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NBA Free Agents 2015: Updated Rumors for Players Predicted to Be on Move

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2015

Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge talks with reporters after NBA basketball practice in Portland, Ore., Friday, April 24, 2015. The Memphis Grizzlies lead the Trail Blazers 2-0 in their first round series heading into Saturday's Game 3 in Portland.  (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Don Ryan/Associated Press

The 2015 NBA free-agency period kicks off at midnight, so there's really no more reason to waste time. Soon, the deluge of rumors will develop into actual news before petering out and leaving us with things like Summer League Pass to keep our minds occupied.

For now, though, it remains highly entertaining and highly stressful to be paying attention to the Association. No one is really sure what to believe at this point, except that conversations are well underway behind the scenes. LaMarcus Aldridge appears to be the main star of festivities, with DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe and others filling out the margins.

Then there are the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Marc Gasol, who each appear to be staying in their current situations. That said, if the last few years have taught us anything, it's to always expect the unexpected.

With that in mind, here's a quick roundup of the happenings around the way.

Greg Monroe, Arron Afflalo Leading Knicks Haul?

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The Greg Monroe talks in New York are nothing new. They've been linked for months, as Monroe fits the bill of what Phil Jackson likes in an offensive big man. He can score and pass out of the post and has been a double-double threat since walking into the league. What Monroe lacks in rim protection he largely makes up for in offensive production.

While Monroe is not a foundational superstar around whom one can build, he's good enough to be a third or fourth banana. We'll have to see the final numbers on whatever deal he signs before passing judgement. If it's somewhere in the $12 million per season range, Monroe might be right on the bargain cusp once the cap goes up. If it's a max deal, get your Knicks kid crying face ready.

As for who will be joining Monroe, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported the Knicks are also the front-runners for Arron Afflalo. Woj correctly identified them as "realistic" targets. Afflalo had increased his scoring average each of his first seven NBA seasons before 2014-15. He's a solid floor spacer and decent enough defender, though public sentiment tends to overrate him in both categories.

What's troubling is how Jackson appears to be taking a weird middle ground with team building. Drafting Kris Porzingis at No. 4 was a smart move. But Porzingis isn't ready to contribute right now and needs time on the floor to develop his game. Adding win-now pieces like Afflalo and, to a lesser extent, Monroe seems to send a mixed message.

Spurs Bringing the Family to Meeting With Aldridge

The Spurs have long been a favorite in the LaMarcus Aldridge chase. Their organization is the model around which nearly every other team builds. Aldridge fits as a near-ideal Tim Duncan replacement going into the future, and Gregg Popovich is better than any other coach at keeping aging players fresh. Plus, there's the whole Aldridge being from Texas thing.

All of that in theory has made San Antonio a speculative front-runner. The Spurs are just not alone. Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times reported the Lakers are now the "front-runner" for Aldridge's services. He has Los Angeles-based representation and will take his meetings in the city, so there are some deep ties there. The Lakers' decision to select D'Angelo Russell over Jahlil Okafor also lent to speculation they were guaranteed a big man in free agency.

Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, the Spurs have apparently begun upping their efforts. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reported Duncan and Tony Parker will join Popovich in pitching Aldridge on joining the franchise. 

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

If this seems out of the ordinary, well, that's because it is. The Spurs have consistently embraced continuity over big free-agent splashes, in part because they've never quite hit home runs on big-ticket free agents. Richard Jefferson, Malik Rose and Rasho Nesterovic stand out as sore thumbs on what's an otherwise exemplary resume.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out because it appears Aldridge has no real intention on staying in Portland. That would be a bit of a questionable move if he signed with the still-rebuilding Lakers over a playoff team in Portland. Going to San Antonio makes a ton of sense from a basketball perspective.

I'd still bank on one of the Texas teams winning out. 

Around The League

  • Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reported there is a growing belief the DeAndre Jordan chase will come down to the Clippers and Mavericks. The latter has been linked to the Dallas native all season, and Jordan's tepid relationship with Chris Paul may cause him to seriously consider his options.
  • Sefko also noted the Mavericks' chase of Jordan should lead to the departure of Tyson Chandler. With Chandler turning 33 in October and showing signs of defensive slippage, this is nothing like Dallas allowing him to walk after its title run.
  • Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported there is a "fear" among Spurs executives that their free-agency push will not allow them to re-sign Danny Green. Green is expected to be pursued by a number of teams looking to upgrade on the wing and will probably command eight figures annually.
  • Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reports Tobias Harris could see offers starting in the $10-14 million range. I know the cap is going up, but that's quite a bit for Harris. He's a bit of an empty stats guy who took advantage of an advantageous situation in Orlando. I'd be surprised if the Magic match if it goes beyond $11-12 million.

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