NBA Rumors: Latest Free Agent Buzz and Top Trade Rumors
Sunday, Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks defeated LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat to end the season and begin the offseason. Unfortunately for the NBA and its fans, this offseason could resemble the NFL's offseason if a lockout is implemented.
As of now, teams can trade with each other. The current CBA ends June 30th and free agency begins July 1st.
Plenty of trades should go down on draft day, like usual, but don't expect a rush of free-agent signings this year, obviously. Hopefully the NBA is a more flexible league than the NFL.
The two biggest trade rumors going into the offseason have surrounded Dwight Howard and Monta Ellis. Howard wants to stay in Orlando, but he could end up going anywhere at this point as long as it's to a contender. Ellis has been closely linked to the Philadelphia 76ers in a trade for Andre Iguodala, but other teams are in the race for the guards services as well.
Stay tuned for more updates on the latest free agent buzz and top trade rumors throughout the day.
The 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest was a huge improvement over the previous year which was most likely the work professional dunk competition ever. JaVale McGee, Demar Derozan and Serge Ibaka got the crowd on their feet with jaw-dropping dunk after dunk. The favorite and champion, Blake Griffin, was alright, but he had the worst night of the four competitors.
Still, in the end he was the one holding the first place trophy. Why? Because he jumped over a car sponsored by NBA partner Kia Motors.
Now, it was a nice dunk; don’t get me wrong, but any top-notch high-flier can pull off jumping over the short end of a car. JaVale McGee performed dunks never tried before and Serge Ibaka slammed it home from the free throw line as a big man, but thanks to Kenny Smith hyping up the building, Griffin was the last one standing.
According to Sports Business Daily, Griffin’s flashy outing did more than win himself a trophy. Kia, Sprite and State Farm, all partners of the NBA, each scored the highest awareness levels they’ve received in the last five years.
Now, being in LA, being an in-game dunking fiend, it isn’t unreasonable to believe the judging was a bit biased toward Griffin with the obvious potential to help out the sponsors which ended up happening. Despite the sponsors loving the dunk contest results, the NBA fan base wasn’t too happy. Anyone intelligent enough to realize Griffin’s dunk wasn’t the greatest ever knew he didn’t deserve to win.
Twitter exploded with people crying conspiracy and for good reason. Blake Griffin’s windmill slam off the side of the backboard got a higher score than Demar Derozan’s between-the-legs dunk off the side of the backboard: total bias. Here is every dunk for the contest, check them out yourself.
Hopefully the fan disgust of the recent dunk contests will trigger a change in how the NBA runs the highlight of All-Star weekend.
David Daniels is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and a Syndicated Writer. Follow him on Twitter.
Just a few days ago, Amar’e Stoudamire was repping New York like he was born there. He wasn’t necessarily grabbing Craig Sager and forcing him to say Queensbridge, but close enough. Now though, Amar’e has apparently forgotten his pledge.
On Twitter a few days ago, Stoudamire said, “My loyalty is with the State of New York an the NYK's.” Since then, he’s had a change of heart telling ESPN: "It's not a definite thing that I'm not going to sign overseas.” And when Kobe Bryant’s tour of China was brought up he responded by saying that he “would definitely entertain.”
Something either changed within the last few days or Stoudamire is senile. Who knows? Maybe Real Madrid or Beskitas offered to throw in a brand new pair of rec-specs and that re-ignited the interest.
Whatever happened, Knicks fans have to be praying that he scrolls down on his Twitter feed and sees what he originally said because they can’t afford to lose Stoudamire again to an injury. The pick-and-roll machine just healed up from a bad back and playing competitively again too soon could trigger an unwanted encore from the injury. Back injuries aren’t something you want to fool around with and they can end careers.
New York has been dreaming about the future since Isiah Thomas ruined their team. They didn’t get LeBron last summer, but they got the best offensive big man in the game in Stoudamire and a wing who is a much more skilled all-around scorer than King James in Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks are the signing of their choice of Deron Williams or Chris Paul away from having the Big Three they’ve sought after for years.
They would be an instant championship contender, but if Stoudamire fools around overseas for a few bucks, that dream has the potential to turn into a nightmare. One wrong step and STAT could be on his back and the Knicks would be back in rebuilding mode.
David Daniels is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and a Syndicated Writer. Follow him on Twitter.
When the Chicago Bulls lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, Derrick Rose didn’t go out and party (like Erick Dampier and a few Heat after losing to the Mavs). No, Rose was devastated. The MVP had led the Bulls to the league’s best record in 2011, but couldn’t get the job done in the playoffs.
