Things move fast on the free agency rumor wire.
It was just this morning when the Clippers were said to be involved in trade talks with the Raptors to deal for Andrea Bargnani, but as it turned out, the Knicks are the team that has acquired his services.
From Howard Beck of the New York Times:
[T]he Knicks are closing in on a deal to acquire Andrea Bargnani, the Toronto Raptors’ jump-shooting 7-footer, according to a person involved in the talks.
The Knicks are offering a package built around Marcus Camby, Steve Novak and two future draft picks, one in the first round and one in the second. Several teams have pursued Bargnani, but the Knicks have emerged as the “strong favorites” to land him, and a handshake deal could come soon, the person said.
The Times updated the initial report to say that the trade has been agreed upon by the two teams, and is awaiting approval from the league office.
The future first round pick is the painful part of this deal for the Knicks, even though Bargnani — with his remaining salary and recent injury history — is an underwhelming free agent choice in and of itself.
While the teams may have changed since this morning, the facts on Bargnani have not. He is owed close to $23 million over the next two years, and has only managed to appear in a total of 66 games over the last two seasons due to injury.
It’s worth noting that the reigning Executive of the Year in Masai Ujiri just took over the operations in Toronto, and the fact that he may be able to squeeze draft picks out of anyone for an albatross like Bargnani should be commended — but it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.
The Wizards are getting a new practice facility.
For some reason, the Wizards have to pay just $4.46 million for it. Washington D.C. will cover the rest.
How much is the rest?
Jonathan O’Connell of The Washington Post:
The District”s sports and convention arm, Events DC, is proposing a series of upgrades to a planned Washington Wizards practice facility and entertainment center in Southeast that would likely reduce the total number of seats but add $10 million to the original $55 million price tag.
The new spending would be paid for by Events DC, which is funded by a percentage of hotel occupancy taxes. It does not require approval by the D.C. Council but will have to be voted on by the Events DC board Aug. 11.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis pledged to move the team’s practices there as well as home games for the Washington Mystics and a future Wizards’ NBA D-League affiliate team. His company, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, agreed to pay $4.46 million — or 8 percent of the original $55 million cost.
But in a July 26 letter to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive of Events DC, wrote that the original $55 million budget was “based on a preliminary estimate, as development and analysis of the program and concept design had not yet been performed.”
So, the District agreed to pay for a project without knowing how much it would cost and got the primary beneficiary — Leonsis — to kick in a share based on a low early estimate? It’s almost as if politicians are inept or have ulterior motives.
At least Wizards practices and WNBA games will bring plenty of new money into the community.
As Leonsis said, “There’s never been a better time to be an owner of an NBA franchise.”