A round-up of the latest dealings on the free agent market featuring the Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, OKC Thunder, and Indiana Pacers.
NBA free agency is in full swing after a quiet couple of days. Some of the best talent available is already off the market while the two biggest names are yet to make their decisions.
We start with Carmelo Anthony, whose visits with teams over the last few days have headlined the free agency period so far. Anthony met with the Bulls on Tuesday, the Rockets and Mavericks on Wednesday and is scheduled to speak to the Lakers and Knicks on Thursday.
His meeting with the Rockets took over six hours, while he spent just two hours with the Mavericks, which could give an insight into his preference so far. The Bulls, who are arguably the frontrunners to sign him, are concerned that he may not be willing to leave the Knicks, according to ESPN's Marc Stein, and are pressing on with other targets while they wait to hear from Anthony.
If Bulls worried about THEIR Melo chances tells you what Rockets/Mavs/Lakers up against. Maybe Knicks' well-chronicled confidence justified— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2014
One of those targets is Pau Gasol. The Laker big man is Chicago's top target if they are unable to lure Anthony, but they face some stiff competition. The Lakers still hope to re-sign Gasol, but the frontrunners are said to be the Thunder.
Oklahoma City sent Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to meet with Gasol and to try to convince the Spaniard to sign for the team. They can offer him the full midlevel exception, which is considerably less than deals that other teams could hand him, but they may also present him with his best chance of winning a title next season. The Spurs could be another potential suitor, and Knicks president Phil Jackson has also spoken to his former player about playing in New York.
A potentially huge deal could be in the works between the Suns and Pacers over point guard Goran Dragic. Marc Stein reports that Indiana has contacted Phoenix about trading for Dragic, but there is no deal in place yet.
Indiana Pacers, I'm told, have tried to engage Phoenix in trade talks for Goran Dragic, but teams have found no common deal ground. Yet— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2014
To snare Dragic the Pacers would presumably have to give up one of their big pieces in return. This could be a sign-and-trade deal for Lance Stephenson or even Roy Hibbert. The Suns are concerned that they may not be able to afford Dragic and their free agent guard Eric Bledsoe.
A couple of point guards are already off the market. Perhaps the biggest signing so far has been Kyle Lowry extending his stay in Toronto for another four years. The new deal is worth $48 million, and takes one of the biggest targets available off the market. Lowry was reportedly a target for the Miami Heat.
Darren Collison, meanwhile, will be leaving the Clippers after backing up Chris Paul at the point last season. He has been handed the keys to the Sacramento Kings, and will start for them next season on a three-year, $16 million contract. The signing leaves free agent point guard Isaiah Thomas's future up in the air. He is a target for the Boston Celtics, should they decide to trade Rajon Rondo.