Yahoo! reported that Rose practically went into a depression after the early exit. He was quoted saying:
“Being that close [to the NBA Finals], and not getting it, hurt. I just stayed inside the whole time. I didn’t go anywhere else. I wore pajamas, watched a lot of movies, drank Powerade and got delivery food. My body was just sore and wore out. Mentally, too. I’m just getting over it. I know my time will [come] soon. That’s how I think about it. I guess you have to pay your dues.”
That type of reaction to a loss shows one thing: passion. Rose is young and has plenty of years left to win a ring. It isn’t even like he’s a 38-year old veteran who just blew his last shot.
The hunger for victory is something that can’t be understated in the world of sports and the Bulls star obviously has it. He isn’t the only one who’s fell that low after a loss late in the season though. Dirk Nowitzki admitted to Dallas News that he went on a three-week drinking binge after losing the 2006 NBA Finals just to try to forget about the loss.
Dirk got his revenge against the Miami Heat. Derrick Rose could be next.
All the Bulls need is one piece, one more scorer. Their defense is elite. If they can sign a two-guard who can take some of the scoring load off Rose, it’s over.
It took years for Dirk to get his payback. Derrick Rose may have to wait just one offseason.
David Daniels is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and a Syndicated Writer. Follow him on Twitter.
At 5’9”, Nate Robinson stands out as one of the shortest players in the entire NBA. In the NFL though, his height would be ideal at the running back position. This isn’t just some fantasy either; Robinson had a chance to play professional football.
His senior season at Rainer Beach High School, he rushed for over 1,200 yards and added over 500 receiving yards at halfback while being nationally ranked. Robinson played football for the Washington Huskies as well and that was when they were a top five team in the nation. He played cornerback early in his college career before switching over to basketball for good.
It should be no surprise that while other NBA players are contemplating signing with a team in Europe during the lockout, Nate Robinson has his eyes on another sport. When talking to Slam Online, Robinson told them, “I might go play football. Do something that nobody’s tried to do.”
Football isn’t just something Robinson should try; he should switch to it full-time. His reputation in the NBA as a ball hog has ruined his value. When you’re one of the most talented guards off the bench in the entire league and you still can’t get playing time, something has to change.
As one of the most athletic players in all the NBA, he has the physical ability to make it in the NFL. Now, Robinson is a little on the light side, but DeSean Jackson only has five pounds on him, Darren Sproles 10, and he weighs more than Noel Devine. With his explosive ability and quickness, if he’s serious about it, he definitely has a shot at becoming a solid third down or change-of-pace back in the NFL.
He was recruited by USC, Running Back U: enough said.
Every four summers, LA Lakers and Boston Celtics fans unite. New York Knicks fans offer the Indiana Pacers faithful some of their popcorn. The rivalries cease for just a few weeks to watch Team USA show the rest of the world no other country even deserves to step on the same basketball court, but that may not be the case in 2012.
After winning seven straight gold medals, they were cheated in 1972 finishing runner-up, and they’ve only failed to finish first twice since then. Some fans will tell you that blowouts are boring. Seriously, if you don’t enjoy watching Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul all on the same team, something is wrong with you.
The Olympics are supposed to be about national pride. Apparently the NBA Players Association doesn’t value playing for the country too much. An agent who was interview by ESPN expected the players association to discourage the summer games saying:
“If the league is heavy-handed with the players I don't see the guys playing. The union will take a hard line. I think it would be a huge problem -- global lure or not. It's accurate to say the players probably wouldn't play.”
If the NBA players skipped the games, Team USA would be forced to resort to using college kids like they used to do. They won plenty of gold medals doing that so winning would still be possible, especially with the international NBA players skipping as well. Still, it’s obviously more exciting to watch the best basketball players on the planet than the college all-star team.
And international basketball has gotten a lot stronger lately. If Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony couldn’t bring home the gold in 2004, you’d have to imagine a USA team full of college students would struggle as well.
We will see how much the American NBA players actually care about their country next summer.
The 2011 NBA offseason happens to feature one of the worst draft classes, free agent classes and a lockout all at once. Carl Landry just happens to be one of the top free agents in that poor free agent class. He averaged 15.8 points a game during the New Orleans Hornets first round match-up with the LA Lakers showing off his scoring ability.
According to jconline.com, Landry named the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks as two possible landing spots if he were to leave New Orleans. With Chris Paul’s future on the team in doubt, he’ll most likely head elsewhere. The teams he mentioned make perfect sense as each has a huge need at power forward that both squads failed to address in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft.
