Kurt Helin

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers

Report: Marc Gasol, Grizzlies reach deal on five-year, $110 million contract

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This had all the drama of the US Women in the World Cup Finals after the 16th minute. The outcome was never in doubt.

Marc Gasol has agreed to the five-year, $110 million max contract to stay with the Memphis Grizzlies, something first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The deal includes an early-termination option after the fourth year in 2018-19, league sources said.

Gasol met with Grizzlies owner Robert Pera in Spain last Wednesday, and progressed toward a final agreement over the next several days, sources said.

The deal took place on Spanish time — with plenty of Sangria and tapas mixed into a leisurely, methodical pace — but there was never a doubt he was staying with the Grizzlies. When he first moved to the USA from Spain, he landed in Memphis (because his older brother Pau was playing for the Grizzlies), and he went to high school in that city. He has a comfort level there, plus this is a team that has made the playoffs the last five years and the conference Finals once with Gasol. Add some more shooting on the perimeter and they could be a threat to any team in the West.

Gasol was drafted by the Lakers and stashed in Spain, then traded to Memphis as part of the Pau Gasol deal.

Gasol is the best center in the game right now. He was first-team All-NBA this season and is a former defensive player of the year, plus he averaged 17.4 points and 7.8 rebounds a game for Memphis last season. He is a fantastic passer, and the Grizzlies can run their offense through him for long stretches.

He is the anchor to Memphis’ grit and grind, and he’s locked down for five more years.

Report: Dallas thinking of bringing back Jason Terry

Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets - Game Two
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Dallas is looking to round out its roster with affordable but talented players — they believe they are title contenders, but they need a bench that can support that.

They may bring back a guy who was a big part of that 2011 title — Jason Terry.

The unrestricted free agent who spent last season with the Rockets could make a return to Big D, reports Eddie Sefko at the Dallas Morning News (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

Since they got the thumbs-up from free-agent center DeAndre Jordan, which instantly turned their summer into a massive success story, the Mavericks have had conversations with Terry and his camp about returning to Dallas, where he spent half of his 16 NBA seasons and helped win the 2011 championship….

The thinking for the Mavericks is that Jordan can cover up so many defensive liabilities that having Terry, never known as a strong defender, makes sense, even though he will be 38 when next season tips off.

At this point, Terry is one of the better free agents left on the board. Terry still has some limited value on the offensive end of the floor. He took 72 percent of his shots from beyond the arc and hit 39 percent of them. He averaged 7 points a game last season with a 59 percent true shooting percentage.

Terry was thrust into the starting lineup for Houston when Patrick Beverley was injured, and while the Rockets made the conference finals if Dallas wants to do the same (or better) they need Terry in a bench role.

That said, signing Terry would go over well with the fan base in Dallas, and he should come at a very affordable price.

Who is left: 15 best free agents still on the board

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In less than a week, more than 60 players have found their home for next season — NBA free agency moved fast this summer. The owners were handing out multi-year deals like mini-Snickers bars on Halloween.

But there are still some guys out on the board that could help a team.

Below are who I have ranked as the 15 best players still available as of Monday morning. A few of them — specifically, the top three — are free agents in name only, we know where they are going to land. The race for others is wide open.

The best guys still on the board are:

LeBron James — He’s not leaving the Cavaliers; he’s just trying to use his free agency to get his boy Tristan Thompson a bigger deal. Those talks have stalled, so LeBron isn’t talking. He also isn’t leaving Cleveland.

Marc Gasol — It’s interesting that a deal isn’t done here yet, the Grizzlies’ owner was in Spain July 1 and there isn’t much to talk about as he is a max player. Whatever the reason for the delay, there is no rumbling around the league that he is suddenly available.

Tristan Thompson — He is going to be a Cavalier, the two sides reportedly were close to a deal but have not been able to close the final gap. Still, the restricted free agent isn’t talking to anyone else; he will remain a Cavalier. Once he signs, LeBron will start his negotiations.

David West — He will turn 35, but he’s still a rock solid power forward who can knock down the midrange shot for a team. He turned down $12 million from Indiana and is going to take a steep pay cut to go to a contender. The Cavaliers are considered the front-runners, but the Spurs and Clippers have interest as well.

