would be open to a sign&trade.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) July 6, 2014
Expect Thomas' name to appear quite frequently in free-agency talks as the frenzy of offseason activity continues.
Heat Pushing for Marvin Williams
The Heat are in quite a bit of turmoil following James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh—among others—opting out of their contracts.
Now, the next order of business for president Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra is to strengthen the roster enough to entice the Big Three to re-sign with the team.
Marc J. Spears reported Williams could be a part of the team's plans in that regard:
Heat prez Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra flew to NC to meet with Jazz free agent forward Marvin Williams yesterday, a source told Yahoo.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 6, 2014
Williams may not be a game-changer, but he does offer some great depth and reliability in Miami's frontcourt.
Last season, he averaged 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game with the Utah Jazz, playing an average of 25.4 minutes. That may not be overly impressive, but Williams' main appealing tribute is his ability to shoot from the outside.
In 2013, the 6'9" power forward bucketed 35.9 percent of his shots from downtown, which should be a rather enticing option to have in Miami's lineup.
Mavericks Looking to Land Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward has improved in a big way over his first four seasons in the NBA. Last season with the Jazz, he averaged 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game—all career highs—while shooting 41.3 percent from the floor.
The Dallas Mavericks will be looking to make a deep playoff push once again next season, and the team may see Hayward as a part of its plans, according to Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
The question here is: How much is Hayward worth?
According to a report from Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer, the Cleveland Cavaliers were expecting to pay a good chunk of change if they were to acquire Hayward's services:
Yes, the Cavs are meeting with restricted free agent Gordon Hayward. But it's doubtful any offer sheet will be coming in the next day or so for the 24-year-old small forward.
Nor has the team decided to make the Utah's leading scorer a maximum offer. That would be $63 million over four seasons -- although it may eventually come to that. Then again, the Cavs know that would be very extreme for a player of his caliber.
From what I've been told, the Cavs know they will have to pay a lot for Hayward. Utah has about $30 million in salary cap room and may match any offer Hayward receives.
Will the Mavericks be able to make an offer the Jazz won't match? Is a max contract the only way to bring Hayward to Dallas?
Those are the questions that are on everyone's mind right now. Judging from Hayward's demands, Utah's good cap situation and the high amount of interest for the small forward, he could certainly wind up with a lucrative deal.