Miami Heat v New York Knicks

Where do we stand with NBA’s top 50 free agents? An update.

40 Comments

We are just four days into free agency now and it has started to feel like the lightning round. Everything came quickly.

That may slow down a little for a few days. Until the top two guys on this list make their decisions things will bottleneck a little, teams looking at the second tier of players will wait. Just in case. Some role players will agree to terms, but the top guys and the teams chasing them will wait.

Let’s use this little pause and the Fourth of July to take stock of where we stand. Below is an update on our top 50 free agents list, and where each guy stands right now.

1. LeBron James: Unsigned. His agent has conducted meetings (Cavaliers, Rockets, Mavericks, Suns, Lakers) but LeBron has been on vacation. Nobody really thinks he leaves Miami, but if Pat Riley can’t get some help fairly soon… things could get interesting.

2. Carmelo Anthony: Unsigned. Met with the Bulls, Rockets, Mavericks, Lakers and Knicks. He wanted to be wanted, he got that. He’s expected to make his decision early next week (and most observers think he stays in New York).

3. Chris Bosh: Unsigned. Expected to take a pay cut to stay in Miami, but if LeBron bolts he has options.

4. Dirk Nowitzki: Reached three-year, $30 million deal with Mavericks. As expected, he took the Tim Duncan discount deal.

5. Eric Bledsoe: Unsigned. Remember he’s a restricted free agent, no offers trying to poach him from Phoenix. Yet.

6. Kyle Lowry: Reached four-year, $48 million deal with Raptors. The Raptors came at him hard to keep him and showed how much they wanted him with cash. That’s always nice.

7. Greg Monroe: Unsigned. He’s a restricted free agent, no offers yet, that is likely to change once the LeBron/‘Melo signings happen.

8. Chandler Parsons: Unsigned. Same as above, he’s a restricted free agent, no offers yet, that is likely to change once the LeBron/‘Melo signings happen.

9. Lance Stephenson: Unsigned. The Pacers offered him five-years, $44 million, and he thought that too low. But nobody else has yet stepped up to beat it. Stephenson is learning how much those antics during the playoffs cost him.

10. Dwyane Wade: Unsigned. Also willing to take a pay cut in Miami but no deal yet as the we all wait for the LeBron domino to fall.

11. Gordon Hayward: Unsigned. He met with the Cavaliers and is hoping someone signs him to an offer sheet — he’s a restricted free agent and the Jazz are expected to match any offer.

12. Luol Deng: Unsigned. Another guy with multiple suitors — Atlanta, the Clippers would like to talk to him — but it may be after Anthony signs that his interest from teams really picks up on

13. Marcin Gortat: Reached five-year, $60 million deal with Washington Wizards. The money isn’t out of line with what other big men get in the NBA, but the full five years was a surprise.

14. Pau Gasol: Unsigned. Interest is warming up for him from the teams missing out on ‘Melo. The Bulls, Heat, Lakers, Spurs, Thunder all have interest in him.

15. Channing Frye: Unsigned.

16. Isaiah Thomas: Unsigned. With Kings signing Darren Collison it appears Thomas is on his way out of Sacramento.

17. Trevor Ariza: Unsigned. Wizards considered the frontrunners but interest is heating up.

18. Avery Bradley: Reached four years, $32 million deal with Celtics. He’s staying in Boston.

19. Paul Pierce: Unsigned. Clippers pitched Nets a sign-and-trade, that died quickly.

20. Boris Diaw: Unsigned.

21. Andray Blatche: Unsigned.

22. Nick Young: Unsigned.

23. Shaun Livingston: Reached three year, $16.6 million deal with Golden State Warriors. He’ll come off the bench behind Stephen Curry but he will get lots of minutes.

24. Vince Carter: Unsigned.

24. Rodney Stuckey: Unsigned.

26. Darren Collison: Reached three three-year, $16 million with Kings. The Kings didn’t want to overpay Isaiah Thomas so they went out and got another point guard.

