Chicago Bulls: 4 Free Agents To Consider Signing

Chicago Bulls: 4 Free Agents To Consider Signing
By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff…
The Bulls have just 12 players signed for next season, one being their 2nd round pick Cameron Bairstow who isn’t going to be playing much and could be in the D-League, so they can sign 3-4 more players and if he is in the D-League they have to sign 2 to get to the minimum 13 players. So they still have some work in filling the roster. There is still some strong talents that are free agents and there are some players that could help them, so here are 4 free agents they should consider signing.. However they would have to be minimum signings.
1. Emeka Okafor- C
- If Okafor was on this team, he would at best be their 4th big man, maybe 5th, but the Bulls still lack a 2nd center and he is the best free agent who isn’t Eric Bledsoe or Greg Monroe. It is doubtful that he would take a minimum to play a small role, but there is no harm in trying to sign a player that fits the team perfectly and …

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NBA Free Agents 2014: Latest Rumors and Predictions for Unsigned Talent

Eventually, the NBA season will start and the Cleveland Cavaliers will stop adding players. For now, though, it seems like Ray Allen could be following in Shawn Marion’s footsteps on the way to northeast Ohio. 

Cleveland’s pursuit of Allen isn’t the only rumor around the Association.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the latest whispers and offer some predictions for the landing spots.

 

Ray Allen

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports filled fans in on the latest regarding Allen and Cleveland:

If you are a believer in the saying “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” then you certainly think Allen will be lacing it up for the Cavs this season. He’s been connected to LeBron James and company all offseason, so there’s clearly something here.

Allen makes some sense in Cleveland as well. He’s an absolute lock for the Hall of Fame and has made more three-pointers than anyone else in the history of the game. There is chemistry in place with James after their time in Miami together, and James’ presence alone will draw defenders into the lane and open Allen up for plenty of looks from behind the arc.

Still, the thought here is that Cleveland would be better off adding size or even a backup point guard if it is going to make any more moves.

Anderson Varejao and Kyrie Irving both missed significant time last year with injuries, and this team isn’t exactly stacked with interior defense. As for shooters, the Cavaliers already have Mike Miller, Dion Waiters and James Jones in place, so Allen would simply be adding to an area they have covered.

However, it’s impossible to ignore the signals we have seen all offseason between Allen and Cleveland. There really is a fire behind that smoke.

Prediction: Allen joins James in Cleveland.

 

Leandro Barbosa

Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders provided an update on Leandro Barbosa:

Barbosa only appeared in 20 games for the Phoenix Suns last year and averaged 7.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, but he will look to prove himself once again to teams like the Miami Heat in the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Barbosa will play for Brazil during the event, which is an ideal high-stakes scenario to demonstrate his skills. He commented on the World Cup, via Shams Charania of RealGM:

I don’t know what owners think about the World Cup, but hopefully I do a great job over there and a team sees. I feel healthy and my body is feeling healthy. If I have free agency in my mind, I won’t be able to be myself on the court. Hopefully, I sign a contract and I’ll be happy.

The Heat are still a legitimate threat to advance deep in the Eastern Conference playoffs even after losing James, especially with the Indiana Pacers reeling. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Luol Deng represent a solid core, and adding Barbosa to that group would only bolster those chances.

He can hit the three when defenders collapse on Wade and Bosh (39 percent on his career), get out in transition and attack the rim and provide solid minutes and defense as part of the rotation. Barbosa is also a playoff-tested veteran who has played in the postseason six different times throughout his career.

Miami will recognize all this and add Barbosa.

Prediction: Barbosa signs with the Heat as they make a push for a top-three seed in the playoffs.

 

Toney Douglas 

David Pick of Eurobasket.com provided an update on Toney Douglas:

The case can be made that this is a surprising move, considering Douglas has been in the league since 2009 when he was a first-round pick. Perhaps Douglas will play well in China and impress enough NBA teams to earn a contract before the end of the season.

