NBA Rumors: Latest Free-Agent Buzz on Carmelo Anthony, DeMar DeRozan and More

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 3, 2021

NBA Rumors: Latest Free-Agent Buzz on Carmelo Anthony, DeMar DeRozan and More

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Sometimes, the NBA free agent market opens with a bang.

    Monday's opening of 2021 free agency was more like someone accidentally sparked the entire box of fireworks at once.

    While Kawhi Leonard and John Collins haven't signed yet, just about every other notable free agent put pen to paper on a massive new deal. Even non-free agents got in on the spending spree with Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jimmy Butler inking max extensions with their respective clubs.

    And yet, free agency hasn't been picked clean, nor has it silenced the perpetual buzz of the rumor mill. Let's recap the latest rumblings, shall we?

Carmelo Anthony Weighing Interest from Knicks, Lakers

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    AJ MAST/Associated Press

    Carmelo Anthony's days as a true difference-maker might be behind him, but his scoring punch and three-point touch are still helpful to have around. The three-ball in particular is really becoming a potent weapon, as this past season he set career marks in threes per 36 minutes (2.8) and three-point percentage (40.9).

    Two prominent teams apparently took notice.

    According to longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein, Anthony is mulling interest from the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks. L.A. offers the opportunity for Anthony to go championship chasing with his close friend and 2003 draft classmate, LeBron James. New York is where Anthony spent much of his prime, engineering a trade there in Feb. 2011 and staying until Sep. 2017.

    The appeal of the two marquee franchises should speak for itself. Given L.A.'s hopes of contention and New York's recent run to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, Anthony's decision will be felt for reasons beyond sentimentality.

Clippers, Spurs Still in Hunt for DeMar DeRozan

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Who says perimeter players need three-point shots to hang in the modern hoops environment?

    OK, almost all of them do, but DeMar DeRozan is such a lethal inside-the-arc scorer and improved playmaker that he has found a way to thrive despite seldom straying out to the perimeter. After averaging 20-plus points for the eighth consecutive season—plus dishing a career-high 6.9 assists—he is unsurprisingly generating significant interest in free agency.

    The San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers both have interest, per ESPN's Jordan Schultz. The Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls were mentioned as possibilities, too.

    This probably dashes the dreams of anyone hoping to add DeRozan for cheap, but given his run of consistently strong production, he has proved worthy of a substantial investment.

Timberwolves Eyeing Lauri Markkanen

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Lauri Markkanen remains one of the most intriguing risk-reward options in free agency.

    When he plays, he's really hard for opponents to handle. He's a 7-footer with a fiery three-ball and enough skill in the low post to punish smaller players on switches. But he just hasn't played enough, suiting up a total of 153 times for the Chicago Bulls over the past three seasons.

    Some team might want to get a closer look at the restricted free agent to see if they can have better luck on the health front and buy-low on potentially elite production. The Minnesota Timberwolves might be that club as they have "been in contact" on a Markkanen deal, per Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.

    There wouldn't be much defense in a frontcourt pairing of Markkanen and Karl-Anthony Towns, but the offensive upside would be enormous. With those two on the same roster as Anthony Edwards and D'Angelo Russell, maybe the Wolves would have the firepower to win nightly races to 120-plus points.