Tag:Free Agent Buzz
Posted on: July 3, 2009 7:23 pm
 

'Sheed receptive to Celts, but will shop

Rasheed Wallace was receptive to the Celtics' All-Star recruiting pitch, but will be listening to other teams before deciding his future, a person with knowledge of the discussions told CBSSports.com.

The pitch Thursday in Detroit, attended by Celtics players, coach Doc Rivers, president Danny Ainge, and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck, impressed Wallace and was termed "very good meeting." Contract parameters were discussed -- it is believed Wallace would get the mid-level for 2-3 years -- but Wallace wants to hear other offers. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Cavaliers have yet to contact Wallace, indicating their lack of interest. San Antonio has expressed interest, and the Orlando Sentinel reported Friday that the Magic have contacted Wallace's agent, Bill Strickland.

Posted on: July 3, 2009 3:01 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2009 7:13 pm
 

Hedo, Blazers agree to deal (UPDATE)

Hedo Turkoglu and the Portland Trail Blazers have reached an agreement in principle on a five-year contract, CBSSports.com has confirmed.

Though Turkoglu's agent, Lon Babby, cautioned that details were still being finalized Friday, a high-level coaching source with direct knowledge of the situation said those details were minor and that Turkoglu, a 30-year-old forward who is one of the most versatile players in the game, has given a commitment to sign with the Blazers.

UPDATE: Portland's main competition for Turkoglu, the Toronto Raptors, are indicating that they've decided to back away from a bidding war and focus on re-signing their own free agents, Shawn Marion and Carlos Delfino. Both Marion and Delfino are close to agreements with Toronto, a high-ranking source with knowledge of those discussions said. Delfino is closer than Marion, the person said, due to ongoing disagreement about his value. That would seem to leave open the possibility of a sign-and-trade for Marion, although another person familiar with the Marion talks said the Cavs, who are pursuing Parker, never asked about Marion.

Toronto was approached Thursday by Cleveland about a possible sign and trade for another one of its free agents, Anthony Parker. The Raptors would've had to renounce their rights to all three in order to top Portland's offer for Turkoglu, which CBSSports.com reported early Wednesday would be a five-year deal for about $50 million.

Exact figures won't be available until the league-wide moratorium on player movement is lifted on July 8, when contracts agreed to during the negotiating period can be signed.

UPDATE: Adding Turkoglu gives the Blazers a potent and versatile threat who can handle the ball, produce devastating results in pick-and-roll situations, and present matchup nightmares for the opponent. At 6-10, Turkoglu can easily shoot over smaller perimeter defenders and is smoother than most frontcourt players attempting to guard him. He is the ideal complement to Greg Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge, and his ability to initiate offensive sets will provide freedom to shooting guard Brandon Roy even if Portland isn't able to upgrade at point guard this summer. It was expected that the Blazers would have to renounce their rights to two overseas players, Joel Freeland and Petteri Koponen, in order to clear cap space for Turkoglu.

UPDATE: Another person familiar with the Blazers' plans said adding point guard Andre Miller, who was thought to have been their No. 1 target before the free-agent bell rang at 12:01 a.m. ET Wednesday, is still a possibility. Given that Turkoglu will use up nearly all of Portland's $9 million in cap space next season, it would appear that a sign-and-trade for Miller would be the most realistic option, although details on Miller's situation have been scarce. 

As for Turkoglu, a 30-year-old player who has never been an All-Star or led the league in any major statistical category, $50 million certainly seems to be the classic case of overpaying. But it's sensible on several fronts for the Blazers, who have extensions for Roy and Aldridge on the horizon and wouldn't have been in a position to improve the roster as much next summer as they are right now. Turkoglu also fits the Blazers' style and helps Roy, their most explosive player. Money well spent, if you ask me.

 

 

Posted on: July 3, 2009 1:58 am
Edited on: July 3, 2009 2:33 am
 

Turkoglu Update

While the Portland Trail Blazers hosted Hedo Turkoglu for an elaborate free-agent visit Thursday, the team that could spoil the party was still plotting.

