Roundball Roundup: Ricky Rubio Stalls, Stephon Jackson Scowls, A.I. Nearly Signs
It's September 3, meaning the NBA regular season will get underway in a little less than two months.
With the season already so close, there are still a few noteworthy free agents available, including Allen Iverson, Nate Robinson (restricted), David Lee (restricted) and Ramon Sessions (restricted).
Given the financial situation around the league, it's no surprise to see those guys still out there.
Why bother negotiating a contract for someone when their old team will just match it and keep him?
There's no sense in doing somebody else's work and ending up with nothing to show for it.
This is the first edition of the "Roundball Roundup," an NBA feature I'll be coming out with daily once the season begins Oct. 27.
This time of the year is typically the slowest in terms of NBA news, with free agency winding down and training camps set to begin soon.
In case you've missed it, here's what's been happening over the course of the past few weeks in the NBA.
Ricky Rubio not coming to Minnesota yet; traded to Regal Barcelona
It appears one of the stranger NBA Draft stories we've seen in a long time will be coming to a temporary end.
Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves, has agreed to be dealt from DKV Joventut to Regal Barcelona, in a buyout that will cost the Euro equivalent of $5.72 million.
According to T'Wolves GM David Kahn, the team initially had been able to strike a deal with Rubio Saturday evening in which the player would appear in a Minnesota uniform this fall.
Rubio's agent, Dan Fegan, was apparently able to assemble a package of several lucrative endorsement deals for Rubio that was initially attractive enough for both Rubio and DKV Joventut to agree to.
Rubio then decided to back out of the NBA deal, opting instead to play for at least two more seasons in Spain.
Newsday initially reported the Knicks had still been trying to trade for Rubio's rights from Minnesota, in a package that would've included David Lee, Nate Robinson and a future first round pick.
However, Newsday also then reported that several legitimate sources claimed those rumors to be completely false.
The deal with Barcelona means Rubio likely won't be appearing in an NBA uniform until the 2011 season at the earliest, when he will be 21 years old.
Minnesota GM David Kahn had taken at least three trips to Spain this summer in attempts to negotiate with DKV Joventut to get Rubio to come to the NBA sooner rather than later.
His new contract with Barcelona includes a buyout after two seasons.
Marquis Daniels finally a Boston Celtic
It was initially reported over a month ago that Daniels would become a member of the Celtics, but the Celtics and Indiana Pacers had been trying to work out a sign-and-trade that would've suited both sides better than a standard signing.
Daniels signed the biannual exception, meaning his contract will be for no more than two years and a total of $1.99 million.
The Celtics were trying to work out the sign-and-trade in order to increase Daniels' salary, but couldn't in the end.
The 28-year-old guard from Auburn averaged just under 14 points per game last year for the Pacers, and should provide the Celtics with a nice scoring threat off the bench.
Stephen Jackson wants out of Golden State
Warriors point forward Stephen Jackson, who had a career year in 2008-09, has said he would like to be traded away from the Warriors.
The Texas native says he would prefer to be dealt to one of the three Texas teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers or the New York Knicks.
Jackson says he wants to be able to contend for a championship again, and apparently feels that his Warriors aren't particularly close to doing so.
Jackson, like many of his teammates, has clashed at times with head coach Don Nelson.
Also, according to reports, Nelson was preparing a trade offer for his former team, the Dallas Mavericks.
It is unclear what players he intended to involve in the proposal, but there have been whispers that Nelson would like to rid himself of speedy guard Monta Ellis.
Orlando Magic sign guard Jason Williams
A couple of weeks ago, the Orlando Magic continued their summer of spending by inking 33-year-old point guard Jason Williams to a one-year contract.
Williams, who attended the University of Florida, has lived in the Orlando area for the last 10 years.
He took a year off from playing basketball last season to spend more time with his family.
Williams could supplant veteran Anthony Johnson as Orlando's backup point guard behind all-star Jameer Nelson.
Houston Rockets shopping Brent Barry
In an attempt to free up a roster spot going into training camp, the Houston Rockets are reportedly attempting to trade veteran guard Brent Barry.
Teams reportedly interested in acquiring Barry are the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies.
The 37-year-old Barry played in just 54 games last season for the Rockets, averaging about four points per game while shooting 37 percent from three point range.
Barry will be a viable long range bench option for any team that picks him up.
Memphis Grizzlies make offer to Allen Iverson
Last week, it was reported and confirmed that the Memphis Grizzlies made their first formal offer to free agent guard Allen Iverson.
Iverson, 34, averaged about 17 points per game last season, playing the majority of the season with the Detroit Pistons.
The six-foot guard is likely the top unrestricted free agent still available.
This late in the summer, there are very few teams still looking to spend money in free agency, especially for an aging guard like Iverson.
The Charlotte Bobcats are another team that has reportedly expressed interest in acquiring Iverson's services.
Last season was a struggle for Iverson, as he had trouble mixing with what Detroit was trying to do.
Teams are hesitant to add someone like Iverson, a player that has to dominate the ball in order to affect the game.
Teams that have been struggling financially, such as Memphis and Charlotte, are likely interested in Iverson as a way to try and sell more tickets.
In terms of basketball, I can't see at all how Iverson would fit in with the Grizzlies.
They have an up-and-coming point guard in Mike Conley, a potential all-star two-guard in OJ Mayo, and one of the top young small forwards in the league in Rudy Gay.
It seems to me that Iverson would just complicate things for Memphis, and wouldn't actually help them win too many games.
He is not a point guard, and with Mayo as the cornerstone and future of the franchise, I can't imagine adding Iverson would be particularly beneficial.
Golden State Warriors sign Mikki Moore
The Warriors have signed former Celtic Mikki Moore to a one-year contract worth $1.3 million, the veteran's minimum.
Moore returns to California, where he played in 2007-08 with the Sacramento Kings.
In 24 games with the Celtics last season, the 7'0" Moore averaged about four points and four rebounds per game.
Moore is athletic and should be able to fit in nicely with Don Nelson's free-flowing, run-and-gun style of play.
Denver Nuggets interested in Desmond Mason, Wally Szczerbiak, Ronald Murray
The Denver Nuggets, in an attempt to fill a hole at off-guard, are reportedly interested in Mason, Szczerbiak, and Murray.
The 30-year-old Murray, who played for the Atlanta Hawks last season, averaged 12 points per game, while shooting about 45 percent from the floor.
Szczerbiak, who played with Cleveland, averaged just seven points per game, but shot a stellar 41 percent from three-point range.
Mason played last season with the Thunder, but missed the second half of the year with a hyperextended knee.
Mason, a former Slam Dunk champion, averaged just under eight points per game for Oklahoma City last season.
Any of the three players would help fill the void left at shooting guard by the departed Dahntay Jones.
-See more from this writer at www.robertsroundballreport.com
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