Douglas actually started 17 games for the Heat last year but saw minimal playing time in the playoffs and down the stretch. In fact, he only played in 29 minutes in the postseason. However, we are talking about a solid defender who can play solid minutes off the bench for a team that isn’t necessarily loaded like Miami was last year.

Douglas averaged more than 20 minutes a night during the first four years of his career with the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings and could have an eye on a bench role down the stretch.

Still, the rumor here from Pick suggests that this is a done deal. Look for him to lace it up in China to start the season. 

Prediction: Douglas plays in China and signs on somewhere in the second half of the NBA season after impressing overseas.

 

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NBA Free Agents 2014: Ideal Situations for Top Remaining Veterans

NBA roster building knows no offseason. The quality of veteran free agents still out on the open market in mid-August of 2014 shows that most franchises can still make moves to improve their squads late in the summer, even after all the big free-agent movers and shakers have made their hotly anticipated decisions.

Picking up a key role player on a cheap, veteran contract can be hugely beneficial for teams looking to make strides toward the playoffs without entrusting the duties to an untested youngster.

Just like every team has its unique needs, the top veteran free agents have to be mindful of finding teams that can allow them to flourish and best utilize their skills.

For the purposes of this article, we will focus solely on unrestricted free agents. Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe are the top talents remaining, but their status as restricted free agents makes their ideal situations a bit harder to project and quite a bit more fanciful since their teams can likely match any significant offers that have yet to materialize.

Here are three veteran players and the teams that can best make use of their unique skill sets.

 

Ray Allen

Ray Allen can fill a backup shooting specialist role for a number of NBA teams. Floor spacing is key to running an effective offense, and Allen’s reputation and statistics mean teams often give him plenty of respect.

However, his numbers took a dip last season, as age is clearly catching up to the 18-year NBA veteran. Allen shot 37.5 percent from beyond the arc last season, his lowest rate since the 2009-10 season. His 9.6 points per game in 2013-14 was the lowest mark of his career, and his 44.2 percent shooting from the field was his worst clip since the 2006-07 season.

He needs a team that can provide him with plenty of alternate scoring options while on the floor. In this case, his rumored move to the Cleveland Cavaliers is indeed the ideal situation for this legendary sharpshooter.

According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, the Cavs are optimistic about signing Allen this offseason:

Of course, Allen has stated this offseason that he could be quite content with the way his career has panned out thus far, diminishing his chances of returning at all.

“I’m not in any rush [to make a decision],” Allen said in early August, via Dom Amore of The Hartford Courant. “I’ve played 18 years, and the way I look at my career, I’m content with everything that I’ve done. I just want to take this summer and see how it goes.”

Allen has two NBA championships to his name, so he will likely only come back to a team that offers him a clear shot at another legacy-bolstering title. With LeBron James angling to bring a title back to his home state, Allen would be wise to latch on with this loaded team in a diluted Eastern Conference that lacks serious title challengers.

 

Michael Beasley

Michael Beasley’s once promising career has been on a swift, steady downward trajectory over the past few seasons. After posting a career-high 19.2 points per game in the 2010-11 season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Kansas State product has seen his scoring average and minutes decline with each passing season.

Beasley’s best fit is a team that can promise him the opportunity to play a bigger role on offense.

The Indiana Pacers need depth at forward in the wake of Paul George‘s devastating leg fracture, which makes this Midwestern team the best fit for Beasley. The Pacers will be desperate to find ways to replace George’s scoring and athleticism on the perimeter. 

Beasley could still be a solid scorer if given the opportunity. He hardly played on a loaded Miami Heat team last season, but he averaged 18.9 points per 36 minutes. However, his mid-range shooting does need work. Beasley shot just 37.5 percent on two-pointers beyond 16 feet last season.

The Los Angeles Lakers are also a strong possibility, but they have a wealth of forwards on their team and his presence would likely siphon valuable minutes from promising players like Xavier Henry and Wesley Johnson.

The imbalance on the Lakers makes the Pacers a much better fit for Beasley, who should be eager to prove that he can still be a potent scorer on a top team.

