Jason Quick of The Oregonian: Brandon Roy will be back playing at the Rose Garden next season. It just won't be with the Trail Blazers. Nearly seven months after leaving the game because of concern over his degenerative knees, Roy is making a comeback, verbally agreeing to a two-year, $10.4 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday. ... Greg Lawrence said Roy is not joining the Timberwolves with any expectations or demands other than a chance to compete for a starting job. ... Lawrence said Roy chose Minnesota because he was impressed by head coach Rick Adelman and because of his relationship with former Blazers assistant Bill Bayno, who is now on Adelman's staff. Lawrence said Roy was also impressed by how hard Minnesota pursued him.
Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: I suspect they will defer to Dirk [Nowitzki]. And if he wants to move along and take one more swing at the title, they'd do what they could to make it happen for him. But I just don't see that being Dirk's style. He may be one of those rare stars who stays the whole time with one team. That would only be right. He's got a title. Trying to resuscitate this franchise would be a bigger feather in his cap than going to Chicago or Boston or LA or -- please, God, no -- Miami.
Howard Beck of The New York Times: Just as Kidd committed, the Knicks learned that Jeremy Lin, their promising 23-year-old point guard, had agreed to an offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, complicating the picture further. The Rockets’ offer could be worth as much as $28.8 million over four years, with backloaded payments in the final two seasons, according to a person who was briefed on the details. The fourth year is a team option. Because Lin is a restricted free agent, the Knicks have the right to match the deal. The offer sheet cannot be signed until the N.B.A. moratorium ends next Wednesday, at which time the Knicks will have three days to either match it or let Lin walk. The Knicks are determined to keep Lin, even if the contract costs them millions more in luxury-tax payments. ... Five days into free agency, this is already shaping up as the Summer of the Point Guard. It began with Williams and Nash, two of the most prominent on the market. It continued with Kidd, Lowry, Dragic and Lin. On Thursday, Chauncey Billups agreed to a new deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, while Jameer Nelson reached terms to return to the Orlando Magic. Two others have deals to stay put: Andre Miller with Denver and George Hill with Indiana. A handful of solid point guards remain on the market, including Felton, Aaron Brooks, Ramon Sessions and Kirk Hinrich.
Bob Young of The Arizona Republic: Remove the burning hatred of purple and gold from the equation, and this was the best thing the Suns could have done for Nash and themselves. The deal gives Nash the opportunity to play for a contending team and still remain close to his kids (who live in the Valley with his ex-wife) and his mom and dad (who moved here when Nash returned to the Suns). ... So the Suns get a first-round pick next year and another in 2015 with a couple second-round picks for Nash. Presumably, those first-round picks will have limited value because with Nash and Kobe Bryant the Lakers figure to be among the better teams in the league. We'll buy that for next year's draft. But what about 2015 when Nash and Kobe have three more seasons and a few long playoff runs on those legs? There is the potential for some value in 2015.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: With Goran Dragic turning down the Rockets’ final offer Monday and accepting a four-year deal to join the Suns on Wednesday, the Rockets lost both point guards from last season. Thursday, they reached agreement with Jeremy Lin, 23, on a four-year, $28.8 million offer sheet, with the final season, worth $9.3 million, at the team’s option. But they expect the New York Knicks to match the contract to keep Lin. The Rockets were willing to face that likelihood and make the tough choices on Dragic and Lowry for the same reasons. In both cases, they gave up players who were keys to any success they had last season to try to better position themselves to rebuild, according to a person familiar with their thinking. Unable to work a deal for a star-quality player or premium draft pick while offering Lowry, the Rockets came to believe they are more likely to get that kind of trade if offering a top pick.
Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: All right, everyone calmed down a little bit? Steve Nash is a Laker, a bit surprising, a bit out of nowhere but it’s done and, finally, the saga is over. Good for him. ... Life factors, chance to win, no holding one against the other for more money. What’s to complain about? ... Look, the Steve Nash thing came down to this: They made a great offer and went all-in and it didn’t work out for a variety of reasons real and perceived. Tough noogies. Time to move on. It’s not like they can, or should, throw their hands in the air and give up, there’s a roster to build, games to play and a future to worry about. No pity parties. For anyone.
Tom Moore of phillyBurbs.com: Rod Thorn said there’s no truth to rumblings about a trade involving the 76ers and Raptors. In an email Thursday night, Thorn denied there’s anything to a rumored deal in which the Sixers would acquire swingman DeMar DeRozan and point guard Jose Calderon, whose contract expires next summer, in exchange for Andre Iguodala and young big man Nikola Vucevic. Thorn also said, “(I) don’t know yet” if the Sixers’ 2012-13 roster will be very similar to last year’s roster.
Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: No, there is nothing new to report on the Hawks and Dwight Howard. As far as I know, nothing has changed since what I wrote two days ago. If I hear anything different, I promise I won’t keep it to myself. With that out of the way, on to some housekeeping ... Once the trades become official on July 11, and after the Hawks compete an expected buy out of Jordan Farmar, they will have nine players under contract. Draft picks John Jenkins and Mike Scott will make it 11 once they sign their deals. Ivan Johnson will make it 12 if he signs his qualifying offer.
Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: The Human Pogo Stick is staying put. The Jazz agreed Thursday to a three-year, $5.5 million deal with third-year forward Jeremy Evans, The Salt Lake Tribune learned. Evans entered free agency as a restricted free agent. The Jazz extended him an official qualifying offer last Friday.
Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald: Celtics free agent guard Ray Allen, who is seriously considering an offer from the Heat, met with team president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra in Miami on Thursday afternoon, then went to dinner with Heat officials on Thursday night, including Alonzo Mourning, team CEO Nick Arison, Riley, and Spoelstra. Allen is expected to make a decision soon about his future. ... The Heat also has contacted representation for Lakers center/power forward Jordan Hill and likely would pursue him, among others, if Allen passes on Miami’s offer.
Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: Brandon Bass is happy that he doesn’t have to fill out another change of NBA address card, and he’s even more ecstatic Boston will remain his basketball home. He and the Celtics agreed on a three-year deal yesterday, with Bass pegging the overall figure at $20 million. As for how that will be broken down, the power forward said, “It’s three years for $20 million. That’s all I know.” Bass opted out of the $4.25 million final year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent, and he sifted through the advances from NBA suitors.
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: For months, Jameer Nelson said he wanted to return to the Orlando Magic. In recent days, new Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said he wanted Nelson back. They meant what they said. On Thursday, Nelson told the Orlando Sentinel, and later repeated over Twitter, that he and the Magic have agreed in principle to a new contract. Although Nelson and team officials would not discuss details, the new deal will run three seasons. ... Yahoo! Sports reported — and the Sentinel confirmed — that the Magic are not planning to waive shooting guard J.J. Redick before 11:59 Sunday night. If the team waives Redick before then, his entire salary of about $6.1 million for the upcoming season would be erased from the books and the team would not owe him a single penny. If the Magic keep him, as expected, his entire salary would become fully guaranteed.
Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News: Tony Parker has been named to the French national team’s 12-man roster for the Olympics later this month. Whether the Spurs’ All-Star point guard will be cleared to actually take the floor in London has yet to be determined. Parker, who suffered a scratched cornea in his left eye during a nightclub brawl last month in New York, has returned to the United States to be re-examined by Spurs-approved doctors. The results of that examination will inform the final decision regarding Parker’s participation with Les Bleus, which opens Olympic play July 29 against the United States.
Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: Guard Lance Stephenson spent much of his first two seasons with the Indiana Pacers planted on the bench. At times, he was force-fed minutes by the coaching staff. Then he capped off his second season by showing his potential in the regular-season finale. Now it’s time for Stephenson to step up and show if he’s ready to be a rotation player. What’s different for Stephenson now is his biggest advocate — former team President Larry Bird — isn’t around anymore. It’s on Stephenson to prove doubters wrong ... that his streetball style can translate to the NBA. ... Stephenson, 21, knows it’s his a make-or-break season. His contract is not guaranteed. That’s why he’s spending the summer in Indianapolis working out at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, playing on the summer league team and also participating in the Pro Am league at IUPUI on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Jason Quick of The Oregonian: The Trail Blazers delivered a direct and emphatic message to free agent Nicolas Batum during a downtown meeting Thursday afternoon: Batum will remain with the Blazers. A trio of Blazers executives, led by general manager Neil Olshey, met with Batum and agent Bouna Ndiaye and told the 23-year-old forward that they intend to keep him in a Blazers uniform no matter what other teams offer him or propose to the team in trades. ... Olshey's message was a not-so-veiled counter to Minnesota, where Batum spent three days last weekend being courted by general manager David Kahn and Timberwolves ownership.
Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman: The early returns on NBA free agency have not brought good news to the Thunder. The Houston Rockets offered Omer Asik $25 million over three years. Asik was the Bulls' offensively-challenged backup center last season. The guy who missed those foul shots after C.J. Watson needlessly threw him the ball in the final seconds against the Sixers. The Portland TrailBlazers offered Pacers center Roy Hibbert a maximum contract — $58 million over four years. Hibbert is a good player; a borderline all-star. Maybe he's worth $14.5 million a year. He'd better be. And the Celtics gave Kevin Garnett a three-year, $34-million contract that is described by most as “below-market value.” Does anyone still think Serge Ibaka will come cheap? ... No telling what Ibaka could command on the open market next summer, and his agent knows it. I don't see any way the Thunder can keep Ibaka for anything less than $10 million, and likely he will cost more.
Marlon W. Morgan of The Commercial-Appeal: Forward Marreese Speights tweeted Thursday night that he is returning to the Grizzlies next season. Speights was a restricted free agent. Terms of his new deal were unavailable, but he must wait until July 11 to sign his new contract. Speights was acquired by the Grizzlies in January from Philadelphia in a three-team trade to fill in for forward Zach Randolph after he tore his medial collateral ligament. He averaged 8.8 points and 6.2 rebounds last season. In other news, a source close to the Grizzlies said the team will meet with former University of Arkansas guard/forward Sonny Weems on Friday evening. Weems, who has previously played for Denver and Toronto, spent last season with Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania.
Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: The Kings will take their first steps on the basketball court toward the 2012-13 season, and, as usual, the site will be Las Vegas. The Kings released a roster of 19 players for next week's minicamp. The list will be trimmed to about 15 for the Kings' summer league schedule, which begins July 13 in Las Vegas. The minicamp will run Monday through Thursday. Second-year guard Jimmer Fredette and third-year center Hassan Whiteside are the only players from last season on the roster. Second-year forward Tyler Honeycutt would have had a big role this summer if not for a stress fracture in his right foot that will keep him sidelined.