NBA Rumors: Breaking Down the Latest Buzz and Speculation for the 2011 NBA Offseason
The 2011 NBA offseason is going to be packed with rumors regarding trades, free agency and much, much more.
Although this summer may not be as exciting as 2010 for NBA fans, there will still be plenty of juicy rumors and fresh stories to track until the next season gets underway.
With all of the uncertainty surrounding the league and collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations, we may have to wait a little longer than we're used to in order to receive some substantive news.
It's always fun to track big names that could be headed to new destinations, but rarely do rumored blockbuster deals actually come to fruition.
There are a lot of potential scenarios waiting to play themselves out as we move forward, and we could see a flurry of action in a very short span of time.
Bookmark this thread and keep checking back for the latest updates on your favorite players and teams in order to see what the future holds.
The Detroit Pistons were aggressively shopping Richard Hamilton leading up to the 2010-11 NBA trade deadline, and it appears that the team's stance hasn't changed since that time.
Vince Ellis, the team's beat writer for the Detroit Free Press, wrote on Monday morning that the team will look to re-engage in trade talks surrounding the shooting guard when the lockout lifts and transactions can resume.
This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone considering that Hamilton really struggled to mesh with the team last season, having a very public spat with then head coach John Kuester. Now, the Pistons are in the thick of a full-fledged re-building process, and Hamilton is one veteran that doesn't figure to be a part of the long-term plans.
Owed approximately $21 million over the next two seasons, sending Hamilton to a new zip code may not be the enormous challenge that it was previously made out to be considering that his salary for the second year left on his deal is only partially guaranteed.
Hamilton was almost dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers at the deadline before he nixed the deal at its final hour, according to ESPN's Marc Stein, and it wouldn't be a shock to see the Cavs make a bid for his services once again.
If the season starts on time, Ellis notes that the Pistons could potentially hold onto Hamilton until the 2011-12 deadline in an effort to maximize the value of a possible return, but I disagree.
Coming off of a down season and past the prime of his career, the Pistons would be wise to get something while they can for Hamilton before he becomes a sunken investment for a club that needs to rebound.
It's time to finally unleash Ben Gordon and let him play after he signed a five-year, $55 million prior to the 2009-10 season.
Eddy Curry is getting serious about winning a roster spot on the Miami Heat next season if he keeps up his current conditioning program.
After Curry tried out for the Miami Heat last season back in March, Pat Riley told him that he'd have to lose at least 50 lbs before the club could get serious about potentially expressing interest in bringing him aboard.
It appears as if Curry is determined to help the team that has had a renewed interest in him over the last few seasons. Despite being severely overweight for the last few seasons and having eaten himself out of the NBA, Curry has his weight down to 300 lbs after working with esteemed trainer Tim Grover and isn't quite done yet.
According to the Miami Herald, who spoke directly with Grover, Curry's skills "are there, no doubt", but he's going to need to lose an additional 12 lbs or so before the Heat would offer him a contract for the veteran's minimum.
The Heat's problems in the middle have been well-documented since they formed their big three, and Curry could be an intriguing part of the solution if he proves to actually be in shape for the first time in a long while.
Curry was the fourth overall selection back in 2001, and as recently as the 2006-07 season, the center averaged 19.5 points per game for the New York Knicks.
It will be really interesting to see if Curry can complete the task and be able to make a comeback, and considering that he's already lost 50 lbs to date, it would be tough to question his motivation at this point.
He would be an unorthodox solution to say the very least, but Riley has shown an ability to harness talent throughout his tenure in the league, so if Curry can get back to a respectable playing weight, it's very possible that he could help the Heat in the not so distant future.
Matt Barnes clearly doesn't back down from his competition in Pro-Am games.
The Los Angeles reserve forward allegedly punched a member of the opposing team in a Pro-Am game that was held in San Francisco at Kezar Pavillion according to ABC 7.
