Monday, July 1, 2013
Free-agent courting in full swing
By Marc Stein
The New Orleans Pelicans, fresh off trading for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday on draft night, opened free agency in search of another new addition to their backcourt.
Sources with knowledge of the meeting told ESPN.com that the Pelicans were granted a face-to-face with Sacramento Kings restricted free agent Tyreke Evans shortly at free agency started Monday morning at 12:01 a.m.
The Pelicans, sources said, are going hard after Evans, despite the fact that Sacramento will have the right to match any offer sheet and even though the 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year is said to have a long list of potential suitors presuming that the Kings won't have the appetite to match after drafting Ben McLemore with the No. 7 pick on Thursday night.
"When a team meets with a free agent right after midnight," said one source close to the process, "you know they're serious about the guy."
Interesting sidebar to contemplate while the Pelicans' pursuit of Evans plays out: What does the arrival of Holiday and potential signing of Evans means for the futures of point guard Greivis Vasquez and the (already available) Eric Gordon?
More chatter from the personnel grapevine after the first few hours of free agency follows:
The Bucks' backcourt situation is fascinating.
After initial suggestions after its first-round playoff exit to Miami that the Bucks were going to try to re-sign Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick -- and let Brandon Jennings go -- Bucks GM John Hammond announced earlier this week to local reporters that the team was hopeful of re-signing Jennings.
What followed on Day 1 of free-agency season only muddled the season further.
One source told ESPN.com that the Bucks were now leaning toward not even making an offer to Redick ... even after surrendering the promising Tobias Harris to Orlando to get him.
Then came word, via another source, that the Bucks are in the process of launching a hard run in free agency at Hawks restricted free agent point guard Jeff Teague at the behest of new coach Larry Drew, who just had Teague in Atlanta.
As for Ellis? "Looks like they're going to let him walk," said the first source.
Brooklyn's spending power is extremely limited after the trade they agreed to Thursday night with Boston to take on Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry.
The Nets, though, are already strong favorites to land sharpshooter Kyle Korver, according to another team eager to sign Korver.
The list of teams interested in Korver is rather long, frankly, but one rival GM told ESPN.com early Monday: "I'm hearing that Brooklyn has Korver in the bag."
Nets general manager Billy King, don't forget, first obtained Korver in a draft-night deal ten years ago when he was Philadelphia's GM.
Minnesota called Oklahoma City swingman Kevin Martin right at 12:01 a.m., according to sources with knowledge of the conversation, and was soon followed by a call from the Bucks.
There's a growing belief that the Thunder's chances of hanging on to Martin are dwindling fast given how close they are to the luxury-tax threshold already. Sources say New Orleans will go after him if it can't land Evans and there will be other suitors, too.
ESPN.com reported early Sunday that Detroit would make a hard push for Hawks swingman Josh Smith, which the Pistons duly confirmed by meeting with Smith at the first allowable minute ... Said one source briefed on Dallas' quickly rebuffed attempt to engage the Boston Celtics in trade talks for point guard Rajon Rondo: "Danny [Ainge] telling them that they're only interested in Dirk [Nowitzki] is his way of saying: 'You don't have enough to get in the game.' "