NBA On The 4th: Do They Match Gordon And Batum?
The Gordon and Batum Play: Yesterday Hornets restricted free agent Eric Gordon agreed to terms on a maximum-dollar offer sheet with the Phoenix Suns worth a reported four years and $58 million. Portland restricted free agent Nicolas Batum is expected to do the same with the Minnesota Timberwolves on a four-year $50 million deal. Both players are restricted, so their respective teams can and likely will match the offers; however this is the question – should they?
New Orleans has maintained for some time that they do not want to tie up salary dollars on players that do not want to be in New Orleans. Gordon and his agent know this as much as anyone which exactly why they released a statement yesterday saying specifically that Eric’s “heart” was in Phoenix.
“After visiting the Suns, the impression the organization made on me was incredible. Mr. Sarver, Lon Babby, Lance Blanks, the front-office staff and Coach Gentry run a first-class organization and I strongly feel they are the right franchise for me. Phoenix is just where my heart is now.”
If you are the Hornets do you in turn match that guy and have an unhappy camper anchored to your franchise because you can?
There had been rumblings for months that Gordon was never happy in New Orleans and that he may have taken longer than necessary to rehab his knee simply to get through the year in NOLA.
Eric always said the right things, but behind the scenes when the Hornets were unable to reach an extension deal with him in December, he had told people he was going to actively explore his options as a free agent and most assumed he was heading to his hometown Pacers. It’s a key reason why the Hornets drafted Austin Rivers on draft night.
The Hornets knew this day was coming, now the question is do they really move forward and match the deal as they have proclaimed they will, or do they try and work out a sign and trade deal for Gordon and get some value back and move on.
Nic Batum has not put out a statement, but people close to him are saying many of the same things – he does not want to be in Portland and there is a reason he’s taking visits. Batum is denying on Twitter a report out of Portland suggesting that he is unhappy. However, league sources agree that Batum wants out and there is a reason he’s agreeing to a deal so quickly.
Do the Blazers match the offer anyway or does Batum need to release his own statement?
The mantra in the NBA is ‘this is a business’. What guys want rarely plays into it, but when investing $50 plus million into a four year deal is it smart to do it with a guy who clearly does not want to be there.
That’s something both franchises will need to come to grips with.
While the Suns and Gordon have verbally agreed to a deal, nothing can actually be signed until July 11th, meaning the Hornets and Suns have plenty of time to talk sign and trade. Given the state of the Suns roster, there isn’t much there for New Orleans, however if they can make a deal, they could extract something from a losing situation. There is a reason to have a conversation.
You Really Didn’t Think He’d Leave Did You? Nets’ guard Deron Williams may have baited some teams into believing he’d consider leaving.
He may have played poker a little with the Nets to make sure they followed through on the master plan, but there was never any doubt that Deron Williams was staying in Brooklyn.
Sure he took meetings, because that’s what you do, but there was almost no scenario in which Brooklyn was losing Deron Williams unless they completely swung and missed on adding talent to the roster. He was always Brooklyn’s player to lose and they knew it.
Once Gerald Wallace and Joe Johnson were anchored to the team, Williams was coming back. It was a given.
Deron has inked a number of endorsement deals based on him being in Brooklyn. He has been working out in Brooklyn’s training facility almost daily. He’s been rocking the new Brooklyn logoed gear. He was never leaving.
Let’s not forget that Deron, for the most part, is as sinister a business man in the NBA as you’ll find. He wasn’t leaving $25 million on the table to go to Dallas. He said as much when he decided he would opt out.
Deron Williams staying in Brooklyn is as anti-climactic as top pick Anthony Davis signing his rookie contract. It was going to happen.
The real question is where Steve Nash will sign… Because that one is really up in the air and that one might matter a little more than Deron Williams doing what everyone expected.
C-Lee In The Place To Be: The Houston Rockets have agreed to a three year $25.1 million offer sheet with Bulls restricted free agent Omer Asik and have agreed to two concepts with Knicks restricted free agent Jeremy Lin… a three year $24 package or a four year $32 million package.
The wrinkle here is Houston has to have enough cap room to fit in the $8 million per year average they’d need to commit to both players, and restricted free agent Courtney Lee’s Qualifying Offer would block that from happening. So the Rockets opted to withdraw the offer and make Courtney an unrestricted free agent.
Lee really couldn’t be happier, because his phone “blew up” with offers and it’s looking like four-years $25.6 million is where his price will be.
Before you get crazy and think Courtney is out of the Rockets’ plans, sources close to the situation say this was a tactical move by Houston and that the framework of a five year $32 million offer could be in place for Courtney to stay right where he is.