Barnes, who was playing for the "Dream Team" reportedly punched a member of the East Bay squad, but because referees were unable to see the incident when it originally happened, Barnes was not ejected from the contest.
However, this is nothing new for Barnes. In 2010, he got in trouble for a strikingly similar incident in the very same Pro-Am league for slapping an assistant coach. At the time this happened, he was playing for the same Dream Team that he suited up for once again on Thursday.
At the time this was written, there was no video available of Barnes' alleged punching of the opposition, but rather just this YouTube clip that shows the crowd vehemently booing the NBA player after the fight broke out.
When the Lakers signed Barnes, it was because he was supposed bring toughness, defensive grit and tenacity to a club that sorely needed it.
He's shown that he's definitely got all of the above characteristics, but he should save his best efforts for the NBA court and the Lakers, because his style of play will get further under the skin of an opponent in the professional ranks more than any cheap shot ever could in a Pro-Am affair.
It's amazing that this is the second straight year where Barnes has had a run-in after the negative attention that he caught for a similar stunt last season, but hopefully for both he and the Lakers, this one draws less attention in the wake of the work stoppage.
It's nice to see that Barnes is back to 100 percent after a knee injury really sapped most of his 2010-11 campaign, but he's going to have to stay out of the headlines for the wrong reasons if he wants to contribute for the Lakers on the court.
Michael Beasley and Kevin Durant finally have something in common: a heckler.
After Durant had to deal with a fan taunting him with chants of "Baby LeBron" at a ProCity game in New York, Beasley experienced something similar when he took on Durant in a game in Washington Heights at Dyckman Park on Thursday.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Beasley was interacting with the fans from the onset of the game. But when one fan was riding him a little bit too hard, the T-Wolves forward took it personally and decided to respond with physicality.
The report states that Beasley was jawing back and forth with the fan, and then things got physical when Beasley shoved the fan's face before security broke up the party between the two men.
It hasn't exactly been an offseason to remember for Beasley, who once again made headlines a few weeks ago for being caught in the midst of some more marijuana allegations that dated back to a June 26 traffic stop.
The arresting officer booked Beasley for going 84 MPH in a 65 MPH zone at approximately three in the morning, and he identified a "strong odor" of marijuana emanating from the vehicle.
Between his most recent episode at Dyckman and the continuous marijuana allegations, Beasley has really seen his stock drop in the league. Despite the T-Wolves having a plethora of wing players on the roster, they wouldn't be able to garner much in return for Beasley at this point because of all of the baggage that comes attached with him.
It's going to be interesting to see how Beasley repairs his public image after the latest incident at Dyckman, but it's clear that he's going to need some help if he's going to do it anytime soon.
For the time being, Beasley would be wise to just fade into the background and let the dust settle.
Kobe Bryant China Rumors: Could Kobe Bryant Land in China Instead of Turkey?
Kobe Bryant might be talking Turkey on Thursday, but it's very possible that he never plays a single minute for Besiktas.
Adding fuel to the international rumors surrounding Bryant, ESPN's Ric Bucher on Twitter said that the Lakers star could definitely make eight-figures in the Chinese Basketball Association.
There's no way that Bryant is going to leave the NBA for a career in China, so for him to land in the CBA, any deal would have to include an opt-out clause to return stateside.
However, the CBA has recently expressed a hesitancy to include opt-out clauses in any deal for NBA players, and may go as far as to institute a rule to prevent them entirely according to a source that spoke with ESPN's Marc Stein.
There's no doubting the obvious appeal of Bryant in China as he's really improved his brand image in the country, but whether or not it remains a realistic destination for him is very much up in the air at this point.
If Bryant is serious about competing in international play, there will be a line of suitors waiting to pitch him an offer, but at a reported asking price of $1-$1.5 million monthly, that's an awful lot of cheese to pony up for a team that typically doesn't hand out lucrative contracts.