 

 

Andray Blatche

Andray Blatche may have more talent than any player still looking for an NBA contract. The 6’11″ forward/center is just 27 years old and coming off a season where he averaged 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per contest.

Blatche‘s character concerns have kept teams from jumping at the chance to sign him. His obvious skills and size would make him a strong fit on many teams, but he could truly flourish on the Houston Rockets if given the chance.

The Rockets need a backup center behind Dwight Howard after dealing Omer Asik this summer. They have little in the way of proven talent behind their All-Star big man. Clint Capela, Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas are unlikely to become major contributors next season.

This gives the veteran Blatche the perfect opportunity to assert himself as a viable talent on a top contender.

It should be noted that it is easy to imagine Blatche fitting in elsewhere. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel gave his take on how Blatche might fit in on another team, the Miami Heat:

Look, the back-story issues with Blatche have been well-chronicled, or else the Wizards wouldn’t have let him walk in the first place and the Nets wouldn’t have been as lukewarm on a return. Just about every time I’ve seen him play, I’ve seen a player who can make an NBA contribution. But there also is the issue of the Heat only having the minimum left to pay. Plus if Chris Bosh, Josh McRoberts and Chris Andersen are going to comprise the primary power rotation, there is the issue of minutes. Still, Blatche would make this current Heat roster better, no doubt.

At this point, Blatche may be waiting for a phone call well into the upcoming NBA season. Should he remain available that long, the Rockets might realize that their lack of depth at forward/center can be quickly alleviated by signing Blatche.

 

Statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Free Agents the Lakers Would Do Well to Target to Improve Their Odds in the 2014-15 NBA Season

The Lakers dreamt big this offseason. Like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony teaming up with a returning Kobe Bryant to form a Dream Team in Tinseltown kind of big. But as the free agent frenzy came and went, none of those dreams came to fruition, and the Lakers were left with the likes of Ed Davis, Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer.
As a result of their failure to land the big fish in free agency, the Lakers will not be titles contenders again this season. In fact, the L.A. Lakers haven’t been labelled with NBA Championship odds this low in recent memory.
The Lakers figure to be bad again this upcoming season, but they’ve still got a chance to be less bad if they can fill some of their glaring holes with a couple of smart free agent signings.
One such signing could be Shawn Marion. “The Matrix” averaged 10.4 PPG and 6.5 RPG for the Dallas Mavericks last season and was a solid contributor in their return to the playoffs. The 36-year old veteran is still a sought-after commodity because of his solid wing de

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20 best NBA free agents still available

20 Best Available NBA Free Agents By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff… 1. LeBron James – There are multiple teams trying to convince LeBron to part with the Heat, but the Heat still give him the best chance at winning and can and will pay him the most money. 2. Carmelo Anthony – During the season it looked like Melo was staying, but then it looked like he was leaving and now? Again it looks like the Knicks are the favorites to sign him and the fact that he is even recruiting Pau Gasol to New York, is a very positive sign for the Knicks are their fans. The Lakers, Dallas, Houston, New York and Chicago all have a chance to sign him, but once again, it looks like the Knicks are the favorites. They can give him the most money, he is a native and apparently his wife La La would like to stay in New York. You can never discount the family, money and hometown factors. 3. Dwyane Wade – Wade was drafted by the Heat and will retire with the Heat, there was never any real chance of h…

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NBA Free Agents 2014: Underrated Players Who Will Make Immediate Impact

In case you have been on a worldwide cruise that didn’t have cable or internet service for the past two months, the entire NBA landscape is at stake during the 2014 offseason.

Some of the best players in the league, including LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Lance Stephenson, Pau Gasol and maybe even Kevin Love (via trade), are available at the right price. However, for every franchise-changing talent, there are two or three underrated players who will immediately improve the fortunes of whichever team lands them.

With that in mind, here is a look at three players in particular who have flown under the radar in the early free agency process that should be receiving more attention.