The Indiana Pacers have a starting caliber talent at the position in Tyler Hansbrough, but they need depth badly in front court. A power forward that could stretch the floor would be the ideal fit in Indiana. Landry can hit mid-range shots consistently, but the Pacers may be looking for someone with a little more length to make up Hansbrough.
Milwaukee is Landry’s hometown and is the better fit. The Bucks had the worst offense in the entire league last season so his scoring ability would provide a big lift. Landry doesn’t have much competition for the starting job either as Drew Gooden is a mediocre talent, Luc Mbah a Moute is just a designated defender, Larry Sanders hasn’t proven anything yet and Tobias Harris is a better fit at small forward.
His slight lack of height and rebounding ability wouldn’t be a problem next to Andrew Bogut. Look for Carl Landry to head home to Milwaukee once the NBA lockout is over.
If sports fans thought the NFL owners and players were far apart in getting a deal done, the tension of their dispute pails is comparison to what’s going on in the NBA. While the NFL season could realistically begin on time, the NBA could realistically lose an entire year of play.
According to ESPN, New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams talked about the current progress of the CBA negotiations in an interview saying, “I don't see a deal getting done anytime soon because we're so far apart.” Reports continue to flood in that the players and owners aren’t even close to getting a deal done. Knowing the extent of the lack of progress, the NBA Players Association must decertify.
If the NBAPA doesn’t decertify, or even if they delay decertification, the two sides won’t get a deal done in time to have a full season. Unlike the greedy NFL owners, the owners in the NBA actually have a reason to lock the players out. The owners are losing money, but the players know the fans don’t come to games to see the owners; the players bring in the money for the league and they aren’t going to play for less pay without a fight.
The New York Times report on the lockout says that the NBAPA decertifying is indeed possible as Jeffery Kessler, the outside counselor for the Players Association said:
"It's not off the table in any way. There's no immediate urgency to that issue. It's an option the players are actively considering. But they have time to decide whether it makes sense to end the union or not."
The players have to take the owners to court if a deal is going to be reached any time soon. Kessler may tell the media that the players have time, but don’t be fooled. Time flies fast when you’re on a deadline to get the season started, just ask the NFL.
Losing an entire season would be devastating for NBA fans. College basketball can only satisfy for so long. After the NCAA tournament, those next few months without the NBA playoffs would be brutal.
According to Deron Williams via ESPN though, the NBA could lose more than just one season of play. Williams, who signed a one-year, five-million dollar deal with a team in Turkey, said in an interview that, "If the proposal (the owners) have, if that's what they're sticking with and that's what they want, then I think it would be hard for a lot of guys to come back to the NBA.”
The NBA is a league that markets its stars like no other. Williams most likely won’t be the only superstar that leaves to play oversees. If the NBA were to lose just two or three of their major stars, the consequences would far outweigh winning the CBA battle.
One of those superstars could be Kobe Bryant. If the new CBA were to limit how much a player could make, Williams went on to say:
“(Kobe) could go make more money overseas, I guarantee you. If (European teams) knew he could be there for a full season, or they knew I could be there for a full season, or they knew LeBron James could be there for a full season, they'll pay more money, of course.”
Making money, not winning NBA Championships, is often the number one goal for professional basketball players. If Kobe and LeBron could draw contracts that would make them far more money in Europe than in the NBA, there is a realistic possibility that they could leave the league. This isn’t just a joke; the two superstars already said they’d entertain huge international offers in the past.
The NBA owners better pull off a deal in time to at least play a shortened season or the league’s existence could be in danger.
Michael Beasley is once again in the news for off the court reasons. The Timberwolves forward was cited in Minnetonka, a Minneapolis suburb, for speeding and possession of 16.2 grams of marijuana. He was stopped around 3 A.M. on June 26th for going twenty miles an hour over the speed limit. The officer noticed a strong scent of marijuana in the vehicle and proceeded to search and find the drug. Beasley claimed it was not his, but will be charged with possession, a petty misdemeanor.
While the charge is not a huge deal by itself, carrying just a $128 dollar fine, it is the fact that Beasley struggled so much early in his career with off court issues. He constantly violated the league drug policy and eventually entered rehab in 2009. Beasley could not cope with being a rich, young basketball player in South Beach and it was seen as a blessing to his career when he was traded.
With LeBron James and Chris Bosh on the way in, the Heat traded the former second round pick to the TWolves for salary cap reasons. He put up career numbers in his first season with the team and seemed to have started putting things together until this incident.
GM David Kahn said after drafting Derrick Williams, who plays the same positions as Beasley, that he wanted to pair the two athletic scorers together. He also noted that he wanted to see more growth from Beasley as a player and person. With this latest regression, Beasley may just be on his way out.