Bryant might be "waiting for his phone to ring", but without a large number of teams that could come close to his asking price, he may be waiting for a long while to find a deal that makes sense.
We're about to see just how serious Bryant is about pursuing his international options.
It's not like Bryant needs the extra work to stay in basketball shape.
Kobe Bryant Besiktas Turkey: Will Lakers Star Join Deron Williams in Turkey?
Kobe Bryant could soon welcome Deron Williams as his newest teammate.
With Bryant and his agent, Rob Pelinka, scheduled to meet with Besiktas team president Yıldırım Demirören on Thursday afternoon at 1:30 PST, the two sides could be inching closer to a potential deal.
When D-Will signed his contract to play in Turkey, it came as a pretty big surprise because there was no speculation of a potential deal prior to his agreement. Bryant's case is hardly the same.
We have heard the Bryant to Besiktas rumors for weeks now, but it appears that the team is getting serious about their pursuit of the perennial All-Star.
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The rumors aren't likely to suddenly die down after the meeting between the sides, and unless the two can come to an agreement on Thursday, we likely haven't heard the last of them.
There's no doubt that he would form a dynamic backcourt alongside Williams if he does wind up playing in Turkey, but that scenario is certainly far from a slam-dunk right now.
With Bryant just having undergone knee surgery in Germany earlier this summer in an effort to extend his playing career, he's likely antsy to get back onto the court and play some competitive basketball.
Bryant has a large chip on his shoulder after his Lakers were swept out of the postseason by the Mavericks in 2011, and if he finds a deal to his liking in Turkey with Besiktas, it's entirely possible that he and Williams definitely become teammates in the near future.
While it's anyone's guess as to how long Bryant will remain playing in the NBA after his current deal expires (three more seasons), Lakers fans want him to be in tip-top shape for the team, so Lakers Nation may be split on the decision as to whether or not he should go.
Unfortunately for them, they don't any say in the matter.
The ball is in Kobe's court.
Kobe Bryant Besiktas Turkey: Lakers Star and His Agent to Meet with Turkish Team
Kobe Bryant is reportedly just mere hours away from sitting down with the Turkish team Besiktas.
According to the Turkish basketball reporter Ismail Senol on Twitter, Bryant and his agent Rob Pelinka are scheduled to meet with Besiktas officials on Thursday afternoon at 1:30 PM PST.
After Bryant told ESPN that he hadn't talked to the team in "weeks", word came out that he was meeting with the club on Thursday to discuss a potential deal, and it appears that Besiktas is very interested in signing him.
With the All-Star reportedly looking to collect between $1 million and $1.5 million monthly, the team is going to have to get awfully creative as to crafting a payment plan.
Although Lakers fans might not like the idea of their superstar playing in Turkey because of his chronic knee woes, the opportunity to play alongside Deron Williams and improve his brand image may be too tantalizing to pass up.
Bryant had previously expressed interest in playing basketball overseas, and with his international roots it shouldn't come as a surprise that he's considering the option of playing basketball in Turkey.
The leading man in Los Angeles would pair with Williams to make the most explosive backcourt in the international game, and it will be intriguing to see if Bryant does indeed get serious about playing with Besiktas.
If he and the club are able to work out a deal, it's going to be the strongest message sent to David Stern by the players yet.
It's clear that almost everyone is exploring all of their options, and if Bryant lands in Turkey, it's possible that a wave of fellow NBA-ers could follow suit and explore what may lie beyond the boundaries of the United States.
NBA Rumors: Heat Star Dwyane Wade Offered $2 Million Per Month in China?
The Dwyane Wade to China rumors are in full effect after reports indicated that the Miami Heat shooting guard has been offered $2 million monthly to play in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel serves as the beat reporter for the club, and he passes along a report from The Chengdu Daily that states Wade was offered a deal from Zhejiang Guangsha to play in Hangzhou for the club.
Despite the reported (and unconfirmed) offer, Wade remains rather mum on his offseason plans about what he could potentially be doing in the result of a lengthy lockout.
