NBA@2: The Last Big Free Agency Destination
As NBA free agency goes through its death throes, one team keeps coming up as the last significant available players talk about where they might be willing to play in 2012-13. No, it’s not the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami HEAT or the Brooklyn Nets. Surprisingly, the team that more and more players seem to want to play for is the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Why not? Kyrie Irving is one of the more intriguing young players in the league, Dion Waiters was certainly the talk of draft night and there is a young cast of players already in place that looks very much like the foundation of a perennial playoff team in the not-too-distant future.
That’s not the biggest reason why the Cavaliers are the talk of the remaining free agents, however. The reason why guys like Leandro Barbosa, Jon Leuer, Carlos Delfino and others want their names associated to talks with Cleveland is that the team has roughly $13.8 million in cap space, making them by far the biggest players left in the free agency game.
The Houston Rockets are second on the list, but they have roughly $10 million less in cap space, ringing in at $3.7 million, a distant second to Cleveland.
That number – $13.8 million – explains a great deal about what we’ve heard and what we will continue to hear between now and training camp. It’s why the Cavaliers were roped into several rounds of trade talks as the Orlando Magic sought possible destinations and asset packages for Dwight Howard. It’s also what’s behind today’s headline that Barbosa would like to play for Cleveland, even as the rumor mill is hopping with the possibility that the Lakers would like to sign him.
The telling part of the Barbosa/Cleveland story can be found in this snippet from Fox Sports Ohio: “And according to several sources close to Barbosa, he’d be more than willing to talk with the Cavs about a potential role. Those sources could not say, however, if the interest was mutual.”
Absolutely Barbosa would love to talk with the Cavaliers about their $13.8 million in cap space. The Lakers offer a better shot at a championship, but they have only a mini mid-level exception of $3.09 million and a traded player exception of $1.42 million from the Luke Walton trade. It’s pretty easy to do that math.
The telling part was at the end of that clip, where “sources” could not say if the Cavs are interested.
More than likely the “source” is either Barbosa himself, his agent, or someone in his circle. Someone who stands to benefit from Barbosa taking a bigger contract from the Cavs is putting that story out there in hopes that the Cavaliers might see it and give Barbosa a call.
Expect to see a lot more of this going on over the next few weeks leading up to training camp. Players like Barbosa, who are worth more than an exception, will want to attract the attention of the last remaining teams with cap space, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are at the very top of the heap.
Up Close: Tomas Satoransky
The Washington Wizards made international guard Tomas Satoransky the 32nd overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and as such he took part in the team’s summer league festivities in Las Vegas. Satoransky talks with HOOPSWORLD about his first game against NBA-like competition, where he struggled, how he adjusted and more in this exclusive interview:
International “Dream Teams” Make Good
The American NBA all-stars have been busily making quick work of the international field in Olympic competition, but the American team isn’t the only one using NBA talent to achieve victory. In today’s action both France and Argentina made the most of their NBA stars to come up with big wins. Even wearing goggles to protect his injured eye, San Antonio’s Tony Parker was unstoppable, scoring 27 points to help France improve to 2-1. Portland’s Nicolas Batum added 21 points for France, while LA Clippers forward Ronny Turiaf grabbed 10 rebounds. Parker scored seven of France’s last eight points in an 82-74 win over Lithuania. The Spurs’ Boris Diaw was also solid, contributing ten points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Argentina’s drubbing of Tunisia looked a little more like a Team USA win, with Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino doing the heavy lifting in their 92-69 win. Ginobili looked like the player who has been such an important part of the San Antonio Spurs’ dynasty, scoring 12 points in a 15-0 run that erased an early deficit, then drilling a three-pointer to break a halftime tie and scoring 24 points in assuring Tunisia never got back into the game. NBA free agent and former Milwaukee Buck Delfino scored 21 points and new Phoenix Sun and former Houston Rocket Luis Scola added 20 for Argentina. Argentina is now 2-1 in Olympic competition.
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