 

Isaiah Thomas

Based on media coverage alone, you would be forgiven if you assumed that Kyle Lowry was the only point guard available via free agency this offseason.

Sure, Lowry is a great player, but there is another elite offensive weapon who can serve as the primary ball-handler for a team on the market. Isaiah Thomas could be on his way out of Sacramento, especially since Darren Collison is heading to the Kings.

Thomas posted nightly averages of 20.3 points, 6.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals during the 2013-14 campaign. He also shot 35 percent from behind the three-point line and 85 percent from the charity stripe and would likely be seen as an All-Star if he played somewhere more notable than Sacramento.

Perhaps the best part is the fact that he is only 25 years old.

If Thomas, who has plenty of premier basketball ahead of him, lands on a contender that already has a star or two in place, he can be a very dangerous secondary option. After all, we are talking about a guy who can carry the offensive load on his own if needed and score from anywhere on the floor, so look out if he is paired with some other playmakers.

Perhaps certain playmakers in Miami wouldn’t mind having a point guard of Thomas’ caliber?

 

Anthony Morrow

Marc Stein of ESPN noted that some seriously talented squads are looking Anthony Morrow’s way:

It is downright scary to think about someone with Morrow’s shooting ability in an offense with the likes of James, Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. Morrow was fourth in the entire NBA in three-point percentage at 45.1, and that number could skyrocket if he played with an elite penetrator who forces the opposing defense to collapse.

New Orleans may not have featured a player like that, but Morrow seemed to appreciate his time with the Pelicans, via John Reid of The Times Picayune:

I improved a lot as a player. Obviously, Coach Monty (Williams) put me in situations that helped me improve and the coaching staff.

Just all the guys I spoke to – Jarrett Jack and Chris Paul – before I signed here in the offseason said I would be fine coming in with my work mentality that they know I have. It’s really been a good year working and proving and I am just thankful to have had the opportunity. 

Morrow won’t draw many headlines with his decision, but if he chooses an ideal situation, he could change the fortunes of an NBA contender based on his outside shooting alone.

 

D.J. Augustin

All D.J. Augustin did during the 2013-14 campaign was save the Chicago Bulls’ season when Derrick Rose went down with yet another injury.

When Chicago brought Augustin in, he immediately provided an offensive spark that was simply missing before. He posted nightly averages of 13.1 points and 4.4 assists behind 40 percent shooting from downtown and an 88.5 percent clip from the free-throw line. There were few players in the entire NBA who were more reliable from the charity stripe down the stretch of tight games.

Augustin isn’t going to bring a championship to a team by himself, but he can be a real difference-maker for a contender, especially as an option off the bench.

Think of how Patty Mills impacted the game in the NBA Finals for the San Antonio Spurs in relief of Tony Parker. He drilled three-pointer after three-pointer, found the openings on the floor and helped with spacing, served as something of a pest defensively and found his open teammates when Miami finally did pay attention to him on the outside. 

Augustin can do all of that. The only question now is which team gets to find that out next year.

 

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NBA Free Agents 2014: Latest Rumors and Predictions for Big-Name Free Agents

Nearing the first weekend of the NBA free-agency period, rumors are still rampant around the league about where the biggest stars will land.

Whether it’s the final destination for Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James or maybe one of the experienced veterans like Pau Gasol, franchises want to get their hands on the superstars. Anthony finished his whirlwind tour around the league on Thursday, but speculation about his final home continues.

As for James, his future seems uncertain following a meeting with the other two members of the Big Three for the Miami Heat. Then there’s Gasol, who might potentially be tied to Anthony in the market if he lands with a specific franchise.

With several notable players still left to make their final decisions, here’s a look at the latest rumors for the biggest names on the market.

 

James ‘Unsure’ About Future

After four years with the Miami Heat and two championships, James is now a free agent once again.

Though it likely won’t come down to another live broadcast on ESPN that made him so endearing to fans, James has another “Decision” to make this summer. Chris Broussard of ESPN provides the latest on the Big Three’s discussions:

While Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were committed to returning to the Heat, LeBron James was unsure of what he would do, the sources said.

