Friday’s Free-Agent Frenzy

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Posted by Sekou Smith

BOSTON – No practice today here at the NBA Finals.

That means we’ve got more time to snoop around and see what else is going on in the world of basketball, namely the continuing coaching carousel, the Draft and everybody’s favorite, the free-agent frenzy.

– First and foremost is this on-one-minute, gone-the-next free-agent summit. Hang Time sources have indicated that many of the central figures and even players that are not free agents this summer have been in contact with each other already regarding who does what come July 1.

They haven’t set up shop in a backroom at some restaurant or anything, but who needs to do that in this day and age of social networking?

Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony was at Game 2 of the Finals in Los Angeles and admitted that he was supposed to be meeting LeBron James there, only to have James back out at the last-minute, per Yahoo! Sports. Chris Bosh did show up that night, making the rounds around courtside and getting recruiting pitches from Lakers fans non-stop as he made his way around the court.

Free agents Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson have been in LA the past few days for a Brand Jordan photo shoot where they’ve mingled with (non-free agents) Chris Paul and Anthony, surely they’ve had some conversations about what will go on in a few weeks.

So it’s obvious these guys have been in constant contact with each other, making sure to stay on top of who is going to do what when the free agent alarm clock goes off in a few weeks.

And we didn’t even get to Amar’e Stoudemire yet:

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SUNS REMAIN ‘PLAN A’ FOR STOUDEMIRE

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic: Amar’e Stoudemire has wavered on favoring the Suns in this process, especially after another round of trade talks involving him. He was back to prioritizing the Suns on Thursday, a day after his agent, Happy Walters, met with Suns General Manager Steve Kerr for the first time since April. Stoudemire said no offer was made but “it sounds like the Suns definitely want to make an effort. I’m just not sure what type of effort. They’re definitely looking to keep me around. So we’ve just got to figure out what the proper math is.” They have until June 30 to agree to an extension or Stoudemire becomes an unrestricted free agent. He said they plan to meet again this month. “I’ve established great relationships around town,” Stoudemire said. “My family is now pretty much from here because all my kids were born and are being raised here. It’d be great to remain a Phoenix Sun for my whole career. “That’s my ultimate goal. And then to win a championship with the team. But we’ve just got to make sure that we can try to get that done sooner than later because we want to capitalize on the opportunity. We did a great job this season but we definitely want to have a better season and go further the next few years.” Even if he gets to free agency, Stoudemire said he would give the Suns a chance to counter any offer he would receive. “My loyalty is here with the Phoenix Suns,” he said. “Once free agency starts and teams are offering me X amount of dollars, then I would definitely say, ‘You know what, Phoenix? These guys are offering this much. So if you guys want to step up to the plate, we can hit a home run.’ If not, then I could settle for an inside-the-park home run. Just as long as I make it home.”

HT’s TAKE: Give Stoudemire credit for taking the proactive approach. It’s up to the Suns at this point. If they are willing to offer the max, Stoudemire isn’t going anywhere. But the Suns always seem to make the summer interesting. And no one loves the spotlight or the drama more than Stoudemire, so this saga is probably just getting started.

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STILL NO DECISION FROM IZZO ON CLEVELAND

Brian Windhorst of the Plain Dealer: Tom Izzo came, he saw, he dined. What he’ll do next, however, remains uncertain. The Michigan State coach and his family spent all Thursday afternoon and evening with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, General Manager Chris Grant, and assistant general manager Lance Blanks. According to multiple sources, the visit went well and Izzo and his family were impressed with the Cavs’ facilities and the city. But Izzo left town after nearly nine hours without accepting Gilbert’s offer. After arriving on one of Dan Gilbert’s private jets around 1 p.m., Izzo and his family were ushered away in two black SUVs. He visited Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, met Cavs staff and then had dinner. As Izzo was spending the day in Cleveland, Spartans fans in East Lansing, Mich., held a rally at the university hoping the coach who has led the team to six Final Fours in the past 12 years would stay. When he got back home, Izzo declined to talk about what happened in Cleveland and told reporters he felt bad about the situation. “I feel bad about that, I feel bad about all that stuff,” Izzo said. “But I do feel good that I did what I had to do and I will, uh, apologize to everybody for not commenting.”

