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NBA AM: Free Agents Waiting On Dominoes To Fall

The phone calls continue but agreements will be slow until top tier guys make their free agency decisions and free up the market.

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And so it continues: While there continues to be a flurry of ongoing activity among league executives to start free agency, the number of players coming off the board has paled in comparison. This is because there are still elite guys at the top of the board who are taking their time with the process.

A few second or third tier guys have been able to come to terms on their next deals but for the most part you won’t see much movement until the franchise-changing talents ultimately decide what to do.

Here’s where we stand this morning:

Carmelo Anthony: Outside of four-time MVP LeBron James, Anthony is arguably the top free agent in this year’s batch. Anthony met with the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday and the franchise pulled out all of the stops in their recruitment of the All-Star forward.

According to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, former MVP Derrick Rose went through a private workout to show Anthony he’s healthy and ready to perform at a high level next season. All-Star center Joakim Noah played a key role in the recruitment process and the club took Anthony to a dinner after the afternoon meetings at the United Center. The dinner, held at the Peninsula Hotel in downtown Chicago, reportedly included Anthony, Noah, Taj Gibson,  Tom Thibodeau, Jerry Reinsdorf, Gar Forman and Scottie Pippen.

If Chicago could secure Anthony’s autograph on a new deal there’s little doubt the team would enter the season as one of the favorites to emerge out of the Eastern Conference.

But there are barriers to making a potential union work here. According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, the New York Knicks have no plans to help the Bulls secure Anthony by taking back declining forward Carlos Boozer in a sign-and-trade agreement.

If the Bulls amnesty Boozer and deal emerging forward Jimmy Butler they’d be able to offer Anthony a deal starting at around $17 million next season. However, the Knicks can offer the forward over $22 million in year one.

Anthony is scheduled to meet with the Houston Rockets on Wednesday morning and then meet officials from the Dallas Mavericks in the afternoon. Anthony will reportedly meet with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

MUST READ: Basketball Insiders’ 2014 Free Agency Diary, with every rumor on every team.

Pau Gasol: The veteran big man is in high demand. The Los Angeles Lakers own his Bird rights and can offer him the most lucrative package, but the team has also kept his name in trade rumors the past two years, which could play into the process.

According to an ESPN Los Angeles report, Gasol met with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak for a few hours on Tuesday. The Lakers will be meeting with Carmelo Anthony on Thursday as the franchise continues to retool.

Miami team president Pat Riley reportedly reached out to Gasol on Tuesday to express some exploratory interest, however, the HEAT’s salary cap situation won’t be fully known until Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James ultimately make their free agency decisions.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Gasol is seeking an eight figure salary per year in the $10 to $12 million range. The report also mentions the San Antonio Spurs as reaching out to Gasol’s agent Arn Tellem to express some exploratory interest.

Stan Van Gundy hits ground running in Detroit: Newly crowned president of basketball operations and head coach Stan Van Gundy has been extremely active to start his first offseason running the show in Detroit.

The Pistons entered the summer with around $14 million in cap space and quickly came to terms with Los Angeles Lakers guard Jodie Meeks and Atlanta Hawks forward Cartier Martin.

Meeks’ deal is reportedly worth $19 million over three seasons and doesn’t include any player or team options. On the other end, Martin’s deal is reportedly for one-year with a player option for season two.

The Pistons wanted outside shooting to free up space for their talented group of big men and got it with Martin and Meeks who were among the better shooters this year’s free agent crop.

Detroit is also reportedly hot on the trail of dynamic point guard Isaiah Thomas.

Shaun Livingston: The redemption story of Livingston continues to be a positive one after a horrific knee injury almost ended his career a few years back. Livingston put together a solid campaign with the Brooklyn Nets in 2014 averaging 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 76 contests.

On Tuesday, Livingston reportedly agreed to terms with the Golden State Warriors on a three-year deal worth $16 million. The third year of the deal is reportedly not fully guaranteed.

The Warriors entered the summer looking for a reserve point guard behind All-Star Stephen Curry in the rotation.

CHECKOUT: All 30 teams salary cap projections. Find out how much your team has to spend!

Luol Deng: The former All-Star is reportedly out of the country at the moment, but the Houston Rockets have reached out to his agent according to the Houston Chronicle.

Deng is also reportedly being pursued by Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles [Clippers] and Miami this summer.

The word is Deng isn’t interested in taking less than his market value so a cash strapped team like Miami would have to pursue other options to lock him up.

Chandler Parsons: As Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler pointed out in this space yesterday, the Houston Rockets are likely to match any offer received for Parsons in free agency. The Rockets are in a strong position here because Parsons’ cap hold of $2.8 million still puts the franchise in a strong position to work right up to their cap in  free agency. Then the team can exceed the cap to sign Parsons to a lucrative deal.

Although the restricted label may scare away some teams from putting an offer in, Parsons has received interest from Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles [Clippers] and Minnesota to start free agency.

Josh McRoberts: Another name to keep an eye on is McRoberts who started 78 games for the emerging Charlotte Bobcats last season. McRoberts averaged 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in 2014, but also connected on 36 percent of his shots from three-point range.

McRoberts is reportedly drawing interest from Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles [Clippers & Lakers], Miami, New York, Portland, Phoenix and San Antonio.

Kings planning to deal Jason Thompson?

The Sacramento Kings have been ambitious in their desire to reshape their roster as of late. With that comes tough decisions. During the draft last week a rumor surfaced regarding potentially acquiring talented forward Josh Smith from Detroit in exchange for Jason Thompson who is currently the longest tenured Kings player.

Thompson, for his part, is taking the trade buzz in stride

“Trade talk happens before the draft,” Thompson said according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. “But I’m a man, I’m true to my word and regardless of what happens I still want to keep it out here. I still have a lot of support.”

Thompson is owed more than $19 million over the next three seasons and the Kings have been sending out feelers in the market for the forward long before the current front office took shape.

But for now Thompson is preparing for the upcoming season as if he’ll still be Sacramento.

“I’m eager to see what’s going to happen in the upcoming season with the team,” Thompson said. “And I’ve said over the years and I’m sure so have other players, you can control what you can control. I think only a select few – I wouldn’t say the word safe – but you never know what’s going to happen with the team and who’s going to be wearing what jersey.”

Thompson appeared in all 82 games last season for the Kings, registering 61 starts. He averaged 7.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest on 51 percent shooting.

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

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