NBA Free Agent Rumors: LeBron James, Joe Johnson, Mike Miller, and More
The free agency period is underway, and already the action is fast and furious. Numerous signings have already been made while other front offices are making Fortune 100-esque sales pitches to the top free agents on the market.
It's only been a little more than 24 hours but already the NBA hot stove is at a raging boil with updates coming in at a constant rate.
Team representatives will spend their holiday weekend chasing down free agents and traveling all over the country to appeal to the biggest free agents (and others) why their club should be a new home. Here are the latest rumors and updates.
The Nets Pitch to LeBron
The Nets and Knicks put on the full court press on Thursday. Representatives from both teams traveled to Cleveland to talk with the biggest free agent in league history.
According to ESPN.com's Chad Ford, the Nets left the meeting feeling like they are now the frontrunners to land LeBron.
"Hip-hop mogul and longtime James friend Jay-Z will propose James' own clothing line plus a new fragrance, as well as opportunities in entertainment," wrote Fred Kerber of the New York Post.
The Knicks Pitch to LeBron
The Knicks followed the Nets (literally, as the team reps passed each other in the hallway) on Thursday and made their pitch to turn LeBron into a global icon. The news coming out of that meeting was a bit more subdued, but head coach Mike D'Antoni couldn't subdue the huge grin on his face after the meeting.
The Knicks brought in the powerful marketing company Interbrand, who told LeBron that only in New York can he make $1 billion and that the numbers are decidedly less in other markets.
The Heat and Clippers will have their crack at LeBron on Friday.
Representatives from both teams will also be in Cleveland .
Following Friday's pitches, the Bulls and finally the Cavaliers will have their turn with LeBron on Saturday.
That Saturday meeting with the Cavaliers is expected to be the team's last ditch effort at convincing LeBron to stay.
LeBron has reportedly told teams he will make a decision by July 5.
Byron Scott Influence?
On Friday, the Cavaliers will introduce Byron Scott as their new head coach. LeBron had a hands-off approach with the Cavs and their new head coach, but Scott's resume of 10 years of head coaching experience and two trips to the NBA Finals could be an influencing factor for LeBron's return to Cleveland.
What's Up With Wade?
Dwyane Wade met with the Bulls and the Nets on Thursday and reportedly came away equally impressed with the pitches from both teams. He will meet with the Clippers and Knicks over the weekend.
However, the Heat's confidence remains very high that they will keep Wade with the only team he's known.
Chris Bosh met with Pat Riley and Heat representatives on Thursday about the prospects of playing in Miami. He flew to Chicago to meet with the Heat brass after meeting with the Rockets in Dallas.
Bosh walked away impressed with the Rockets and reportedly likes the idea of playing alongside Yao Ming. The Houston Chronicle reported that a sign-and-trade with the Rockets cannot be discounted.
Bosh Even Busier
Bosh also met with the Toronto Raptors and the Bulls on Thursday at his agent's office in Chicago. The meeting with the Raptors appears nothing more than a move of gratitude. The Knicks, Bulls, and Heat remain the frontrunners for the power forward.
Bosh Sign-and-Trade to Miami?
Later in the day on Thursday, ESPN commentator and Miami Herald writer Dan LeBatard tweeted that a sign-and-trade with the Raptors that would send Mario Chalmers, Michael Beasley, and Joel Anthony "is all but done."
The biggest news out of Amar'e Stoudemire's camp is that the power forward has essentially broken off talks with the Suns after the two sides couldn't agree on the length of a contract. The Suns wanted a three-year max deal while Stoudemire is looking for the full boat.
Stoudemire will meet with the Knicks this weekend, who may be willing to give him what he seeks if they feel they are losing out on the other free-agent big men. So far, the Knicks have not offered Stoudemire a contract.
Dirk Nowitzki will continue his talks with the Mavericks on Friday, but currently there are no other teams scheduled on his docket. It is highly expected that Nowitzki, who flew back to Dallas from Germany, and the Mavericks will work out a new deal sometime over the weekend.
Johnson Waiting for Signing Deadline
Joe Johnson has already received a max contract offer of six years for $119.5 million dollars from the Hawks. He met with the Bulls and Knicks on Wednesday, but it is expected that Johnson will take the Hawks' offer unless another team blows him away before the July 8 window to sign.
Celtics Lock Up Pierce
The Boston Herald reported this morning that Paul Pierce has agreed to a new four year, $61.5 million deal with the Celtics. This comes on the heels of Pierce opting out of the $21.5 million he was due for the 2010-2011 season.
Lakers Seek Point Guard Help
The Lakers are looking for point guard help and reportedly spoke with Mike Miller. The Lakers will also speak with Earl Watson, Steve Blake, and Luke Ridnour. The Lakers only have the mid-level exception to offer free agents, so at the least, Miller will have to take a pay cut.
Farmar Getting Looks
The reason the Lakers are looking for point guard help is because Jordan Farmar is an unrestricted free agent. So far, the two teams in close pursuit of Farmar are the Blazers and Pacers.
'Melo = Elway?
The Nuggets made headlines by saying they may trade Carmelo Anthony if they cannot lock him up before he hits free agency this time next year. The Nuggets reportedly offered Carmelo a three year, $65 million extension. Why the effort?
"Win a championship and play in one place forever," Nuggets VP of Basketball Operations Mark Warkentien told The Denver Post. "Bill Russell, David Robinson, you go to one place and you're the brand. There's a special category for that type of guy."
Carlos Boozer held preliminary talks with the Jazz and Heat on Thursday in South Florida. On Friday, Boozer will meet with the Bulls. Boozer is expected to meet with the Nets sometime over the weekend. The Jazz got the first crack at Boozer and will need to offer a six-year deal. ESPN.com indicated that teams with more salary cap space are the more likely landing spots for Boozer.
Chris Paul On the Trading Block
It appears that the more the free agency period goes on, the increasing chances Chris Paul may be dealt.
If neither the Knicks or Nets land LeBron, both are expected to sell New Orleans on the idea of a Paul swap involving Emeka Okafor to relieve the cash-strapped Hornets of their salary cap pressure. The Nets could send Devin Harris and the recently drafted Derrick Favors to New Orleans.
Gay Inks with Memphis
Rudy Gay's name popped up as a free-agent choice for the Nets, Knicks, and others. However, Gay is officially off the market after signing a five year, $80 million contract to remain in Memphis.
Frye Re-Ups with Suns
The increasing likelihood of Amar'e Stoudemire's exit from Phoenix put pressure on the Suns to keep Frye. They did that by re-signing Channing Frye to a five year/$30 million contract.
To the amazement of many, the Timberwolves re-signed Darko Milicic to a four-year, $20 million contract. His re-signing could spell the end of Al Jefferson in the Twin Cities. The T-Wolves continue to look for trade partners for their young big man.
Raptors Retain Johnson
The Toronto Raptors ensured that they kept at least one of their big men when they inked Amir Johnson to a five-year, $34 million contract. Johnson averaged 6.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season.
David Lee Making Rounds
David Lee may be the most hotly pursued second tier free agent. Lee is expected to meet with the Timberwolves, Bulls, and Nets on Friday.
However, Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo has his sights set on a sign-and-trade between the Knicks and Raptors that would send Bosh to New York for Lee.