Author: Kurt Helin

Dallas Mavericks v New Orleans Pelicans

It’s only a phone call, but Lakers reportedly talk to Rajon Rondo

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So far, the only serious suitor Rajon Rondo has seen in the wake of his disastrous time in Dallas has been the Sacramento Kings. And after talking to Rondo and hearing his requests, the Kings decided to try and overpay both Monta Ellis and Wesley Matthews. (To no avail, Ellis is headed to Indiana and Matthews to Dallas.)

But Rondo’s phone has rung again — the Lakers have touched base, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

I don’t think we can say enough, this is just a phone call. It is nothing more than that right now.

The Lakers have two potentially very good young guards in Jordan Clarkson and the just drafted D’Angelo Russell. While the Lakers keep selling fans on speeding up the rebuild process by landing a superstar, the team remains on track to put together the kind of talented young roster that in a couple years could be attractive to those kinds of free agents. (Although, trading away their pick for next season in the Steve Nash deal certainly slows things down.)

I’m not sure bringing in Rondo helps that process. He and Kobe Bryant may get along because they are both uber competitive, but Rondo’s lack of a reliable jump shot has made him defendable, and his defense is good but not as good as its reputation. Look at it this way: During the playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks had better numbers when Raymond Felton was on the court than Rondo.

I don’t think the Lakers are all that serious here. That said, if they could get Rondo on a short deal for less than $7 million a season, they might think about it.

Report: Wes Matthews reaches agreement to join Dallas Mavericks

New York Knicks v Portland Trail Blazers
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The Sacramento Kings have tried these last few days. They threw more money at Monta Ellis than the Pacers, but Ellis chose to go to Indianapolis.

Next they threw a boatload of money at Wesley Matthews, around $64 million.

But Matthews has chosen Dallas as his next stopping point, reports David Aldridge of NBA.com.

Free agent guard Wes Matthews spurned a large offer from the Sacramento Kings late Thursday night to accept a four-year offer from the Dallas Mavericks, according to a league source.

The exact amount of Matthews’ deal is not yet set (it will depend on the money Dallas would need to spend on LaMarcus Aldridge or, more likely, DeAndre Jordan). The Kings had offered in the ballpark of $64 million, it’s appears Matthews took less to be in Dallas, the question remains how much?

Matthews averaged 15.9 points a game and shot 38.9 percent from three last season before getting injured. He is also a strong defender and was the locker room leader of the Blazers.

Matthews is coming off a torn Achilles from last March. He is reportedly ahead of schedule with his recovery, but this likely slows him at the start of next season and may linger much farther into it.

If Dallas can also land DeAndre Jordan in free agency — it’s a toss up between the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas — they will have had the kind of summer that will put them back near the top of the West.

PBT Extra: Five best free agent signings in the first days of free agency

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 02:  Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans walks to the free throw line during the fourth quarter of a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Smoothie King Center on December 2, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans won the game 112-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowlesges 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 Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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The best signing is locking up the best player for the longest time. That’s why the New Orleans Hornets locking up Anthony Davis for at least four years is a brilliant signing. Plus, he signed for the max under the salary cap structure that kicks in next year, so when the cap spikes in 2017 the Pelicans will have room to add help, to put people around Davis. With player-friendly coach Alvin Gentry, New Orleans will become a free agent destination.

I look at my top five signings to start the free agent season, and some of that is just teams just doing the right thing. The Cavaliers locking up Kevin Love. The Spurs securing Kawhi Leonard.

But you also have to love what Toronto did with DeMarre Carroll.

source: Getty Images
(Getty Images)

Report: Miami Heat’s Pat Riley will get dinner to try and woo LaMarcus Aldridge

Portland Trail Blazers
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UPDATE: Pat Riley and the Miami Heat got their foot in the door — Riley will have a dinner meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge Thursday to try and convince him to come to Miami, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

This is still a crazy longshot — they already have an arguably better version of Aldridge in Bosh — but the Heat are at least going to get to take their swings.

••••••

The Spurs are still the team to beat. The Lakers are getting a second chance to make a first impression. The Suns knocked it out of the park in their meeting and moved into contention. The Knicks never even got up to the plate.

And now the Miami Heat want to take a swing.

The Heat are trying to get a meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge, according to Adriam Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

It seems a real longshot for a couple of reasons. First off, in Chris Bosh the Miami Heat already have a player with a similar skill set and style of play to Aldridge (and Bosh is the better defender).

Second, the Heat do not have nor can they easily create cap space. The only way to make this work is a sign-and-trade. They could sign-and-trade Bosh for Aldridge, but that is basically and even swap. In theory they could sign-and-trade Wade but they would never do that (and Portland doesn’t want him). Or, they could sign-and-trade for Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and other players. Not sure Portland does that either.

But the Heat at least want to get up to the plate. That would put them ahead of the Knicks.

PBT Podcast: Talking best signings of free agency so far

New Orleans Pelicans v Denver Nuggets
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The first day of free agency was a whirlwind — $1.3 billion in contracts handed out in one of the wildest, free spending sessions the NBA has ever seen. (Keep that in mind during the 2017 lockout when some owners cry poverty.)

There were great signings that were obvious, like a max deal from New Orleans to keep Anthony Davis. There were less high profile ones that were smart — Alex Ajinca for five-years, $20 million — and some others we’re not so sure about.

In this podcast PBT’s Kurt Helin andNBCSports’ Dominic Ridgard breaking down many of the signings from the first day plus of free agency, including the Monta Ellis and Arron Afflalo signings. By the way, we think the Suns overpaid for Brandon Knight.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.