While the NBA rumor mill has slowed considerably following an active start to the offseason, there are still some things to get sorted out before the new season begins. Some impact players remain on the market with questions about where they may land.
Big moves like signing LeBron James are always going to dominate the headlines. Yet, smaller moves are also necessary in order to create a roster capable of contending for a championship. That explains why the Cleveland Cavaliers keep getting linked to other potential moves.
Given the high number of teams with at least reasonable title hopes, the balance of power isn't yet settled. With that in mind, let's check out some of the latest buzz making its way around the league and examine the potential outcomes.
As a restricted free agent, there's a wide range of possibilities for Monroe, ranging from offer sheets to sign-and-trade agreements. Alas, it sounds like a simpler outcome may be on the horizon with an eye on hitting the open market next season.
Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News reports Monroe is considering accepting the Detroit Pistons' qualifying offer for next season in order to give himself more options one year from now. A decision needs to be made by October 1 one way or another:
While the Pistons big man has not pursued an offer sheet from another team, he has pursued sign-and-trade possibilities, and Monroe is "definitely" willing to take the one-year qualifying offer worth $5.3 million from Detroit in order to ensure his unrestricted free agency next summer, a source familiar with Monroe's thinking told The Detroit News.
It would be an interesting move because Monroe is worth way more than that price tag. He averaged 15 points and nine rebounds while shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor last season. That said, at 24 he can still make decisions with the long haul in mind.
Matt Dollinger of SI.com provided comments from the forward about how little he's paid attention to all the talk during a trip to Africa to promote the game: "Not very much, to be honest. It's been great to get out here, relax, clear my mind and take this new experience in," he said. “I don't listen to all of the reports and rumors—I'm just enjoying the fresh air."
Given the lack of reliable big men around the league, Monroe is undoubtedly a coveted commodity. He would command a huge amount of interest next summer. The question is whether the risk of playing for a smaller one-year deal is worth that potential reward.
Marion no longer puts up the eye-popping numbers he did during his peak seasons. But he's still an across-the-board contributor who can bring veteran leadership to any roster. Those are valuable resources for any contending team.
The Indiana Pacers went from definitely in that category to on the fringe, following the injury to Paul George. It appears they think the veteran small forward can provided some much-needed stability, with Marc Stein of ESPN reporting that a meeting took place between the sides:
Marion met face-to-face with Pacers president Larry Bird Monday, according to sources close to the situation, after Bird urged the free-agent defensive specialist and former All-Star to come to town to consider signing with Indiana in the wake of the devastating compound leg fracture suffered by Pacers star Paul George.
Stein also notes the Cleveland Cavaliers remain in the mix, but they can only offer him the veteran's minimum. The Pacers have a little more financial flexibility, but it's unclear what kind of deal they offered him, if any.
Ultimately, it comes down to what Marion is seeking most. If it's a title, he'll likely follow the steady stream of role players heading to Cleveland. If it's the most lucrative deal, the Pacers have a much better chance of winning the sweepstakes.
The Allen saga has been an interesting one. It seems like every week there's a new report about whether he's going to retire or play another season. He averaged less than 10 points per contest for the first time in his career last season but is viewed as an offensive asset off the bench.
Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine reports the three-point marksman has told those around him he's planning to return. He also points out that his relationship with James makes the Cavaliers the favorite, though a decision hasn't been made:
Ray Allen has told people close to him that he will play in the NBA next season instead of retiring, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
While the Cleveland Cavaliers are the frontrunner for Allen, the source said the 10-time All-Star has not completely decided where he will play. Cleveland is the favorite due to the return of LeBron James, with whom Allen played with on the Miami Heat the past two seasons.
Alas, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports spoke with Allen's agent, who states the guard remains uncommitted:
Cleveland is a perfect fit. Not only would he give the Cavs even more depth, but Dion Waiters would figure to learn a lot from him after an up-and-down start to his career. If there's one thing Allen could teach him, it's how to become more consistent.
Of course, nobody could blame the longtime star if he decides to call it quits. He's enjoyed a terrific career and may feel it's simply time to walk away.