NBA AM: Trail Blazers Targeting JaVale McGee?
For the Portland Trail Blazers, the winds of change have become one of their most constant themes over the past few months. Once considered one of the young teams on the rise in the league, Portland’s front office decided to overhaul the roster and usher in a rebuilding period. Gone are the young building blocks of years past such as Brandon Roy and Greg Oden. Gone are veterans such as Gerald Wallace, Marcus Camby and Jamal Crawford, with free agent guard Raymond Felton presumably also to be added to the list at some point this summer.
The Blazers are undeniably in a state of rebuilding but the franchise, through its actions, has given all indications that the current project shouldn’t be considered a long-term one.
At the start of free agency Portland was one of the first teams to make a splash by agreeing to terms on a max level contract with restricted free agent center Roy Hibbert worth $58 million over four seasons. However, the Indiana Pacers can match any offer for Hibbert per terms of the collective bargaining agreement and have publicly maintained they will do so without hesitation even though most believe the max deal exceeds Hibbert’s true market value. This leaves the Blazers still in the market for a legitimate starting caliber center to put in the lineup next to All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
Veteran center Chris Kaman is widely considered the second best center in this summer’s free agency crop, but Joe Freeman of the Oregonian states the franchise has no intentions on pursuing aging stars with their available cap space. The team is actively seeking and wants youth, which leads to the next coveted big man out there, 24-year-old JaVale McGee, another restricted free agent.
According to Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post, representatives for McGee and the Denver Nuggets are in serious contract discussions on a new deal for the center expected to be in the neighborhood of $10 million per season.
With Indiana set to match Portland’s bid for Hibbert, Hochman notes the Blazers may become stronger players for McGee and ultimately offer him a deal to put the pressure on Denver to decide whether to match a higher-than-market-value contract to retain his services.
McGee was acquired by Denver at last season’s trade deadline in exchange for Nene. McGee was a key part of Denver’s postseason run in which they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games in the first round. McGee recorded at least 14 rebounds in three of those contests and finished his first playoff appearance with averages of 8.6 points and 9.6 rebounds.
A Little NBA Trade Talk
Philadelphia 76ers Acquire Dorell Wright: According to John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia 76ers have acquired forward Dorell Wright from the Golden State Warriors for the draft rights of 2006 second round pick Edlin Bavcic.
The move gives the Sixers even more depth on the wing, a position where there already figures to be a logjam for minutes next season. Philadelphia now has All-Star Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, rookie first round pick Maurice Harkless and Wright currently vying for playing time at small forward.
The acquiring of another wing in Wright will undoubtedly fuel the rumors that the Sixers may be warming to the ideal of parting ways with Iguodala if the right offer is received. Philadelphia team officials have routinely denied they are actively seeking trades for their star, but the veteran continues to receive plenty of interest around the league.
Minnesota and Toronto have long been rumored to be interested in acquiring Iguodala.
The T’Wolves currently have a $45 million offer on the table to restricted free agent small forward Nicolas Batum, but the Portland Trail Blazers are intent on matching the deal. The inability to potentially pry Batum away from Portland may push Minnesota back into trade talks for Iguodala over the next few weeks.
Atlanta Hawks Targeting Kyle Korver? The Chicago Bulls have finished with the league’s best regular season record the past two years, but the team isn’t resting on its laurels from a roster standpoint. The club declined to pick up options for guards Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson next season according to the Chicago Tribune. Brewer was owed $4.4 million, while Watson $3.2 million.
Next up on the decision front for the Bulls is the future of sharp shooter Kyle Korver with the team.
Korver has a $5 million option for next season which isn’t fully guaranteed. The team has until Sunday to make a decision and hasn’t ruled out a return. But according to the Chicago Sun Times, league sources say all signs point toward the Bulls pursuing trade opportunities for Korver. One team who reportedly has interest is the Atlanta Hawks.
The Hawks have been extremely active since the end of the season, hiring Danny Ferry as their president of basketball operations and general manager, trading six-time All-Star Joe Johnson and longtime starting small forward Marvin Williams in separate deals and agreeing to terms with valuable reserve guard Lou Williams in free agency.
If the Hawks manage to add Korver, the team would have put together a very solid assortment of shooters over the past week with Anthony Morrow acquired in the Johnson deal from Brooklyn and first round draft pick John Jenkins both prolific from long range.
Carmelo Anthony Endorses Knicks Offseason Moves: The New York Knicks have reached the playoffs the past two seasons but exited both appearances in the first round in disappointing showings. The team will enter the 2013 season with even higher expectations as the duo of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire have had more time to mesh on the court.
The team’s front office has been doing everything in its power to alleviate some of the workload burden placed on Anthony and Stoudemire by being active on the free agency and trade front this summer. The Knicks agreed to terms with Jason Kidd, Steve Novak and J.R. Smith, while also acquiring center Marcus Camby in a trade with Houston. The moves have left Anthony feeling positive about the team’s direction.
“I feel good about the strides we made in the offseason,’’ Anthony told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “We really made a splash in the offseason. Getting some free agents, signing guys we had we needed to get back. Now it’s matter of putting us all together. Everybody knows what Jason Kidd can bring. I still feel he has a lot left, or we wouldn’t have made that move. J.R., [Steve]Novak, we got Camby. We made some great strides. Marcus and Tyson [Chandler] will be a great fit. He and Amar’e [Stoudemire] will be a great fit.’’
Is Craig Brackins Ready For Bigger Role?
Craig Brackins was the No. 21 overall selection of the 2010 draft, but after two seasons in the league the power forward has only appeared in 17 regular season contests.
HOOPSWORLD caught up with Brackins in Orlando, where he’s playing with the Boston Celtics summer league team. Brackins believes he’s ready to take the next step in his career and establish himself as a rotation player at the professional level. Check the video below to see what else Brackins had to say on his future in the league.
NBA Chats: There is one NBA chat on the schedule today. I will be hosting my weekly chat at 8pm EST. Feel free to drop me a line on anything NBA related. You can always find our upcoming chats HERE.