When an offseason features a move by a player the caliber of LeBron James, everything else that occurs seems small by comparison. That said, general managers around the league are still busy trying to tie up the odds and ends.
The Cleveland Cavaliers moved into title contention by welcoming James home. The reigning champion San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls are also in the mix. But there are plenty of question marks beyond that group, which means even smaller moves can make an impact.
With that in mind, let's check out some of the latest buzz making its way around the league and examine the potential impact for the teams involved.
Bledsoe was handed a much bigger role in his first season with the Phoenix Suns than he had playing behind Chris Paul with the Los Angeles Clippers. He responded with a terrific season, averaging nearly 18 points to go along with more than five assists and four rebounds.
Now he's a restricted free agent and the sides haven't been able to reach a long-term agreement. As a result, Paul Coro of AZCentral Sports reports the Suns are actively seeking potential sign-and-trade possibilities involving the talented point guard:
The Suns have contacted at least one team and taken inquiries from others regarding the possibility of executing a Bledsoe sign-and-trade. That would include the Suns signing Bledsoe, a restricted free agent, to a contract on behalf of another team in exchange for player(s) and/or draft pick(s).
What's the better option for the Suns?
The situation leaves Bledsoe in limbo. He can accept a qualifying offer from Phoenix and then enter the open market new offseason, but he would be playing well below market value until then. Kyle Burger of WVTM passed along the guard's thoughts about the situation.
"First off I'm going to let my agent handle it," he said. "I can understand the Phoenix Suns are using a restricted free agent against me. But I understand that."
Working out a trade would be difficult since there isn't a widespread need for point guards. Furthermore, other general managers know the Suns don't want to lose him for nothing next summer, which hurts their leverage. A long-term extension still seems like the best option for all involved.
The Philadelphia 76ers are in complete rebuilding mode and have created plenty of flexibility when it comes to taking on contracts in exchange for more assets. The only question is how long they will wait before starting to seriously consider their options.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reports one option is Stoudemire. The forward has been linked to Philadelphia during the summer, but the report states a more plausible route would see Philadelphia make the move closer to the deadline to save money:
What's far more likely is that the long rumored Amar'e Stoudemire to Philadelphia deal gets done at the deadline. The Sixers take on Stoudemire's $23 million salary cap number, which pushes them way over the minimum. They would only owe him roughly 30 percent of his remaining contract, so they'd end up paying him $7 million in cash and likely extract a draft pick or a rookie scale player for their troubles.
The second part of the deal is more important to the 76ers than Stoudemire, whose production has steadily declined since joining the New York Knicks. But if they are able to get a young asset or valuable draft pick in the deal, then it makes sense.
It's basically a unique bidding war. Philadelphia will want to see which team with a bad contract gives them the most to take it. Stoudemire is a possibility, but a lot will depend on how the season plays out for New York and others.
Barbosa was once one of the league's premier bench players, an offensive spark plug who could put up a lot of points in a short period while also running the offense, if needed. His efforts earned him Sixth Man of the Year honors for the 2006-07 season.
While he didn't play at that same level during stops with the Boston Celtics and a second stint with the Phoenix Suns, he could still carry value as a rotation member. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports he's one of the players on the Miami Heat's radar:
Free-agent guard Leandro Barbosa, who currently is working with the Brazil national team in advance of the World Cup in hopes of showcasing his game for an NBA return, has drawn interest from the Heat.
A source familiar with the situation said Barbosa is on the Heat's radar, but is one of several veterans the Heat are considering, with no signing imminent.
A lot will likely depend on how well Barbosa plays for Brazil in the World Cup. He should take on a much larger role at the international level than he has in the NBA in recent years. It gives him a great chance to make a good impression on the Heat.
Miami could certainly use some added scoring depth following the departure of LeBron James. And Barbosa could also provide backcourt depth with Dwyane Wade needing the occasional game off during back-to-back games. So it appears on the surface like a good fit.