HT’s TAKE: Izzo won’t drag this out much longer. After speaking with one of Izzo’s closest confidants who is here in Boston for the Finals, it’s clear that Izzo wants to take the NBA leap. There are $30 million reasons for him to step into the void, whether the Cavaliers can retain James or not.

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SCOTT IN THE CLEVELAND MIX, TOO

Sam Amick of Fanhouse: Byron Scott had an hour-long phone interview with Cleveland general manager Chris Grant and assistant general manager Lance Blanks today, according to his agent. Brian McInerney, who has represented Scott for more than 20 years, exclusively told FanHouse that the discussion focused on Scott’s championship pedigree and how it might fit with a Cavaliers organization that will continue to pursue a title with or without LeBron James. There were no future plans made for another interview or conversation, in part because of the looming issue of what Tom Izzo will do. The Michigan State coach was in Cleveland on Thursday to meet with Cavs officials and tour the team’s facility. While Izzo has reportedly been offered the job, it’s clear Cleveland is considering other options while it remains unclear what Izzo will do. McInerney said Izzo was not discussed. Scott’s appeal is simple, as he won three championships with the Lakers as a player and had much postseason success as a coach. His New Jersey Nets team went to the Finals in 2002 and 2003, and his New Orleans Hornets made a surprise run to the Western Conference semifinals in 2008. The winning history was the main topic discussed in the interview that was heavy on coaching philosophy, according to McInerney. “They asked him what his view was on championships, talked about his mentality that you either win or you come home on your shield trying,” McInerney said. “That being said, everything (information-wise) should go through the team.”

HT’s TAKE: Scott is by far the safer choice for the Cavaliers. He’s already won and won big in the NBA, even though he’s been fired everywhere he’s been. And if his hiring would give the Cavaliers the best chance of keeping James, the Cavs would be foolish to dismiss that. The Cavs are wise to carry on simultaneous discussions with he and Izzo, making sure to cover all bases.

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WIZARDS TALKING JOHN WALL AT NO. 1

Michael Lee of the Washington Post: When asked on Thursday if the Wizards planned to take Kentucky point guard John Wall with the No. 1 overall pick, new owner Ted Leonsis said he was “not allowed to” make that announcement. “It’s good theater for the NBA to have people wondering what we’re going to do,” Leonsis said at his introductory press conference at Verizon Center. “I won’t make the pick, our General Manager Ernie Grunfeld, will make the pick.” Wonder no more. Although the Wizards have yet to saying anything official, Wall will be Grunfeld’s choice for the June 24 NBA draft. There was little mystery with the decision, but Wall is the only player the Wizards have scheduled for a workout for the top choice – and that will remain the case. David Falk, agent for Ohio State junior Evan Turner, said that his client would not work out for the Wizards. Falk and Turner were both in attendance at Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Boston. Falk said Turner would only work out for Philadelphia, which holds the No. 2 pick, on June 17 – the same day Wall will work out for the Wizards. Wall is currently scheduled to workout for the 76ers the day before.

HT’s TAKE: We’re still not sure this is even news. As soon as the Wizards snagged that No. 1 pick at the Draft lottery, Wall should have started house hunting in the D.C. area. The Wizards not only need a new face of the franchise, they need a potential superstar at his position. And by most estimates, Wall is the only player that fits that mold in this Draft.

