LeBron James is the biggest free agent name. Technically. But we all know he’s not leaving the Cavaliers.
However, when you start to talk about LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe and some other big bodies about to hit the free agent market, things get interesting.
In this latest PBT Podcast the guys talk about all of the big name free agents in a primer for the NBA’s wild off-season season, which tips off the second the calendar flips to July 1 (that’s when teams can start talking to free agents). We’ve got PBT’s Kurt Helin and Brett Pollakoff, plus NBCSports’ Dominic Ridgard breaking down the top guys on the board, from the ones not likely to move (Marc Gasol) to the guys trying to move but not finding it that easy (Dwyane Wade).
Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.
If you had fantasied your team had a shot to pry Marc Gasol out of Memphis… sorry.
Gasol is in Spain as free agency is set to open as the calendar flips to July 1. While there he is meeting with only one team, the Memphis Grizzlies, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
In the latest signal Marc Gasol is going nowhere in free agency, the Memphis Grizzlies center is scheduling no meetings with rival teams interested in him, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that Gasol will instead host a contingent of Grizzlies officials in his native Spain on Wednesday morning, raising the possibility that a verbal agreement on a new contract will quickly follow.
While guys like LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan started to flirt with other teams and have multiple meetings lined up, Gasol hasn’t tried to lead anyone on — he never planned to leave Memphis. He loves the city, it’s where he went to high school, and he’s playing for a team just a couple shooters away from being a threat to win it all.
There isn’t much drama here; Gasol will get the max, and Memphis will remain a threat to everyone in the West for years.
Memphis needs more help on the wings. They have an excellent, old-school front like with Marc Gasol — who almost certainly will re-sign in Memphis — and Zach Randolph, but they need to space the floor with shooting. They traded for Matt Barnes, who fits their grit-and-grind style but also shot 36 percent from three last season. They’ve been linked to talks for Denver’s Danilo Gallinari.
And they went after the Nets’ Joe Johnson.
However, the deal fell apart, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.
The teams could not find a workable deal and have tabled discussions, but sources told ESPN.com that the Nets were encouraged enough in general to believe that they will ultimately find a trade taker for Johnson’s mammoth contract, which only has one season left to run but at a massive $24.9 million in 2015-16.
The Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons are among the other teams, like Memphis, to register exploratory interest in Johnson in recent months, but trades made recently by both teams — with the Hornets acquiring Nicolas Batum from Portland and the Pistons nabbing Ersan Ilyasova from Milwaukee — would appear to take them out of the Johnson mix.
The first takeaway here is that the Grizzles are serious about getting some more firepower on the wings this season. Finally.
The other (and it’s not a surprise, it’s been talked about before) is that the Nets want to move both Johnson and Deron Williams this summer as they remake their roster and work to get under the luxury tax line. It was always more likely that Johnson would be traded — while he is owed $24.9 million next season it is the last year of that deal. Plus he still provides value on the court, scoring 14.4 points a game and shooting 35.9 percent from three last season. While his game has slipped from its peak and he’s not super efficient, he can still make some plays.
Moving Deron Williams — whose game has slid farther and who is owed $43 million over the next two seasons — will be more challenging. Brooklyn also is shopping point guard Jarrett Jack.
When the Spurs hit free agency on July 1, it’s widely expected that Tim Duncan will be back in the fold for at least one more year, and that they’ll make serious pushes for top-tier free agents LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol. But one other domino that has to fall for San Antonio is the future of Manu Ginobili. When the time comes for him to announce whether he’ll return or retire, it will be in a newspaper in his native Argentina.
From Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News:
Spurs fans anxious to know if Manu Ginobili will be back for another season may want to brush up on their Spanish and bookmark the website for the Argentine newspaper, ‘La Nacion.’
The 37-year-old guard on Sunday told the Express-News he will announce his decision in a self-written sports column in ‘La Nacion’ “when the time comes.”
Presumably, that time will be before he hits the free agent market at the stroke of midnight, EDT, on Tuesday.
That could go any number of ways. If Duncan is returning for another year, there’s a reasonable chance Ginobili will as well. Both Duncan and Ginobili will probably take salaries that are well below what they made last season (Ginobili made $7 million), so San Antonio will have the space to go after free agents as well as re-signing Danny Green and, most importantly, Kawhi Leonard.
Marc Gasol is technically an unrestricted free agent this summer, though most believe that he’s going to re-up in Memphis on a contract at or near the max.
The Lakers are a team that’s in the market for some All-Star frontcourt talent, especially after passing up on Jahlil Okafor to select D’Angelo Russell with the second overall pick in the NBA Draft.
While they weren’t necessarily counting on Gasol being available in the first place, it seems as though L.A. will be able to formally cross him off of its list, perhaps before the process even gets started.
From Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
Marc Gasol has no interest in the Lakers because of the uneasy last few years his brother spent with them, according to numerous people familiar with the situation.
There’s a reason Pau Gasol left the Lakers to join the Bulls when it was his turn at free agency, and took less money to do so. Not only was his name included in trade rumors off and on for his last three seasons in Los Angeles, but Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni marginalized him within the team’s offense, and couldn’t figure out how to properly use Gasol to get the most from his All-Star skill set.
Marc’s comfortable in Memphis, and the team has been built into a consistent contender. The Lakers are far away from that at this point, which makes them a less desirable destination. But add the way the franchise treated Pau over his last couple of seasons to the equation, and it’s easy to see why Los Angeles is a place that Marc won’t even begin to consider.