With the NBA Draft in the rearview mirror, teams and players are looking ahead to free agency. We continue to keep you aplrised of the rumors floating around the league.
You can add Lance Stephenson to the list of players available in free agency. The Indiana Pacers plan on declining the 27-year-old’s $4.3 million team option according to Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania:
The Indiana Pacers are declining Lance Stephenson’s $4.3M team option and he’ll be a free agent, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 25, 2018
The move gives the Pacers more financial flexibility going into the free agency period. ESPN’s Chris Haynes is reporting that the Pacers will be targeting Tyreke Evans or Will Barton:
ESPN Sources: With Indiana declining team option on Lance Stephenson, Tyreke Evans and Will Barton are expected to be two of its free-agent targets.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 25, 2018
Orlando Magic guard Shelvin Mack will also be hitting the free agency market. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Magic are waiving the 7-year player:
Orlando is waiving guard Shelvin Mack, league sources tell ESPN. He would've been guaranteed $6M this season. Mack will join the free agent market of capable back up guards.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 25, 2018
One player that will not be entering free agency anytime soon is Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. According to Shams Charania, the Nuggets plan to decline the team option for the 23-year-old big man with the plan on signing him to a 5-year max contarct with $146.5 million:
Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic will have his team option declined for next season to become RFA, and sides plan to reach agreement on a five-year, $146.5M maximum contract, league sources told Yahoo.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 25, 2018
Paul George is expected to opt out of $20.7 million player option before Friday, making him one of the biggest free agents this offseason. The Los Angeles Lakers have been expected to be high on his list of teams since rumors last summer that George had told friends he wanted to suit up in purple and gold.
This week Sports Illustrated obtained a leaked copy of a script for a recruiting video that appears to be targeting the five-time All-Star (who is from Palmdale, California):
The pitch entitled “Two Dreams” makes hints about who the pitch is for.
The text reads:
When you were just a kid
In your room
Dreaming from Palmdale
We were dreaming too.
While you dreamt, we built - built for your arrival
And while we dreamt, you built too
Becoming one of the world’s greatest.
Life’s most powerful dream are the one we realize ourselves.
The ones that turn us into legends.
That kid from Palmdale always knew it
Now the world will, too
LeBron James, the biggest potential free agent available, is not looking for elaborate video presentations this time around. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, James, who has a $35.6 player option, isn’t interested in large pitch meetings:
While James hasn’t decided yet whether to pick up his player option, sources close to the situation tell ESPN that he has no intention of hearing elaborate pitch meetings from teams.
James might meet or speak with a club official or owner at some point, but the elaborate presentations that have become common in NBA free agency over the years are unnecessary after 15 seasons in the league.
Should James become a free agent, league sources believe he and his agents Rich Paul and Mark Termini have enough understanding of the stakes and NBA landscape to handle the process without much fanfare.
James has until June 29 to decide on his player option. Free agency begins at midnight Eastern Standard Time on July 1.