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Tag:free agency
Posted on: February 10, 2012 9:36 am
Edited on: February 10, 2012 9:41 am
 

Jennings already discussing leaving Milwaukee

Brandon Jennings is already thinking about leaving Milwaukee as a free agent. (Getty Images)
Brandon Jennings is not saying, he's just saying. In other words, he's getting a head start on creating his own version of the Melo Drama in Milwaukee, and he's not even off his rookie contract yet.

A collection of quotes from an overly chatty Jennings from ESPN.com:

"I am going to keep my options open, knowing that the time is coming up,'' Jennings said in an email interview. "I'm doing my homework on big market teams.''

I am going to keep my options open, knowing that the time is coming up. I'm doing my homework on big market teams.”

"I'm not saying I won't (sign an extension with the Bucks) and I'm not saying I will,'' he said. "I'm just keeping my options open.''

"When you start seeing other players like Dwight Howard or CP3, you start thinking,'' said Jennings, who is averaging 18.9 points and 5.3 assists for the Bucks.

"It has nothing to do with the city of Milwaukee or anything like that because that's where I started my career,'' Jennings said. "They've been nothing but good to me. (Coach) Scott Skiles and (general manager) John Hammond have been good to me. It's just that I'm understanding the business of basketball now.''
via Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings doing 'homework' on big market teams - ESPN.

Oh, good grief.

Now we're doing this off rookie contracts? That's where this is starting, now?

The common rule is that you take the rookie extension. Kevin Love may not be thrilled with how the Timberwolves have treated him and has a much bigger complaint and desire to get out than Jennings, but Love took the rookie extension (though he did ask for the three-year opt-out since the Wolves didn't want to sign him to the max, which we still can't believe). LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, every single one of them signed the rookie extension. That's how this works, supposedly. You ensure those first six to seven years before moving on.

But Jennings has never been one to go the normal route. He headed off to Europe when he was unsure of his eligibility and wanted to get started making money right out of high school. He famously essentially lobbied for the Knicks to take him. He's spoken about playing in New York on a regular basis. And now we're here.

Let's put it simply. If this isn't just a negotiating tactic by his management team, if this is really how Jennings feels, the Bucks are doomed. Completely ruined. They've built everything around Jennings and Andrew Bogut (who can't stay healthy to save his life). The Bucks have been unable to build off their momentum of their playoff run. Meanwhile, as BrewHoop notes, the Bucks brought in a player to mentor Jennings, and it hasn't exactly worked out great.
We've also made note of how much Jennings is hanging out with Stephen Jackson, who has had some run-ins with Milwaukee management of his own.

But here's the heart of the issue: John Hammond brought in Stephen Jackson to help mentor Brandon Jennings. It was a calculated risk, bringing in someone with as volatile a personality as Cap'n Jack (especially in the same locker room as Scott Skiles). And lo and behold, mentor is exactly what Jackson has done.

Jackson wants out of Milwaukee, that much is clear. He simply doesn't like it here. But with Jennings under his wing, not to mention their lockers side-by-side, can we really say that we expected this to end well?
via Everybody Panic! Brandon Jennings "Keeping His Options Open" - Brew Hoop.

So here we are, and it could be the start of a downward spiral. Jennings wants to skip the natural process and go right to "holding your team hostage to go to the team you want." Bucks fans in denial regarding him saying he's not ruling out Milwaukee, I direct you to comments from any player above and the fact that not a single one outside of Wade has re-signed. Once a player gets in his head this is the way, that's how it goes down.

Can the Bucks match any offer in restricted free agency? Sure. Unless Jennings refuses to sign an offer sheet, then takes the qualifying offer for his fourth year with the Bucks, then becomes an unrestricted free agent the following summer. It's difficult to get out of a rookie extension. It's not impossible. The fact that Jennings is starting this conversation now, in the middle of a season, with the Bucks the eighth seed if the playoffs started today, is not a good sign for Milwaukee. 

Bucks GM John Hammond is officially in the weeds. Defusing this situation would be a smart approach. These aren't quotes from sources close to Jennings. This is straight from the horse's mouth.

It's danger time in Milwaukee.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 8:52 am
 

Wilson Chandler wants to re-sign with Denver

Wilson Chandler's agent says he wants to re-sign with Denver when he returns from China. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Wilson Chandler has been in China, after choosing to bail during the lockout assuming the season would wind up more protracted than it is. As a result of a Chinese Basketball Association rule enacted this summer, he is unable to get out of his deal until his team's season is over. Which will be shortly. Chandler is a restricted free agent for the Nuggets, and there was talk Denver might not re-sign him or that he would prefer a return to New York. But Yahoo Sports reports that Chandler's preference is to re-join the Nuggets for their playoff push: 
Chandler is drawing “significant interest” from other NBA teams, Chandler’s agent, Chris Luchey said, but he wants to re-sign with the Nuggets for either the rest or the season or a longer-term deal.

Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri acknowledged the team’s interest in re-signing Chandler. The Nuggets have the right to match any offer Chandler receives from another NBA team.

“Wilson likes their direction and the stabilization of their roster in Denver with the young talent,” Luchey said in a phone interview from China. “He wants to see how they develop as a team. It’s a unique situation. The ball is in their court. If Wilson is comfortable, he will be a part of their core group.”
via Wilson Chandler intends to sign with Nuggets - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Chandler joining the Nuggets would just be adding more depth to arguably the deepest team in the league, when healthy. He's a versatile scorer that would join a 2-3 rotation of Arron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari, Rudy Fernandez, and Corey Brewer, providing a five-man rotation entirely made of athletic wings that can get out in transition and hit from the perimeter. Chandler has the ability to fill up the scoreboard in any game, and is an underrated defender.

It'll be key to see what kind of condition Chandler has been playing in in China (his numbers suggest pretty great), and if there's a struggle to adapt to NBA speed. But as the Nuggets gear up for a late-season playoff run, getting Chandler will only make a good depth situation better for Denver.

With all their injuries, they just have to survive until then.
Posted on: February 1, 2012 10:17 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 5:45 pm
 

Report: Lakers interested in Kenyon Martin, Sheed

The Lakers are reportedly looking to add Kenyon Martin or Rasheed Wallace. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

Yahoo Sports reportsthat former Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin is expected to sign by the weekend with one of the contenders as he looks for consistent minutes where he can win. The list includes the usual favorites for the title, but Yahoo also notes that the Lakers have a backup plan if Martin heads elsewhere. 
If the Lakers don’t sign Martin, they could have interest in adding Rasheed Wallace, who contacted the team several weeks ago, a league source said. Wallace retired after the 2009-10 season, but has told friends he’s interested in returning to the NBA.
via Kenyon Martin deciding which contender to join - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

The Lakers have been in near-constant pursuit of a backup big to help bolster their frontcourt. Troy Murphy has not set the world on fire, Josh McRoberts is inconsistent, and the Lakers are 14th in opponent offensive rebound rate. Martin's a great fit because not only can he defend and produce rebound help, even at age 34, but he's still got a decent short-range jumper he can hit when his man helps off. The Lakers can't afford to bring in a big that can't score with their offense struggling as it has.

There is a hiccup, however. Draft Express notes that Martin's Chinese team he signed with during the lockout is a half game out of the playoffs. If they were to make it, it would be another month before he's eligible to sign with NBA teams, due to a rule enacted during the lockout by the CBA. 

Sheed's a similar situation, though his conditioning is going to be a huge, gigantic question. Wallace has been out of the game for a year and a half. How's his perimeter shooting going to be after all that time and how many minutes can he actually log?

The Lakers are in need of a bigger boost than this, but short of a trade for Dwight Howard, it's unlikely they'll find one. So they'll have to work within the confines of what's available, and that means getting a little desperate. A 34-year-old who may be stuck because of his Chinese team's success (Martin was released months ago but is ineligible due to FIBA restrictions based on the CBA rule) and a 37-year-old who hasn't played in nearly two years fit that description perfectly. But with the talent on L.A., who knows how well they can perform. 

The Lakers improved to 13-9 Tuesday night with a win over the Bobcats.
Posted on: January 31, 2012 4:21 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 5:34 pm
 

Rose apathetic on Howard coming to Bulls

Sure, Derrick Rose would like to play with Dwight Howard. Whatever. (Getty Images)

Derrick Rose never really tried too hard to recruit Dwight Howard or Dwyane Wade in 2010. He wasn't out front lobbying to add Carmelo Anthony last year. And now that Dwight Howard is saying he wouldn't oppose going to Chicago (but it's not his favorite, is the unsaid component), Rose is playing it the same way as he has in the past. 

Basically, "Uh, sure, I guess."

From CSN Chicago: 
“Me and Dwight definitely have a relationship, especially because of adidas. I know our market and the city speaks for itself, if someone was interested to come to the Chicago Bulls,” Rose said of the Magic’s All-Star center. “Dwight, he’s a great player. Who wouldn’t want to play with him, but you never know what’s going to happen.”
via Rose on possibility of playing with Dwight Howard.

 

As always, Rose is pretty much like "eh, whatever." Rose wants good teammates, but his attitude publicly has always been that he'll go out there and focus on what he does and win with his guys. 

