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NBA AM: Rumors From NBA Summer League
Posted By Steve Kyler On July 18, 2013 @ 10:11 am In NBA Summer League | No Comments
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Lots of Scuttle From Summer League: As the 2013 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas rolls on, there is no shortage of newsy nuggets floating around the Cox Pavilion and Thomas and Mack Center.
Here are some notable nuggets:
Bucks Turning Back To Jennings: The Milwaukee Bucks’ failed pursuit of Atlanta Hawks free agent Jeff Teague was in part about Teague as a player, but was also about cost. The Bucks’ offer to Teague was roughly $8 million per season or about $4 million less per year than incumbent guard Brandon Jennings is seeking. The Bucks felt Teague fit a little better and was surely a little cheaper, but sources close to the situation said that keeping Jennings was never off the table and with Atlanta matching Teague’s offer sheet, the Bucks will return their focus to trying to reach a deal with Jennings.
The Bucks issued Jennings a $4.53 million Qualifying Offer in order to make him a restricted free agent, so they have the right to match any offer he receives on the open market. Jennings could opt to take the one-year offer and become an unrestricted free agent next year, something his camp has hinted is a possibility if the right offer does not come his way.
The Bucks have been aggressive in trying to change the culture of their team, which is why they looked at changes at point guard and why they have made some of the free agent moves they have made this summer.
The acquisition of O.J. Mayo and Carlos Delfino were part of that character movement, as was the addition of Zaza Pachulia.
Most around the NBA scratched their heads at the three-year, $15 million deal the Bucks gave Pachulia, but sources close to the situation say Pachulia had received numerous two-year offers at $5 million per season and that it took the third year to get him to Milwaukee.
The Bucks view Pachulia as not only an effective enforcer, but also as a leader and role model for the Bucks’ emerging big men Larry Sanders, Ekpe Udoh and John Henson.
The Bucks believe they can reach a deal with Jennings, although it’s extremely clear that it will need to be on their terms and that may take some time to reach.
The Bucks still have roughly $19 million in usable cap space, but are expected to begin extension talks with Sanders and still have Jennings to deal with.
Magic Roster Is In Flux: The Orlando Magic added veteran guard Ronnie Price to the roster on Tuesday, a move that was about bolstering the Magic’s backcourt and adding veteran leadership to the roster.
The Magic have not been overly aggressive in free agency, but they have been working the phones trying to find deals.
Magic forward Al Harrington told HOOPSWORLD last week that his agent has been talking with the Magic about various scenarios to get him out of Orlando, and joked with fans at Summer League that he would soon be a free agent. Harrington has been working out almost daily at Impact Basketball and said he’s been playing without his knee brace for almost two months and that he’s lost about 15 pounds now that he’s able to really work again.
Harrington has two years left on his contract with only portions of each year fully guaranteed. Sources close to the situation say the Magic are trying to reach a deal with Harrington that would get his 2014-15 cap hit substantially lower than the $3.8 million he’s guaranteed.
Harrington is owed $7.148 million for the 2013-14 season, of which only $3.574 million is guaranteed. Harrington is owed 7.609 million next season, of which only $3.804 is guaranteed. If the Magic simply cut Harrington now, both guaranteed years hit their cap. If they reach a buyout agreement, they could agree to pay slightly more this season in exchange for reducing the amount owed in 2014-15.
The Magic have also been talking buyout with forward Hedo Turkoglu, who has only $6 million of the final $12 million left on his deal fully guaranteed. The Magic are said to be considering keeping Turkoglu on for the season, mainly because he could become an interesting trade chip at the February trade deadline, especially for teams looking to shed guaranteed contract dollars.
The Magic are weighing their options on several fronts including deals involving their $17.816 million Traded Player Exception from last year’s Dwight Howard deal. The Howard TPE expires on August 10.
It is highly unlikely the Magic take on any real salary this season, but they are looking at things that would allow them to exchange their soon to be expiring exception for a new one even if it’s a lower value.
The Magic have told second round pick Romero Osby that he does have a real shot at making the roster; however it seems clear that the Magic will need to clear out some room for him. Osby was selected, in part, because he was willing to consider a season in Europe. If the Magic cannot clear room for him, he will likely spend next season abroad and allow Orlando to retain his draft rights and fit him in next year.
The Magic are working on several fronts so it is clear they are trying to reshape some things.
Pelicans Want Oden: The New Orleans Pelicans’ pursuit of free agent Greg Oden is not an empty gesture. In fact, sources close to the situation say the Pelicans could be offering a two-year deal worth more than $3 million annually to ensure they are the team that lands the former number one overall pick.
Oden has been working toward a return to the NBA for more than 16 months, and players that have played pickup with him recently say he is in great shape and is really moving well despite numerous knee surgeries that have derailed his once promising NBA career.
Oden has long been pegged to join the Miami HEAT; however multi-year, higher dollar offers have Oden and his camp considering alternate situations.
Sources close to Oden say they have been looking for a “safe” place for Oden to resume his career and that they are looking for an organization that is willing to be patient with Oden and have the right kinds of expectations for him.
The HEAT were appealing mainly because the expectation level for Oden would be low, they have a great training and development staff and they have a heavily insulated organization that would keep the media attention low, because of the attention their core stars command.
The HEAT are still very much in the discussion with Oden, however other teams have met with and presented ideas to Oden and his agents, with New Orleans being aggressive in their pursuit.
Oden is expected to meet with the Mavericks, Pelicans, Kings, HEAT and Spurs in the coming weeks and hopes to reach a decision soon.
We Want To Know: A number of NBA teams have improved their rosters this summer, and while the L.A. Clippers, Houston Rockets and the Brooklyn Nets may have made the splashiest moves we wanted to know:
The Knicks Are All In Until 2015: While the race to have cap space in 2014 has already begun in earnest for the L.A. Lakers, the New York Knicks are quietly setting the table for 2015.
The Knicks currently have just $18.223 million in salary on their books for 2015-2016, which includes Player Options on J.R. Smith ($6.399 million) and Raymond Felton ($3.695 million), Qualifying Offers for Iman Shumpert ($3.695 million) and rookie CJ Leslie ($1.147 million) and a non-guaranteed year on Pablo Prigioni.
All of the Knicks’ major contracts expire in 2015-16 leaving the Knicks with what could be the most available cap space in the NBA.
Sources close to the situation say the Knicks will continue to be aggressive in adding players, but are mindful of their cap position in 2015 and are unwilling to do anything that would impede their ability to be big-time players in the summer of 2015.
The common belief in media circles is that Miami star LeBron James would consider free agency in 2014, when he can opt-out of his deal with Miami. However sources close to the situation have been adamant for weeks that James is highly unlikely to exercise his opt-out next summer, unless it’s to re-sign in Miami on a new long-term deal.
James’ contract has a $20.59 million Early Termination option in 2014-15 and a Player Option worth $22.112 million in 2015-16. It’s that final Player Option year that most believe LeBron will opt-out of, unless things go toxically bad in Miami this year.
Informed sources pegged the status of Dwyane Wade as the key factor in what LeBron decides to do.
With two championships under his belt over the last three seasons, it seems that unless the HEAT absolutely crater or if Wade succumbs to his injury, James is staying in his contract, which may be why New York is stock piling their cash for 2015.
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