NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Tristan Thompson, Kevin Durant and More

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2015

Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) reacts after dunking the ball against the Atlanta Hawks in the second half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference Finals, Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The NBA offseason is rapidly coming to a close, but the rumor mill is still churning at a solid clip with a fresh slate of games ready to tip off at the end of October. 

Whether it's news regarding restricted free agents still looking to cash in or speculation surrounding the prospects of 2016's most notable free-agent prize, here's a rundown of the latest rumblings from across the Association. 

Thompson, Cavs Still Haggling

Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Tristan Thompson's contract situation remains unresolved, and it doesn't appear as though the Cleveland Cavaliers are close to agreeing to terms with the big man. 

According to Northeast Ohio Media Group's Chris Haynes, Thompson and his agent, Rich Paul, have been seeking either a three-year, $53 million deal or a five-year, $94 million pact. Both would represent max contracts.

Unfortunately for Thompson, the Cavaliers don't appear intent on meeting those lofty demands. 

"The Cavaliers view both of the offers the same: They aren't interested," Haynes wrote. "However, they are willing to up their five-year, $80 million offer, sources informed Northeast Ohio Media Group, but to what extent is unknown at this time."

Tristan Thompson's Regular Season vs. Postseason
Regular Season26.
Source: Basketball-Reference.com

The conundrum for Thompson is the same as it was back in July. 

If the rebounding and second-chance scoring maven wants long-term contractual security, it appears as though he'll have to take less than a max deal. And with a cap increase coming in 2016, that deal could be below market value in a year or two. 

However, if Thompson doesn't go that route, he'll have to settle for the one-year, $6.8 million qualifying offer. In that case, the pressure will be on to replicate his postseason performance and prove his worth in a frontcourt that's returning a healthy Kevin Love, a healthy Anderson Varejao and 2015 trade deadline acquisition Timofey Mozgov. 

Durant Eyeing Hollywood in 2016?

Could that be a sight NBA fans are soon used to? 

According to LarryBrownSports.com's Steve DelVecchio, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith appeared on First Take on Tuesday morning to chime in with some fresh gossip on a potential landing spot for Kevin Durant next summer. 

"Regardless of how senseless it may (sound), in one breath I’m hearing that if Kevin Durant doesn’t stay in Oklahoma City, L.A. is his primary objective and landing spot as opposed to South Beach or even his home of Washington, D.C.," Smith said. 

At this stage in the process, it's important to exercise patience. So much can and will happen between now and next July when Durant becomes a free agent, so pegging front-runners is admittedly a risky practice. 

However, it would be a mistake to discount the Lakers' chances of securing Durant's services. Regardless of where they sit in Durant's supposed pecking order, the Lakers are the Lakers, and they always get meetings with the game's biggest stars. 

Carmelo Anthony heard their pitch two summers ago. According to USA Today's Sam Amick, LaMarcus Aldridge sat down with Purple and Gold brass twice this offseason, and according to ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne (via colleague Chris Broussard), general manager Mitch Kupchak got to speak face-to-face with LeBron James' agent before the superstar returned to the Cavaliers. 

Beal Hasn't Been Offered an Extension?

Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal is one of several high-profile candidates eligible for a fourth-year contract extension. 

And according to the Washington Post's Jorge Castillo, the Wizards made Beal a four-year offer this summer that didn't meet his maximum contract desires. 

However, Beal refuted that notion at the start of training camp, per Castillo: 

Jorge Castillo @jorgecastillo

Beal said the Wizards haven’t offered him a contract extension, which is not what I was told.

If Beal and the Wizards don't agree to terms on an extension prior to the league-mandated deadline on Oct. 31, he'll become a restricted free agent next summer and complicate Washington's salary-cap situation tremendously if he eventually signs a max deal. 

"Beal, who will make $7.5 million this season regardless, would be in the books for $20.9 million next July instead of the $14 million cap hold he would have if he doesn’t sign an extension and becomes a restricted free agent, consequently giving the Wizards less room to work with in free agency," Castillo wrote. 

For the marksman, it's in his best interest to hold out and wait to sign a heftier deal. Although his scoring average dropped nearly two points to 15.3 per game last season, Beal shot a career-high 42.7 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from distance. 

In fact, Beal was one of six players to average at least 15 points and shoot better than 40 percent from three last season (minimum three attempts per game). The other five were Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, J.J. Redick and Kevin Durant. 

Credit: NBA.com/Stats

That's some elite company. Beal should get used to residing in it too because he's been vocal about his desire to take more efficient shots this season. 

"I have to do as much as I can as best as I can to eliminate those long twos and get to the basket, get to the free-throw line," Beal said, per Bleacher Report's Josh Martin. "Those are just easy points."

Last season, Beal attempted 27.7 percent of his shots between the free-throw line and three-point line. He converted just 33.1 percent of those attempts. 

So if the former Florida Gator can redistribute a big chunk of those shots to spots beyond the arc and below the free-throw line, he may leave the Wizards no choice when it comes to offering a max deal. 

All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com unless noted otherwise. 


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