The Mavericks reportedly were willing to offer forward Brandon Bass and guard Jerry Stackhouse for Artest. The Kings wanted Josh Howard included in the deal and this seemed to halt all discussion between the 2 teams. Unless the Mavs are willing to give up Howard or the Kings get desperate (not likely) to settle for less, a deal is not likely to get done. Today is the deadline for the Lakers to let Turiaf and the Warriors know of their decision about the restricted free agent. Signs point to the Lakers letting Turiaf go. The Warriors have front loaded his contract and the Lakers currently have 10 players signed to guaranteed contracts for a total of $75.135 million and aren't likely to pay another 4.5 million to bring back a role player off the bench.
The Clippers and Warriors are still playing a game of swapping players. The Clippers made the latest move by signing the Warriors' restricted free agent Kelenna Azubuike to an offer sheet Thursday. Azubuike, 24, agreed to a three-year deal, with his option for the third season. The deal is for $9.3 million, with his salary being $2.9 million, $3.1 million and $3.3 million. The Warriors have 7 days to match the offer if they want to keep Azubuike. This adds to the already swapped players of Barron Davis and Corey Maggette.
According to the Globe, Tyronn Lue was hoping to join the Celtics before he signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Bucks. Lue said he was asking the Celtics for $1.8 million a year, but the Celtics were holding firm on their offer of a one-year, $1.2 million (the veteran minimum) offer. Lue said he was disappointed in the Celtics because they wouldn't go the extra $600,000. But from the Celtics point of view, it was a lot more than $600,000. The league picks up a portion of league minimum contracts and since the Celtics are over the luxury tax, that $600,000 would have cost them 1,200,000.
Along with Tyronn Lue, the Bucks also signed 30 year old veteran, Malik Allen to a contract on Thursday. Allen endeared himself to coach Scott Skiles during two seasons with the Chicago Bulls and now will be reunited with Skiles in Milwaukee. Allen will fit in a power forward rotation with fourth-year pro Charlie Villanueva and 6-8 rookie Joe Alexander, the eighth overall pick in the June draft.
The Jazz have come to terms with their point guard, Deron Williams. Williams signed a 3 year deal with a year option that should be worth around $70 million dollars. Williams had wanted to reach an agreement on a contract extension before he left for USA Basketball training camp in Las Vegas. He is scheduled to leave Sunday for the Vegas and was happy to have the contract negotiations out of the way.
Samuel Dalembert became a Canadian citizen and planned to play for the Canadian team in the Olympics, but there has been some controversy along the way. Supposedly, he had alienated his teammates by moving his group into a penthouse in the team's hotel headquarters, and that he had demanded more shots. Dalembert was dismissed from the team by coach Leo Rautins after a disagreement outside the team bus before they left for a game with Korea. Dalembert had this to say:
"Now I see why it has been so difficult to get [NBA] guys to play for Canada," he said. "I'm very disappointed. I know how to differentiate business and pleasure. This is children's stuff. I don't throw people under the bus. I don't trash the coach.
"But I read stuff that came from 'a source.' I like people to come forward. I heard that I'm a prima donna. Anyone who knows me knows I don't do that. I said I'd do anything to help raise money for Canada. I had one bad game, and I'm not committed? Please."
SI speculates that Vince Carter could be the next Net to be changing teams. The Nets already have sent out two of their three stars packing, sending Jason Kidd to the Mavs and Richard Jefferson to the Bucks. Carter could be next to go as New Jersey continues to try to clear up cap space for a possible run at LeBron James in 2010. Carter, 31, has a huge contract (three more years, $49 million), but he is also a seven-time All-Star who averaged 21.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists last season.
The Mavericks are the latest team to work out Darius Miles. The Celtics were impressed with his workout for them and now he has also impressed the Mavericks. A member of the Mavericks' camp said that Miles was much better than they had thought and that on a scale of 1-10 he was a solid 8. In recent weeks, Miles has had workouts with the Nets, Celtics, Suns and Mavericks, some of which went as long as 2 hours. Miles is trying to become the first player to return from an injury that was considered to be career-ending by the NBA. If he were to sign a new contract and play in 10 or more games this season, his $9 million salary would go back on Portland's books so, Portland is more than likely hoping his comeback bid fails. For his part, Miles insists that he is 100% and is hoping to catch on with a contender. He is looking for a 1 year minimum contract and with the Celtics missing out on the Posey sweepstakes, the Celtics may consider him a bit more as well. One factor that has to be considered in signing Miles is that he will be suspended for the first 10 games of the season for testing positive for what has been speculated to be a performance enhancing drug.
The Pistons haven't been big players in the free agent market as GM Joe Dumars has said that he is looking for a trade rather than to sign a free agent. Speculation is that he will trade one of his veteran starters who have been together almost forever, it seems. They have been very impressed with their young point guard, Rodney Stuckey and either Chauncey Billups or Richard Hamilton will have to be moved if Stuckey is to move into the starting lineup. The word going around is that while the Pistons would probably prefer to part with Billups, the most teams would prefer the younger and cheaper Hamilton. Don't be surprised to see the Pistons shake it up this summer.
I am very optimistic about Bill Walker's future as a Celtic. The kid already has the Celtics type attitude and work ethic. Scott Souza is reporting that Walker has been a familiar sight at the Celtics' workout facility. Just over two weeks after he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee for a torn meniscus, the third knee surgery of his basketball career, Walker was back on the court yesterday firing up a succession of 3-pointers and free throws. Souza reports:
Walker looked much bigger in a T-shirt and long shorts (which covered any brace on his knee, though it was apparent he was not wearing any Tony Allen-type contraption) than he did wearing a sport shirt and jeans at his introductory press conference two weeks ago. At first glance, you wouldn’t even think it was the same player (the LeBron James comparison suddenly make slightly more sense). A Celtics spokesman confirmed he has been a frequent sight at HealthPoint since his surgery.
Walker seems determined to come back from this surgery just as he did from the previous two, although the first 2 were much more serious. He also seems very determined to make a difference for the Celtics this season. Unlike JR Giddens, the Celtics first round pick who left Boston when he couldn't come to terms on a contract, Walker has stayed in town and has been working out with the Celtics trainers and coaches. I like this kid and hope Danny keeps him around this season. He may just be the steal of the draft.