Earlier this week, ESPN's Marc Stein reported that he had been told by a prominent CBA official that a rule was in the works to prevent "out" clauses in contracts for NBA players that are interested in playing in the Chinese League.
If that motion is indeed passed, China could be off the table entirely for notable NBA players.
FIBA recently cleared the way for NBA players to sign overseas deals as long as they included an opt-out clause that allowed the player to return to the NBA when the lockout lifts, and China's proposed rule would directly conflict with the recent motion.
While some previous NBA players have delved in Chinese basketball before (most notably Stephon Marbury), it's currently difficult to imagine any big-time name like Wade heading over to play professionally as it currently stands.
There's no doubt that there is an international interest in NBA stars with massive global appeal like Wade has, but with the CBA looking as if it wants to avoid potential distractions to the regularities of their season, China may not be the best option for stars interested in going overseas.
NBA Rumors: Jordan Farmar Agrees to Deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv
Jordan Farmar has made good on his word to explore his options in the Israeli league if the lockout extended by signing with a new team on Wednesday afternoon.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Farmar has reached a deal to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv for the duration of the lockout. His deal will be for one season and will include an out clause for if and when the NBA lockout comes to a close.
Farmar's contract shouldn't come as much of a surprise as he had been quoted as saying that he'd "definitely" consider playing in the Israeli league for the duration of the lockout, and now he's doing exactly that by signing the deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Farmar will join a roster that already includes Jeremy Pargo and Jon Scheyer, as well as former NBA draft bust Richard Hendrix.
The team has also flirted with the idea of bringing back current Detroit point guard Will Bynum, and it's also possible that Omri Casspi could sign with the team as he wouldn't count as a foreign import on the roster.
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It was reported that Farmar had been negotiating with another Israeli team, Maccabi Haifa, but the point guard has decided to sign with Tel Aviv instead.
It's a smart move for Farmar as he'll be one of the stars on the team, and as a player with a Jewish background, it will be likely that he'll be instantly welcomed by the fan base.
The New Jersey guard will also receive the opportunity to grow his brand image internationally during his tenure in Israel, and that could lead to increased financial gains for him while he's not getting paid by his NBA team as a result of the lockout.
NBA Rumors: Ex-NBA Point Guard Rafer Alson Sued over Fight at Strip Club
Former NBA player Rafer "Skip 2 My Lou" Alston is being sued for an alleged fight that occurred at a strip club, according to the New York Post.
The altercation between Alston, 35, and fellow Perfection Gentleman's Club patron Erick Franceschini, 32, occurred in July of 2010, but the accuser is coming forward one year later.
According to the report, Alston took a beer bottle and smashed it over Franceschini's head as a result of the disagreement that began inside the facility and eventually spilled out into the street.
Franceschini is reportedly seeking unspecified damages from the former NBA point guard, and after Alston struggled with perceived attitude issues over the last couple of seasons, this certainly won't help him with his public image.
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Despite Franceschini filing a police report after the incident, Alston was never arrested, but police sources did confirm that an assault complaint had been filed against the former point guard.
Alston, who played in the Chinese Basketball Association last season before the team banished him stateside, has really struggled in his quest to return to the league.
The standoff between the two men was reportedly induced by booze, and it's a sad day when Alston's name is only in the headlines because of this incident.
The former streetball legend is facing an uncertain future after the accusation, but it's looking increasingly unlikely that we'll see him return to a prominence on a team in the NBA.
It's going to be very interesting to see what comes as a result of this lawsuit for Alston. Despite the fact that he was not involved in the brawl when it began in the club, the accusations against him are startling if they prove to be true.
Let's hope that Alston's lasting legacy as a basketball player isn't defined by the last few years of his playing career.
NBA Rumors: Kobe Bryant, Rob Pelinka to Meet with Besiktas on Thursday
The Kobe Bryant to Turkey rumors haven't slowed down over recent weeks.
