Kurt Helin

Dallas Mavericks v New Orleans Pelicans

Report: Kings aggressively pursuing Rajon Rondo

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Does putting Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl in close proximity to each other for an entire NBA season seem like a wise decision?

The Sacramento Kings seem to think so.

Sacramento made one of the first calls to Rajon Rondo and they have gone hard after the free agent point guard, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.

Rondo is very tight with the Kings’ Rudy Gay, who has vocally led his recruitment.

The Kings have looked for another point guard, one who can play the pick-and-roll and run Karl’s up-tempo offense. Rondo is a high IQ player, a gifted passer and a plus defender. His lack of a steady jump shot has held him back.

It’s not on-the-court Rondo that could be a real challenge. It’s the moody, competitive and combative Rondo off the court that seems an odd fit with the other big personalities in Sacramento. Rondo couldn’t get along with Doc Rivers in Boston (and everyone likes Doc). Then he melted down during the first round of the playoffs for the Dallas Mavericks and the franchise paid him to go away.

The real question is now many years (two or three is my guess) and how much money does Rondo get at this point. His value has taken a beating. Would the Kings give him $10 million a year? $8 million? $12 million? Or do they think they can get him on he cheap at $7 million or $8 million? At that price this is a good deal.

Report: Knicks make early push for Rockets’ point guard Patrick Beverley

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns
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You don’t need a traditional, ball-dominating point guard in the triangle offense, at least as Phil Jackson likes to see it run. What is required is more like what Knicks’ coach Derek Fisher did during his days on the court — play defense and knock down threes.

Someone like Patrick Beverley.

The Knicks are making a run at the Rockets’ point guard, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.

A source told Sporting News at the opening of free agency that the Knicks have “major interest” in Beverley, and that the interest is mutual. The Knicks contacted Beverley shortly after free agency began.

The Knicks were not the only team interested, reports Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.

Beverley is a restricted free agent, meaning the Rockets have the right to match any offer. And they do want to keep him. Last season Beverley averaged 10.1 points and 3.4 assists per game but his season was cut short by a wrist injury.

To pry Beverley out of Houston would require the kind of head-turning offer that the Rockets felt they just couldn’t match. The Rockets are already paying Dwight Howard north of $22 million and James Harden more than $15 million, they don’t want to take on any huge long-term deals (GM Daryl Morey prizes flexibility).

The Knicks have the cash and could overpay now thinking the deal will not look as bad as the cap spikes by nearly $40 million over two years.

Report: Kawhi Leonard, Spurs reach deal for five-year, $90 million contract extension

Los Angeles Clippers v San Antonio Spurs - Game Three
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This was always going to be quick, and Kawhi Leonard was always going to get the max.

Just minutes after the NBA free agency floodgates opened, Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs shook hands on a maximum contract extension from his rookie deal, something Leonard confirmed to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

After the San Antonio Spurs presented an offer of a maximum contract extension to his representatives, star forward Kawhi Leonard has agreed to the framework of a five-year deal that could be worth in excess of $90 million, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

“I have every intention of signing with the San Antonio Spurs,” Leonard said in a statement. “There are details in the contract which need to be worked out with the organization. I am confident that this will be accomplished.”

Those details pertain to exactly how big the contract will be based on the finalized numbers, plus any potential opt-outs for Leonard.

Leonard is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year plus has become a central cog of the Spurs offense, averaging 16.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

Don’t expect Leonard to put pen to paper and sign this deal for a little while. The reason is to give the Spurs more financial room to maneuver as they try to land LaMarcus Aldridge and other free agents. Right now Leonard’s cap hold — the space allotted to his next contract on the official team books — is just over $7 million and it will not increase until Leonard actually signs the deal, and it is submitted to the league. The Spurs and Leonard have until late October to do that, so they can take their time and leave the millions of dollars of cap space open to help lure free agents. The Spurs are allowed to exceed the cap to re-sign their own player (Leonard) under the “Bird rights” rules.

Leonard being locked in as part of the future of that franchise — along with having Tony Parker for a few more years, and Gregg Popovich — is going to be attractive to free agents who want to win.

Report: Kevin Love to meet with Lakers later in week

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four
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For a guy who repeatedly said he was committed to the Cavaliers and wanted to stay with Cleveland, it’s an interesting development that he has started to flirt with other teams.

Kevin Love is going to meet with the Lakers this week, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.

The Lakers have always been the front-runner to land Kevin Love if he bolts Cleveland. He has ties in Los Angeles and went to college there. However, Los Angeles is not the only team looking to get its foot in the door with Love.

Love is a perennial All-Star and one of the elite offensive power forwards in the game, able to score inside and drain the three. Plus he is a beast on the boards and the best outlet passer in the game. He would fit in anywhere.

Like a guy flirting at a bar with a pretty woman, this doesn’t mean it’s going anywhere. Love and the Lakers (and maybe others) are just talking.

But Love said he was committed to the Cavaliers. This flirtation could be the first step to something more.

Kobe Bryant, Jeanie Buss will be in Lakers pitch meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge

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The Lakers are bringing out the big guns — and we don’t just mean the effort to clear out a cap space and go after a couple max contract stars.

The Lakers are bringing their biggest names into the room for their meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge just after free agency starts — including Kobe Bryant. From Sam Amick of the USA Today.

According to a person with knowledge of the Lakers’ situation, Bryant is expected to be part of the meeting with Aldridge on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The meeting with the big man who is widely expected not to re-sign with the Portland Trail Blazers is also expected to include Lakers president and governor Jeanie Buss, general manager Mitch Kupchak, assistant general manager Glenn Carraro, coach Byron Scott, senior vice president of finance Tim Harris, vice president of public relations John Black, as well as representatives from Time Warner Cable and AEG.

Lakers fans, before you celebrate this, remember Kobe was in the room before. His saying he was staying a few more years and his presence seemed to derail an already fragile meeting with Dwight Howard two years ago. Last year Kobe was not in the room, but then he and Carmelo Anthony spoke later and both questioned if their games would would really blend well. (They were right by the way, that would have been a ball-stopping mess.) His presence in the room is no guarantee — not everybody loves him.

But Kobe is being active in free agency this year, he has already called DeAndre Jordan to lobby him.

The Lakers are one of the front runners for Aldridge and could land other top free agents, and they have a reputation for making good pitches. But there is nothing quite as random and unpredictable as NBA free agency.