Joakim Noah

Former Heat star Chris Bosh vs. Bulls
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Report: Chris Bosh initially committed to Bulls in 2010 free agency

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The Bulls’ plan in 2010 free agency: Secure a commitment from Chris Bosh then use that as a springboard to land LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade.

Did it almost work?

Wade said he and LeBron eyed Chicago before all three stars eventually landed with the Heat. And apparently Bosh expressed interest in joining the Bulls, too.

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

Chris Bosh, according to more than one person in the organization, said that, “I’m coming to play for the Bulls.” Straight up. He said, “I’m coming to play for the Bulls. This is where I’m going to be.”

You talk to people in that Bulls organization, including former players, Chris Bosh was coming to the Bulls. Straight up. Chris Bosh and the Bulls were supposed to be together, at least in Chicago’s mind.

As far as the Bulls were concerned, they felt like they had a commitment – at least some people in the organization did – from Chris Bosh. They felt like Dwyane Wade would follow, that they hoped that that would work out.

I don’t know precisely what Bosh said. I do know this: Sometimes, people hear what they want to hear.

But this wouldn’t be the only example of Bosh leading a team on just to sign elsewhere. In 2014, the Rockets acted as if they knew Bosh was coming – until he got a five-year max contract from the Heat. Maybe Houston and Chicago were both wrong. Or maybe Bosh dropped hints – or more – to maximize his leverage.

Back to 2010… Miami had a more concrete plan for acquiring all three stars. So, they went there and became a super team that topped Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and the Bulls.

A couple years later, Rose got hurt, and Chicago fell off. It was a tough outcome for the Bulls – and it must especially sting if they thought they would be the super team.

Seven NBA free agents to watch as transaction window opens

NBA free agents
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The wheeling and dealing of the NBA is back.

Not exactly on the franchise-changing level we’ve come to expect from a league that loves its deals, but starting at noon Eastern on Tuesday NBA teams can sign free agents, waive players, sign their two-way players, or in other ways round out their rosters for the restart.

Here are seven players to watch, NBA free agents who could get signed in the next week.

Don’t overthink this — if a player was a free agent come the middle of March, it was for a reason. These are role players for a team, but that role can impact winning.

Note: For this story we have not included players set to sign with teams — making them unavailable in reality — such as Joakim Noah (Clippers), or Corey Brewer with the Kings.

1. Tyler Johnson

A solid rotation player up until the last year, Johnson’s shot deserted him in Phoenix (48.1 true shooting percentage, 28.9% from three). That led to him being buried on the bench behind Ricky Rubio and Jevon Carter, and once the Suns couldn’t use him in a trade at the deadline they bought him out.

If Johnson is fully healthy and can find his shot again he could help a team looking for guard depth — he shot 37% from three when the Heat matched a four-year, $50 million contract offer four years ago. He’s just 28 and in his prime, his shot and production should still be there.

The Rockets reportedly have interest, but expect a few suitors to call.

2. Gerald Green

If healthy, he may be the most sought after player on this list. Green is a veteran wing who shot 35.4% from three last season. Green was thought to be lost for the season with a foot injury, but he has had time to heal and is joking around like a player expecting to be in Orlando.

The Rockets had his rights but cannot re-sign him because they traded him at the deadline (as part of the four-team Clint Capela deal). Denver then quickly waived him. For teams looking for depth on the wing — a spot of need for a lot of teams — Green could be a quality pick up.

3. Jamal Crawford

He’s 40 years old — which is one reason no team has signed him this season — but, in the right situation, he could help a team get buckets off the bench. The three-time Sixth Man of the Year is showing his age and has lost a step in recent years — and his horrific defense is a bigger concern to front offices — but he can still score. Crawford averaged 7.9 points per game last season off the bench and lit it up for the depleted Suns at the end of last season. Some team should give him a chance, but I’m not sure any well.

4. Trey Burke

Burke is available because he has limitations: He needs the ball in his hand to run a lot of pick-an-rolls, he’s not terribly efficient and doesn’t make the best decisions, plus he’s undersized and that hurts him on the defensive end. That said, he played solidly off the bench in Philly this season until let go, as he had in New York and Dallas before. For a team looking for a third point guard in Orlando they can turn to because of injury/sickness, Burke is a solid pick up.

5. DeMarcus Cousins

The biggest name on the NBA free agents board, but he is coming off back-to-back career-threatening injuries between his torn Achilles then a torn ACL. He wasn’t moving very well for the Warriors in the Finals last June, and that was before the ACL. The question for teams looking at Cousins is “does he fit with us?” He is not a big who can just set a pick then pop/rim run; he’s more effective getting the ball at the elbow or on the block and making plays. That’s not the direction the game is trending, but it might help a team in Orlando in the short term if Cousins is healthy enough to play.

UPDATE: Cousins has told suitors he is not playing in Orlando to focus on next season.

6. Iman Shumpert

Shumpert played well for the Nets earlier this season. He averaged 18.5 minutes a game, and while he wasn’t racking up counting stats (4.2 points and 2.6 rebounds a game on average) he played solid defense and the Nets were winning with him in the rotation. For teams looking for veteran wing depth heading into Orlando, Shumpert could be a solid pickup.