As of early Friday, the Toronto Raptors had yet to decide whether to trump the Blazers with an offer for the 30-year-old forward. Portland is offering a five-year deal for approximately $50 million. Toronto, which is believed to be the preferred choice of Turkoglu's wife, could beat that by about $800,000 per year once it clears cap space through trades or by renouncing its rights to free agents Shawn Marion, Anthony Parker, and Carlos Delfino.

The Cavaliers, who lost out on Ron Artest and Trevor Ariza, called the Raptors Thursday to inquire about a sign-and-trade for Parker. Cleveland did not ask about Marion, a person familiar with the situation said. Since the inquiry came from Cleveland, the discussions did not seem to be a precursor to a play for Turkoglu.

One Western Conference executive said he would be "shocked" if Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo didn't make Turkoglu an offer. The person believed that Lon Babby, Turkoglu's agent, would wait until Colangelo was able to create the cap space necessary for the offer before agreeing with Portland. But a high-level coaching source familiar with the situation predicted that Turkoglu would wind up in Portland, saying Toronto's involvement was "just talk."

The Raptors were weighing whether they'd be better off losing Marion, Parker and Delfino and adding Turkoglu or retaining one or more of their free agents and pursuing a mid-level signing. Toronto has expressed strong interest in Nuggets free agent Linas Kleiza, a restricted free agent, as an alternative to Turkoglu.
 

 
Posted on: July 2, 2009 10:13 pm
 

Gordon revisited: Sign-and-trade for Iverson?

Ben Gordon to the Pistons is a done deal. The method by which he will get there is still under discussion.

CBSSports.com has learned that the Bulls and Pistons may yet revisit Detroit's agreement with Ben Gordon and instead investigate a sign-and-trade that would send Allen Iverson to Chicago.

Discussions have not yet reached the highest levels of both organizations, but the revised look at how Gordon goes from Chicago to Detroit would benefit Gordon and the Bulls. Gordon would get an extra year, and thus more money, by signing with the Bulls and getting traded. The Bulls, who currently are getting nothing for losing him, would get Iverson -- a fading future Hall of Famer who would get to finish his career in a major market as long as he's willing to accept a secondary role.

It's a farfetched scenario, and not everyone involved would be on board -- particularly the Pistons. The major sticking point would be how to sweeten the deal for Detroit, which would only consider such an option if it would provide significant cap savings. The Pistons took themselves out of the 2010 free-agent sweepstakes by agreeing to terms with Gordon and Charlie Villanueva on the first day of the free-agent negotiating period. Those agreements are not binding until July 8, when the league-mandated moratorium is lifted and the league and players association agree on the salary cap and luxury tax for the 2009-10 season.

A person familiar with the situation said the Pistons would flat-out refuse to entertain a sign-and-trade for Gordon unless it provided significant savings. The Bulls, too, may not be eager to do business with Gordon, whose agent did not give the team a chance to match Detroit's offer.

The Bulls also would want to know that Iverson, 34, would be totally committed despite not making the $20 million he's accustomed to and without playing the primary role he enjoyed for his entire career until he was traded to the Pistons for Chauncey Billups last season. Iverson did not adapt well to diminished minutes with the Pistons, and late in the season vowed to retire before he would come off another team's bench.

But Iverson apparently is invigorated by the prospect of getting past the Detroit experience. He wrote on his Twitter account Thursday, "For those of you who thought that I was done, think again! ... My only preference will be to play for a coach that knows what I bring to the table and that I am going to bring it every night."

It has been widely speculated that Iverson would land in Charlotte with his former coach, Larry Brown, with whom he had a rocky relationship in Philadelphia. But the two men respect each other, and Brown recently gushed about his time coaching Iverson. Beyond teams with cap space (Memphis, Oklahoma City, Sacramento) who wouldn't be interested in signing a veteran like Iverson, the options for A.I. are limited to sign-and-trades and, more likely, a deal for the mid-level exception or less.

