Miami Heat v New York Knicks

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


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.

Report: Sixers’ Jahlil Okafor to be shadowed by security guard now

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
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In the run-up to the NBA Draft, there were no questions — at least publicly — about Jahlil Okafor‘s character. But of late there has been a run or incidents since then: He allegedly had a gun pulled on him outside a club in October; in November he was ticketed for driving more than 100 mph on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge; then he had an altercation with a guy outside a club in Boston that the police in that city are now investigating.

Okafor publicly apologized for the incidents. Multiple times.

The Sixers are making sure a security guard follows Okafor around when he steps out now, reports Chris Broussard at ESPN.

After being involved recently in a few embarrassing and potentially dangerous off-the-court incidents, Philadelphia 76ers star rookie Jahlil Okafor will now be accompanied by a security guard whenever he goes out, according to league sources.

The request for security came from Okafor’s handlers, who asked the 76ers to make a security guard available to their first-round draft pick out of Duke. The Sixers did not return a phone call seeking comment, but two sources said the club will honor the request.

Earlier in the day a source had wondered to John Gonzalez of why there wasn’t already security around the young core of the team when they went out.

Another front office member for another team questioned “why the Sixers won’t surround those guys with security.”

“Damn near every team does that,” the executive said, “especially with their top guys. I guess the Sixers know more than everyone else again.”

The Sixers head of security is supposed to be notified when players went out. Apparently that was not happening.

Okafor is 19, has money, and (at the very least) is putting himself in situations where bad things are more likely to occur.

We all made a lot of mistakes at that age, maybe not as potentially serious, but the bottom line is 19-year-olds don’t make good decisions. This is a Sixers team lacking in veteran leadership in the locker room, and while it’s debatable how much that would help in the wee small hours of the morning when Okafor seems to find trouble, it couldn’t hurt.

This is a smart move by Okafor’s friends/posse/handlers/whatever you call them. Get in his face now, tell him he can lose a fan base whether he’s scoring 17.5 points a game a night or not. Tell him to grow up. Then have someone around him to make sure he does the right thing (or those looking to draw him into trouble are kept away).

Watch Rasheed Wallace hit two simultaneous three pointers, one with with each hand

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
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Ball don’t lie.

The ball has always loved Rasheed Wallace, and that hasn’t changed since he stopped playing in the NBA. Check out this shot, courtesy Brandon Jennings.

I love everything about this, including the fact Sheed’s wearing the same thing he wore around the NBA for years. I love that Wallace is still a trick shot master, just like always.

(Hat tip to Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie.)

Kobe Bryant went from DeMar DeRozan’s idol to his friend

Kobe Bryant, DeMar DeRozan
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TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan was 16 when he was invited to Kobe Bryant‘s camp for the top 25 American high school shooting guards.

A friendship grew between the youngster who would become an All-Star for the Toronto Raptors and the player who would become the third-leading scorer in NBA history.

DeRozan talked at length Sunday night about Bryant, who announced on The Players’ Tribune that he’ll retire after the season, capping a 20-year NBA career.

“The knowledge that he tended to give me every time I got the chance to be around him, especially at a young age, carrying over to the league, it was definitely an honor,” DeRozan said after the Raptors’ 107-102 loss Sunday night to Phoenix. “I tried to listen as much as possible, soak in as much as I could all of the time. It’s crazy how much time flies.”

Bryant was DeRozan’s favorite player while growing up in Compton, Calif.

“I’ve tried to emulate and learn so much from him ever since I was a kid, watching every single game growing up in Los Angeles, having a chance to get with him and learn from him, from conversations even when I was in high school from playing against him, completing against him, being in big games with him,” said DeRozan, who scored 29 points in Sunday’s loss. “It’s definitely a sad, sad day, but he’s been in the game a long time.”

Bryant’s announcement came just before the Lakers’ game against the visiting Indiana Pacers. Fans at the game received a letter of thanks from the 37-year-old player in a black envelope embossed with gold.

Bryant has struggled mightily with injuries the past several years, and is shooting a career-worst 32 percent this season.

“It don’t matter. That man has five rings, 17 all-stars, MVP,” DeRozan said. “There’s nothing he hasn’t done. It’s just father time catching up with him, injuries catching up with him this past year. People will appreciate it when he’s away from the game.”

DeRozan has his favorite Kobe memory – Bryant scoring 81 points against Toronto in 2006. DeRozan, who would join the Raptors as a rookie three years later, said he felt as if he was playing a video game watching the high-scoring spectacle unfold on TV.

DeRozan is in his seventh season with Toronto. He can’t imagine playing 20 years.

“Especially playing at a high level, doing the things he was doing … people don’t understand how hard that is,” DeRozan said. “Even now, a lot of us find ourselves tired (on) back-to-backs. It’s tough. It’s really tough. To do it 20 years at a high level, you have to give that man every credit in the world.”

Hornets’ Al Jefferson out 2-3 weeks with strained calf

Al Jefferson
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The Hornets have been playing well of late, going 7-3 in their last 10 and outscoring opponents by 6.3 points per 100 possessions. They are solidly in the playoff picture out East, in the six slot right now.

This is not going to help matters.

The team announced that an MRI confirmed center Al Jefferson will be out two to three weeks with a strained left calf muscle, suffered during Charlotte’s 87-82 win over Milwaukee on Sunday.

Jefferson missing a few weeks due to injury at some point during the season is an annual event, like the Rose Parade or the Head of the Charles Regatta — but this year the Hornets are better prepared to deal with it. This is the deepest Charlotte team in recent memory.

Tyler Hansbrough, Cody Zeller, and Frank Kaminsky will get more run — plus Spencer Hawes may be back in the rotation — and if they can step up the Hornets will not slow down much.

This season the Hornets defense has been downright stingy when Jefferson is on the bench, giving up 94.2 points per 100 possessions (which is 10 better than when he is on the court). However, the Hornet offense and rebounding efforts are stronger when he plays.