It begs the question if he'd be like this if he had been drafted elsewhere. If he hadn't landed on a Bulls team that if not phenomenal, did have a playoff core with Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, and Joakim Noah before adding Carlos Boozer and the current roster, would he still be so supportive of teammates and would he still avoid clamoring for help like every other star seems to? If Derrick Rose were in Charlotte, would he sill have his head down, going into the lane and playing at such a high level? Or has his support altered his approach and kept him from complaining about help like every other All-Star does if they can't lift their team up on their own?

It's one of the things that makes Rose an admirable star. Whether it's because of how things worked out or not, he doesn't complain. He supports his guys. He thinks his players can win. Dwight Howard is criticizing his teammates and saying they should not be affected by him talking about how great it would be to play with any other contender. Rose has backed his guys and when the Bulls have struggled, he's put it on himself to be better. 

It's a shame for the small markets. Not only do the big markets get the best players, but they get the kind of guys the small markets need, while the small markets wind up with guys constantly looking for help and brighter lights.

If the Bulls acquire Dwight Howard, they'll be the favorite to win the title (and they're pretty close to that now). It'll be a phenomenal combination of talent, two of the three best players in the league. But if not, there will be no grousing from Rose. That's just not who he is.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 12:10 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 12:11 pm
 

Howard would listen to offer from Celtics

Howard says he would consider playing for Boston. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore


OK, so now all of a sudden Dwight's OK with Boston. This is getting hard to keep track of. For months, it's been assumed that Howard would not consider Boston on his list of teams to go to. Multiple reports have indicated he's expressed that he will not re-sign there if traded to the Green Team. But now there's different information... from Howard's own mouth.  
And if Howard is still available — if the Magic don’t blink and move him before the March deadline — C’s president Danny Ainge will undoubtedly put in a call to Team Dwight.

The question is whether he’ll answer.

“Always. Always,” Howard told the Herald. “I’d always listen to a team like that.

“My thing is I want to win. It’s not something like I’m doing this for money. I win. I want to do it my way.”

There may be two problems for the Celtics in that last paragraph. Howard may question whether the club can win with him, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, a collection of minimum salary veterans and a few children. And his “way” likely means a bigger stage.
via Dwight Howard to Hub? - BostonHerald.com.

This does not mean that Boston is at the top of, or near the top of the list for Howard. He's made his choices pretty clear. But Boston has continually dogged him in the playoffs. Joining them would be joining an organization all about winning, who he knows will be able to build around him. He'd likely have Rajon Rondo as well, since the trade package would probably include the Big 3. The Magic have reportedly been looking for veteran players who can help them win now instead of younger players. If they want old guys, Boston's got them.

(Side note: Please try and imagine Rajon Rondo's surliness next to Dwight Howard's effusive jolliness. Unintentionally funniest duo ever.)

But Howard hasn't been all about winning. He's not targeting Chicago, which gives him the best chance to win a title. He clearly wants the money and fame that comes with Los Angeles or New York. If winning is what matters, you don't put the Nets at the top, no matter how good Deron Williams is. The Celtics are a long shot, but Howard would listen to the offer. From there it would come down to Danny Ainge and if he could pull off the sales job of his life.

(HT: SI
Posted on: January 26, 2012 9:38 am
Edited on: January 26, 2012 9:40 am
 

Report: Pacers will pursue Gordon in free agency

The Pacers have interest in Eric Gordon as a restricted free agent. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

When Eric Gordon reportedly rejected the Hornets' four-year extension offer, it had quite a few consequences. The Hornets will have to convince their best player to re-sign in restricted free agency or match what will be a huge offer from him, based off of what is obviously a complicated relationship with the often-injured but dynamic shooting guard, or else run the risk of him signing the qualifying offer and entering unrestricted free agency in 2013. And it means other teams will be circling like wolves around a wounded deer. 

One of those predators is the Indiana Pacers, according to multiple reports.

Both Yahoo Sports and the Indianapolis Star report that the Pacers will make huge runs at Gordon in restricted free agency. 

Hard to see how they get him, however. The Pacers, under the new CBA, can only offer Gordon a four-year deal, and for presumably less money than the Hornets offered. If Gordon were to sign the offer sheet, the Hornets would have every ability and inclination to match it. Even a front-loaded contract likely wouldn't make the Hornets blink with the cap room they have at their disposal. It would essentially take GM Dell Demps letting Gordon go due to an unwillingness to play for the Hornets. That decision would also probably seal the fate of the Hornets for the next three-plus seasons, and threaten everyone in the organization's job as ownership, whenever it gets settled, if it gets settled, would look to clean house.

So, no, that's probably not going to happen.

