With the start of the NBA season still a long way away, front offices are doing anything they can to improve for the upcoming year.
Some teams are using this period to lock up their own players, while others are trying to bring in final pieces that can help get the squad to the playoffs and beyond. Fans should also stay on their toes, because a blockbuster trade could go down at any time.
There are plenty of important transactions still to come this summer, and here are the latest rumors surrounding some that might happen soon.
Michael Beasley to the Lakers?
Despite seeing his production drop last season, Michael Beasley could be in line for a new job this year.
Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald first reported that the Miami Heat were "non-committal" about re-signing the forward.
Obviously, Beasley is not going to just sit around and wait for Miami to complete a deal when there are other interested parties, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:
Several teams have expressed interest in free agent Michael Beasley. Teams like the efficiency and maturity he showed last season in Miami.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 26, 2014
Dave McMenamin of ESPN reports that the Los Angeles Lakers brought the former No. 2 pick in for a workout:
The Lakers worked out free agent forward Michael Beasley in El Segundo on Wednesday, per multiple league sources— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 30, 2014
McMenamin also quoted a source who said, "[Beasley] looked very good and he has been working out. A tiny rust from layoff, but [he] did a good job."
Beasley averaged only 7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game last season, but he was more efficient than usual in his limited time. His field-goal percentage of 49.9 was the highest of his career, and he made big plays off the bench for the Eastern Conference champions.
If he decides to join the Lakers, he should get a lot more playing time and will hopefully continue improving his all-around play. On a squad without too many go-to players outside of Kobe Bryant, Beasley could average close to 15-20 points per game.
As long as Los Angeles does not commit too many years to the inconsistent player, this could be a good deal for both sides.
Eric Bledsoe Cannot Complete a Deal with Suns
Eric Bledsoe was everything the Phoenix Suns could have hoped for in his first season with the team.
The guard was finally given a chance to start after three years of backing up Chris Paul with the Los Angeles Clippers. He responded with an average of 17.7 points and 5.5 assists per game, and he almost helped lead the Suns to the playoffs.
Unfortunately, the restricted free agent has still not completed a new deal. According to Chris Haynes of Comcast Sportsnet, this is not something that will be resolved any time soon:
According to league sources, an “ominous development” has arisen with sides still “very far apart” in contract negotiations. It has even escalated to the point where the “relationship is on the express lane to being ruined,” a source with knowledge of the situation informed CSNNW.com.
ESPN's Chris Broussard previously reported the details about what each side was looking for in the negotiation:
Sources: Suns offered Eric Bledsoe 4-year, $48 million contract. Bledsoe wants max of 5 years, $80 million. Sides far apart— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 17, 2014
In most cases, a restricted free agent can sign an offer sheet from another team, which would force the original franchise to either match or let him go. However, the fact that the Suns are willing to match almost any offer has forced teams to avoid the entire process.
As a result, the remaining option is to sign a qualifying offer and then become an unrestricted free agent next season. Moke Hamilton of SNY.tv recommends this option for both Bledsoe and Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons:
To Greg Monroe, Eric Bledsoe and their agents: much worse things than being an unrestricted free agent come July 1, 2015. Take the QO.— Moke Hamilton (@MokeHamilton) July 28, 2014
If Bledsoe becomes a free agent next season, he will likely be able to get the money he feels he deserves on the open market. He will also have the option of sticking in Phoenix if he so desires.
There is a risk if he suffers an injury, but this appears to be the smartest option for Bledsoe.
J.J. Barea Heading out of Minnesota
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been making plenty of headlines as they attempt to complete a trade involving Kevin Love. However, the All-Star power forward might not be the only one leaving town.
ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the addition of Mo Williams could signal the end of J.J. Barea's time with the Timberwolves:
Williams held out for more and found it with the Wolves, who have been shopping guard J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved in advance of this signing to ease a logjam in their backcourt.
The Wolves, sources said, have been looking to shed the contracts of swingman Kevin Martin or Barea in any Kevin Love trade.
Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com notes the point guard could end up in Philadelphia when all is said and done:
Lots of Barea and Shved questions. Buying out Shved is one option. Perfect world: Barea lands in Philly in Love 3-team trade. #twolves— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) July 28, 2014
Barea has been a solid reserve guard for the Timberwolves over the past three seasons, averaging 10.1 points and 4.3 assists per game in that stretch. However, his inconsistent play and poor shooting have caused fans to turn against him.
Zach Harper of CBS Sports argues this as a reason Barea needs to leave:
There's honestly not a huge difference between Maurice and Barea at this point. Wolves fans just dislike Barea beyond repair. Understandable— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) July 28, 2014
At 30 years old, the guard still has the ability to be a quality backup in the NBA, but it seems to be about time for him to do it with a new team.
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