After Midnight Free-Agent Madness

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Who’s waiting on Dwight Howard?

Not the Detroit Pistons, who have bypassed the Howard free agency sweepstakes for a chance to snag Josh Smith, the versatile forward who ranks as the hottest commodity on the market not named Howard in the first hour since free agency began at 12:01 a.m. ET.

Pistons boss Joe Dumars and his brain trust met with Smith and his camp shortly after midnight with the sides discussing a significant four-year deal that would see Smith join an already impressive young frontcourt group that includes Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

The Pistons would be the “surprise” team mentioned at the bottom of this report from Sunday morning and per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who highlights the Hawks’ willingness to work a sign-and-trade deal for Smith rather than re-signing him themselves.

Anything is possible now that we have crossed the threshold into what some folks like to call the NBA’s silly season.

Only in the minutes immediately after midnight do we find out that a guy like Chase Budinger, a fine player, could end up being targeted by more teams than a player the likes of Al Jefferson.

Crazy season is more like it.


Howard, meanwhile, is forcing teams to pull out all of the stops to try to get him to do what Clippers point Chris Paul will do the moment he receives the teams offer of a five-year, $107 million deal (per , and that’s make a verbal commitment to stick around.

The Rockets showed up with a contingent that was reportedly 10 deep, including Hall of Fame big man icon and tutor Hakeem Olajuwon, as well as current stars James Harden and Chandler Parsons, coach Kevin McHale and Rockets owner Les Alexander, among others. If you’re going to show up for a recruiting pitch you might as well do it with The Dream in tow if you are Rockets. Plus, you know how Rockets GM Daryl Morey rolls, he’ll take to the Twitter streets if need be to help make his case …

Dirk Nowitzki has already done his due diligence for the Dallas Mavericks, as’s Fran Blinebury pointed out over the weekend.

The Lakers will get a boost from Kobe Bryant, per Ramona Shelburne of, who reports that Kobe plans to dust off his recruiting skills on Tuesday, when the Lakers are scheduled to sit down and make their final pitch to Howard. Shelburne suggested that the Lakers will also get another boost from none other than Phil Jackson, who weighed in on the Howard situation in his own, unique way:

One person who will not be there is former coach Phil Jackson, who left for his summer home in Montana on Sunday, according to sources.

Jackson though, delivered a message to Howard via Twitter before he hit the road.

“I’m going up to the country going to paint my mailbox blue,” Jackson tweeted to Howard, referencing the lyrics from an old Taj Mahal song. “While i’m there I expect to see you get on board tis ur place.”

Not to be outdone, the Golden State Warriors are showing up with a living legend of their own for their meeting with Howard. Warriors consultant Jerry West is expected to be in attendance when the Bay Area contingent tries to convince Howard to stay in-state, per Sam Amick of USA Today Sports:


While the Lakers are trying to make sure Howard isn’t the second franchise center that vacates the premises in the last year, joining Andrew Bynum, the former heir apparent to the franchise’s Hall of Fame big man legacy, is trying to rebuild his credibility around the league.

Rebuilding his reputation, however, will not include Bynum working out for teams, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, who ranks Bynum ninth on his list of the most coveted free agents of this summer:

Bynum’s agent, David Lee, said his Bynum will begin training in July in Atlanta in preparation for next season after completing his rehabilitation from knee surgery. The knee injury caused Bynum to miss the entire 2012-13 season with the Sixers. Lee said there are a “half-dozen teams” interested in Bynum and they will be given MRI and other needed medical reports. Bynum, however, will not work out for teams. If Bynum, 25, were healthy, he’d probably rank third on this list. The problem: He’s rarely healthy. New Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie didn’t express strong enthusiasm toward Bynum during his introductory news conference, saying he viewed Bynum just like “the thousands of other young men walking around the world that are unrestricted free agents that have potential to play NBA basketball.” The Sixers also acquired the rights to Kentucky center Nerlens Noel on draft night.


The Mavericks and Hawks are keen on adding a player like Bucks guard Monta Ellis, who Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports points out, is prepared to do what it takes to finally play for an outfit that wins big:

The Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks — both teams with significant salary cap space — are two teams who have shown strong interest in Ellis and two teams Ellis has an interest in, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of Ellis’ situation.

They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about free agents.

Ellis is also at the point in his career where he wants to play deep into the playoffs. Other teams have shown interest — such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks — but those teams are handcuffed by salary cap restrictions and would need to make other moves in order to accommodate Ellis, who is willing to find common ground between salary and playing for a contender.


So says a league exec to’s Marc Stein:

It makes sense, given Korver’s history with Nets GM Billy King (dating back to their Philadelphia days) and Deron Williams (dating back to their Utah days).

The Nets will need quality veteran help at the right price. They’ll also need guys who are willing to sacrifice certain things to play on a team and in a system that has yet to be defined under new coach Jason Kidd.

Korver has been that type of guy in every stop of his career.


All-Star power forward David Lee could very well be on the move, if the Warriors are serious about doing whatever it takes to make a move this summer.

Woj reports that the Warriors are strictly in the exploratory stage of the process right now, but if they’ve gone there, it’s not far-fetched to imagine they’d be willing to go all the way for the right prize:

Lee, 30, is a popular and well-respected player within the Golden State franchise but his contract is considerable, and moving him for a star – or a player on a shorter deal – makes financial sense.

Golden State offered Lee in a package for Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani, sources said, but the Raptors made a deal with the New York Knicks to shed the final two years, $22.5 million on Bargnani’s contract.

The Warriors tried to pry Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge as part of an offer that included Brandon Rush, league sources said. Portland has been engaging trade talks for Aldridge, but has pursued more robust offers than Golden State’s proposal, sources said.


