Blog Entry

Free Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

Posted on: July 10, 2009 8:03 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2009 11:25 pm

LAS VEGAS -- While the Utah Jazz were accelerating efforts to trade Carlos Boozer, his presumed replacement received a lucrative offer sheet from the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. Restricted free agent Paul Millsap received a front-loaded, four-year offer totaling as much as $36 million that will be difficult for Utah to match.

The offer may include a signing bonus, according to one person familiar with the situation. Signing bonuses are rarely incorporated into NBA contracts, except when a team is trying to use it as a way to make it difficult for a team to match its offer to a restricted free agent.

UPDATE: The bonus -- let's say, for the sake of argument, it's $10 million -- wouldn't affect the year-to-year salaries for cap purposes. It would be paid up front but spread out over the four years for bookkeeping purposes, and the 10.5 percent raises called for in the CBA would still apply. The challenge for Utah would be to come up with the bonus money by the date prescribed in the offer sheet. The Blazers, owned by billionaire Paul Allen, can write such a check. Many teams, including the Jazz, would have to borrow it. That's the dilemma. Portland's aggressive play for Millsap essentially forces the Jazz to either come up with the bonus money or trade Boozer by the end of the seven-day period during which Utah can match the offer.

As for Boozer, there were growing indications Friday that the Jazz were exploring every opportunity to move him after the power forward changed his mind and decided to pick up his player option at $12.7 million for next season rather than become an unrestricted free agent. But another person with knowledge of that situation said a reported trade to the Bulls involving Kirk Hinrich was unlikely to occur.

Other free agent news gathered here at the NBA's annual summer league and on the phone with team executives, agents, and people in the know:

* Orlando landed free agent Brandon Bass with a four-year deal reportedly worth $18 million. Bass gives the Magic, who lost Hedo Turkoglu to the Raptors, a physical front-line player who will complement Dwight Howard and allow Rashard Lewis to operate on the perimeter, where he's more comfortable.

* Memphis waived Jerry Stackhouse one day after acquiring him in the four-team trade that sent Shawn Marion to Dallas. Stackhouse becomes an unrestricted free agent, and the Grizzlies are off the hook for the $5 million non-guaranteed portion of Stackhouse's contract. Dallas paid for the $2 million buyout.

* Grant Hill turned down the Knicks and Celtics and re-signed with the Suns, getting a one-year, $3 million deal with a player option for a second year at $3.2 million. The most interesting news there was Hill's take on the situations involving Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. According to his agent, Lon Babby, Hill hasn't been given any assurances but believes both players are staying with Phoenix. Nash is discussing an extension, and Stoudemire -- who had eye surgery Friday -- has been discussed in a long-dormant trade scenario with Golden State.

* Rockets GM Daryl Morey, speaking to reporters at Summer League, said he's pursuing trade possibilities in his search for a center to fill in for injured star Yao Ming. Morey used the $5.9 million disabled player exception he received for Yao to sign Trevor Ariza.

* Although the Chris Mullin-to-New York speculation continues, a person with direct knowledge of the situation cautioned that Knicks president Donnie Walsh still hasn't decided whether to make another front-office hire. If he does, Walsh and coach Mike D'Antoni will have to agree on who it is. Mullin has remained silent since his contract with Golden State expired on June 30, but has previously stated that he's open to joining the Knicks in some capacity. Walsh is a big believer in Mullin, having worked with him in Indiana. But D'Antoni and Mullin don't know each other well.

* Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said in a Los Angeles radio interview Friday that the team and Lamar Odom would like to reach a conclusion soon about whether L.A. will be able to retain its most valuable reserve. "We would like to have some closure soon," Kupchak said. "I think they would, too." 

Category: NBA

Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: July 11, 2009 10:20 pm

Free Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

I really appreciate the information you give week after week keep up the good work.

Since: Nov 24, 2006
Posted on: July 11, 2009 5:51 pm

Free Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

Because the Cavs are over the cap and didn't have the money to make offers to Bass or Millsap.  The only reason they could re-sign Varejao is because they had his bird rights, meaning they could go over the cap to get him.  So it was either Andy, or no one.

Since: May 31, 2009
Posted on: July 11, 2009 5:23 pm

Free Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

Sheed and McDyess are both at the end of their careers. Bass shows amazing promise of being a 20+ point per game and 5-10 rebounder, and at 23 he can only get better. Would have rather the Magic ahd kept Turk and paid the penalty tax.

Since: Jun 18, 2009
Posted on: July 11, 2009 4:57 pm

Free Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

Boozer is going to the warriors in a sign and trade for cory maggette, speddy claxton (expiring contract), and braddon wright.

Since: May 25, 2008
Posted on: July 11, 2009 1:30 pm

Free Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

The Bulls need to find a way to get Boozer.  He will help in 09-10 and the move will also create some cap space for a potential big free agent signing next offseason.

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: July 11, 2009 12:57 pm

Free Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

LA cannot defend a small forward on the perimeter, nor can he handle the ball like a "3".  That's why the Blazers wanted Hedo so bad. LA is a "4" who can post up and has a good out side. (Think Dirk with a better post up game, and interior defense but lacking  the deep "3" and the hype.) 

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: July 11, 2009 12:48 pm

Free Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

Blazers sign Millsap? I think the Blazers overpaid for a player who should not start for them. I thought the Blazers already had a pretty good PF in LeMarcus Aldridge. The Blazers need either a good PG or a SF, not another PF

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: July 11, 2009 12:29 pm

Free Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

Will Houston or Detroit... go after Chandler? in NO?  They both need a legit center

Since: Jul 11, 2009
Posted on: July 11, 2009 11:49 am

Free Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

The Picker, that's a great site, I'll bookmark it so I can revert to it any time a question comes up.
Any ideas why OKC and Miami have been so quiet this offseason?

Since: Sep 12, 2008
Posted on: July 11, 2009 10:01 am

Free Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

I don't even bother visiting the 4 Letter WEB site any more.   What's the point?  I'm surprised they don't charge you to see their home page.

Regarding the Blazers signing of Millsap.  While all the talk has centered around his willingness to assume an off the bench role as a backup to LaMarcus Aldridge and/or Greg Oden, one possibility that hasn't gotten much traction is moving LA to small forward.  The '3' role is tailor made for his game, he's not a natural banger and loves that 10-15 foot jumper.  A starting frontline of LA, Millsap and GO along with Brandon Roy and whomever they are able to obtain to run the ship would be pretty formidable.

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