Rumors surrounding the start of NBA Free Agency continue to heat up with possible trades in the works, superstars teaming up, and decisions on soon-to-be free agents being made. Let’s take a look around the league as July 1 creeps closer and closer.
Adrian Wojnarowski, Brian Windhorst, and Ramona Shelburne are reporting the scramble is on to secure a trade for San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard:
There’s a race to secure Leonard before James is faced with deciding whether to become a free agent on Friday, especially with concern that Oklahoma City’s Paul George is no longer assured of signing with the Lakers, league sources said.
Another preference by James that could impact free agency, league sources said, is that he wants to make a decision quickly in July free agency.
The Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers and LA Clippers are among teams who have made offers to the Spurs for Leonard, league sources said. The Lakers, the franchise Leonard wants to be traded to, did not have an encouraging initial conversation with the Spurs, ESPN reported recently.
The Los Angeles Lakers seem to be looking at every available option to entice the Spurs, according to Wojnarowski:
Story includes Lakers working to acquire a future first-round pick with a willingness to accept salary dumps for 2018-19 season. Lakers could flip a pick into a potential Leonard trade, and still keep one max salary slot open for free agency. https://t.co/upENsFYChC— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 27, 2018
Shelburne says the Lakers began talking to the Spurs as of Wednesday evening:
Update from this morning’s story. The Lakers re-engaged the Spurs Wednesday in aggressively pursuing Kawhi Leonard. Story w/ @wojespn coming shortly on ESPN. This is the first contact between the teams since the Spurs “shut the door” on them after an initial call.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 28, 2018
The Dallas Mavericks are clearing some cap space, at least for the moment, by rescinding the qualifying offer from Doug McDermott, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN:
In a quick turnaround, the Mavericks have withdrawn their qualifying offer to Doug McDermott, league sources say. They still have interest in retaining him, but this makes it easier to clear his ~$10M cap hold. Also makes him an unrestricted free agent, broadening his market.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 27, 2018
Dallas may be looking at Round 2 with DeAndre Jordan, three years after Jordan spurned the Mavericks at the very last minute to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports:
The Mavericks are actively exploring trade scenarios with the Clippers and former flame DeAndre Jordan in hopes of trading for Jordan this week, league sources tell @NYTSports. Full @nytimes coverage here: https://t.co/I7UeakZT5N— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 28, 2018
The Phoenix Suns are cutting ties with Elfrid Payton and Alex Len to create some cap space of their own, according to Scott Bordow of azcentral.com:
Breaking Suns news: NBA source says team will not re-sign guard Elfrid Payton or center Alex Len. Gives Suns $10 million to use in cap space— scott bordow (@sbordow) June 27, 2018
Marc Stein says the Memphis Grizzlies have Avery Bradley as a free-agent target:
Hearing that the Grizzlies -- who will be looking for wing upgrades with their mid-level exception -- have Avery Bradley high among their free-agent targets— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 27, 2018
Our other rumors are on the coaching side. Former Portland Trail Blazer Robert Pack looks to be in line to get hired by the Washington Wizards as an assistant, according to Stein:
The Wizards are closing in on the hire of Robert Pack for Scotty Brooks’ coaching staff, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 27, 2018
After making it to the Western Conference Finals, Mike D’Antoni of the Houston Rockets has had his option picked up for the 2019-20 season, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26:
NBA sources: The Rockets have picked up the option year on head coach Mike D'Antoni's contract. He originally signed a three year-deal with a team option for a fourth year. So he's now tied to the Rockets through the 2019-2020 season.— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) June 27, 2018
Finally, commissioner Adam Silver has signed an extension to remain in his role through 2023-24:
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has signed a contract extension through the 2023-24 NBA season.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 27, 2018