Derrick Williams should log a ton of minutes his rookie season, as the Timberwolves are not ready to contend quite yet. They have a rookie point guard running the team and Williams will need to get as much floor time as possible to make an impact. Having Beasley there will hurt his development and limit minutes.
A number of teams would be willing to take a flier on a player with as much natural talent as Beasley but riddled with character issues. He was an elite scorer in college and flashed much of that talent last season. If he can get his act together off the court, he will be an all-star someday.
The Warriors drafted another two more guards in the draft, which points to Monta Ellis being dealt. The team denies their interest in trading Ellis, but that may just be because the right deal hasn't come along.
There are a ton of ways the Warriors could go, should they choose to deal Ellis. They have a glaring need in their front court and the most dominant big man in the NBA, Dwight Howard, could also be on the move before the 2011 season begins.
Regardless of who the Warriors were to deal for, it would still leave a hole at shooting guard. They brought in Klay Thompson with their first pick, but all indications are that he is going to be utilized as a 3.
The Warriors may be enticed by the thought of bringing in Jason Richardson, who was drafted by the Warriors and was a shining star on the team from 2001-2007.
The move would be tremendously popular and would soften the blow of Ellis departing. If they could bring in a big man who could make an impact and still manage to put forth decent guard play, they could be making a playoff run in the near future.
The pieces are assembling in Golden State, but overloading the backcourt has proven to be a recipe for failure.
The transition away from small ball won't happen overnight, but new coach Mark Jackson could expedite it by dealing Ellis. If they could deal Ellis, Andris Biedrins and a pick or two for Howard, they would have the ability to bring in Richardson and surround Howard with the role players necessary to go deep into the playoffs.
Jackson can choose to build the team around his undersized backcourt or make moves in the offseason that shake up the structure of the roster. The latter process is undoubtedly the quicker option and a Richardson acquisition would make it the better of the two as well.
Deron Williams is taking his talents to Turkey during the lockout. He's going to be making somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000 a month playing abroad and he may not be the last superstar to go overseas.
The players hold a large portion of the power in the NBA lockout. The NBA's popularity is predicated off of big name superstars. Unlike the NFL, NBA players aren't restricted to playing in America if they want to earn a boatload of cash.
If players like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard went overseas, they would stand to make even more money. The NBA can take away players' chances to build an NBA legacy, but they don't have their players in a capital choke hold.
The move by Williams may not just affect the NBA players, it could also lead to more college players venturing overseas.
Seeing that sort of pay come from a European team may entice them enough to bypass making zilch by playing college basketball.
This sort of outward expansion is terrible for the NBA. Once players see playing overseas as a legitimate option, it limits forces the NBA to compete with the foreign market.
The NBA currently features the best stars in the game. It's currently the standard in the world of basketball, but that fails to hold true in the future, it's going to be difficult for the league to lobby with its players.
Steve Nash has one season left on his contract at a bargain $10 million. He is going to turn 38 next season and the two time NBA MVP has yet to win a ring in his illustrious career. He has taken the Mavericks and Suns to numerous Western Conference Finals but has yet to even play in the Finals. The Suns would be doing themselves and Nash a favor by shipping him to a contender next season.
Nash watched his close friend, Dirk Nowitzki, team up with fellow veteran point guard Jason Kidd to win the first title of their careers a few weeks ago and must have been jealous. Dirk and Nash played on the Mavericks for a number of years but could never get to the Finals. Nash has accomplished about everything he possibly can in the league and would love to punctuate his career with a title.
The Suns need to enter a full rebuilding mode after they tore apart the team that brought them to the 2010 Western Conference Finals. Amare Stoudemire jumped ship to New York and the team missed the playoffs last season, even with Nash leading the league in assists with subpar teammates. Nash is keeping them relevant enough to win a handful of games but not good enough to make the playoffs.
They had the 13th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and chose Markieff Morris, a decent player out of Kansas, but he certainly won’t change the teams’ fortunes. If they Suns can dip down into the top five of next year’s draft, they will certainly come away with a player who has a chance to be an All-Star someday. The draft class is loaded and the Suns need to get a player who can be the future of the franchise in it.
There were discussions on Draft Day of Nash going to Minnesota in exchange for the No. 2 overall selection, but the Suns reportedly turned it down and Nash would not be happy playing for another rebuilding effort.
The best options for Nash would be either the New York Knicks or Miami Heat. The Knicks currently have Chauncey Billups but he doesn’t fit Mike D’Antoni’s system as well as Nash would. They have amazing chemistry and the Knicks would be new and improved seven-seconds-or-less Suns of old with the coach-point guard tandem back in action.
