Trades now start to dominate the rumors around the NBA with free agency settling down.
But even potential blockbusters in response to league shifts via free agency can only steal so much of the spotlight.
Quality deals have happened as of late, such as Jonas Jerebko inking a deal with the Utah Jazz, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Another good example is the Los Angeles Lakers stealing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, as reported by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
More noteworthy deals like this are sure to follow in the coming days and weeks, and they’re enough to demand attention because of how they reshape depth charts.
Below, let’s look at the latest around some of the market’s top remaining names.
The Allen Sweepstakes Begins
Tony Allen is a good example of a quality signing at this point in free agency.
Now 35 years old, he could provide a boost for a contender or make a long-term impact on a rebuilding team by acting as a mentor for young guys.
According to Tim MacMahon, a pair of would-be contenders have Allen in their sights:
The Los Angeles Clippers always seemed like a smart fit for Allen, especially after losing Chris Paul.
The front office there knows plenty about Allen after sparring with him for years while he played for Memphis, and he would act as quality depth behind Patrick Beverley while mentoring Austin Rivers.
Those Minnesota Timberwolves, though, might be the more interesting of the two fits because the team has its eye on serious contention after adding Jeff Teague and Jimmy Butler to a Andrew Wiggins-Karl-Anthony Towns core.
It’s hard to know what Allen wants at this point in his career, but he’s coming off a season in which he averaged 9.1 points on 46.1 percent shooting over 27 minutes per game.
Given the two teams in the running for his services, look for Allen to stay local and take the job perhaps ready to give him a bigger role on both ends of the court.
Prediction: Allen signs with the Clippers
Noel Saga Continues
Things have been oddly quiet around Nerlens Noel as of late.
One would think a rebuilding team like the Dallas Mavericks would be all over giving a restricted player such as Noel whatever he wants to keep him in town, yet there hasn’t been much progress recently.
What has progressed, though, is interest from a team such as the Atlanta Hawks, according to HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy:
The Hawks obviously have a big interest in developmental centers after blowing up the roster this summer, highlighted by ending the Dwight Howard era early. Even after the signing of Dewayne Dedmon, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, one has to think the team would still have an interest in bringing in Noel if the price is right.
And the radio silence from the Mavericks suggests it might be for an interested team similar to Atlanta.
Noel is all of 23 years old and enters next season after averaging 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game over 22 appearances with the Mavs. He’s a high-upside player who simply needs to stay healthy, a factor which might explain why the Mavericks haven’t ended this saga just yet.
Still, Dallas hasn’t overplayed its hand yet, not with names like Dedmon and Jerebko coming off the board lately. The front office will likely get serious about this soon, as it doesn’t make sense to lose a big man who could still use some guidance from a legend like Dirk Nowitzki before taking over.
Prediction: Noel re-signs with the Mavericks
Simmons’ Shocking Trip to Market
Jonathan Simmons looked like the next great discovery by the San Antonio Spurs.
After battling his way on to the roster and simply fighting for a spot in the rotation, the former Houston star averaged 10.5 points on 45.6 percent shooting during the playoffs, hitting double-digit outputs 10 times over three series.
Now the Spurs have renounced his rights.
Charania reported the move, while Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com noted the Spurs might still try to work something out:
From the sound of a note by TNT’s David Aldridge, though, the Spurs might have some competition:
Either way, this is a terrible situation for Simmons to find himself in—he hits the open market at a time when most teams willing to cough up notable cash or roles for backcourt players is slim to none. In fact, the Lakers probably would’ve had a strong interest in floating him the front-loaded deal they gave to KCP.
This means Simmons should still end up back with the Spurs, though if the move had happened earlier, they wouldn’t have been able to match an offer and prevent his departure.
Though a boring prediction, look for Simmons to go back home and provide potent injury insurance behind Kawhi Leonard again.
Prediction: Simmons re-signs with the Spurs
All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.
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