The NBA offseason is beginning to wind down, and with it has come a slowing of the previously torrential flood of rumors.
Throughout the league, teams have wrapped up their business and are focusing on the upcoming season. Some, however, continue working behind the scenes to get those last few deals worked out in the next few weeks.
Below are a few updates on two of the players whose futures remain up in the air and two head coaches who are closing in on new contracts.
With Steve Ballmer officially taking ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, all of the pieces will start falling into place—none bigger than head coach Doc Rivers.
Dick Parsons, the team's interim CEO, testified that if Donald Sterling retained ownership of the team, Rivers would consider looking elsewhere for employment. Now that that is all over, the veteran head coach will consider signing an extension, per Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
In the wake of owner Steve Ballmer gaining governorship control of the Los Angeles Clippers, discussions on a contract extension for Doc Rivers are expected to commence soon, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Ballmer and Rivers had been eager to forge a long-term partnership, and a California court confirming the authority of Shelly Sterling to sell the franchise on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust has cleared the way to work toward a new deal.
"It’s awesome; it’s really nice," Rivers said of the sale, per The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn. "We get a chance to play basketball. I’m a basketball coach. My players are basketball players and now we can go back to doing our jobs and I think that’s really important for us."
With the biggest road block to a potential extension out of the way, there's no reason for Rivers not to commit himself long term to the organization, unless he wants to get out of coaching altogether.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs are the only teams in the West who are better on paper than the Clippers. Los Angeles has the pieces to make it to the NBA Finals, even after a somewhat lackluster offseason.
Ballmer also looks like an owner who won't be afraid to keep spending in order to keep the Clippers in a contending position. Is he really going to spend £2 billion to buy the team and then willingly watch it go into the toilet?
Greg Monroe isn't afraid to experience a little short-term pain in pursuit of long-term gain.
Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News reported that Monroe and the Detroit Pistons could reach an agreement for a one-year qualifying offer worth a little more than $5 million for 2014-15:
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.
The source requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the contract talks. Monroe has until Oct. 1 to agree to a deal or sign the qualifying offer.
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reported that Monroe had two max offers on the table but turned them down. He likely felt that whatever offer sheet he signed with another team was bound to be matched by the Pistons, meaning he would be in Detroit for the long haul.
This is one of the problems with restricted free agency. Yes, the player can get a massive payday from his current team, but if he wants to play elsewhere, he's completely stuck.
Monroe is taking a bold step by forgoing a payday today in order to control his own future next year. It will be interesting to see how many restricted free agents follow his lead down the line.
Shawn Marion is one of the few unrestricted assets still available in free agency, but that could change very soon. According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the 35-year-old met with the Indiana Pacers on Monday, who are battling with the Cleveland Cavaliers to get his signature.
Or Marion might not leave the Dallas Mavericks at all.
Stein wrote that the Cavs may have pole position:
Heading into Monday, the Cavaliers were widely considered to be front-runners to sign Marion, despite the fact that Cleveland is restricted to offering him a minimum salary of $1.4 million after using all of its cap resources and exceptions elsewhere. ...
Sources say that Marion, meanwhile, has maintained for weeks that he hopes to wind up with a championship contender if he leaves the Dallas Mavericks in free agency, so it remains to be seen whether Indiana's financial advantages can trump the promise of championship contention playing alongside James in Cleveland.
Marion doesn't have to leave Dallas, and you could understand why he'd want to remain with the Mavericks.
But if he does want to leave and join a championship contender, the Cavs would be a much better bet. Without Paul George, the Pacers aren't much of a title hopeful. Think back to how bad Indiana looked toward the end of the season last year. Now imagine that team without its best player.
Cleveland has its fair share of question marks, but it's set up much better for 2014-15 than Indy.
Speaking of the Cavs, their coaching staff may be growing. Washburn reported that Larry Drew is signing up to be a part of David Blatt's staff in Cleveland:
When the Cavaliers first hired Blatt, many fans were likely skeptical as to whether the 55-year-old would be a good fit in the NBA. Then LeBron James came, only adding more pressure upon Blatt.
But among Tyronn Lue, Bernie Bickerstaff and Jim Boylan, he's surrounded himself with plenty of smart NBA minds who've been in the league, on the sidelines or a combination of the two for a number of years. Then you throw in Drew as well, and the group becomes even stronger.
Between the team on the court and the coaches on the bench, the title talk coming out of Cleveland isn't entirely premature.
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