But it doesn't mean the Pacers shouldn't give it a shot. Gordon with that core would be pretty exceptional and it would give him the opportunity to contend for a title in the city he's from originally, where he was born and in the state he went to college. The Pacers won't be the last team to be linked to an interest in Gordon now that he'll enter restricted free agency, but they may be the best.

(HT: HoopsHype
Posted on: January 25, 2012 1:26 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 1:44 pm
 

Nuggets extend Gallinari to 4-years, $42 mil deal

Gallinari has expanded his game and the Nuggets have inked him to a four-year extension (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver and Matt Moore

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports the Denver Nuggets have signed forward Danilo Gallinari to a 4-year contract extension

Gallinari, 23, was the crown jewel of a trade package the Nuggets acquired from the New York Knicks for All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony at the 2011 trade deadline. A long, smooth forward, Gallinari was the No. 6 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

This season, he's averaging 17.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 34.2 minutes per game, all career-highs.  

The reported terms are more than reasonable. Gallinari is a solid second-tier player from his class, a clear cut below the max performers (Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love) but certainly no slouch.  He's currently ranked No. 35 in the league in player efficiency and he poses a match-up problem for opponents on most nights given his perimeter skills as a 6-foot-10 forward. The $10.5 million annual salary puts him in line with the likes of Andrea Bargnani.

Gallinari is a native of Italy, where he was a standout as a teenager for Olimpia Milano. His first season and a half with the Knicks was spent primarily as an outside shooter. But as the Denver Postreported this week, that's changed dramatically this year as a "New Gallo" has emerged. 
The Nuggets’ coaching staff has put the ball in Gallinari’s hands more than ever. In fact, Gallinari has not been this big a part of the overall look of any offense since before he came to America. He is shifted most often between the power forward and small forward slots. The biggest difference between the two in the Nuggets’ scheme is that the power forward has more screening responsibilities and plays in the pick-and-roll a bit more than the small forward.

Other than that, Gallinari said, “it’s pretty much similar – running and try to score fast.”

Karl admitted the coaching staff was “a little leery” of making the decision to experiment with moving Gallinari around from position to position.

“Moving him around and using him in different ways, it sounds good on paper,” Karl said. “But sometimes it messes with a player.”
via Danilo Gallinari’s responsibility shift sparking his breakout season | Nuggets Ink — Denver Nuggets news — The Denver Post.

Amazingly, as Gallo has taken on more of a ball-handling role in the pick and roll and other sets, his turnover percentage has actually dropped. His assists per game and per minute have nearly doubled. All this and he hasn't' really locked down his 3-pointer yet. There's nothing broken with his shooting form, his shot's just not falling, down to 31 percent from 37 percent last season. When that comes in, Gallo's all-around offense is going to be a nightmare for opponents. With the Nuggets' superb team passing in place, Gallo won't have to bear the brundt of being the sole producer offensively, and his salary leaves room for the team to continue to build around him. 

In short, that Melo trade continues to work out just about as well as can be imagined for Denver.
Posted on: January 24, 2012 9:30 am
 

Gordon waiting on Stern's approval for extension

By Matt Moore

The Hornets are stuck behind the commissioner. Again. Yahoo Sports reports that Eric Gordon is in a position for an extension from the Hornets with the deadline for any deal looming Wednesday afternoo, but that the team has to wait for David Stern to grant permission to offer it. 
Gordon’s agent, Rob Pelinka, has engaged in recent contract talks with the Hornets’ front office, but hasn’t received an official offer. Gordon told Yahoo! Sports on Monday night he was informed by Hornets general manager Dell Demps that Stern must decide whether to extend an offer. The NBA owns the Hornets. Gordon wants to re-sign with New Orleans, but is uncertain if or when Stern will reach out to him or Pelinka.

“In terms of my contract extension, Dell Demps indicated that it’s out of his control and NBA commissioner David Stern has the last determination on the contract extension,” said Gordon, who will be a restricted free agent this summer if he doesn’t sign an extension.
via Gordon waiting on Stern to give him extension - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

The league of course notoriously vetoed a trade of Chris Paul to the Lakers involving the Rockets that upset all three teams and generally made everyone act as if all common laws of decency were being upended, despite the trade actually being quite bad for the Hornets long term. This, however, is a bigger deal. Working out a contract extension takes time, and the league not giving Demps the ability to negotiate such a contract severely limits the franchise. Losing Gordon in free agency should he enter restricted free agency and sign the qualifying offer would be a disaster for New Orleans.

It's not known whether the two sides can piece together a deal in 24 hours, but in order for that process to even begin, the league has to grant the Hornets permission. If Stern elects not to, it will only cause more outrage from Hornets fans, league pundits, and especially Gordon.  
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com