The NBA offseason has been every bit as exciting as the regular season so far. In fact, many would argue that it’s been even more exciting. We’ve seen blockbuster trades, massive contract signings and even some front-office turmoil.
Yes, the NBA offseason has been fun. Now that we’re heading into the second week of official free agency, though, the fun’s all about to end, right? Well, not exactly. Even though bigger names like Gordon Hayward, Blake Griffin and Stephen Curry are under contract, there are still some quality players available.
We’re here to run down the latest storylines and rumors surrounding the NBA’s remaining free agents.
Noel Likely to Return to Dallas
Dallas Mavericks forward Nerlens Noel is a restricted free agent. This means the Mavs can match any contract offer a team makes to him. However, this doesn’t mean other teams haven’t shown interest in the three-year veteran.
For example, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype reported just before the start of official free agency—which began on July 6—that the Atlanta Hawks were showing interest:
SportsDay’s Eddie Sefko recently mentioned other teams that could be after Noel, though he admitted that Dallas’ interest in retaining him made it unlikely one would actually get him:
“Ones that also are in need of a center and are trying to build a young core. New York, Brooklyn, Phoenix and Sacramento. But again, the word is out there that the Mavericks have every intention of matching whatever offer Noel might get on the open market. For that reason, it’s not real likely that there’s any competition at all.”
This most certainly doesn’t mean a team won’t try making a run at Noel. One might at least gauge Dallas’ true interest with an offer sheet. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, however, believes it’s only a matter of time before Noel officially returns to Dallas:
The Mavericks haven’t been as active as some other teams in the Western Conference, but they did make a move to keep part of the team’s core intact. Dallas inked longtime star Dirk Nowitzki to a two-year, $10 million deal offseason.
Our guess is that the Mavericks manage to retain Noel, even if another team does sign him to an offer sheet.
Are Mavericks Also Interested in Rose?
Knee injuries have made former NBA MVP Derrick Rose a shadow of his former self. However, Rose is still a talented player—one who quietly averaged 18.0 points, 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game for the New York Knicks last season.
Could the Mavericks be interested in adding Rose to their roster? According to Marc Berman of the New York Daily News, they just might be:
Sefko, however, believes that Dallas has no interest in Rose:
“A source said that the Mavericks are not in the market for Rose, even though they have had good success in the past with players coming off major injuries. They already have a couple of veteran point guards to school youngsters Dennis Smith Jr. and Yogi Ferrell. J.J. Barea and Devin Harris will serve that purpose well.”
Even though the Mavericks re-upped with Nowitzki, the franchise appears to be headed toward a retooling and a youth movement. Nowitzki’s two-year deal may be his final deal with Dallas as the team looks to hand the reigns to a core of Smith, Harrison Barnes and likely Noel.
Adding Rose just doesn’t seem to fit this long-term plan. It’s more likely that Rose will land with a team comfortable with aging talent or will return to New York on a reduced deal.
Lakers Interested in Caldwell-Pope
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope entered the offseason as a restricted free agent. However, the Detroit Pistons recently decided to renounce his rights, which means he is now free to sign with any team. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers would be interested in adding Caldwell-Pope if he’d be willing to sign a short-term deal:
Adding Caldwell-Pope would certainly fit with L.A.’s youth movement. KCP is only 24 years old and is coming off a season in which he averaged 13.8 points, 2.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Here’s the problem, though. Caldwell-Pope may not be interested in signing a simple one-year deal. Brian Lewis of the New York Post believes KCP is looking for a maximum deal. He believes the Brooklyn Nets could be interested in Caldwell-Pope.
“We’re trying to keep our hand on the pulse and see what happens,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said, per Lewis. “We all like having the space we have right now, and we’ll see what comes across our way.”
Lewis believes the Nets are actually the favorites to land KCP:
“Patience now could leave the Nets as the favorite to land Caldwell-Pope, the top unrestricted free agent still on the market,” Lewis wrote. “One league source said the Nets’ odds were ‘over 50 percent’ simply because when the merry-go-round stops they could have the most to offer.”
Our guess is that Caldwell-Pope is more likely to seek a longer, bigger deal from a team like the Nets than a one-year deal with the retooling Lakers.
Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com