The Heat benched Mike Bibby for the deciding game of the Finals, and Mario Chalmers has possibly reached his peak as an NBA player. Nash would make that team a ton better, which is hard to fathom considering how dominant they could be at times last year. They would be the hands down favorite to capture the title next year and Nash would go out on top.
The 2011 NBA lockout is devastating for second round players and free agents hoping to catch a contract with a team. With the cancellation of the various Summer Leagues a few weeks back in anticipation of the lockout, and no other forms of training camp able to be held, many of these players are not able to showcase their talents to prospective clubs.
This leaves only the option of travelling abroad in order to get paid to play basketball. European teams have been scooping up a number of both fresh and veteran talent, and are going to continue to have more options become available as the lockout drags on.
While players such as Amare Stoudemire, Dwyane Wade, and Deron Williams are grabbing the headlines for their possible decisions on signing with a EuroLeague team; it is players such as Darius Songaila, Von Wafer, Sonny Weems, and Scotty Hopson who have the most to gain by inking a deal in Europe.
Songaila and Weems have already signed contracts and needed to, as they have been lower paid rotation players who could use the cash as well as the playing time. Hopson is an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee who was hoping to catch with an NBA team this summer. It is now likely he will go to Europe and play for at least a season in order to get looked at by NBA clubs.
By going to a EuroLeague team, these players can get paid and get valuable experience while the NBA has a work stoppage. They will also up the level of talent in those leagues, which could pay off for the NBA in the long run. By having a ton of NBA caliber players stashed in Europe for a season, teams from the States will send a number of scouts over to see them and other prospects status.
LeBron James helped the new-look Miami Heat make the NBA Finals after signing their with Chrish Bosh in the summer of 2010. While it most certainly won’t happen, it could make sense for him to make another move this summer.
LeBron would be a great fit in Orlando, and subsequently, disgruntled center Dwight Howard would be a match made in heaven for Miami. The two max contract players could be swapped for one another and make both Florida teams much better.
The Orlando Magic have been struggling to surround their 6-foot-11 All-Star center with talented players. They made a title run in 2009 after defeating LeBron’s Cavs, but have not made a deep playoff push since.
Howard is a free agent in the summer of 2012 and will certainly leave the team for greener pastures if the team does not markedly improve. He has been rumored to want to follow Shaq’s footsteps and leave the Magic for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Magic would love to get something tangible in return for him instead of just letting him walk away.
The Miami Heat made the NBA Finals this past season but mightily struggled on defense against the Dallas Mavericks. They have no legitimately half-decent center on the roster and Howard would be perfect. He helps out the lankier and more offensive minded Chris Bosh down low and would be a great 2nd/3rd option when his name is called.
By swapping LeBron and Howard, the Magic would get arguably the best player in the league in return and the Heat would add the legitimate presence in the middle they need to win the championship.
The Heat want to hold onto their prized signing and will most likely not consider any offers for James. They are going to hold out for a cheap veteran to become available and sign him cheap to fill their center spot. With a ton of free agents set to come off the books this summer, the Heat should be able to find someone for a decent price.
Yao Ming has announced today that he officially retired from the National Basketball League sometime in the past 48 hours. Ming had quite an enigmatic career, being named to eight All-Star teams and making five All-NBA teams while putting up career averages of 19 points, 9.2 boards, and 1.9 blocks.
At 7-foot-6, Yao was one of the tallest players in league history, and certainly the most productive out of anyone who stood that high. Ming was a legitimate two-way player, offering shot blocking and rebounding on the defensive end and a legit low post and face-up game on the other end.
Unfortunately, Yao spent such a short time in the league and only played in five games the past two seasons due to injuries. From 2002-2005 Yao dominated the league and showcased a ton of potential. His last six years have been injury plagued, as most players his size seem to have struggle with.
On the bright side, Yao is only 30 years old and could potentially make a comeback at some point in the near future. He retired due to his lingering injuries and feels he can no longer adequately contribute and get healthy in the NBA. He is one of the most popular players in the league internationally and everyone would like to see him back.
If Yao takes a year or two off to completely rehab, he may find himself missing the hardwood and healthy enough to play. A player of his size will always be needed in the league, and even in a limited capacity, Yao would be effective in the NBA.
The Rockets would certainly love to have him come back and would hold his rights in retirement. They desperately need size and have been struggling to find a replacement at the center position. If he decides to take a year or two off and come back, he should easily find himself in a position to help the team.