Stein reports that Tyreke Evans joining Jrue Holiday in New Orleans could be a possibility if the Pelicans nailed their pitch:

We’re only two hours into what could be an absolutely crazy free agent summer of 2013. Nary a major deal has been agreed upon, as of this moment. But stay tuned. Things could change in an instant.


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  3. B Radd says:

    I aggree, Holiday is really all they need as of now. A Paul Millsap will also beef up the Pelican’s frontline and add depth. If their seriously looking to make a playoff birth, go for Jefferson or even trade Rivers for Omer Asik.

  4. green says:

    I would not pick this guy cux he will leave anyway

  5. jmac32 says:

    In honor of the draft, take a look at the 1999 NBA Draft here!!

  6. natan says:

    howard doesnt fit with lakers

  7. HeatSince95' says:

    “His Bynum will begin training?” loooool Everyone should just start training their Bynums.

  8. pythium says:

    can’t the knicks try and sign CP3 by trading amare to another team?

  9. Tomasz says:

    ‘Whose’? Seriously, Sekou?? Good post anyway..

  10. CavsFan says:

    Don’t get why Detroit would sign Smoove when Andre Drummond and Monroe are gonna be beastin in a couple of years. Hope Pistons have fun watching the guy jack up crazy jumpers for the next few years if they do sign him

  11. steppx says:

    why is Budinger being more sought after than Jefferson strange? Who wants a lead footed black hole who wont play defense. ???? Sekou is so weird………..jefferson is a stiff, and has been for years. Budinger on the other hand can shoot, is smart, and well liked. But mostly, he can shoot. Jefferson does one thing, and ignores 80% of the rest of the game of basketball.

  12. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    Lakers are much better off without Howard. I feel sorry for any team that gets Howard. The Lakers need to get Kobe a wingman like Josh Smith or Iguodala, and sign an affordable point guard like Bledsoe to give Nash less minutes, or in case Nash gets injured at any time throughout the season. Also they need an affordable Big man to replace Howard like DeAndre Jordan or Perkins.

  13. natan says:

    he should stay

  14. J says:

    crazy summer for sure i bet ya……… thoughts

    dwight to rockets makes sence
    bynum will not get a max deal only a desperate team will offer that
    monta and evans want to win go somewhere that wins
    korver deal makes sence
    and the david lee trade is a little questionable cause he is a great player and reliable player maybe they are making a move on d12 that will be risky

    keep the whacky, crazy, wierdand shocker deals coming nba teams!!!

    great article!!!

  15. Steph says:

    Please don’t let Tyreke to the Pelicans, which by the way is the absolute dumbest name for a sports team that can exist.
    I would love to see Dwight to the Rockets and Josh Smith to the Celtics.

    • louie says:

      I would rather b a pelican than a brown or a jazz or a laker by the pacific ocean or a buck in a hunting state. Pelicans r tough carniverous birds. Try n shoo one away WITHOUT a tennis racket n see what happens. You will lose an eye

  16. Grapefruit juice says:

    Why Golden State would do such a stupid thing as acquiring Howard and moving Lee?
    They already have playoff-level center – Bogut and Lee has proven his value throughout the season.
    I hope these are just rumors.

  17. makran says:

    LOL this Nets have their pieces for larry O’brien next season, having Korver and Terry off the bench is quite deadly outside, it all now depends on the health of this old stars…

    • louie says:

      The only thing deadlier than korver n terry are their oppenents taking it to the rack BC they are either slow or short. Lol
      Chicago in 14

  18. hmmm…if dwight and smith ever end up in the same team with harden…this is gonna be sooo interesting in the east

  19. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Yes, Rivers is an amazing NBA coach. However, I wouldn’t jump the gun. Adding Rivers does not suddenly make the Clippers a West Conference contender. Sorry. CP3 knows this.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      He probably wants to leave boring LA to join up with Championship-caliber OKC Thunder! This way: CP3 won’t feel guilty about leaving if Clippers added Doc Rivers. He doesn’t want to just leave them hanging.

  20. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Chris Paul will be a FOOL if he stays in L.A. If he does, it’ll likely be another first-round ousting. If he joins the Thunder, they will win the 2014 NBA Championship and probably the next TEN NBA Championships. 🙂

  21. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    The fact that Chris Paul hasn’t re-signed yet proves he will test the FA market.

    If he was really committed to Doc Rivers’ Clippers, he would have already re-signed by now.

    What is he waiting for? July 1st? July 10th? Augest 1st?

    Let’s stop the mindgames and offbeat shennanigans. If CP3 is SMART, he will leave LA to join the OKC Thunder. If he wants multiple Championships, OKC is the best place for him. Simple. Start Chris Paul at PG and move Westbrook to start at SG.

  22. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Expected to verbally agree to re-sign? Hahaha! Chris Paul is going to test FA MARKET!!!!!!!

    • reports say he doesn’t want to go to any other team…he wants to stay in “LOB CITY” lol…like hes gonna win any championships there…he’ll regret staying in LA lol

      • B Radd says:

        I know lol… can’t believe lol. lol what’s he thinkin’ lol with Blake and DeAndre lol. Obviously lol he should think it through lol. CP3 should look to at least lol to add Andre lol Iguodala onto the roster lol lol lol. Or even Ben Gordon for range lol, lol lol

    • IM back bro says:

      statistically…chris paul is the best PG los angeles has ever had. No-magic johson doesnt count cause he was a worthless center who lagged behind hurt ramsepll. CP3 BEST PG OF ALL TIME!!!