The days of refreshing Twitter feeds every five seconds to check on the latest NBA free-agent news are long behind us this offseason, but there are still some moves to be made.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to round out the roster, the Detroit Pistons are still stuck in Greg Monroe purgatory and the Chicago Bulls are looking to bolster their depth as well. With all that in mind, let’s take a more in-depth look at the latest rumors from around the league.
Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News provided an update on the Monroe situation:
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.
Interestingly, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today noted that Monroe had two max offers on the table this offseason but turned them down. The reasoning was that he assumed Detroit would match any offers, which would force him to be a Piston long term.
This is certainly a risk from Monroe’s perspective, but he has an eye on his future. As long as he stays healthy this season, he could be set for a big payday next summer with the freedom to sign wherever he prefers.
Monroe’s durability—he’s missed just one of his last 310 contests—makes this gamble a bit safer. There is a precedent in place for Monroe to stay on the court, and if that precedent continues, he will reap the benefits soon.
Jared Zwerling of NBA TV filled fans in on the latest regarding Chauncey Billups:
Keep hearing Chauncey Billups is a serious candidate for Cleveland. He's been close for years with Tyronn Lue. CB has options in media, too.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) August 14, 2014
If Billups, who turns 38 before the season starts, is going to sign anywhere, it makes sense that he would look toward Cleveland. Outside of his relationship with assistant coach Tyronn Lue, Billups sports a 38.7 percent mark on his career from behind the three-point line, and LeBron James’ presence alone means he will be chucking up open jumpers all season.
James attracts so much defensive attention anytime he penetrates that there are shooters open every time.
What’s more, the Cavaliers are definitely on the short list of NBA title contenders. That probably matters to Billups at the twilight stage of his career, and he would provide veteran leadership for a team that is loaded with young talent.
Remember, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love (presuming Love is a Cav this year) have played in a combined zero playoff games. Billups’ experience and postseason mettle would prove critical in tight contests with the Larry O’Brien Trophy on the line for a team that needs to quickly learn how to win under the bright lights.
In a rumor that is possibly connected to the Billups situation, Mary Stevens of NBC’s Sports Talk Florida updated fans on the latest with E’Twaun Moore:
Rumors of former Magic G E'Twaun Moore signing with the Cavs are false. Likely to sign with the Bulls in the next few days, per sources.— Mary Stevens (@marypazstevens) August 14, 2014
Moore is a solid piece, but Cleveland seems to have its eyes on Billups and perhaps even Ray Allen. The Chicago Bulls, likely impressed with Moore’s versatility, ball-handling skills, consistency from deep (35.4 percent from downtown last year) and ability to play both guard positions, seem to have swooped in.
Who will win the Eastern Conference this year?
Of course, the fact that Moore is still only 25 years old probably helps his case as well.
The Bulls are looking to add depth behind a potential starting lineup of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah. They have more talent than anyone in the Eastern Conference this side of Cleveland with that starting five alone, and Tom Thibodeau has Doug McDermott, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Tony Snell and Aaron Brooks at his disposal off the bench.
Adding Moore to the mix would give Chicago yet another solid defender who can keep the starters fresh throughout the year with productive minutes off the bench.
Noah discussed the Bulls recently, via Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com:
It's hard to say because a lot of things have to go your way to win a championship and I understand that. But I know that it's a long grind; right now, to win a championship, you have to take it step by step. You have to be focused. You have to be healthy, you have to have good team chemistry, so there's a lot of factors. I think [the front office] put together a good core. And now, the only thing left to do is get to work and see how far we can take it.
It’s not hard to see why Moore would want to be a part of that.
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