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HAWKS STILL COACHLESS

Jeff Schutlz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: If general manager Rick Sund and owners were waiting on the conclusion of the Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics’ series to talk to a coach, the wait would be understandable. But there’s no indication they’re waiting to talk to an assistant on either staff (Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau already has accepted the Chicago Bulls’ job). There’s the longest of long shots that former Hawks star Glenn “Doc” Rivers could be available. But Rivers has a year left on his contract. He is likely to either return to the Celtics for one more season or take a one-to-two-year break from coaching to spend more time with his wife in Orlando. What exactly is going on now? Nobody can be certain. Avery Johnson, the strongest of the four candidates, took the New Jersey job. That leaves Minnesota assistant Dwane Casey, Hawks assistant Larry Drew and ESPN commentator Mark Jackson as the known finalists. All have been interviewed. All are waiting. It had been expected that a decision would come by this week. The lack of a decision thus far has fueled speculation in the media and among fans that Sund and owners are not in complete agreement on a choice. For the record, this is generally how things work: Sund makes a recommendation and the owners take it from there. Sund has said that ownership has accepted his recommendation in the past, such as the decisions to give Woodson a two-year contract in 2008 and the one to let him go after this season. So what do you think? Are you concerned neither franchise has a coach yet?

HT’s TAKE: Multiple sources confirmed for us Friday morning that this is a Drew-Casey debate between the front office and the owners, not a dispute between the owners, as has been reported elsewhere. The owners are in the Drew camp while Sund and his staff are steadfast about Casey being the best choice to replace Mike Woodson. Expect a resolution by the end of the weekend and an announcement on the new coach as early as Monday morning, if not sooner. The minute Avery Johnson accepted the Nets’ offer (below), the Hawks were forced to adjust their plans.

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47 Comments

  1. KILLBILL says:

    If Stoudemire wants to leave becuase he doens’t get the “Max” contract so be it. He didn’t play like the “Max” player until the last 2 1/2 months of the season. Then he didn’t show up in the playoffs all the time…play 100% and get 100% in return. I say trade him to New York and the Suns go for David Lee…throw in Leandro Barbosa as well and then the Suns should also try and go for perhaps Boozer or Bosh or a good defending SG…

  2. RALPH says:

    hi there.. my opinion was i wanna see lebron playing in chicago with derick rose.. they are a good tandem

  3. fm28 says:

    I THINK? if phoenix would sign and trade amare… it should be either w/ the bobcats gerald wallace or sixers andre igoudala but gerald wallace will be the best choice…. if not try to have lebron james w/ amare… and see what will happen… but! again its up to phoenix im a sun fan… if they get trouble on salary cap… then have gerald wallace,, if tyrus is considerable try also… amen?

  4. kenneth says:

    LEBRON AND AMARE TO NEW YORK + T-MAC

  5. yagsky says:

    how about yao ming and joe johnson in new jersey with devin harris…is there a possibility for amare to play in L.A? if i were to lebron i wiil stay in cavs but wade must move to bulls or knicks. i think bosh is not fit for lakers better for clippers….

  6. saulog says:

    LBJ – Joe Wade – Boozer & Matt Barnes to the Bulls. Imagine this line up ..

    PG – Wade
    SG – Rose
    SF – James
    PF – Barnes
    C – Boozer

    Championship right there!

    Oh and my opinion on the cavs, terminate Hickson, Gibson, West & Moon. These 4 are not playing for rings.. they’re playing for the money! Gibson doesn’t mind the bench time.. At the end of the day, $$$ still streaming into his pocket!!

  7. jinX says:

    i think that it’s better for amar’e to stay in phoenix with joe johnson..dirk might as well stay in dallas, they already have a pretty good line-up there,they just need better production from the other starters.. lebron should go to chicago with ray allen,lebron being a good penetrator would attract defense and eventually free up ray allen, joakim noah being an aggressive rebounder would give them second chances..wade i think should stay with the heat, all he needs is help, he needs to come back to heat with another scorer, maybe bosh or boozer..

