Today is the first day that free agents can sign contracts. Expect the dominoes to start falling as the top free agents make their choices and sign. Here's what is going on as of now.
NBA.com is reporting that Mickael Pietrus has agreed to a multi-year contract with the Magic. They felt that they had no chance at landing Maggette and went in another direction. Teams seem to be loading up on athletic wings, perhaps as a way to matchup with Boston.
Many teams are signing their first round picks including the Knicks (Gallinari), Memphis (Mayo and Arthur), Bobcats (Augustin and Ajinca), Bucks (Alexander), Kings (Thompson). Still no word on a contract with the Celtics first round pick JR Giddens.
NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that Brand has informed the Sixers that he will accept a five-year deal worth an estimated $82 million and spurn what was presumed to be a slam-dunk return to the Los Angeles Clippers to hook up with Clipper-to-be Baron Davis.
This puts the Sixers at the top of the Eastern conference and with the continued exodus from the West to the East of stars, the balance of power could be tipping back toward the East.
So much for Maggette going for a ring over money. He agreed to a deal with the Warriors that will pay him $50 million over 5 years according to ESPN. So, now the dominoes start to fall. Brand to the Sixers, Maggette to the Warriors, Pietrus to the Magic. The Clippers are now way under the salary cap and reportedly ready to pursue the Hawks' Josh Smith and the Bobcats' Emeka Okafor. Both are restricted free agents and their respective teams would have the opportunity to match, but the Clippers can offer a contract that neither, particularly the Hawks with their ownership problems would be willing to match.
According to this morning's Herald, Danny has increased his offer to Posey. There are several different reports as to what the Celtics are offering. First report was $12 million over 3 years. Today's paper mentions a report that they have offered a 4th year at midlevel and also that there are reports that the Celtics aren't skimping on money but don'twan't to go the length that Posey wants. Danny still feels that they can get it done with Posey and Paul Pierce is now making a plea to Posey to stay and to Danny to do what it takes to bring him back. Hopefully they can get it done and Posey will remain a Celtic. I really don't want him going to one of our rivals. Reports are that Cavs, Hornets, and Lakers are all making offers. With Maggette off the market, the Spurs are now reportedly going after Posey as well.
Ronny Turiaf has signed a four-year, $17 million offer from the Golden State Warriors, according to two league sources. The Lakers had Turiaf and Vujacic as their priorities going into the offseason along with making a hard push for Posey. Since Turiaf is a restricted free agent, the Lakers have 7 days to match the offer or lose him to the Warriors. The Lakers currently have a payroll of $75,135,796 with just 10 players signed for the 2008-09 season. If they sign Vujacic and Turiaf, the Lakers' payroll could exceed $80 million. How this affects their desire for other free agents including Posey remains to be seen.
Miami has offered 3 point specialist James Jones a five-year offer starting at $4 million for next season. The final 3 years are conditional to protect the Heat going into the 2010 free agency period when many of the top players will be free agents, including the Heat's own Dwyane Wade.
As of Tuesday, the Pistons had made contact with six players: the Clippers' Corey Maggette, Warriors' Mickael Pietrus, Jazz's C.J. Miles, Trailblazers' James Jones, Celtics' James Posey and Raptors' Carlos Delfino although none are considered as good bets to sign with the Pistons. The Pistons are looking more to make a trade than to sign a free agent. They are interested in both Carmelo Anthony and Tracy McGrady among others and may break up their long time starting lineup to get a trade done. Reportedly, both Prince and Billups are on the block as they look for a trade.