The only certainty coming out of the meeting concerning James was that he wanted a maximum-level salary.

James did not ask or suggest that Wade and Bosh opt out of their deals or take lesser salaries to allow the Heat to add other top players, according to the sources.

Translation: If the Heat are getting James back, he won’t come cheap.

That much we knew coming into free agency, but the indecision by James has to be upsetting for Miami fans. Following four seasons of massive jersey sales and aspirations for “Not one, not two, not three…” championships, they could be dealing with the loss of James like the Cleveland Cavaliers did years ago.

Just because he hasn’t made up his mind to this point doesn’t mean he won’t be back. While he might not be in any particular rush to make it official, the Heat are still the best fit for James for the future.

The 10-time All-Star has clearly found a home in Miami and will likely be hashing out a contract later this summer with the Heat.

Prediction: James re-signs with Heat.

 

Lakers Optimistic About Anthony

Multiple teams have courted Anthony and came away with hope that the superstar would eventually sign with them this offseason.

As for the Lakers, they gave their pitch and shared the same sentiments about thinking they can lure him in. Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com pass along the most recent rumors from league sources:

The Lakers also made it clear to Anthony they’d offer him a maximum four-year, $95 million contract if chose to sign with them, according to sources.

… A person who was in the Lakers’ pitch said they thought it went “really well” and added, “I don’t know how big of a shot we have, but I think we have a shot.” Another Lakers source described Anthony as “extremely attentive” throughout the meeting.

Following a season where the New York Knicks fell well short of expectations by missing out on the playoffs, Anthony would join a similar situation with the Lakers. While they still have the mystique of being the Lakers, it’s tough to sell Anthony on the notion that things will turn around drastically next season.

As for the other suitors, Anthony made his way to the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks before visiting L.A. Then there’s the Knicks, who still hold out hope that he will return despite the turmoil this past year.

After mulling over his options and figuring out exactly what he wants, the best option will likely be the Bulls. With a talented roster that already includes Joakim Noah and a potentially healthy Derrick Rose, Anthony would be a perfect fit and join a franchise ready to contend for championships.

Prediction: Anthony “takes his talents” to Chicago.

 

Gasol and Anthony Together in New York?

But wait just one second, apparently the Knicks still have a secret weapon during this free-agency frenzy.

While Phil Jackson has said in the past that he remains confident about Anthony returning to the Big Apple, a former player of his might be used to help lure him in. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports brings us the latest on the Knicks’ summer plans:

Gasol would be an interesting piece for the Knicks, especially after trading away Tyson Chandler to the Mavericks. Following the acquisition of three young players in the draft, including Cleanthony Early, the move to bring in a veteran with championship experience might just be a great piece to bring Melo back.

Unfortunately, the Knicks aren’t the only team going after Gasol, and they certainly aren’t the closest to winning him another ring. With teams like the Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder, per Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN, the 7’0″ center has many options to choose from.

At the end of the day, it will be the Thunder ultimately stealing him away from the Lakers and adding a veteran to their young core. With the likes of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook joining up with Gasol for the foreseeable future, OKC would immediately look like the favorite in the Western Conference.

Prediction: Gasol bolts for the Thunder.

 

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NBA Free Agents 2014: Over-the-Hill Veterans Who Will Be Overpaid

The Truth hurts.

At some point, an NBA player’s ability goes careening over the edge of a cliff, never to be seen again. Sometimes the peak (and subsequent nosedive) is difficult to see coming, but in most cases, the warning signs, like speed bumps under a car, are most definitely apparent.

Of course, this never stops a franchise from dishing out millions of dollars to veterans who have shown these signs. No, this is the NBA, where Gordon Haywards may wind up getting max deals and veterans assemble in superteams to go out in a blaze of glory.

Three vets flirting with the cliff are sure to see their price driven up by the market this offseason. Fans of the teams who acquire one of the following three names cannot say they weren’t warned.