27. Greivis Vasquez: Unsigned.

28. Josh McRoberts: Unsigned.

29. Ray Allen: Unsigned.

30. Shawn Marion: Unsigned.

31. Anthony Morrow: Unsigned. Miami and Oklahoma City among the teams interested.

32. Spencer Hawes: Agreed to four-year, $23 million deal with Los Angeles Clippers. He is a huge upgrade for the Clippers off the bench (remember Ryan Hollins and Glen Davis were their bigs off the bench last season).

33. Chris Andersen: Unsigned.

34. Thabo Sefolosha: Reaches three-year, $12 million deal with Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta sees him as a Spurs-style reclamation project — if they can help get his three point shot back they have a “3 and D” guy to plug in.

35. Glen Davis: Unsigned.

36. Danny Granger: Unsigned.

37. Marvin Williams: Unsigned.

38. Patty Mills: Reached three-year, $12 million deal with San Antonio. He is out until January (at least) following shoulder surgery, but the Spurs wanted to keep the Australian pint guard.

39. Jodie Meeks: Reached three-year, $18 million deal with Detroit. One of the surprises of free agency, not that the Pistons picked him up (they could use his shooting), but at that price? That is over-paying Meeks.

40. P.J. Tucker: Unsigned.

41. Evan Turner: Unsigned.

42. Mario Chalmers: Unsigned.

43. Xavier Henry: Unsigned.

44. Jerryd Bayless: Unsigned.

45. Ramon Sessions: Unsigned.

46. Steve Blake: Unsigned.

47. C.J. Miles: Reached four-year, $18 million deal with Indiana. The Pacers have been trying to add shooting, they got it.

48. Mike Miller: Unsigned.

49. Jordan Hill: Unsigned.

50. Caron Butler: Unsigned.

Drake to introduce players for All-Star Game Sunday

Drake stands in front of Canada's bench before the Celebrity Game, part of NBA basketball's All-Star weekend, in Toronto on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)
Associated Press
Leave a comment

You knew Canadian hip-hop star Drake was going to be involved directly in the All-Star Game in a way more than just having his back-and-gold OVO owl gear sold at the Air Canada Centre. Now we know how.

Drake will introduce the NBA All-Star players Sunday.

Drake has experience with this, he has introduced the Raptors — for whom he is a “global ambassador” — before.

This works for me. However, just to be clear, Drake is going to be introducing the players and Sting will headline the halftime show Sunday. Because nothing says NBA and millennials like “Fields of Gold.”

LeBron James says he’s undecided on 2016 Rio Olympics

US forward LeBron James celebrates after
1 Comment

TORONTO — LeBron James has played in three Olympics, won two gold medals (and a bronze), and has done his duty representing his country internationally.

But it’s why he might skip this summer’s Rio Olympics that turned heads in the last couple days — he is reportedly pissed that Kobe Bryant will not be making his farewell with another gold on the international stage.

As you might expect, LeBron was asked about that during All-Star media day Friday in Toronto. Also, as you might expect, he dodged the question, saying he doesn’t know what he’s going to do this summer.

“Well, for me, I haven’t quite decided if I’m on the fence of going or not,” LeBron said. “But I’ve always loved representing my country. I’ve been playing in the Olympic games since 2004. So, no, I haven’t made a decision yet.”

My guess is LeBron’s body would love him to take the summer off — he’s played in five straight Finals with an Olympics in that mix — but his brand managers (and Nike) would love to see him play.

With him, the USA will win a gold medal. Without him, the USA will win the gold medal. The Americans are clear and away the best team in the world and only they can beat themselves. LeBron’s leadership can help make sure that happens, but it’s not required.

In the end, LeBron needs to do what’s required to bring a championship “to the ‘Land.” The playoffs, and how he feels after them, will likely determine where LeBron is in early August more than anything else.

Jerry Colangelo: Don’t be surprised if Sixers add more voices, experience to front office

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 7: Jerry Colangelo (R) is introduced as special advisor to managing general partner and chairman of basketball operations for the Philadelphia 76ers by general manager Sam Hinkie (L) and owner Joshua Harris (M) on December 7, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Getty Images
4 Comments

TORONTO — Everyone wants to be like the Golden State Warriors. Jerry Colangelo, the Chairman of Basketball Operations for the Philadelphia 76ers, wants his Sixers to be more like the Warriors, too.