While the sign-and-trade scenario with Detroit is farfetched, Iverson is exploring all options to find one more landing spot in an often tumultuous but Hall of Fame career.

Posted on: July 2, 2009 6:56 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2009 2:17 am
 

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Shaq can have LeBron. Ron Artest says he'll take Kobe.

Artest, whose versatility and toughness have made him one of the most coveted and combustible players in the NBA, told CBSSports.com Thursday that he's signing with the Lakers.

"I'm definitely going to L.A. -- to sign, yeah," Artest said in a phone interview. "Lakers, Lakers, Lakers. I'm in L.A. right now."

Artest said he met with Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss Thursday and previously had spoken with Lakers coach Phil Jackson. He was en route to his financial manager's office, where he planned to huddle on the phone with his agent, David Bauman, to finalize details.

Artest's exuberance -- he spent the whole summer in L.A., including several appearances at Lakers home games during the NBA Finals -- got ahead of the process a bit. Other teams that made overtures for Artest -- including the Cavaliers -- have not yet been notified that Artest is signing with the Lakers. (Consider them notified.) Bauman has spoken with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, and a person with knowledge of the negotiations told CBSSports.com that Artest agreed to a five-year deal for the full mid-level exception -- about $33 million. It's the same deal that Houston agreed to with Trevor Ariza, who swaps cities with Artest.

"I don't really care about the money," Artest said. "I'll play there for nothing. ... L.A. was very interested in me, and they got me."

UPDATE: Lakers spokesman John Black declined to comment on Artest's assertion, but another person with knowledge of the situation corroborated Artest's account that he will sign with L.A. pending the passing of the weeklong moratorium on player movement, which expires July 8.

Only 24 hours earlier, the buzz was focused on Artest joining LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal in Cleveland in what would've made a potent Big Three on the shores of Lake Erie. It would've been, well, eerie, too: Artest's internal combustion engine, combined with LeBron's exquisite dominance and Shaq's alpha-male, all-around Shaq-ness would've been something to see.

But Artest said talks with Cleveland "never got that far." Told that Cleveland, by all accounts, had extreme interest, Artest said, "I don't know how extreme. I love the Cleveland Cavaliers, though. I love LeBron and Coach (Mike) Brown and Shaq."

But what he really loves is L.A.

"L.A. is what it is," Artest said. "I've been here for the whole summer, and it's pretty good. It's good for me. I know Lamar Odom, so that's pretty cool."

Artest spoke as though Odom would return to the Lakers to join Artest and Kobe Bryant for another title run. Although the Spurs and several other teams were interested in Odom, the Lakers have the inside track. L.A.'s other free agent, Trevor Ariza, agreed Thursday to sign with Houston for the same mid-level deal Artest got from the Lakers.

UPDATE:
The addition of Artest is a coup for the defending champion Lakers, who have faced the prospect of trying to retain their own free agents, Odom and Ariza, and have seen other contenders make major efforts to improve. Most notably, the Celtics dispatched their Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce, along with coach Doc Rivers and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck to Detroit on Thursday to offer free agent Rasheed Wallace a mid-level contract. Cleveland's acquisition of Shaq put the Lakers, Celtics, and Magic on notice that the Cavaliers were making a serious push for a title next season. The Cavs' pursuit of Wallace, Artest, and Ariza signaled that they weren't finished after the pre-draft trade for Shaq.

"I talked to Coach Phil, and I was happy to talk to him," Artest said. "Big fan of Coach Phil. My agent talked to Kupchak, and I met with Dr. Buss. I'm very, very excited."

 

Posted on: July 2, 2009 5:27 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2009 11:04 pm
 

Free Agent Buzz: Ariza commits to Rockets(UPDATE)

UPDATES THROUGHOUT with Ariza committing to Rockets

Rockets GM Daryl Morey is proving himself to be not only among the most innovative executives in the NBA, but one of the best traveled, too. Morey opened the free-agent negotiating period by meeting with Orlando restricted free agent Marcin Gortat, and on Thursday Morey traveled to Las Vegas, where he got a verbal commitment from Lakers free agent Trevor Ariza.