 

Paul Pierce

The Truth is that Paul Pierce is looking over the precipice with a smile—some foolish franchise is going to pay him starter cash and stash him for the postseason.

At 37 years old, there has been a ton of interest in Pierce since the market opened, as noted by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:

This will undoubtedly raise his asking price on the open market, although his tumbling numbers suggest he has arrived at a point of no return:

For his part, Pierce says there is a bit left in the tank, as captured by Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:

But really, doling out cash to Pierce only to have him play limited minutes until the postseason, then tinker with a lineup that got the team to that point, does not make a load of sense. 

While a popular narrative is a reunion with Doc Rivers in Los Angeles, even Pierce has to understand there are younger, better options at the 3-spot on the market such as Trevor Ariza and Chandler Parsons. For now, he’s riding on name alone, and that may be enough to land himself a ridiculous contract.

 

Luol Deng

One of the better two-way players over the course of the last decade, Luol Deng continues to be a sound defender and can match up with an opposing team’s best wing player each night.

That has great value, even if Deng’s reputation has been marred by his brief stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season. Per ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Duke product has received plenty of interest on the market:

While great for contenders that Deng is on the market, it appears he has made it clear he is on the hunt for a payday:

Of course he is. At 29 years of age, the cliff is rather visible for Deng, even if his numbers in recent years do not showcase a significant decline:

But his minutes with the Chicago Bulls under Tom Thibodeau (an average of 33.4 per game in nine of his 10 years with the team) suggest a strong warning that the drop in production is closer than most would expect.

Given the fact Deng surely wants a lengthy contract, a contender is going to scoop him up and turn sour when it realizes his play does not remain consistent for the life of the deal—again, especially with other talented names on the market to choose from at this juncture.

 

Boris Diaw

A key cog in the San Antonio Spurs’ title run last season after being discarded and an afterthought by most of the league, 32-year-old Boris Diaw is set to cash in on his recent performances.

Perhaps no big man sees the court better than Diaw and can set his teammates up in a position to succeed. This means a bevy of contenders would love to bring him on board in the hopes he can repeat his performance with the Spurs, but not every team can be the Spurs.

So while averages of 9.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists, paired with being the spark off the bench in the NBA Finals, make Diaw an attractive add for most teams, how he plays outside of the Spurs’ system and perhaps with an uptick in minutes (he averaged just 25 per game this past season) makes him a wild card.

Alas, if San Antonio does not bring Diaw back, the market can and will drive his price up. One could presume he will return to play with fellow French national team comrade Tony Parker, but who knows how the dollar signs on the market will impact his decision?

Diaw has shown in prior stints with the likes of Charlotte and Phoenix that his performance directly coincides with the talent level of those around him. That’s a major aspect to watch as the market likely overreacts to his availability.

 

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2014 NBA Free Agents: Latest Rumors on LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and More

The NBA offseason is only 48 hours old, so the fact that there hasn’t been a lot of movement with the top-tier free agents isn’t alarming. But you can sense teams waiting out the market before making any major moves. 

Of course, the biggest domino that will fall is LeBron James. The four-time MVP is going to make the Miami Heat work to retain his services, which opens the door for a world of options if another team has a better opportunity to win a championship. 

There are so many intriguing story lines and players on the market this summer that Hollywood screenwriters couldn’t come up with a logical way to carve out so much drama. The rumors are flying out fast, so keeping it all straight is virtually impossible. 

We will do our best to parse through all of the notes, letting you know where the top available players are at right now. 

 

LeBron James Making Teams Work

In most free-agent scenarios, the player will take trips to visit teams who have spent weeks building a sales pitch. For LeBron, normal scenarios don’t apply. He’s the best player on the planet, a franchise-altering talent who can carry a team on his back. 

Given LeBron’s standing in the league, not to mention his opportunity to cash in with a long-overdue max contract, he’s taking advantage of teams this offseason. 

According to ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst, LeBron isn’t doing anything or going anywhere right now. 

However, just because the player is sitting on the sidelines doesn’t mean the agent has to be. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe reported that LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, has three meetings set up. 

