Options are dwindling for both teams and free agents as teams continue to make moves. Here is what is going on around the league today:
Josh Childress has indeed left the Hawks to play in Greece. The Journal Constitution is reporting that Childress has agreed to a a three-year, fully guaranteed contract worth far more than the $20 million originally proposed. It will remain to be seen how this affects NBA free agency in the future. Any player not getting what they want can flaunt a European contract at their team and will have to be taken seriously. But, there are still many players who want to be in the NBA even if they are making far less than they could in Europe.
Josh Smith, the Hawks' other big free agent, was wined and dined by the Sixers and then they signed Brand. Then, he was wined and dined by the Clippers before they got Camby. Now, the only team under the cap that could offer him more than the MLE is the Grizzlies but they are in cost cutting mode. So, it seems that Josh Smith is stuck with the Hawks unless they can work a sign and trade with someone. Sources say that the Hawks are offering Smith a six-year deal worth $60 million. The Journal Constitution is reporting that this isn't true, however and that the Hawks have never offered anything near that. The San Antonio Spurs re-signed 36 year old Kurt Thomas on Tuesday. Thomas joined the Spurs last season in the trade that sent Brent Barry and Francisco Elson. In a rather fishy move, Barry was released by the Sonics and went back to the Spurs to join new teammate Kurt Thomas. Thomas' return could put in question the return of Robert Horry and Michael Finley's to the Spurs.
When the Nets acquired Keyon Dooling, Marcus Williams vowed to fight for his job as the Nets' point guard. He may be fighting for his job, but not with the Nets as they traded him to the Warriors for a future first-round pick. The Warriors are going to give Williams a chance to start along side of Monta Ellis, who is more of a shooting guard than a point. First Camby was traded to the Clippers for a second round pick and now Williams traded for a first round pick. Must be nice to be under the cap and able to pick up players for peanuts (and draft picks). The Warriors pick has plenty of strings attached, though. The pick is lottery protected for 2011. If it goes to 2012, the pick is protected 1-11. It’s protected 1-10 for 2013. If they still haven't received the pick by 2013, the Nets get second-round picks in 2013 and 2015.
ESPN reports that Detroit has offered to trade Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince twice this off season already. The first time was to try to pry Carmelo Anthony away from Denver. The second offer was to Houston for Tracy McGrady. Both offers were rejected. With the rumors that Detroit is considering making a bid for Artest they could be making a 3rd attempt to trade Billups and Prince. There seems to be some smoke here and there may be some fire behind it. It would be interesting to see the crowd react to Ron Ron being introduced to the Palace crowd for the first time as a Piston. Talk about mixed emotions. Personally I wouldn't want Artest for anything. The guy has been a cancer and a distraction everywhere he has gone.
Ryan Gomes is such a classy person. The Star Tribune reports that Gomes is participating in the Wolves' summer promotional caravan. He doesn't have a deal with the Wolves but is on their promotional tour.
“I made a commitment at the end of the season to do this,” Gomes said from Mankato. “They (the team) asked me if I’d like to do this and I’m a community guy, so I said yes. I don’t know where I’m going to be yet. I made a commitment and stuck with it.”
Gomes is looking for the full MLE but chances of getting it are dwindling. It seems unlikely that the Wolves wouldn't match anything less. I would really like to have him back in Celtics Green but all the Celtics could offer is half the MLE and unless Danny has incriminating pictures of McHale, the Wolves would probably match any offer we could afford to give. At this point in his career, he is looking for some security and possibly accepting the qualifying offer and then seeing what he can get as an unrestricted free agent next season could be his best move. As hard as Gomes works, his value should only improve.
Mark Bartelstein has said that several teams, including the Celtics have inquired about his client, Devean George. In his interview on WEEI, Danny said that he hasn't had any talks with George. So, either Bartelstein is floating rumors to try to get other teams to make an offer before another team snaps him up or Danny is not wanting to tip his hand. I remember Danny being interviewed on WEEI another time as the trade deadline approached when he said that the Celtics had nothing in the works and nothing even close. Four hours later, the Celtics traded for Wally Szczerbiak. So, you can't trust what an agent says or what Danny tells you for that matter. The News Herald reports that Bartelstein is also in talks with the Cavs concerning George.
Now that the Celtics have signed House and Allen, Danny says that he is taking some time off. He may make another deal, or he may roll the dice with the team we have. The Celtics lost Pollard, PJ Brown, Cassell and Posey. The Celtics have 2 promising rookies who could fill in the blanks. Gabe Pruitt should be able to fill in at the Point along with House. Tony, if healthy, can replace Posey's defense. Giddens and Walker may get a chance to prove themselves. Danny may go with what we have now and then save space to pick up someone if there is a need later on.
The Charlotte Observer reports that negotiations with Emeka Okafor are at an impasse. He has one more year left and if they don't agree on an extension, he can walk after next season as an unrestricted free agent. Rather than let him walk for nothing next season, the Bobcats may try to arrange a sign and trade. Some possibilities for a sign and trade swap are Shawn Marion, Anderson Varejao, Andris Biedrins, Al Harrington, and Luol Deng.
Delonte West is still unsigned. The News Herald reports that the Cavs want to sign him but that they aren't close to an agreement at this point. Other teams are interested but have been scared off by his restricted tag, figuring that since the Cavs do want him, they will just match any offer made. Daniel Gibson signed a 5 year contract with the Cavs that starts at $3.7 million and West is looking for more since he is the starting PG and Gibson is the back up. Of course, if they can't reach an agreement, Delonte could just accept the Cavs' qualifying offer of $2.76 million, play out the year, and the become an unrestricted free agent next year. That could be good or bad for him. If he has a great year, he will demand even more money next season. If he continues to be nagged with little injuries and struggles, then as a restricted free agent, he may not get as much as he would now. It's a gamble that may or may not pay off.
The Express News is reporting that it appears that Robert Horry's days with the Spurs are over. Big Shot Bob has won 7 rings in his 16 seasons in the league. He has said that he wants to play another season in the league but the Spurs don't seem inclined to bring him back. Unless he gets an offer from another team, he may be forced to retire. Could Big Shot Bob be the next aging veteran to come on board the Celtics? Danny loves these guys who seem to be on their last legs but who have tremendous experience and can help a team in little ways. Horry fits the profile.
The Portland Trail Blazers signed first-round pick Nicolas Batum on Tuesday. Batum was actually drafted by Houston with the 25th overall pick and then traded to the Blazers for two draft picks. This brings the team's roster to 14 players. They still have not made a decision on whether to sign Petteri Koponen. They don't feel he is ready for the NBA this season, but if they don't sign him now, he will likely sign a long term contract in Europe. If they sign him, he could spend some time in the D-League and accelerate his development.
The Clippers signed Golden State forward Kelenna Azubuike (8.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg) to a three-year, $9.3 million offer sheet last week and the Warriors have until Friday to match the offer, but according to sources they won't match it because they signed forward Maurice Evans to a three-year, $6.4 million deal.
We are about to enter into the quiet (read completely dead) part of the season for Celtics fans. Danny is going to take some time off. He lost one free agent and brought back 2 others. He still has to deal with the Celtics 2 draft picks and possibly pick up another free agent or even make a minor trade. But keep in mind, it wasn't until the end of August that Danny signed Posey last season and so he may wait until the dust settles to make another move. Reports are that Bill Walker is working hard to come back from the knee surgery and depending on how he looks, Danny may not make another move. If ready to contribute, Walker could be the back up at the 3 that the Celtics still need. I like the kid and think he could prove to be the steal of the draft.