Sources: Hawks, Mavs still in Bynum hunt, for now
By Marc Stein | July 9, 2:12 a.m. ET
Andrew Bynum, to this point, has not canceled his scheduled recruiting visits this week in Atlanta and Dallas despite receiving a two-year offer from Cleveland worth an incentive-laden $12 million annually.
Which is to say that the Hawks and Mavs, for the moment, are still in the game.
Yet sources close to the process tell ESPN.com that the Cavs are mostly worried about Dallas in the Bynum chase and have thus tried to construct an offer that the Mavs can't touch while likewise doing no harm to their long-planned bid to try to bring LeBron James back to Ohio in free agency in the summer of 2014.
The Cavs would hold a team option in the second year of the proposed deal, which they feel would provide the needed flexibility to either keep Bynum if he bounces back in a big way or part ways with him if Bynum's famously shaky knees don't hold up.
Why are the Cavs, as reported here Sunday night, willing to extend themselves to such a degree for a player who didn't play a single second in Philadelphia last season and couldn't have been abandoned faster by the Sixers? Word is Cleveland sees this as a unique opportunity, given how rarely former All-Star centers become available -- especially at age 25 -- as well as gettable for a franchise not exactly known for its free-agent pull.
Sources: Brandon Jennings for Jeff Teague?By Marc Stein | July 8, 2:52 a.m. ET
Word began to circulate late Sunday that the Denver Nuggets were closing in on a verbal agreement with free-agent shooting guard Randy Foye.
And that initially seemed to signal that the Atlanta Hawks' lead in the race to sign Monta Ellis, as detailed here late Saturday, has only widened.
An alternate scenario began to make the rounds as Sunday bled into Monday suggesting that a far wilder set of moves could soon follow and involve Atlanta as well as Milwaukee, Sacramento and possibly Cleveland.
Sources briefed on the situation told ESPN.com that the Hawks and Bucks have in recent days discussed a sign-and-trade deal to land Brandon Jennings in Atlanta and send fellow restricted free agent Jeff Teague to Milwaukee to reunite with former Hawks coach Larry Drew. ESPN.com reported early in free agency that the Bucks, at Drew's behest, had interest.
If those sign-and-trade talks progress to the serious stage, sources said, Atlanta would inevitably have to rescind its long-standing interest in Ellis, knowing he and Jennings realistically couldn't play together again given how poorly they functioned as a backcourt duo in Milwaukee last season.
Sources say that the Kings, meanwhile, have been shopping the likes of Jimmer Fredette and Chuck Hayes to the Cavaliers to create the requisite salary-cap room to try to sign Ellis comfortably. Hard to see Cleveland wanting Hayes, whose contract runs through 2014-15 and thus potentially would cut into Cleveland's reserves earmarked for a free-agent run at LeBron James next summer. Fredette's $2.4 million salary is a virtual expiring deal.
Yet the closest thing to a lock regarding all of the above, as Week 2 of NBA free agency begins, is that Foye coming to terms with Denver would essentially take the Nuggets out of the Ellis hunt. If the Nuggets strike a deal with Foye, that's essentially an admission that Ellis is out of their price range.