Despite Bryant stating that he hadn't talked to Besiktas in weeks during an interview with ESPN, the two sides are reportedly set to meet on Thursday in Los Angeles at 1:30 PST according to Turkish basketball guru Ismail Senol on Twitter.
Despite the meeting that's scheduled to take place tomorrow, Besiktas will still need to fight to land Bryant in the same backcourt as fellow NBA All-Star Deron Williams.
With the Lakers star looking to land a monthly paycheck between $1 million and $1.5 million to play internationally, the team is going to need the help of their special sponsors if they're serious about luring Bryant to the squad.
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While there have been some reports that Bryant could have more appeal in China, the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association) is in the midst of attempting to pass a rule that would prevent "out" clauses, greatly decreasing the likelihood that any notable name could venture to play in the league.
We'll certainly find out more about Bryant's possibility of playing in Turkey when he and his agent, Rob Pelinka, meet with Besiktas team president Yıldırım Demirören on Thursday afternoon.
It will be interesting to see what Besiktas does to lure the All-Star onto the team, because if they're able to do so, they'll have the most fearsome backcourt that international competition has seen in a long time.
With Besiktas' bank accounts recently being frozen as a part of a soccer scandal were thought to hinder the pursuit of Bryant according to ESPN, it appears that they've once again put on the full-court press to land him alongside D-Will.
One thing is for sure: Bryant is definitely considering every option.
NBA Trade Rumors and Speculation: Could Hawks' Josh Smith Be a Fit for Clippers?
Josh Smith is a name that fans should be used to seeing in a multitude of NBA trade rumors.
Prior to the June 23 NBA draft, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that the Atlanta Hawks were gauging interest in the talented forward around the league.
J-Smoove reportedly identifying four preferred destinations should he be dealt: Houston, Orlando, New Jersey or Boston.
Despite the fact the Clippers aren't on his list, it's a possibility that Los Angeles could represent his best chance at getting back to the top of his game.
Early speculation is that the Hawks are angling for a true center in a deal for Smith in an effort to allow Al Horford to slide to his natural four spot, and the Clippers happen to have a surplus at the big man position and have been looking to trade Chris Kaman.
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A trade of Josh Smith to the Clippers could be mutually beneficial as the Hawks could command a package such as Kaman and young forward Al-Farouq Aminu in exchange for Smith.
Such a move would allow the Clippers to play Smith at small forward alongside Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, giving the "other" team in L.A. the most athletic front line in the NBA.
For the Hawks, the acquisition of Kaman would fill a giant void in the middle of the lane and Aminu would provide great insurance for Marvin Williams.
The addition of Smith would push the Clippers toward the forefront of contention for a spot in the postseason as a team that could very well claim the no. 7 or no. 8 spot, as the core of Eric Gordon, Griffin and Jordan is already promising.
Adding Smoove to the already intriguing and youthful mix would really be a smart move for Los Angeles, and Atlanta probably doesn't have much interest in simple salary relief in any deal for a talent as unique as Smith.
NBA Trade Rumors: Could Monta Ellis Help Orlando Magic Retain Dwight Howard?
Monta Ellis' stance on being traded away from the Golden State Warriors has seemingly been a rather ephemeral one throughout the offseason.
Prior to the draft, Ellis and his management team reportedly requested a trade away from the Warriors according to the New York Post.
Despite the team drafting perimeter-oriented players Klay Thompson out of Washington State and Charles Jenkins out of Hofstra, Golden State General Manager Larry Riley went on the record stating that the team had no plans to pursue a trade for the talented guard.
Whether or not he's still available in the right deal is something that will be determined once the lockout concludes, but it's clear that his name was at least tossed around in offers at some point within the last couple of months.
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With the Orlando Magic likely to lose one of their key offensive contributors in Jason Richardson through free agency, the team cannot afford to rely solely on Dwight Howard for offensive production.