Withdrawing the Qualifier was simply a means to get the two free agent offers in under the cap rules, while the Rockets hold on to Lee’s Bird rights and plan to use them on Courtney after those two deals get done.
Not Gonna Happen D12: Dwight Howard may want to be traded to Brooklyn, however it’s looking increasingly clear that the world is not going to line up quite like Howard expected.
The Magic appear to have no interest in Kris Humphries who would have to be included in any deal just for cap purposes, and it seems Brook Lopez who would be the jewel of the deal – if you can call it that – also doesn’t sound overly interested in Orlando either.
In order to trade Lopez to Orlando, Brook would have to agree to a sign and trade deal and the Magic don’t seem willing to pay him and Lopez doesn’t seem eager to consider it according to his older brother and business adviser Chris.
“He really wants to see it through with the Nets and go to Brooklyn,” Chris Lopez told Fred Kerber of the New York Post. “We’re back in California and he understands the situation, but he wants to remain consistent: He wants to be a Brooklyn Net. He hasn’t played anywhere else and he likes the organization. He wants to be a part of it now that they’re going to be good.”
But would he agree to a sing and trade?
“Honestly, I couldn’t answer that, it’s Brook’s call,” explained Chris Lopez.
That is translated to mean ‘how much are they offering’.
Lopez has said a few times when rumored to be on the move to Orlando last season that he had no issues with Orlando, but now that he has some control Lopez seems less likely to agree.
“Brook is a very prideful person and he believes if he had a good roster around him, the Nets could compete for a title,” Chris Lopez said.
It’s still not a situation Brook has complete control over, but at this point it’s not lining up for Howard to be a Net. The Magic don’t want what Brooklyn can offer, and it does not seem like Lopez wants the Magic unless they are going to overpay for the privilege.
In Related: While Brooklyn continues to unravel for Dwight Howard, the LA Lakers look to be equally unstable.
Sources close to the process are mirroring what is being reported from the region.
The Lakers have doubts about giving up anyone on their roster without assurances from Howard that he’d ink a long-term deal either by way of an extension or a new free agent deal next July.
Equally the Lakers wouldn’t even consider taking on Magic contracts in the deal, meaning the Magic could move Dwight Howard, but that’s about the extent of the deal.
Another wrinkle in the deal is that Laker center Andrew Bynum would want a multi-year extension when he arrived in Orlando according to sources or he’d be as equally unhappy as Howard is.
The Magic have been extremely diligent in their scouring of the league for Howard deals, not only in terms of what they can fetch directly for Howard, but where they could potentially re-trade players acquired in a Howard based deal.
Sources close to the situation label the LA Clippers, the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets as very much in the mix, however all would want some level assurance that re-signing after the season was at least possible before agreeing to a major transaction.
One league source joked if Howard would “just look affectionately at the Clippers”, they’d do a deal. The Clippers do not have a deal with Chris Paul beyond this season and believe that adding Howard to Paul and Blake Griffin would be enough to get both players to re-sign, Howard simply needs to agree that it would be seriously considered as Paul has done.
Sources say the Magic have set no timetable for a decision and plan to make sure they have extracted the best deal possible for Howard regardless of where he wants to be.
Nash And The Lakers: The LA Lakers seemed to be the last ones to the dance with free agent guard Steve Nash, but apparently there is more than a passing interest from Nash in being a Laker.
The problem is the Phoenix Suns are not about to play ball with their division rival and the odds of a sign-and-trade deal seem remote.
Nash has yet to issue a decision on where he’ll sign and has received massive $36 million offers from the Toronto Raptors and Dallas Mavericks.
The New York Knicks have constructed a monster sign-and-trade package that Phoenix seems open to that would yield a new deal for Nash starting in the $8 million per season range.
The Knicks proposed deal, according to reports, would send out almost every non-core player on the roster including the non-guaranteed contracts of Jerome Jordan, Josh Harrellson and Dan Gadzuric. As well as the ending contract of guard Toney Douglas and injured guard Iman Shumpert.
It seems like the Lakers might be the top choice for Nash, however he’ll need the Suns to cave a little on their stance regarding the Lakers and he’ll need the Lakers to drum up some assets to trade them.
Currently the Lakers hold an $8.9 million Traded Player Exception from the Lamar Odom trade in December and would need to procure a real asset for the Suns with it.
The Suns recently met with Wolves’ free agent Michael Beasley so a deal through Minnesota might make a lot of sense for the Suns if they decide to cave on dealing with the Lakers.
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