Ariza is said to have been less than pleased with the Lakers' efforts to re-sign him to a deal that does not exceed the mid-level exception of about $5.6 million annually. It's not clear what parameters the Rockets are working with, but Morey is not the type to overpay -- even in his semi-desperate state given the awful injury news this week about franchise center Yao Ming.

Ron Artest's decision Thursday to sign with the Lakers, first reported by CBSSports.com, had a two-way domino effect in Ariza's favor. Artest slides into Ariza's small forward spot with the Lakers, and Ariza takes Artest's starting spot in Houston.

Although several teams were interested in Ariza -- the Cavaliers, Raptors, and Blazers among them -- multiple team executives questioned whether Ariza would get much more than the mid-level from anyone.

UPDATE: Sure enough, Ariza received only the full mid-level exception -- five years starting at about $5.6 million -- according to a person familiar with the agreement. 

Though Ariza, 24, had a breakout season from a health and 3-point shooting standpoint and preserved two wins against Denver in the Western Conference finals with his defense, it's a buyer's market in free agency this year. One of the golden rules in any environment is not to overpay based on one year of production. That's especially the case this year, although it only takes one team to set the market.

Ariza was so effective with the Lakers because he had a role, he embraced it, and he produced. That role was serving as the third or fourth scoring option on an All-Star-laden championship team. Going to a less fortified roster at a $40 million price tag would push Ariza into the role of a primary scorer with bigger expectations, which might not suit him. But his ability to defend, shoot the three, and fit in on a contending team bodes well for giving the Rockets a legit replacement for Artest. 

Here's more free-agent buzz developed from conversations with executives, agents, and others in the know:

* The Celtics dispatched a star-studded entourage to meet with Rasheed Wallace in Detroit Thursday, and a source close to the discussions said it's too early to predict the outcome. Perhaps the Celts brought their Big Three along for the trip to dampen the news that all they can offer Wallace is the mid-level exception for two or three years. That's what the Boston Globe reported the Celtics offered Wallace after the 3 1-2 hour meeting. A person familiar with the discussions said Wallace will visit several other teams. Boston also is interested in Grant Hill, who has been invited to visit the Knicks next week.

* A person involved in the Hedo Turkoglu sweepstakes said there is no news yet on Toronto's role in the recruitment of the Turkish free agent. Turkoglu met with Trail Blazers officials in Portland Thursday, and he was expected to receive an offer in the five-year, $50 million range. Toronto's front office has been deliberating whether to pre-empt the Blazers with a more lucrative offer, but that would involve renouncing the rights to three players: Shawn Marion, Carlos Delfino, and Anthony Parker. If the Turkoglu situation drags on, it could be an indication that a more creative path out of Orlando -- as in, a sign-and-trade -- is being explored. One rival executive expressed curiosity as to why Turkoglu and the Magic wouldn't want to explore such an avenue. Turkoglu would get an extra year, and Orlando would get something back.

* A Western Conference executive said word is that the Knicks aren't willing to offer Jason Kidd more than a 1-year deal at the mid-level exception, despite Mike D'Antoni's glowing comments Wednesday that the future Hall of Famer has two or three years left at a high level. Dallas appears willing to offer Kidd at least a 2-year deal; if the Knicks upped the ante to two years, the Mavs would counter with three, it is believed.

* Gortat apparently is committed to signing an offer sheet with Dallas that will far outstrip what the Rockets are willing to offer in terms of length. The Mavs should've learned their lesson from the DeSagana Diop fiasco. Dallas signed Diop to the full mid-level exception (five years) last summer and wound up giving him away to Charlotte in January for Matt Carroll and Ryan Hollins. It's great to have a billionaire owner.