The club is banking hard on J.J. Redick's potential as a starter and Jameer Nelson's ability to score, but Orlando needs to get serious about adding a versatile scorer like Ellis to the team if they're going to have any shot of signing Howard for the future.
The Magic were rumored to be discussing Ellis with the Warriors according to The Orlando Sentinel, and it's very possible that the two sides could re-kindle the discussions when the league opens back up for business.
Because he's playing on a very reasonable contract, Ellis would present a solid option for the Magic even if they are unable to retain Howard in the fold.
But if Howard is serious about his desire to re-sign with the team as long as they improve the roster around him, Ellis represents a major step in the right direction.
NBA Trade Rumors: Is Dwight Howard a Realistic Option for Los Angeles Lakers?
The Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers trade rumors won't go away until the Orlando Magic can get the big man to sign on the dotted line.
With a humongous personality that would be perfect fit for one of the largest markets in sports, Howard would help the Lakers both win now and usher in an era of basketball in the post-Kobe Bryant era.
Despite Jim Buss previously labeling current starting center Andrew Bynum "untouchable" in any potential deals, the club would be foolish not to consider a swap for Howard that was centered around no. 17.
While there has been a lot of speculation about the possible return for the Magic in a trade of Howard, most realize that any deal with the Lakers would have to be centered around both Bynum and versatile forward Lamar Odom.
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However, a straight up swap of Howard for the two Lakers wouldn't work financially, so the Magic would have to include another piece to facilitate a deal.
While the team doesn't have a lot of attractive assets at the negotiating table, they could offer the affordable contract of perimeter-oriented Quentin Richardson to the Lakers.
The team really struggled to space the floor within the second unit last season, and Richardson would be serviceable as a backup swingman capable of doing exactly that.
Los Angeles would also undoubtedly have to include at least one future draft choice in the trade, but it's clear that the Lakers have the most to offer the Magic in a Dwight Howard proposal.
If General Manager Otis Smith allows for Howard to walk out of Orlando and gets nothing in return, there is going to be mayhem among the fan base.
Hopefully, Smith took notice of the Cleveland Cavaliers first regular season without LeBron James.
NBA Lockout: NBA, Union Expected to Meet for Negotiations During August
The NBA and the NBPA are expected to meet to discuss the work stoppage and labor negotiations over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement for the first time in the offseason.
According to Chris Sheridan of ESPN, Commissioner David Stern and union director Billy Hunter have agreed to resume negotiations.
This is a significant reversal of what had previously been reported, as it had been speculated that the two sides weren't planning to meet until late August at the earliest, but it appears the sides have finally agreed to at least sit down with one another.
As Sheridan notes, a deal remains far off from both side's perspectives, but the very idea that they are now willing to sit down with one another represents progress from where we stood as little as just one week ago.
In addition to both Stern and Hunter, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA president Derek Fisher and Peter Holt (head of the owner's negotiating committee) are all expected to be in attendance as well.
The two sides met with one another almost one month ago, and on June 30, the owner's rejected the following proposal from the players:
The players offered a six-year agreement in which they would cut their take of basketball-related income (BRI) from 57 percent to 54.6 percent -- or $100 million per year over the six years.
However, the owners are seeking something a little bit more drastic for their next agreement.
Owners are seeking a 10-year agreement with a hard salary cap, and their most recent proposal targeted paying the players at least $2 billion in salaries in each of the 10 seasons.
The players have shown an unwillingness to bite at the idea of a hard cap, and it's likely that idea will have to be abandoned by the owners if they're ever going to get a deal done.
It wouldn't surprise me to see the league implement something of a flex cap, but it's probably going to come at or around a figure that's a lot lower than what most player's would like to see.
The owners want to protect themselves against bad (and lengthy) contracts like the ones that were handed to Travis Outlaw (five years, $35 million) and Amir Johnson (five years, $34 million) during the last offseason.
However, an employee can't accept a salary without the employer offering it to him first.