  8. Jono G says:

    Wade will will stay in Mia, and hes trying to recruit other players. Riley is going to do his best to get Chris Bosh because remember thats who he originally wanted in the 2003 draft but Toronto had the pick before Miami. Bosh will fit well in Miami but they will need some clutch players like Ray Allen to spread the floor for Wade and then i can see Miami winning a championship again. but Bringing in Bosh only will not seal the deal. Wherever Lebron Decides to go the that team will automatically become a contender but LeBron needs to be more focus

  9. marc says:

    as if

  10. karwan says:

    theres no way cavs or miame can afford 2 good free agents. if anything the only teams that can afford is either new york or the bulls.

  11. yagsky says:

    it is nice to see dirk team up with nash in phoenix…..and amare with wade in miami…..bosh with lebron in cavs but i want to see all this duo to face my team LAKERS…….and shaq must end his career in L.A

    • lanz says:

      if dirk takes the place of amare it wont be soo good……dirk isnt good in pick n’ rolls ,it should be boozer…or

  12. Marcelo says:

    I think (Lebron James Should go to N.Y) and (Bosh to Miame) and ( Amre 2buzzer)…..

  13. monmon says:

    felton,bosh and james for Lakers to complete the house…

  14. Deeznuts says:

    Idgaf, as long as The Knicks get somebody and make the playoffs I’ll be happy. :)

  15. Guido says:

    Lebron is going to chi-town cause obama gets what obama wants.

  16. maximus says:

    lebron and wade in the same team in south beach!,,they can bring alot of rings!!!

  17. MARCus 18 says:

    The cavs should get either one of the 3
    1. lebron – bosh
    2. lebron – amare
    3 lebron – boozer
    I don’t know it dirk will fit with the cavs, maybe
    question is,… Is there enough salary cap for any of the 3???

  18. Gurek says:

    Lebron To NY!!!

  19. tjy says:

    i think either bosh or amare should go to miami and help dwade…lets face it…he needs a big man (jermaine oneal? haha) and lebron and joe johnson should go to chicago…. imagine this line up (rose,johnson,james,gibson,noah) and plus its economically possible for that to happen =)

  20. DUNDEAL says:

    LEBRON AND AMARE TO NEW YORK

  21. basketball says:

    LEBRON JAMES TO NETS DWAYNE WADE TO BULLS DIRK NOWITZKI TO JAZZ CHRIS BOSH TO SUNS AMAR’E STOUDEMIRE TO THUNDER JOE JOHNSON TO KNICKS CARLOS BOOZER TO HEAT

  22. AR says:

    lebron and bosh in cavs, wade and nowitzki in miami, joe and amare in suns..

  23. Jrstanley24 says:

    The bull would be make a big mistake by getting wade or born, if you sign one them to a deal your taking the ball out the best player on that team hands for the next 12 years in d rose , go sign Ray Allen and Dirk. Pick and pop with rose and dirk and ray standing open for 3s on the wing. They will get both those guys for the same money as one wade or born, the bulls NEED A BENCH, with the money you save, go get mike miller or Haywood, a soiled players, you got the best PG in the game Why mess that up

  24. Bob says:

    Lebron going to Chicago! Is this part of his drama to change his jersey # 23 to # 6 come next season? Can’t use MJ’s number there:-)

  25. MARCus 18 says:

    he NEEDS a scottie pippen to turn on when the game is on the line. not just him. Hope he stays with the cavs. The “king” and his cavaliers, thats the way

  26. MARCus 18 says:

    I want LBJ to stay with the cavs, but the cavs need to give him people that can support him in scoring, shaq is the best center before but not now. he will be a presence in the middle but not in scoring, mo and west can’t give him the points they need, he a scottie pippen to turn on when the game is on the line. not just him. Hope he stays with the cavs. The “king” and his cavaliers, thats the way it should be.

  27. zark binag says:

    it is impossible that lebron and wade would be in chicago together. wade has plans staying in miami. putting two superstars who do the same thing wont bring them a championship.

