There may be an earth-shattering Kawhi Leonard trade on the horizon or a Carmelo Anthony update that would drop jaws in the coming days.
While big business with LeBron James and other stars was wrapped up swiftly once free agency started, there are still plenty of transactions to take place during these excruciatingly hot days of summer.
Let’s see where the Association sits at the start of the week.
David Aldridge, via NBA.com, believes the Lakers are coming away with a huge haul next summer.
LeBron didn’t leave Cleveland and his home because of Lance, Rondo, etc. With James on the ground in L.A., the Lakers are all but assured to get one of the group of elite players who’ll be unrestricted in 2019 — Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker or someone else who shakes free or is otherwise available.
Another juicy tidbit is that LeBron may have sold Lance Stephenson on joining the Lakers. Pacers president Kevin Pritchard, via the New York Post, states the Lakers newest legend made an important call: “I think when LeBron calls you up and says, ‘I want you,’ it’s hard for him to turn that down.”
The Lakers were also one of several teams rumored to be in on the Luc Mbah a Moute market prior to his Clippers deal, via Rockets Wire:
According to a person close to the situation and with knowledge of negotiations, Houston isn’t giving Mbah a Moute the money and long-term security he desires, instead offering him near the same amount as the $ 2.1 million veteran’s minimum deal he signed for with Houston in the 2017-18 season.[…] According to the person, the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers have expressed interest, and at least two of these teams have presented offers to Mbah a Moute.
It’s clear the Lakers are not yet done fiddling with the roster.
You remember Kawhi Leonard, right? It seems like eons have passed since the trade rumors started and yet the Spurs and their star are still in a figurative living room not talking to one another.
ESPN’s Chris Haynes was on “The Jump” recently and explained that Leonard has widened the scope of his potential destinations, via the Boston Globe: “Los Angeles are his preferred destinations. He will consider Philly. That’s the only Eastern Conference team he would consider if they’re able to put a package together.”
Well, San Antonio. Don’t spend all that leverage in one spot.
While you were trying to figure out why you didn’t use a vacation day last week, ESPN was reporting that the Thunder and Carmelo Anthony were set for a summer fling break-up soon.
Yahoo! Sports’ Jordan Schultz then fired off a tweet that had all of Los Angeles groaning in unison.
Source close to Carmelo Anthony says the #Lakers are one of Melo’s preferred destinations, and that he’s high on chance to finally play with #LeBron. Keep in mind too, that Carmelo owns a house in LA.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) July 7, 2018
As of this moment, there seems to a be a four-team race to land Melo. Race may be too strong a word. I imagine these teams racing in the same way you wait out your friends to see who will grab the bill first and do the who-owes-what calculations.
The Rockets, Lakers, Heat and now the 76ers are reportedly flirting with the idea of bringing in an old Melo who can’t defend and make him part of their team.
So far the Rockets are the popular pick to land Melo when or if he becomes a former Thunder player. Adrian Wojnarowski went so far as to call them “determined” in that regard.
Rockets lose two forwards now — including Ariza — from NBA’s best regular season team. Houston is detemined to sign Carmelo Anthony once he becomes free in OKC, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/SfHAWntNlH
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 9, 2018
Remaining Free Agents
Rockets Wire explains the Rockets and Capela have a difference of opinion on Capela’s worth amid this shrinking market.
Rudy Gobert and Steven Adams, two centers who, like Capela, are represented by Wasserman, secured tidy extensions on annual salaries of around $ 24 million. Capela values himself somewhere in that range, more than the four-year, $ 80 million offer sheet the Sacramento Kings signed restricted free agent guard Zach Lavine to, which Chicago immediately matched.”
As for what the Rockets think, Kelly Iko continues: “Both sources said Capela was offered something similar to the four-year, $ 53 million deal that restricted free agent center Jusuf Nurkic agreed signed to stay in Portland.”
The market for confident, diminutive guards with hip problems seems to be shrinking.
The Orlando Magic and Isaiah Thomas never were negotiating a possible contract. Is it correct to say the Magic explored the possibility of signing Thomas? Yes. But there were no negotiations. The addition of Jerian Grant indicates Orlando had decided not to ultimately pursue IT.
— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) July 8, 2018
A. Sherrod Blakely reports Marcus Smart is considering betting on himself next season, signing a Celtic qualifying offer and going at the market next summer: “While no deal is imminent, two NBA officials whose teams have had some level of interest in Marcus Smart are getting a strong sense that he will sign the $ 6.1 million qualifying offer made by the Celtics and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019.”
Blakely also reports the Kings are hoping to swoop in and steal Smart with a deal of their own.
Article updated to reflect Mbah a Moute deal.