Josh Smith — The power forward with the love of the three pointer (even though he shouldn’t take them so much) wanted to return to Houston, but they don’t have the money to offer what he wants. There have been talks with the Sacramento Kings, but those have been slow.

J.R. Smith — The Cavaliers have interest in the streaky two guard, but only at a price to their liking. Which may not be a price that Smith likes. There have not been reports of talks with other teams that are going to offer him more.

Enes Kanter — The Thunder are expected to retain Kanter’s rights, he gives them some offensive punch up front they need to balance out Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. But no deal yet, and there are rumors the Knicks and Blazers may try to swoop in with offer sheets (which the Thunder could match).

Jeremy Lin — Dallas has been in talks with Lin about helping to fill in their hole at the point, and that may end up being a sign-and-trade with the Lakers to make the money work. If that doesn’t work out a number of other teams could be lurking including the Pacers, Bulls, Clippers, Spurs, and Lakers.

Mo Williams — There were reports early on that he wants to return to the Cavaliers, but they have other issues to take care of first (see the top of this list). Memphis has interest in him as well, and there could be a sign-and-trade with Charlotte. Wherever he lands, the team will get a solid, veteran backup point guard.

Gerald Green — The backup two guard who isn’t afraid to shoot drew interest from a few teams, but the top tiers of free agency still need to shake out before a deal for him falls in place.

Jason Terry — He wanted to stay with the Rockets, they were not so sure about this idea. Eventually someone will pick him up — he did shoot 39 percent from three last season — but there are no reports of serious interest for him right now.

Alan Anderson — Unlike the player above him on this list, there is a lot of interest in the 32-year-old shooting guard, Yahoo Sports says he is a popular target for teams looking to add to their bench. The Nets want to keep him, but if Anderson wants to be on a team that actually wins games, he will have a lot of options.

Jordan Hill — The Lakers overpaid him last year to be a trade chip, that didn’t work out, but he showed he can be a decent reserve big man. Given real structure and a role off the bench he can be useful. When teams strike out on their other big man options he will get calls.

Dorell Wright — You want shooting? He’s got shooting. More than half his attempts came from three last season, and he hit 38 percent of them. Portland initially wanted to retain him, but with the shake-ups there he could be on the move. No serious offers for him yet.

Matthew Dellavedova — The Cavaliers can’t let him go, he’s one of the most popular players on the team plus provides some feistiness on the court. He and the Cavs were reportedly getting close to a deal, but nothing is official yet.

Here’s a bonus 16th guy, just for fun:

Darrell Arthur — He’s a solid defender that a lot of teams might want to add at the four spot, plus he plays a smart game (well, except for taking more jumpers than he should). Talks with him should start to heat up as teams miss on other targets.

Cory Joseph reaches four-year, $30 million deal with Toronto

Phoenix Suns v San Antonio Spurs
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Early on Sunday morning, the San Antonio Spurs withdrew their qualifying offer to Cory Joseph. It was a salary cap move — they need the space for LaMarcus Aldridge — but it made Joseph an unrestricted free agent. Still, it was possible the Spurs would re-sign the Gregg Popovich favorite.

By Sunday afternoon, Joseph had reached a deal with Toronto.

Joseph himself announced it on Twitter.

Chris Broussard of ESPN broke the deal and had the financial details.

This is a good pickup for the Raptors. Joseph is a slasher whose game is to get to the rim — almost 40 percent of his shot attempts last season were within three feet of the rim, and he finished an impressive 60.2 percent of them. He can shoot the three, but he chooses not to very often.

Joseph will back up Kyle Lowry in Toronto, with rookie Delon Wright behind them.

Omri Casspi reaches two-year, $6 million deal to stay in Sacramento

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings
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Omri Casspi has a game that fits with what George Karl wants to do: He runs the floor well, and he shot 40 percent from three last season.

That — and the fact he is popular with teammates, including DeMarcus Cousins was enough to keep him in the fold.

Casspi and the Kings have reached a deal to bring him back, something the player himself confirmed on Twitter.

Marc Stein of ESPN has the contract details.

That’s a good deal for the Kings. Casspi was solid for the Kings last season playing more than 20 minutes a night and scoring 8.9 points a game in the ones where he played. It’s not a game changer of a signing, but it’s a quality, smart one.

The Kings could use this win right now.