Not on the court in style of play (although he’d like all those wins). He means in the front office.

The Warriors front office is a place where a diversity of opinions — from the legendary Jerry West to assistant GM Kirk Lacob, through the analytics team, and on down the line — debate everything with each other and GM Bob Myers. Every idea is welcome, but you need to defend it. Out of those sometimes fierce debates has come an NBA championship roster.

That’s what Colangelo wants to bring to Philadelphia.

“(Golden State) proves the point,” Colangelo said after a ceremony the naming of the Hall of Fame Finalists Friday in Toronto. “If you have the right mix of people you can have a collaborative effort because people respect one another, and usually that comes from people who have had experience, who’ve been around the track. You add all of that to the mix and it could work.”

The Sixers may be looking to add experience and voices, Colangelo admitted, while not saying specifically what that would mean for analytics-driven GM Sam Hinkie’s role.

I think that any time you have an opportunity to enhance your organization, and you bring people in to accomplish that, you consider it. Big time. You really do,” Colangelo said. “And I think in our case we have a very bright young guy in Sam Hinkie, who holds the title of president and GM, and in his space he’s really strong. One could build a case for saying you’d like to have more people added who have experience in other aspects of those jobs. That’s the kind of conversation that’s going on. 

“The first step was me being asked to come in, because of my experience, to maybe help and add to the mix. And the question you’re asking is, ‘is there a need or requirement for someone else?’ Maybe. Probably. That’s all being discussed….

“I’m just saying adding people to the front office. And that’s not demeaning who we have. You want to be strong. If your goal is you want to be in the Finals… you have to take all the steps required to become that. I’d like to hear people say ‘they’ve got the strongest front office in the league.’ That’s a goal. That’s an objective. So it’s going to require more people to make that happen. That’s all.”

This doesn’t mean the Sixers will completely abandon Hinkie’s draft-for-the-future plan — they likely will have three, maybe four, first round picks this season, and multiple ones next season as well. The Sixers aren’t going to just trade those away to become average. That’s not smart. But they have already shown how some experienced, veteran players on the court — Ish Smith, in particular – can lead to significant improvement.

The goal is to do the same with their front office.

That style of management — listening to a diversity of opinions and voices — can certainly work, not just in basketball but in any business. However, at the end of the day, someone has coalesced those voices and have the hammer to make a decision based on those debates.

“If there’s a pecking order, it’s going to start with ownership and it’s going to funnel down,” Colangelo said.

The question is who Sixers owner Joshua Harris gives the hammer to? Colangelo seems to have it now.

Bottom line is expect more changes in the Sixers front office.

“I don’t think we’re where we might be six months from now. I don’t know,” Colangelo said.

C.J. McCollum to replace Chris Bosh in three-point contest

PORTLAND, OR - FEBRUARY 10:  C.J. McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots against Jason Terry #31 of the Houston Rockets on February 10, 2016 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Leave a comment

TORONTO — Portland’s C.J. McCollum was joking with the media Friday when asked who he thought would win the All-Star Saturday three-point contest.

“Not me, since I wasn’t selected for it… I’m really disappointed right now,” McCollum said, then started laughing.

Now McCollum can pick himself — he’s in the competition.

Miami’s Chris Bosh has pulled out of Sunday’s All-Star Game and Saturday’s three-point contest due to a strained calf muscle. Al Horford of Atlanta will replace him in the main event Sunday.

McCollum is in for the three-point contest (he was already in town to compete in the skills competition that evening). McCollum is shooting 39.2 percent from threes this season and has made 125 of them, ninth-most in the league.

But he knows he’s in for stiff competition in the three-point contest with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, J.J. Redick and a host of other sharpshooters.

“No, it’s a tough field,” McCollum said  “You look at JJ [Redick], you look at Steph, two really good shooters. [Redick] jumps really high. I don’t know if he’s going to change his shot. Steph [Curry] has a shot he can use and a quick release. Who else is in it? Bosh, [Khris] Middleton, [James] Harden, Klay [Thompson]. Klay has a good jumper. I think him, Middleton, those guys that don’t jump as high they have a good advantage.”