Posted on: July 2, 2010 11:28 pm
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Julian Wright needsVegas League guidance

We interrupt your coverage of NBA free agency apocalypse to bring you Julian Wright's ego run amuck.

So Julian Wright had so much potential and just never got there. The prototypical athletic forward that can't seem to develop consistent moves, touch, or keep his head on straight while defending. Your favorite team probably has one. If your favorite team is the Warriors you have about five.

But the story of a career is not writtten a handful of years into it, it's written at the end. So if he works hard, and continues to committing to developing...

Oh, well .

The Times Picayune in New Orleans reports that Wright has elected not to participate in Summer League. The assumption is that he believes he's got nothing to gain from attending. It's entirely possbile there's some injury keeping Wright out. Or maybe he's got a significant personal engagement he can't break.

But skippig is kind of par for the course for "Juju." He's failed to recognize that you can't skip stages in this league unless you're an elite talent. And like most players, he's not an elite talent. Which means he needs to try and work his way to where he wants to be instead of just saying he's there.

Not the best way to start off with a new coach, there, Juju.



Posted on: July 2, 2010 7:00 pm
 

Wade going for second visit with Chicago

Free agency moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Just hours after Dwyane Wade told reporters he was "intrigued by the presentation of the New York Knicks (Knicks fans: "Yay!"), Wade is headed back to Chicago for a second meeting with Bulls brass according to Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel . And he's bringing his agent in tow.

Reports vary between Winderman and ESPN as to whether the Bulls requested this meeting, or Wade did .

This comes hours after LeBron James' schedule was adjusted for Saturday. The meeting was moved up, and multiple reports suggest that the move was made because the Bulls intend to push for a decision from James by the end of day. Which sounds like abject suicide. Until you consider that the gambit may be to try and get Wade and James sealed and delivered (but not signed since they can't until the 8th) before any other teams can make another run at him. Then it sounds like a dangerous, but bold, manuever that could result in the mega-team the Bulls have been working towards, or a complete strikeout.

So the Nets started out strong, then the Knicks made a comeback. Then the Heat started appearing strong, and the Bulls looked terrible. Now the Bulls look like they're coming back. (The recurring theme is that the Clippers are irrelevant. Which means reports will indicate they're "close" to a free agent tomorrow most likely.)

If someone could get me some duct tape to keep my head strapped on to my neck, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

-Matt Moore
Posted on: July 2, 2010 4:59 pm
 

Knicks bounce back, 'intrigue' Wade

It was not a great opening 24 hours of free agency for the New York Knicks. The second 24 hours are shaping up to be much better.

Before talks with Amar'e Stoudemire made significant progress , the Knicks met with Dwyane Wade. The Knicks have brought out the big guns again to try and lure Wade, and it appears they made an impact.

ESPN New York reports that Wade came out of the meeting, and in a rare move from one of the vaunted "Big 3," made a statement that wasn't via Twitter. Via ESPN:

"It was a good meeting, a real good meeting," Wade said after the meeting that lasted about two hours and 15 minutes. "I will say I'm intrigued."

Now, that's far from any sort of thing resembling the beginning of a start to approaching a commitment, but it is a public recognition of one of the free-agency suitors as a positive influence. And coming on the heels of a day where LeBron James is said to have been less impressed with the Knicks , this was a pretty big sign for them.

The combination of Wade and Stoudemire would instantly make the Knicks into the contenders this free-agency period was supposed to mold them into. They're a long way from paydirt, but after an opening round that saw them get their bell rung by their neighbors in Jersey/Brooklyn, the reports coming out today were much better for the Knicks.
Posted on: July 2, 2010 4:34 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2010 4:35 pm
 

Knicks serious about Amar'e

Just like that, the winds of fortune change. Three days ago, Amar'e Stoudemire was expected to remain a Phoenix Sun. The Suns had gotten to the negotiating table early, often and hard. But the Suns wanted to go no further than four years for the explosive power forward, while Stoudemire and his agent were holding strong for five years. Finally, the Suns went to the table one last time Thursday night with a concession.