This seems like a case of LeBron putting pressure on Pat Riley to figure out how to build a roster that can help the Heat compete for championships. Paul can take the sales pitch from Phoenix, Houston and Dallas, then present it to his client. 

If nothing else, it’s a brilliant strategy on LeBron’s part. Everyone with cap space will go all out to sign him. Depending on how long this contract ends up being, it could be the last big-money deal of his career, so he might as well milk it for all he can. 

 

Lakers Bring Out Big Guns For Carmelo Anthony

The Los Angeles Lakers are either in a great position or setting themselves up for a massive disappointment this summer, depending on your perspective.

They are locked into five contracts, if you include Julius Randle’s rookie deal, valued at approximately $38 million this season, leaving the team with roughly $25 million in salary cap space.  

With Kobe Bryant in the twilight of his career, the Lakers are still trying to win now despite coming off a 27-55 season. It’s no wonder they are being linked to every major free agent available, including Carmelo Anthony. 

It turns out that when a player like Anthony is in play, Bryant wants to help the Lakers put their best foot forward at the negotiating table. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, No. 8 ended a vacation to be present when the Lakers hosted the 30-year-old superstar. 

Bryant has a long history and friendship with Anthony and has been courting him for some time, but he felt it was important to be there when the Lakers made their pitch to him at an undisclosed location in Los Angeles.

Despite being one of the most storied franchises in NBA history, you wonder how appealing the Lakers are right now. Bryant is the only proven star on the roster, but even he has a lot of questions to answer coming off two major injuries. Steve Nash can’t stay healthy and will turn 41 next season. 

Anthony can get paid by the Lakers, not as much as he can from New York, but still a good amount. For someone his age and at this stage of his career, money doesn’t have to be the only factor in his decision. 

It’s certainly a feather in Los Angeles’ cap that Bryant made a point of being there. Anthony has to decide if that on its own is enough. 

 

Clippers’ Plan To Secure Paul Pierce

The Los Angeles Clippers have been on the upswing for years, culminating with a franchise-best 57 wins in 2013-14. Now the trick is to make it beyond the Western Conference semifinals. They’ve got the star power with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and quality depth, but they need more. 

Their answer could come in the form of Paul Pierce, though it will likely require some assistance from the Brooklyn Nets.

According to Ramona Shelburne and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com, the Clippers and Nets are discussing a sign-and-trade for Pierce. 

And while the Clippers could simply sign Pierce as a free agent using their midlevel exception at $5.3 million, they are interested in pursuing sign-and-trade scenarios that would allow Brooklyn to get something in return for the 10-time All-Star and because the Clippers already have so many small forwards.

Small forward is definitely a loaded position for Los Angeles, so you can understand the club’s desire to get rid of some unnecessary pieces and contracts to bring in Pierce. 

It’s not a surprise the Clippers would be after Pierce. Doc Rivers coached the 36-year-old for nine years in Boston. Pierce was rumored to be part of a deal last year that would have sent him, Rivers and Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles. 

While that trade never materialized, Pierce might very well find himself in Hollywood with a great chance to win another championship before calling it a career. 

 

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter. 

 

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Celtics Reportedly Called About Two Big Free Agents

credit: Getty Images
The Boston Celtics are coming off of a rough season in which they struggled through a rebuild. Rookie coach Brad Stevens was learning the ropes, and the team’s star, Rajon Rondo, was trying to find his way back from injury.
While they’re still a way away from contending again, it looks like Danny Ainge is already trying to make some big moves. As free agency started at midnight, Ainge reportedly made 30 calls, including calls to Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons.
Celtics contacted approximately 30 players last night, according to source. Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons are on the list.
— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) July 1, 2014
Hayward isn’t a surprise, as he and Stevens have ties from Butler. However, seeing Chandler Parsons on that list is certainly a shock, as his services will be in high demand from much better teams.
Neither will be cheap, and there’s a good chance that Ainge is simply doing his due diligence. He is known to call around a lot and explore every opportunity.

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