Stop the presses, the Cleveland Cavaliers may land another free agent this offseason.
While Chauncey Billups may not be the superstar player he was in his prime, he would still be a solid piece on a Cavs squad that is quickly accumulating depth and postseason chops. However, the Billups and Cleveland connection is far from the only rumor across the league.
With that in mind, here is a look at the latest whispers from around the Association.
Marc Stein of ESPN and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News pointed out that the New York Knicks may not be done trading:
RT @FisolaNYDN: Hearing rumblings Knicks may still trade Prigioni. (HEARING SAME)— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 6, 2014
Remember, the Knicks already swapped Jeremy Tyler and Wayne Ellington for Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw from the Sacramento Kings, but it looks like they aren’t finished wheeling and dealing.
The 37-year-old Prigioni has been a Knick for two seasons after an impressive career in Europe and averaged 3.8 points, 3.5 assists and one steal in 19.4 minutes a night in 2013-14.
However, New York acquired point guards Shane Larkin and Jose Calderon this offseason, and Iman Shumpert is more than capable of handling point guard duties if needed. That means there may not be much room for Prigioni on the roster going forward.
In an almost cruel ironic twist, Prigioni expressed his interest in playing with Calderon, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:
I’m very happy to have the opportunity to play with Jose one more time. We played together in Spain and we did really well. He is a great player and very good professional, a great 3-point shooting guy. He can run the team and read the game very well and is a good defender. He has all that a good point guard must have.
Knicks fans may never get the chance to see that combination.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports filled fans in on the progression of the Billups-to-Cleveland possibilities:
Free agent guard Chauncey Billups also worked out for the Cavaliers today & is interested in playing there,a source said. No offer was made.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) August 7, 2014
Chauncey Billups shot the ball very well in workout with Cavs & looked like he could still be a productive despite some rust, sources said.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) August 7, 2014
It is certainly noteworthy that Spears mentioned Billups’ perimeter shooting because the thought here is that he eventually signs with the Cavs partially for that reason. There is no player in the league that three-point shooters would like to play with more than LeBron James, and that will appeal to Billups at this stage of his career.
James draws so much defensive attention with his ability to overpower his way into the lane because he is nearly impossible to stop in one-on-one scenarios. That means shooters are open nearly every time from the perimeter.
Billups sports a 38.7 percent career mark from behind the three-point line and likely sees the Cavaliers as an NBA title contender.
Billups’ presence would prove beneficial for Cleveland as well because he would provide important veteran leadership on a team that is loaded with young talent outside of James. That type of postseason experience would certainly come in handy for the Cavs in tight May contests against the likes of the Chicago Bulls and other Eastern Conference contenders.
Of course, a timely three-pointer or two wouldn’t hurt either.
David Aldridge of NBA.com gave a glimpse at what the immediate future holds for the now-reeling Indiana Pacers:
Pacers will apply 4 Disabled Player Exception to replace Paul George, per source. Can sign free agent for 1yr at $5.3M.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) August 7, 2014
It would make sense for the Pacers to target Shawn Marion with this new flexibility because of their reliance on their strong defense. Marion brings athleticism and length to the table at 6’7” and can still stay in front of many forwards in the league at the age of 36. He certainly isn’t Paul George at this stage of his career, but Marion would be a solid last-minute replacement.
However, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports had some bad news for Indiana fans:
As @daldridgetnt reports, Pacers applying for Disabled Players Exception of $5.3M for George injury. Indy could offer Marion more than Cavs.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 7, 2014
Marion hasn't formalized agreement with Cavs yet, but Indiana's already looking elsewhere than Marion for free agent help, sources said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 7, 2014
This offseason just keeps getting worse for the Pacers.
Will the Pacers make the playoffs this season?
After Marion, there are not a ton of options remaining on the market in August. Ray Allen would improve the offense, but it is easy to assume that he will look for a chance to win a title in the twilight of his career. Indiana without George and Lance Stephenson doesn't offer that chance.
Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe are both elite talents, but they are looking for the corresponding big-time money. The disabled player exception simply isn’t going to cut it.
It may be time to look ahead to the 2015-16 season already for the snake-bitten Pacers.
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