Over the weekend James Posey's agent, Marc Bartelstein, said that there should be something contract-wise by Monday. Posey was present at the preview of the Celtics Championship DVD but was very non-committal concerning his situation. He watched the DVD while sitting at the same table as Danny Ainge but there didn't seem to be anything new in the negotiations. Marc Spears reports that the Celtics seem willing to give Posey the full mid-level exception but only for 2 years rather than the four years that Posey is looking for. This contradicts early reports that Danny initially offered 3 years. Posey didn't mention any specific teams who were interested but said that playing for a contender was important to him, and that other members of the current Celtics team have talked to him trying to convince him to stay. We had hoped to get a decision today but instead just got more talk. Posey still says that Boston is his number 1 choice so hopefully Danny will give enough to get it done.
Eddie House was also at the premiere and said that returning to the Celtics was his first choice. I hope he returns as he would be a good back up for both Ray and Rondo. He had a great team spirit. He never complained when benched during the playoffs and he came up big when he did get the call. House would like a multi-year contract but the Celtics are exploring trying to sign a veteran to a 1 year veteran's minimum contract as the reimburses teams a portion of contracts signed by veterans and that would help with the luxury tax the team will be paying. But, to win another title, the Celtics can't nickel and dime the players who helped them win the first one. Chemistry is one of the things that will help them to repeat. Bringing in too many new players, especially if they aren't an upgrade, will hinder rather than help them to repeat. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Magic are talking with Jason Williams concerning their need for a back up point guard. They have reportedly also offered Keyon Dooling a 2 year deal at about 1.9 million a year but Dooling has called the offer ridiculous and suggested that it was an attempt at trying to devalue him and said that he was insulted by the offer. Florida Today reports that the Magic have had serious talks with the Grizzlies' point guard Javaris Crittenton showing that perhaps they have abandoned any hope of keeping Dooling on the team.
The Miami Herald reports that after saying that he would take a physical for the Heat on Monday, Tyronn Lue decided against it and didn't show up for the physical. The Heat were prepared to make him an offer and Lue would have stepped into the starting point guard position there, but they will now look elsewhere. Lue is still said to be deciding between the Celtics and the Suns. The Heat have Marcus Banks on their roster, but apparently don't expect him to be able to handle the starting PG role as they are looking elsewhere to fill the position.
The Arizona Republic reports that the Suns major competition for Lue is the Celtics who have reportedly offered Lue a one-year veteran minimum deal worth $1.26 million. Shaquille O'Neal has called Lue, who is his friend and former teammate, to make a recruiting pitch for the Suns, but Lue also is a longtime friend of Celtics' star Kevin Garnett. Lue stays at Garnett's Malibu home each summer for workouts. The Heat were attractive because he would be given the starting role, and with both Boston and the Suns he will be a back up to either Rajon Rondo or Steve Nash. Both teams are offering a veteran's minimum one year deal. With the Heat out of the picture, Lue is back to deciding between the Celtics and the Suns (or between Shaq and KG as the case may be).
Billy Ron Artest is still making waves according to the Rocky Mountain News. With trade rumors swirling around Artest, he was asked if he would have interest in being dealt to the Nuggets. His answer was a definitive no.
"I cannot play in Denver because they question my drive to finish my career off strong and not embarrass my family,'' Artest wrote Sunday night. "Any player wants to win a championship is low risk. That's not even an option to be a Nugget, they let me know how they felt about me already."
Kings owner, Joe Maloof, has stated that Artest needs to settle down a bit and stop making statements that don't make any sense and praising him for what he has done in Sacramento. I can see that as damage control so as not to hurt his trade value. If teams know what kind of a nut case he still is, they might not trade for him. I still say I hope he goes to the Lakers as they deserve each other.
The Miami Heat are reported also to have interest in Artest and would be willing to part with Shawn Marion, whose $17.1 million deal also is expiring. As will be the case with the Lakers and most other suitors, the question will be whether the Kings can include forward Kenny Thomas and his deal that includes two more seasons and approximately $18 million.
According to ESPN, the NBA may be in for more trouble this summer. Citing court documents and phone records, it was reported that disgraced ref Tim Donaghy placed 134 calls to fellow referee Scott Foster between October 2006 and April 2007, which was the period during which he has confessed to betting on games or passing on game information to gamblers. According to a story published Monday on Fox News' Web site, the majority of the phone calls lasted no more than two minutes and occurred before and after games Donaghy officiated and on which he admits wagering. First there were the reports that came out during the Finals about playoff games that were fixed and now this. I have a feeling that there is more that will come out on this and David Stern isn't out of the woods yet.
The Rockets made a couple of minor moves on Monday. They signed this season's first-round pick Donté Greene five minutes before their first game in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League. Greene responded to the new contract with 40 points, making 12 of 20 shots and 11 of 12 free throws, to lead the Rockets to a 100-97 win over the Phoenix Suns. The Rockets also released center Loren Woods from his contract as Woods is looking to sign in Europe. The Rockets GM also said to expect a trade sometime this month. The Rockets are looking to extend a one year veteran's minimum contract to 42 year old Dikembe Mutombo , who hasn't decided whether to take the offer or retire. Trail Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard has a tough decision to make in the coming months: Sign up-and-coming point guard Petteri Koponen, or keep an open roster spot entering the regular season. On Monday, after Koponen scored 19 points and made 4-of-6 three pointers in the Summer League opener, his decision became even tougher. If the Blazers fail to sign him, he is likely to sign a long term contract in Europe, making his return to the Blazers unlikely for years to come. Pritchard said he values the opportunity to have roster flexibility entering the season, which he would have if he elects to keep Koponen overseas. However, there is also the danger of losing Koponen for several years if the Finn signs a long-term deal with a European team.
The Nets don't want to lose free agent Bostjan Nachbar altogether and are trying to explore sign-and-trade possibilities for him. They also are looking into that route for Nenad Krstic, but there remains a chance the restricted free-agent big man will return. Their rookie center Brook Lopez impressed in Orlando and that may be hastening a move toward a trade. I wonder if they would like Brian Scalabrine back?