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Suns offered a five year deal, with only the first three years guaranteed , and the last two dependent upon minutes. Stoudemire and his agent said no thanks, and began to pursue other offers.

The Suns? They opted to reach an agreement with Hakim Warrick, effectively ending their ties to Amar'e Stoudemire. An interesting side note: If the Suns do not reach an agreement to sign-and-trade Stoudemire (say, to the Rockets) in the next six days, in order to sign Warrick they'll have to renounce the rights to Stoudemire, meaning they'll be unable to facilitate said sign-and-trade of significant assets (info courtesy of Coro ).

So with Amar'e having left the Valley, who should show up?

Donnie Walsh and the PowerPoint toting Knicks. Yahoo! Sports reports that the Knicks are zeroing in on a 5-year maximum contract deal for Stoudemire. The move would be both surprising and a huge coup for Walsh, D'Antoni and company, who need to land a second max free agent in order to convince LeBron James to follow suit.

Signing Amar'e is no guarantee, just ask the Suns. But Stoudemire had his best seasons under Mike D'Antoni. There was a lot of talk that D'Antoni would never want to deal with Stoudemire's attitude again, but that obviously seems off. And somewhere, lurking in the shadows, is the fact that Joe Johnson, another former D'Antoni player, has not signed his max contract from the Atlanta Hawks yet, despite two sources confirming to CBSSports.com's Ken Berger that the contract is fully guaranteed.

All of a sudden, the Knicks could be right back in the thick of this. We'll keep you updated on if Stoudemire becomes a "done deal" in advance of the July 8th signing day.

-Matt Moore


Posted on: July 2, 2010 2:06 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2010 2:52 pm
 

Broadway for LeBron: Yeah, this should work.

Sure, the Knicks' presentation might not have made the impact it possibly could have. And sure the Knicks are now trying to throw money at Amar'e Stoudemire to get him into the fold as a lure for James. But don't think that New York is short on ways to impress James!

No, because really, if you're a 25 year old megamillionaire, what you're really looking for is Broadway musicals!

Broadway musical "Promises, Promises " releaed a video asking for James to come to the Big Apple. And I can tell you, these gals are swell. This is sure to bring LeBron! (Note: This is not sure to bring LeBron.)




via Ball Don't Lie
Posted on: July 2, 2010 12:04 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2010 12:07 pm
 

Suns agree to terms with Warrick, Amar'e gone?

Amar'e Stoudemire may have dunked his last alley-oop in the Valley of the Suns .

Yahoo! Sports reports that the Suns have agreed to a four year, $18 million deal with free agent power forward Hakim Warrick. That pretty much spells the end of Amar'e in Phoenix. Especially considering the report also states that the Suns finally offered Amar'e a five-year contract, the hold-up in the efforts to re-sign him, but that the deal was dependent upon minutes played and the last two seasons were non-guaranteed. That's a pretty far gap from where Stoudemire wants to be, with a five-year, guaranteed, big money contract.

The signing of Warrick indicates that the Suns felt they had to move on after the latest talks stalled, and in this kind of market, there's no way applying pressure to Stoudemire is going to work. He's got major money, five-year offers waiting from multiple teams, and can likely negotiate with the Rockets on a sign and trade deal the Suns will agree to. He's heavily rumored to be leaning towards New York and a reunion with Mike D'Antoni.

As far as Warrick himself, he brings low production and high athleticism to the team at a valued price. It's hard to think that $18 was really a good price for him, but it does make a clear statement that the Suns are moving on. Warrick in the run and gun system with Nash is an intriguing prospect, considering that per 36 minutes last season he averaged close to 17 and 9. Warrick turns 28 in a few days, and has never really gotten significant minutes. Apparently the Suns saw enough in him to devote some payroll to him in order to avoid being put in a jam by Stoudemire's wandering eye.

A very different era in Suns basketball looks ready to begin, but nothing is anywhere near final yet.

