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NBA AM: 2015 Free Agency Is Open For Business

The 2015 NBA free agency period has opened and there are plenty of storylines emerging.

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2015 NBA Free Agency Is Here

The 2015 NBA free agency market is now officially open for business. There are plenty of storylines developing around the league, so let’s evaluate the latest rumblings.

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans agree to five-year maximum contract

The 2015 NBA free agency period started off with some early fireworks as All-Star forward Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans quickly agreed to terms on a five-year, $145 million extension. The move was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

Davis posted the following message on Twitter to confirm Wojnarowski’s initial report.

https://twitter.com/AntDavis23/status/616094429984616448/photo/1

Quick Thoughts: This was a no-brainer for both sides. The Pelicans have a legitimate franchise player and this was Davis’ first chance to truly cash in on his vast talent with a max deal. The Pelicans reached the playoffs this past season and will no longer be able to sneak up on teams in 2015-16. The good news to counter this is the fact Davis hasn’t even come close to his ceiling as a player yet.

Spurs the favorites to land LaMarcus Aldridge?

The San Antonio Spurs have emerged as the favorites to land All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, according to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The team will meet with Aldridge early Wednesday. San Antonio also reportedly reached the framework on a max deal with 2014 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard at the start of free agency.

Quick Thoughts: The Spurs organization could be reloading on the fly with future Hall of Famers Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili soon headed to retirement. Locking in Leonard long term was the first step and now it appears Aldridge is the next part of their succession plan after Duncan leaves the game. It looks extremely good on paper. We’ll see if they can pull it off. The Los Angeles Lakers are also in hot pursuit of Aldridge and reportedly met with the star first to kick off their free agency recruitment.

Al-Farouq Aminu cashes in, agreeing to terms with the Blazers

According to a Yahoo Sports! report, former lottery pick Al-Farouq Aminu agreed to terms with the Portland Trail Blazers on a four-year, $30 million deal in the early hours of free agency.

Quick Thoughts: Aminu had a solid year in Dallas even though his numbers didn’t jump off the page. The forward is one of the better wing rebounders and has a willingness to defend on a nightly basis. With a price tag just under $8 million annually, the early response has been mixed. Free agents such as Danny Green, DeMarre Carroll and Draymond Green had to be grinning ear-to-ear seeing Aminu get this kind of deal as all project to have higher upside in the next five years.

Greg Monroe in high demand, meets with Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks

Quick Thoughts: The Knicks’ interest in Monroe is hardly surprising. The big man has been on New York’s radar for quite some time. Milwaukee entering the fray is the newest development as the Bucks have been rumored to be in high pursuit of former Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler.

Milwaukee Bucks, Khris Middleton On Verge of $70 million deal

According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Milwaukee Bucks and free agent forward Khris Middleton could be nearing an agreement on a five-year, $70 million deal.

Quick Thoughts: Middleton, a former second round pick of the Detroit Pistons, developed into a quality scorer and efficient marksman from beyond the three-point line this past season. However, by moving quickly the Bucks didn’t allow the market to set the value for the restricted free agent – essentially bidding against themselves. Milwaukee’s motives are understandable. The team is coming off a playoff appearance, have a strong fan base and Middleton’s presence was a driving factor.

Iman Shumpert has at least five teams interested in his services

According to Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy, free agent swingman Iman Shumpert has received interest from at least five franchises – including the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors, Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks.

Quick Thoughts: In some ways Shumpert has regressed offensively since entering the league. However, the former Georgia Tech standout is still a very solid perimeter defender. Ultimately it will come down to the amount of dollars potential suitors offer, but the Cavaliers have the advantage of at least allowing the market to establish the value of Shumpert. The team can match any offer he receives.

Monta Ellis, Indiana Pacers in serious talks?

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Indiana Pacers are in hot pursuit of veteran shooting guard Monta Ellis. The guard is reportedly headed to Indianapolis on Wednesday for a meeting with top team officials. The Pacers reportedly have a three-year, $32 million deal on the table, ready to go.

Quick Thoughts: Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall in Dallas, Ellis elected to opt out of the final year of his deal with the Mavericks in order to test free agency. While Ellis’ game has a few areas of concern, his ability to score the basketball consistently still comes at a premium and that’s been a sour point for Indiana in recent years – scoring consistently. Ellis would become a strong second offensive option behind former All-Star Paul George.

Dallas Mavericks reportedly nearing an agreement with guard Wesley Matthews

According to Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, free agent guard Wesley Matthews and the Dallas Mavericks are having discussions but remain about $3 million apart on an annual basis.

Quick Thoughts: Matthews is coming off a torn Achilles that robbed him of a significant portion of the 2014-15 campaign. While all reports indicate the guard in ahead of schedule in rehab, the fact remains this particular injury should bring caution. The Mavericks have multiple free agents and could be on the verge of losing Monta Ellis, their starting shooting guard the past two seasons, in free agency. Ellis decided to decline his player option and test the market, opening the door for Matthews to join the Mavs. Matthews is a strong player, but the injury might be the reason Dallas is hesitant on giving him a large eight-figure-per-year salary.

Lang Greene is a senior NBA writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 10 seasons

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