Free agency is right around the corner, so we’ll probably be rounding up rumors several times over the next couple days. Starting now.
And while the storm of Woj bombs and Shamwows haven’t hit just yet, a sprinkling of news on the biggest free agents is already out there. The Bulls implications remain on the lower end right now, but the greater landscape of the NBA, and especially the Eastern Conference, is on the brink of drastically changing.
- To start things off Bulls-centric, the team has been tied to a possible Taj Gibson return more and more lately. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing the veteran big man back in red, but the only concern is whether he will take a pay cut on his way back to Chicago. Gibson has been a reliable player across the league for years, and as Mark Schanowski points out in a recent article, Gibson has made over $14 million his last two seasons, but the Bulls would most likely be looking to offer him $10 million or less. I’m not sure if he would take that.
- Meanwhile, guys like Corey Joseph and Ish Smith look to be the most popular names for the Bulls right now, as the team is still expected to bring in a veteran point guard. Luis talked more about adding depth to the position the other day. With the drafting of White, it’s hard to imagine the team will be in the running for the big-money guys who we’ve discussed earlier like Russell and Brogdon. The Bulls are still looking to have about $23 million in cap space, but spreading that out across the bench for some added depth looks like the way to go.
- Andre Iguodala has been on a media storm over this past couple days. According to the Warriors sixth man, the Knicks should expect no free agents to be coming their way this offseason. Typically, we could just take this as Iggy throwing some shade at New York (I mean who doesn’t like to do that?), but considering his close proximity to free agent Kevin Durant, this could hold some weight. Iguodala also mentioned he felt as though Durant and Klay Thompson would be back with the Warriors in the future. Why say this if he didn’t believe it?
Andre Iguodala says Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will re-sign with the Warriors and "nobody's going to the Knicks, sorry"
— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) June 24, 2019
- Speaking of the Knicks, the New York Times Mark Stein let us know they might be in a fight to keep DeAndre Jordan. Apparently, the Nets are exploring signing the big-man because of his kinship with Durant. I’m sorry, but it’s hard to believe Jordan will even be a top-5 deciding factor for what Durant decides to do, but I like this unnecessary drama. It feels like two 9th grade friend groups duking it out for the popular kid. “My stepdad (DeAndre Jordan) lets us try beer when he’s is in the house!”
The Knicks, of course, hung onto DeAndre Jordan after acquiring him from Dallas in the Porzingis blockbuster in February and have shown interest in re-signing Jordan depending on how the roster shakes out — interest that naturally rises if Durant chooses Madison Square Garden
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 24, 2019
- Durant just declined his $31.5 million player option with the Warriors to become a free agent. The Knicks, Nets and apparently the Clippers are all said to be legitimate threats to pulling him away from resigning with the Warriors. We talked a bit more about this and Kyrie Irving’s impact earlier today.
- The Celtics, on the other hand, are trying to work damage control. The team recently learned that neither Irving nor Al Horford will be returning next season. If the Celtics don’t land anyone, could the Bulls be better!?
We can scratch "stealth." Boston and Dallas are at the front of the line that will be trying to lure Kemba Walker away from Charlotte, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 25, 2019
- Also, Kemba Walker alongside Luka Doncic… my goodness!
- Left out of all this recent Nets talk is D’Angelo Russell. Ya know, the 23-year-old All-Star who made the Nets relevant last year. League sources already say that if the Nets sign Kyrie Irving then they would be unlikely to sign Russell (well, duh). The Nets priority clearly appears to be bringing almost every big-time free agent to Brooklyn, so Russell is bound to get offer sheets thrown his way this offseason. The Bulls were speculated to be in on this sweepstakes, but with the NBA draft landing the franchise a point guard, it’s hard to believe the team would go throw a max offer sheet at Russell. Actually, as Zach Lowe points out in a recent article, it’s kind of hard to think of the right team to throw a max offer sheet at Russell.
Kyrie Irving, D'Angelo Russell, Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets dilemma that could define the early (non-Kawhi) stage of free agency: https://t.co/914IfMUZqy
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 25, 2019
- With that said, Russell has been linked to the Lakers recently. The reunion would be pretty awkward, considering the franchise drafted him and then just sent him off after he snitched on Swaggy P (Y’all remember how crazy that was?). Clearly, the move to ship off Russell was one in poor taste, but with the organization feeling like a ghost of what it once was, thinking about bringing back Russell would certainly be in the team’s best interest.
According to sources..#Lakers set meeting with D’Angelo Russell. Club working towards setting meetings with defensive specialist and a lights out shooter also has interest. To be continued….
— Fred Roggin (@FredNBCLA) June 25, 2019
- The Knicks have a backup plan if everything falls through (which Iguodala believes will happen). The team is in the hunt this offseason to land a Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving. However, all those players are linked heavily to other teams, so if the Knicks can’t lure one of them in, the team will roll over their cap space and probably be looking for another tank year. New York Daily News reports that the Knicks will look to sign a bunch of one-year players to then hit free agency hard the following season for names like Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan and Draymond Green.
- The Rockets have been thrown into the discussion for Jimmy Butler, and I can’t comprehend what that locker room would be like. James Harden, Chris Paul and Bulter all in the same practices could result in a criminal offense. Regardless, Houston is interested in a sign-and-trade for the wing player… but money is sparse.
- Oh boy, that’s a lot of players right there.
I've been saying this over and over, but here it is again:
In 4 days about 200 players are going to be free agents. That's 40% of the NBA. 14 teams have meaningful cap space and many will use that on 1 or 2 players. There are going to be lots and lots of good bargains out there.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 25, 2019
- Thanks to Stein, we have what feels like a very fitting ending to this rumor-roundup. At the end of the day, nobody knows anything.
— #RingerNBA (@ringernba) June 26, 2019