NBA

NBA AM: Free Agency Remains At A Standstill

The free agent market remains at a standstill until Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James make their decisions

Lang Greene profile picture
Updated 12 months ago on
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Free Agency currently in a gridlock: Leading up to free agency fan excitement is palpable, writers shower the market with a wealth of information continually working their sources for the latest and then the market opens to little or no activity – primarily driven by a bottleneck at the top.

The 2014 free agency period is no different.

While there has been some unexpected activity among the second or third tier of guys agreeing to deals, the market is clearly waiting on this summer’s marquee stars such as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh to make their free agency decisions.

Numerous reports imply a couple of decisions could be made this weekend, but for now the holding pattern holds.

Here’s where we stand as of this morning:

Visits over for Carmelo Anthony, Decision Coming: The All-Star forward has been wined and dined by teams all week and now we’re awaiting his decision. Anthony met with Chicago on Tuesday, then split Wednesday with Houston and Dallas before doubling up again with Los Angeles and New York on Thursday.

No surprise that all parties believed their respective meetings went well with the forward, but were any of them good enough for Anthony to leave the Knicks franchise?

According to an ESPN report, after hedging publicly over the past few weeks the Knicks will undoubtedly offer Anthony a maximum contract worth $129 million over five-years. This represents the most lucrative figure any team can offer Anthony this summer.

On the opposite coast, the Lakers are rumored to be willing to offer Anthony a four-year pact worth $97 million (although some believe the number to be around $95 million).

Word is Anthony doesn’t want the process to drag on an on, so we could get a decision sometime this weekend which would open up the market.

Houston emerge as suitor for Chris Bosh: While the Rockets continue to be intrigued by the prospect of bringing Carmelo Anthony to town to pair with All-Stars Dwight Howard and James Harden, the franchise is also not resting on its laurels in the process.

According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Rockets have intentions on pursuing forward Chris Bosh should they be rebuffed by Anthony. The report states Houston has already reached out to Bosh’s camp to let the forward know they’re interested in his talent.

Houston wouldn’t be able to sign Bosh outright. The Rockets would need to make a few roster moves, such as trading guard Jeremy Lin which is likely in the works regardless.

Bosh who has recently expanded his game out to the three-point line would be an immediate fit in Houston next to Howard who is one of the best low post scorers in the game.

LeBron James opens doors for other teams: Entering free agency most observers didn’t believe teams around the league had a legitimate shot at landing the four-time MVP and two-time NBA champion.

However, in less than a week, the perception has started to shift significantly.

According to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Miami’s inability to quickly retool with a solid group of role players has opened up James’ willingness to listen to pitches from other franchises.

James’ agent, Rich Paul, has conducted meetings with three teams while James has been vacationing with family at the start of free agency.

Of course if James were to leave town he would be leaving a bit of money on the table, but the forward has made it clear that winning at a high level is his priority so now it is up to the HEAT to prove they can still get it done.

Spencer Hawes drawing interest: Productive big men are at a premium around the league so Hawes will certainly become a sought after name once the top guys make up their minds.

For now, Hawes has reportedly met with the Phoenix Suns this week and the Los Angeles Clippers were rumored to be interested in making a sign and trade play for the center.

The Portland Trail Blazers reportedly had interest in Hawes but that avenue is likely closed after the team agreed to terms with former All-Star Chris Kaman.

Kaman, Blazers agree to terms: The former All-Star spent a lot of time this season buried on the pine in Los Angeles but will likely get a chance to contribute nightly with Portland where he reportedly agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth $10 million.

Kaman will compete with incumbent starter Robin Lopez for minutes in the rotation next season.

Brooklyn rejects Clippers offer for Paul Pierce: Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King confirmed to ESPN the Los Angeles Clippers reached out in regards to pulling off a sign-and-trade deal for former All-Star forward and unrestricted free agent Paul Pierce.

“They made a call and inquired, but there’s nothing there at this point that makes sense for us,” King said Thursday on ESPN NewYork 98.7 FM’s “The Michael Kay Show.”

Pierce won a championship playing under Clippers head coach Doc Rivers in Boston during the 2008 campaign. The duo also made a Finals appearance in 2010 but lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games.

The Nets want to bring Pierce back and are looking at offering a deal with an $8 million payout (at the high end). Pierce earned $15.3 million last season.

“I think we’re in the process,” King said of bringing Pierce back. “We know the number we want to get to, I think they know the number they want to get to. We’re just trying to get to the point where we’re all comfortable and I know what we’re trying to accomplish, and it’s just in the negotiation process. That’s all it is. We have the ability to pay him more than everybody else, but we are going to be a little bit more financially responsible at this point in time.”

The Clippers’ offer would have likely included some combination of Jared Dudley, Matt Barnes and Reggie Bullock in order to secure Pierce’s services.

Hawks reach out to Luol Deng: No surprise the Atlanta Hawks are looking to bolster their depth on the wing. The team recently came to terms with guard Thabo Sefolosha and are now reportedly reaching out to former All-Star forward Luol Deng.

Deng isn’t expected to meet with club officially until sometime next week, but according to Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, the forward was expected to speak with Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer on Thursday night.

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

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