NBA Free Agency: Sunday Wrap-Up
Timofey Mozgov received a four-year offer from Lokomotiv Kuban (Russia) on Sunday. He was stuck behind Kosta Koufos and Javale McGee in Denver last season, where he averaged less than nine minutes in 41 games. Mozgov hasn't garnered much interest thus far, though with many top centers off the market, he could be seen as a viable bench option for several teams. He has never averaged more than 16 minutes per game in his four-year career and could give returning to play in his home country serious consideration - particularly if he is not offered a lucrative NBA deal.
Since the moment word got around that Dwight Howard had landed with the Houston Rockets, Omer Asik made it clear that he has no interest in backing up the big man. He officially requested a trade Sunday but is yet to see his wish granted. The Turkey native started all 82 games and posted career highs in points (10.1) and rebounds (11.7) last season and would almost certainly see his role greatly reduced in 2013-14 if he remains in Houston. The Rockets have expressed their interest in holding onto Asik, as he provides insurance should Howard get hurt and could even team with Howard in a "twin towers" lineup, as head coach Kevin McHale noted. However, the two seven-footers' styles aren't exactly complementary, and the Rockets likely would not prefer to pay a backup $8 million per season. While the team may publicly indicate they intend to keep Asik, the right offer could certainly pull him away. If he is not moved by the start of the season, he'll be a hot name come February's trade deadline.
Monta Ellis is receiving heavy interest from several teams, most notably the new-look Hawks. However, there is little chance he gets the $12 million he would have received had he exercised his one-year player option to remain with Milwaukee. Atlanta is rumored to be willing to offer Ellis around $10 million per season, but no formal offer has been presented. The Nuggets, Kings and Lakers are also interested in his services, and Denver is shopping Andre Miller to free up cap space to sign Ellis. The 27-year-old averaged nearly 20 points last season, but he's one of the league's most inefficient and inconsistent players. Ellis shot just 28.0 percent from beyond the arc last season while failing to mesh with the similarly-styled Brandon Jennings. Should he land with Atlanta, Ellis would join Jeff Teague, Lou Williams, John Jenkins and rookie Dennis Schroeder in what would be one of the league's smallest backcourt rotations.
With Dwight Howard and Al Jefferson committed to the Rockets and Bobcats respectively, Andrew Bynum is receiving interest from a number of teams, namely the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs see Bynum as their second option after striking out in the Howard sweepstakes, and the mercurial big man could potentially be had for a reasonable price given his injury history and enigmatic reputation. Bynum didn't appear in an NBA game last season due to injury issues with both of his knees, but if he returns at even close to full strength, he's easily one of the top five centers in the league. Teams will likely include an Exhibit 3 protection in a deal with Bynum, which would enable them to waive him should he be unable to play due to prior injuries (Minnesota used the protection with Brandon Roy). Aside from Dallas, the Cavaliers, Lakers and Hawks have all shown interest in Bynum, and his recruitment should pick up early this week.
Ryan Hollins signed a one-year deal at the veteran's minimum Sunday to remain with the Los Angeles Clippers. He signed a similar one-year deal last summer and averaged 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds per game last season. The arrival of Doc Rivers likely influenced Hollins' decision, as he played under Rivers as a member of the Celtics in 2011-12. He'll once again back up DeAndre Jordan at the center spot and - depending on the Clippers' free agency plan - could see an increased role, as Jordan and Blake Griffin are currently the only other true big men on the roster.
Early last week, reports surfaced that the Wizards and veteran forward Antawn Jamison had mutual interest. Now, it appears the Clippers have thrown their hat into the ring and could look to offer the 37-year-old a deal this week. Los Angeles can only offer Jamison the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million, but he would not have to worry about relocating since he played with the Lakers last season. The Clippers also offer a much more appealing roster situation where Jamison would have minimal pressure and a much better chance at his first ring.
J.J. Hickson and the Denver Nuggets agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal. The recent additions of Robin Lopez and Dorrell Wright - along with the expected progression of 2012 first-rounder Myers Leonard - made Hickson expendable for the Blazers, who failed to succeed with him as their undersized center last season. Though he quietly averaged a respectable 12.7 points and 10.4 rebounds on 56.2 percent shooting, he struggled defensively as a rim protector. With Denver, he might be able to return to his natural power forward spot, which should cut down on the defensive lapses. However, after starting 80 games last season, he'll likely assume a bench role and will rival the recently-acquired Darrell Arthur for playing time.
The Blazers continued to bulk up their backcourt by adding veteran Earl Watson late Friday. Watson played 48 games in a reserve role for the Jazz last season and will provide depth and experience to a young corps of Blazers guards.
Chris Kaman is receiving interest from several teams as the fallout from the Dwight Howard signing continues. The Lakers are thought to be the leaders in his recruitment, with the Warriors, Hawks, Kings and Knicks also interested. At 31 years old, Kaman would be more of a stopgap at the center spot than a long-term option, but a contender could look to ink him to a short-term deal to provide interior defense and rebounding. As a member of the Mavericks last season, Kaman averaged 10.5 points to go with 5.6 rebounds in 20.7 minutes per game - both career lows.
After adding O.J. Mayo earlier this week, Milwaukee agreed to terms with Carlos Delfino on Sunday. The Argentinean swingman signed a two-year deal worth a guaranteed $6.5 million, with a third-year team option for more than $9 million. Delfino played for the Bucks from 2009-12, starting 159 of 178 games in a Milwaukee uniform. At this point in his career, he's primarily a 3-point shooter, and he attempted over six threes per game last season with Houston. Still, Delfino has a chance to earn major minutes, as the Bucks are currently very thin at the small forward spot.
Anthony Morrow is receiving widespread interest from several teams including the Grizzlies, Warriors, Bobcats, Lakers, Suns, Spurs, Rockets and Knicks. All of the aforementioned teams could use the 3-point specialist who found himself buried on the Mavs' bench for much of last season. A Charlotte native, Morrow could opt to stay home and sign with the Bobcats or look to link up with a contender, as he's never been to the playoffs in five NBA seasons.