    Miami should target boozer and amare

    bosh should go to LA

    Amare should go to Miami or new york

    joe johnson would likely end up on chicago

  28. SEYKINO_514 says:

    BEST POSSIBLE TRADE EVER ….. WADE AND NOWITSKI IN THE SAME TEAM I DONT CARE WHO MOVES JUST MAKE IT HAPPEND…. THATS CHAMPIONSHIP RIGHT THERE….

  29. yagsky says:

    lebron to knicks…..wade to bulls…..nowitzki to portland……bosh to phoenix…..amare to lakers…..and joe johnson must stay to hawks.

  30. pass hiyewe says:

    I am an 100% NBA Fan and I want Bosh to along side with kobe..Thats the good way for bosh to get his ring..and wade along side with lebron and rose in chicago..this is the good opportunity for those all star free agent….

    • ohyeain urface says:

      Oh yea thats right..that would be a great trade. And how about we trade odom, fisher, bynum, and bring in chris paul, dwight howard, carmelo anthony to play for the lakers. and trade dirk to miami as well as brandon roy and with d-wade and add joe johnson and everybody can just have an all-star team. That sounds good to me…oh wait…ur Chicago team has wade….dang. Jordan had 1 other all-star on his team. well 2 including rodman lol. but I mean do we gotta give lebron james all the top-tier players in the league to win him a championship. everybody talk about how good he is but then make excuses on why he cant win a ring and want to associate the lack of talent on his team and then suggest other allstars to play with him then they will win. when if u look at it then it wont be lebron james on the court that makes the team win.

  31. celticsfan1010 says:

    Shaq is far from the best center out there…perkins is alot better….and mo williams wont be there next year…the cavs put him and delante west on the trading block

  32. Leo says:

    If Amare Stoudemire leaves Phoenix, he should go to Oklahoma City Thunder to team up with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. If Amare leaves, someone should take his place in Phoenix like Dirk Nowitzki or like David Lee. Those 2 men well become free agent

    • if dirk Nowitzki cant take amare stoudmire’s spot because Dirk is way to slow for the pick and role and the suns will not be able to score like how they did with amare and i think amare should stay because he is a perfect fit with the suns. Also if the suns get Dirk Nowitzki he will not br capable of gurding the big men like dwight and them dirk is to weak.

  33. Robert Yang says:

    hey there…..im a big NBA fan of all famous players but can i ask that is Lebron “King ” James going to be staying in cleveland or is he going to become a free agent in july?? I know that i have no reason to be asking this because Lebron is a great player and i dont want to ask him this but as in my opinion…..i would like to see lebron stay in cleveland, ohio with the cavaliers and improve because Shaq (the greatest center to me) is still going to be around playing and with Mo Williams (another great point guard) and he still has another chance for next season to show that King James can make a change and to me he is a great basketball player and he has great leadership skills towards the team and it would be different not to see my favorite basketball player Lebron James play there anymore…..but this is my opinion and i just wanted to ask how Lebron is going to decide what he is going to do…..But i want to tell or want Lebron to know…..Lebron James i believe in you and for what choice you make this summer ….your fans behind will always be there to show you our support…..LEBRON JAMES…..23…MVP…MVP…

    • Ball Boy says:

      do you really think lebron is reading your post???

    • Lebron will not stay with the caveilers because he is looking for a ring and obviesly the cavs arent ready or capable of doing this and lebron wants won because he wants to be remeberd for one of the greatest.

      • Frank says:

        Hmmm…. I’m sure that Lebron is moving to another team…. ‘coz he really want to reach his real goal. But he must to choose a best team. A team that helps him to reach his goal. It seems that there’s no change at all when Lebron is still in Cavs.

  34. […] stay on top of who is going to do what when the free agent alarm clock goes off in a few weeks. Friday’s Free-Agent Frenzy NBA.com – Sekou Smith's Hang Time Blog I get the sense that Wade wants Joe Johnson and Bosh. __________________ Nate and Big […]