-Matt Moore

Posted on: July 2, 2010 11:50 am
 

Free-agency layup line: Dinner reservations

All of the little free-agency stories that flow through. We'll have several of these throughout the day, updated regularly.

Yahoo Sports! reports that the Rockets are aiming for a sign and trade package featuring Luis Scola (also a free agent), Shane Battier, and Trevor Ariza. General Manager Daryl Morey is still trying to swoop in and snatch up a max free agent power forward, either Chris Bosh or Amar'e Stoudemire. If the Suns continue to be unwilling to provide that fifth year, then Morey is going to offer one of the more impressive packages for the Suns, with reasonable contracts and high end talent.

The Celtics have reached out to David Lee, according to the Boston Globe. A curious move considering the Celtics' cap space. With Paul Pierce considering a 4 year, $61 million offer and Ray Allen sure to attract his own substantial digits, you have to wonder where the Celtics are going to find room for Lee, who is arguably the third best power forward available (depending on how you feel about Carlos "I enjoy the feeling of being blocked" Boozer). That's a lot of dough the Celtics would have to provide, and figuring out how Lee and Kevin Garnett would occupy the same space on the floor would be a bit tricky too.

Hoopsworld reports that Real Madrid in Spain has inked Sergio Rodriguez. Have I mentioned the Knicks are going to need a point guard? Because they're going to need a point guard.

-Matt Moore
Posted on: July 2, 2010 10:23 am
Edited on: July 2, 2010 10:25 am
 

Free-agency day 1 winners and losers

So we're a day in. Who were the winners and losers from the first day of free agency?

Winners:


New Jersey Nets:
The Nets made an impression with the first meeting of LeBron James' free agency tour and came away feeling good about things. They also may have inadvertently benefited from the Knicks' proposal , which too obviously ignored them.

Toronto Raptors:
The Raptors made a signing that was defense-focused , signing  young Amir Johnson to a 5-year, $34 million dollar deal. Some will question whether his production warrants such a deal, but look at his per-minute numbers (outside of fouls), and his age, consider the deal Andrew Bynum was rewarded with, and realize that Johnson is only 23. Good move for the Raps who are in for a rocky year.

Los Angeles Lakers: Any time you can bring back a guy who has 13 rings and is the only one to make your team's offensive system work, and the only person Kobe Bryant has won titles with, that's a good day, even if you didn't sign a soul.


Losers:


Memphis Grizzlies: There were a lot of complications that led to Rudy Gay being inked to a near-max contract at 5 years, $82 million despite having never been an All-Star. The Grizzlies couldn't lose Gay. They would have been stranded without a small-forward. The fanbase already considers ownership cheap. And Gay is the best player under 26 on the team. They also couldn't really wait to see what offer sheets Gay came upon or signed. If a team offered a max contract, front-loaded, it would have hurt them financially, and may have forced them into a less flexible position, particularly if teams had waited till later in the summer to formally extend the offer sheet in an effort to squeeze the Grizz. But that doesn't change the facts of the deal, nor does it change that they could have avoided this mess by getting an agreement done a year ago, and likely at a lower price when demand wasn't so high as it is now. The Grizzlies gave a near-max to a player who has been inconsistent, is young, but not super-young, and has never been an All-Star. By hook or by crook, the Grizzlies wound up losers today.

Atlanta Hawks: First they made everyone think they were insane by offering Joe Johnson the absolute max, right off the bat. Then things got worse as Johnson still hasn't agreed to the deal, and has taken a secondary meeting with his agent from which no resolution has been made.


New York Knicks:
They have the money. They have the brand. They have the PowerPoint . And yet they still seem to be on the outside looking in at the top free agents while Chicago, Miami, and even the Nets gain traction. Now, they're getting the ear and are still firmly in on this thing, but the prevailing wisdom doesn't speak to them having had a rousingly successful day. And when the stakes are this high, not winning is losing. There are no draws.

-Matt Moore



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com