From NBA.com staff reports
NBA free-agent madness doesn’t apparently take a break … even for a national holiday. The first deal on Day 4 of NBA free agency saw the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, J.R. Smith, agree to a four-year deal with the Knicks (they also brought back Pablo Prigioni on a two-year pact as well). Jazz big man Al Jefferson is headed back to the Eastern Conference for the first time since his days with the Celtics as he and the Charlotte Bobcats agreed to a three-year deal, and the Kings, Blazers and Pelicans pulled of a trade that sends former Rookie of the Year and restricted free agent Tyreke Evans to New Orleans, puts Robin Lopez in Portland and has Greivis Vasquez headed to Sacramento. And, oh yeah, the Spurs picked up Marco Belinelli and the Cavaliers helped their depth by signing ex-Lakers forward Earl Clark. Not too shabby for a supposed day off.
Gordon says he’s ‘all in’ with Pelicans
Last season, Eric Gordon and the New Orleans Pelicans (nee, Hornets) never could get off on the right foot together. Gordon was hampered early in the season as he recovered through a knee injury and dealt with a hand injury in the middle of the season as well. There was also his summer of 2012, which rubbed a lot of New Orleans supporters the wrong way. In the last offseason, he signed an offer sheet with the Phoenix Suns and declared that he wanted the Pelicans to not match the offer so he could play in Arizona. But the exact opposite happened and he endured questions all season about whether or not he was loyal to the team.
According to Yahoo!Sports’ Marc J. Spears, Gordon isn’t wavering in his commitment to the team this season and is ready to go:
The potential addition of Tyreke Evans and New Orleans’ draft night trade that landed Jrue Holiday have improved Eric Gordon’s outlook on New Orleans.
“I’m all in with the Pelicans,” said Gordon, who has been friends with Holiday and Evans since their AAU days. “It would be great if we can all play together. I would say we’d definitely have a chance to make the playoffs.”
Gordon could be part of a sign-and-trade to bring Evans to New Orleans. His high salary – he signed a $58 million deal over four seasons last summer – and knee/ankle injury woes would make him tough to deal, but the Pelicans entertained the possibility this offseason, sources said. The Kings also drafted a shooting guard in Kansas’ Ben McLemore with the seventh overall pick. While Gordon and point guard Greivis Vasquez could be candidates for a sign-and-trade, Gordon doesn’t expect that to be the case for him.
“I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent, but I do feel comfortable I am coming back,” Gordon said. “I think there is a good to great chance I will be back.”
Pistons interested in Billups reunion?
Chauncey Billups‘ repeated clutch performances in the playoffs with the Pistons in the early 2000s helped him earn the nickname “Mr. Big Shot”. But his surprising departure from the Pistons via a trade with the Nuggets two games into the 2008-09 season left Billups with a bitter taste in his mouth about the franchise he helped lift to a championship in 2004.
Apparently, some of those old wounds have healed up for Billups, who may reportedly return to the Motor City as a free agent, writes Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:
The Pistons have kept an open door with current and former players, and will explore those options next week with Jose Calderon, Will Bynum and Chauncey Billups.
Bynum has received interest from the Knicks and Chicago Bulls, and wants to be on a team that has a chance to win.
Bynum and Calderon share the same agent, while as for Billups, he and Pistons president Joe Dumars repaired their strained relationship recently, as Billups told the Detroit News this season when the Clippers made a trip to Detroit this season.
It stemmed from Billups being traded from the Pistons to the Denver Nuggets in the 2008-09 season for Allen Iverson, and although Billups is just recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered in the 2011-12 season, he still wants to play.
Apparently, Detroit is an option for Billups, who can play a mentor role for some of the young guards and still contribute timely shooting from both guard spots.
Report: Lakers, Pacers, Jazz in pursuit of Copeland
After the Knicks’ moves on Thursday to lock up Smith and Prigioni, two key contributors from last season — Kenyon Martin and Chris Copeland — remain on the open market. Copeland, in particular, has seen a spike in interest of late, with Utah, Indiana and the L.A. Lakers chasing him the most, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post:
Copeland’s agent, John Spencer didn’t rule out a return to the Knicks, but said he expects Copeland to get an offer above $1.75 million. Spencer said he spoke to Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni yesterday.
Spencer said the Lakers, Pacers and the Jazz are front-runners and even the Nuggets, where Copeland played college, are interested. The Lakers may have to wait on Dwight Howard, but have their mini mid-level. Spencer didn’t rule out the Knicks, saying Copeland could take less.