From NBA.com staff reports
Like most folks in the U.S. today in regards to their jobs, Dwight Howard is taking July Fourth off to enjoy the holiday (and continue pondering where he’ll sign as a free agent). Dwight’s decision remains the No. 1 domino yet to fall in free agency, but each day, a couple of smaller ones continue to fall. Wednesday was no different as we saw Manu Ginobili go the Chris Paul route in two ways: he’s staying with his own team and he broke the news of the move via Twitter. Wonder if Howard will do the same thing? Kyle Korver is sticking with the Hawks for another four years while O.J. Mayo has decided the land of bratwurst and beer is for him as he’s reportedly headed to the Bucks. We’re not expecting a lot of free-agency moves today with it being a holiday and all, but here’s the latest overnight buzz on what may happen soon:
Report: Kings won’t match Evans’ offer sheet from Pelicans
Apparently, Tyreke Evans is going to get his wish.
The former Rookie of the Year winning guard who wanted a change of scenery is all-but certain to go to New Orleans as Sacramento is ready to let him take the $44 million offer sheet from the Pelicans without matching it. Instead, the Kings are trying to work out a sign-and-trade deal with the Pelicans that would send Greivis Vasquez and Robin Lopez to California’s capital city. Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee has more:
The Kings will not match the four-year, $44 million offer sheet that Tyreke Evans has agreed to sign with the New Orleans Pelicans. According to sources close to the situation, the new Kings management group instead is hoping to close Thursday on a sign-and-trade agreement involving Pelicans point guard Greivis Vasquez and backup center Robin Lopez.
No deals can be finalized until July 10.
Because Evans, the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year, is a restricted free agent, the Kings have the right to match any offer he receives in the open market. However, team officials reportedly believe the offer is excessive and would damage the team’s long-term salary cap flexibility. They pulled their four-year, $52 million offer to free agent Andre Iguodala Tuesday when the Denver Nuggets swingman refused to make a firm commitment.
Evans’ future with the Kings became less certain when the club selected Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore last Thursday in the NBA Draft. Evans, who was shifted from point guard to small forward, and most recently, shooting guard, averaged 15.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season.
Smith back in fold with Knicks
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year, J.R. Smith, is apparently off the open market.
The venerable Frank Isola of the New York Daily News broke the news today that Smith and the Knicks have agreed to a four-year deal, which was later confirmed by both the New York Times, the New York Post and other outlets.
Smith, who was the Knicks’ second-leading scorer a season ago, closed in on a deal with New York yesterday — so says Smith’s father, Earl. New York reportedly gave him a four-year, $24.7 million deal, which Marc Berman of the New York Post details, most of which come almost exclusively from the elder Smith:
The Knicks and Smith were “discussing’’ contract terms last night after none of the current offers on the table bowled Smith over, according to an NBA source.
But Earl Smith, J.R. Smith’s father, made it clear to The Post Smith still could change his mind if a new whopping offer comes down the pike tomorrow. That seems unlikely at this point.
Earl Smith also said any deal can’t be finalized today because the lawyers won’t be available on the July 4 holiday.
“I’m a diehard Knick fan, but I want to see my son get justice,’’ Earl Smith said last night. “We know the Knicks only have so much money because of early-Bird rights. But if some team offers a crazy amount of money, like $10 million per, he’ll probably go there. We’ll see what happens. He’s not signing yet.’’
Two of his suitors, the Rockets and Mavericks, are waiting to see if they will land Dwight Howard before making an offer for Smith tomorrow. The Rockets were considering a four-year package for Smith. There is no state income tax in Texas.
Earl Smith said another team’s offer has to be significantly higher than what the Knicks can offer. That is because Smith is sincere in wanting to stay in his hometown. He also wants to play with his brother, point guard Chris Smith, who will be on the Knicks summer league team and assuredly be given a roster spot if he shows no ill effects from left knee surgery. Chris Smith changed agents late this season, going with J.R.’s agent, Leon Rose, as part of an unofficial package deal.
Milwaukee had Smith high on its list, but yesterday instead signed shooting guard O.J. Mayo. The Bucks got rebuffed by Kyle Korver and might be the team that extended Smith an offer that wasn’t spellbinding.
The Pistons, who are in the hunt for Andre Iguodala and Josh Smith, showed minimal interest as did Charlotte and Phoenix.
Bobcats continue to court Jefferson
After Howard and injured-but-talented ex-Sixers center Andrew Bynum, former Jazz center Al Jefferson may be the most offensively talented center on the free-agent market. At different times last season, the Bobcats trotted out Byron Mullens, Brendan Haywood, Josh McRoberts and others as their starting center as Charlotte struggled through yet another NBA campaign. It’s understandable, then, that Charlotte remains hot on Jefferson’s trail, tweets Chris Broussard of ESPN.com:
Pistons trying to deal for Rondo?
A day after reports surfaced of the Pistons trying to pull off a trade with the Raptors for Rudy Gay, another rumor is circulating that Detroit is after Boston point guard Rajon Rondo, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com:
Report: Bulls’ Rose pushing for Blazers’ Aldridge?
If you missed Derrick Rose‘s interview with BullsTV that dropped yesterday, do yourself a quick favor and watch it. Rose provides some great insight into why he was so rarely seen last season and says that even after all this time recovering from his knee injury, he still has work to do to be ready for 2013-14.
The Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson wrote about the interview and particularly the relationship Rose shares with coach Tom Thibodeau. But check out the following interesting nugget in Johnson’s story about how Rose has been pushing to get a certain All-Star big man from Portland to the Windy City:
And sources said the Bulls continue to rebuff attempts by the shared agency of Rose and LaMarcus Aldridge to bring the Trail Blazers’ All-Star forward to Chicago. Sources said the Bulls have been unwilling to discuss a deal of Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler for Aldridge.