* Though the idea hasn't reached the highest levels of both organizations, there could be a more creative way to get Ben Gordon from Chicago to Detroit -- one that would send Allen Iverson to the Bulls in a sign-and-trade. Though the scenario is farfetched, it would benefit Gordon (who would get an extra year and more money) and the Bulls (who would get Iverson instead of nothing to replace Gordon). A person familiar with the discussions said the Pistons would flat-out refuse to entertain such a sign-and-trade unless they could recoup significant cap savings.




 
 

Posted on: July 2, 2009 11:49 am
Edited on: July 2, 2009 5:39 pm
 

'Sheed meeting with Celtics (UPDATE)

The Celtics' star-laden recruiting pitch for Rasheed Wallace is occurring Thursday afternoon in Detroit. CBSSports.com has learned that Celtics president Danny Ainge, apparently flanked by his Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce, will court the former Pistons forward in a matter of hours.

Boston is the first team Wallace will meet with as he weighs his free-agent options. The Celtics' contingent had expressed a desire to meet face-to-face with Wallace as soon as the free-agent negotiating period opened at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, but it was decided that the meeting would take place Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation said. Celtics managing partner Wyc Grousbeck also is believed to be on the trip.

Wallace's camp has heard from eight or nine teams with interest in signing him, but Wallace will narrow the list down based on the teams' chances of making a deep playoff run and how he will fit in. The Celtics, Cavaliers, Spurs, and Lakers certainly fit those criteria and have interest. Houston initially was a team that intrigued Wallace, but that interest has waned with the news that Yao Ming could miss the entire 2009-10 season with a broken foot. Although Denver officials are big fans of Wallace -- GM Mark Warkentien and Wallace were together in Portland -- the Nuggets are not among the teams that have expressed interest.

UPDATE: The Celtics offered Wallace a contract at the anticipated mid-level exception after the three-hour meeting, according to the Boston Globe. The Big Three, Ainge, Grousbeck, and coach Doc Rivers attended the meeting.



Posted on: July 2, 2009 1:26 am
 

Turkoglu not a one-team show

While Hedo Turkoglu is being wined and dined in two time zones by the Portland Trail Blazers, his other potential suitors aren't sitting around waiting for them to kiss each other good night.

The Toronto Raptors, for one, are deliberating what it would take to make Turkoglu an offer that would top the the five-year, $50 million proposal that Portland can offer, as reported early Wednesday by CBSSports.com. According to a person familiar with the situation, the Raptors are mulling whether they would be better off making a pre-emptive strike for Turkoglu -- which would entail renouncing the rights to Shawn Marion, Carlos Delfino, and Anthony Parker -- or trying to keep those players and sign a mid-level free agent. Toronto has yet to offer an extension to 2010 free agent Chris Bosh; that decision is tied to the others. And Turkoglu isn't the only free agent Toronto is considering. League sources indicated early Thursday that the Raptors also were contemplating an offer to restricted free agent David Lee. Any offer to Lee, by definition, would be in the $8-$10 million range so it would test the Knicks' threshold for matching. And Lee's list of potential suitors shrank by one Wednesday when Memphis traded Quentin Richardson to the Clippers for power forward Zach Randolph.

With so many moving parts -- and with Turkoglu having entertained Blazers coach Nate McMillan in Orlando Wednesday night with plans to visit Portland on Thursday -- it is clear that the recruitment of Turkoglu isn't a one-team show. Turkoglu's camp expected Portland to extend its formal offer during the course of Turkoglu's recruiting trip to the Pacific Northwest on Thursday.

If Portland landed Turkoglu, it would be the first big-ticket free-agent signing of GM Kevin Pritchard's reign. While some involved might view Toronto's preparation of a pre-emptive offer as brash or shameless, this is why the negotiating period was created. Free agents may negotiate and consider offers from July 1-7, but can't sign on the dotted line until the league and players association set the salary cap and luxury tax on July 8.


 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com