7. Dragan Bender

We know what you’re saying, “why would anyone sign that bust?” Because he’s just 22 and is a 7-footer who can hit threes. He’s not exactly a unicorn, but players that size who can shoot get extra chances. He played respectably for the Warriors on a couple of 10-day contracts this season and it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear a team signed him, not looking so much at the restart in Orlando but down the line, rolling the dice on him for next season with a team-friendly contract.

NBA to open ‘transaction window’ for teams to sign players before restart

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NBA GMs want as much roster flexibility as they can get heading into the restart of the league in Orlando.

They’re going to get some — and not just the GMs of the 22 teams headed to Orlando, all 30 teams can make moves in an upcoming “transaction window” reported by Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks of ESPN.

Starting likely June 22 and lasting about a week (the details are not finalized and sent teams) there will be a one week transaction window where teams can do things such as:

• Convert two-way players to regular contracts
• Sign free agents to contracts (Jamal Crawford is the biggest name available)
• Convert players on 10-day contracts to standard contracts for the remainder of the season (the Clippers signed Joakim Noah to a 10-day just before the shutdown, for example).

Not every team has a roster spot to make a move during the transaction window (for example, Boston is full up), but for teams with players out for the postseason — the Nets with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Dallas with Dwight Powell, Utah with Bojan Bogdanovic — it gives teams a chance to fill out their roster.

Teams still will only be able to bring 15 players to Orlando, any replacement player brought in later would have to go through a quarantine period.

During the seeding games, if a player tests positive for coronavirus and has to be quarantined, or if a player suffers an injury that will have him out for a considerable time, teams can fill that roster spot from a pool of their two-way players and guys who were on G-League contracts.

ESPN’s Marks had good suggestions for the league; however, these likely do not get put into practice.

In reality, this is not going to matter much. If a starter or quality rotation player tests positive for the coronavirus in the Orlando “bubble,” he will be quarantined seven to 14 days (that exact time frame is not public yet). In that window, the team will have to fly out their two-way replacement player, quarantine him for 10 days, and then is the coach going to put a non-NBA player who has not been practicing with the team into a playoff game? Not a chance. The team will just wait out the rotation player and hope he can return to action before they are eliminated.

That said, at the end of June there will be some roster moves by teams, setting up their postseason run.

Penny Hardaway: Injury-riddled time with Knicks ‘probably the most disappointing’ part of career

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Picture Penny Hardaway in your head and the image that comes to mind is the lanky, athletic, All-NBA level guard who was a force with the Orlando Magic. Well, that or ‘lil Penny.

Nobody pictures the three seasons near the end of his career when he was with the New York Knicks. He was traded there just at the start of 2004, but knee issues had him in street clothes for much of the next two-and-a-half years. Even when he got on the court, Hardaway was not the same, dominant guy.

Hardaway stopped by the brilliant “All The Smoke” podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson and called his time in New York “probably the most disappointing time” in his career.

“To be in the city on the biggest stage in the Big Apple, and not be me. I’m out here a shell of myself on the biggest stage and I’m like, ‘Why?’ I wish I could get to the point where I could just be me. And I just pushed through it and I just wasn’t me. And I love New York.

“I just felt the fans deserved me at the highest level because you know how New York is. And playing for the Knicks was a huge honor, and I didn’t take that lightly. But I was also going home like, I hate that I’m not me. I’m not myself.”

Hardaway played in 83 games over those two-and-a-half seasons, averaging 8.2 points per game with a dreadful 45.9 true shooting percentage. His PER in those seasons was 9.8. Hardaway was a shell of himself.

To Hardaway’s credit, he owns it. And it doesn’t take away from what an elite player he was earlier in his career.

The Knicks have a long history of collecting name players well past their prime — Jason Kidd, Joakim Noah, and so many more — and too often trading quality draft picks to get them. That unfortunate trend is one thing that has slowed down in recent years, to the delight of Knicks fans.

Report: Joakim Noah to sign 10-day contract with Clippers

Joakim Noah Clippers
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At the trade deadline and on the buyout market, the Clippers were looking for some more depth at center. They have Montrezl Harrell, who scores 18.7 points per game and is in the running to win Sixth Man of the Year but is considered a bit undersized at 6’7″. They start seven-footer Ivica Zubac and he has been a good defender for them, but is he the starting center on a championship team?

After looking around, the Clippers have turned to Joakim Noah, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This will start as a 10-day contract and could be extended from there, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

This is a low-risk signing by the Clippers, someone to provide depth and eat some minutes down the stretch to keep their key guys fresh. Noah had a solid second half of last season with Memphis, coming off the bench and providing good defense plus 7.1 points per game. He was moving reasonably well and fit in as a role player at 16.5 minutes a night.

If the Clippers get that kind of production out of the former Defensive Player of the Year, they will be ecstatic. If not, they will just move on.

Noah has not played in the NBA this season (meaning he would be playoff eligible for the Clippers if they want). The Lakers worked Noah out before the season but decided to go with Dwight Howard. Dallas had talks with Noah but those never came to fruition.