This summer is a great example as to why many chalk up the NBA as having the most entertaining offseason.
It feels like free agency started months ago. The Gordon Hayward saga headlined the show, yet the hits keep coming as big-name players like Carmelo Anthony face trade rumors and quality names such as Jonathan Simmons settle into new deals.
The drama continues over the weekend and well into next week, where the fate of Carmelo and several more notable free agents figures to come to an end. While a slight step down compared to the beginning of the market’s opening, it’d be ill-advised to suggest the happenings over the next week aren’t important.
Here’s a look at the latest, ranging from trade rumblings to arguably the biggest name left on the open market.
The Chandler-Simmons Deal That Wasn’t
The San Antonio Spurs didn’t seem to know what to do with the aforementioned Simmons.
After being unable to come to an agreement with the unexpected playoff star while Kawhi Leonard sat with an injury, the Spurs renounced his rights, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical. TNT’s David Aldridge followed by noting he became one of the hottest names on the market right away.
Interestingly enough, we now know the Spurs were so intent on getting something in return for Simmons’ departure that they engaged a fellow Western Conference team by talking with the Phoenix Suns about a trade involving center Tyson Chandler.
The San Antonio Express-News‘ Jabari Young reported the development: “After talks on a new contract stalled, a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns was presented. The deal featured the Spurs getting center Tyson Chandler in exchange for Simmons, but at the last minute, the Spurs backed out of the trade, not wanting to take on the remaining two years and roughly $26 million on Chandler’s deal.”
Chandler, now 34 years old, is quite the interesting depth target for a team like the Spurs. The front office clearly wants a better option behind starter Pau Gasol, and Chandler showed well over 27.6 minutes last year, averaging 8.4 points and 11.5 rebounds.
The question now is simple—will the Spurs pursue a different trade for a center? Simmons is long gone after signing a three-year contract with the Orlando Magic, per Charania, which is a major win for the rebuilding franchise.
In the aftermath, the Spurs are now one of the biggest teams to watch in the coming weeks, which doesn’t happen often in free agency.
Rose-Bucks Dance Continues
The Milwaukee Bucks and Derrick Rose aren’t strangers this offseason.
Milwaukee wants to improve on backcourt depth featuring a rotation of Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova, so grabbing a former MVP on the open market seems like a good idea.
ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes confirmed the two sides have already talked once this offseason and will do so again soon: “Representatives for free-agent point guard Derrick Rose and officials from the Milwaukee Bucks are in discussions to schedule a meeting as early as this weekend, league sources told ESPN.”
Rose has lasted this long on the open market for a few different reasons. It’s easy to forget he’s only 28 years old, but a mediocre campaign with the bumbling New York Knicks last year didn’t help his value.
There’s still always a chance Rose re-signs there and backs up Frank Ntilikina. But the Bucks give Rose a better shot at competing for a ring right now, should he care about such a factor. Joining a rising playoff team featuring names like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker and Thon Maker could outweigh the fact the Bucks only have $4.4 million on an exception to use.
It’s no surprise Rose continues to take his time on the open market. He’s perhaps looking at one more “prove it” season before being able to ask for a longer deal, though like someone such as Rajon Rondo, a fate featuring short deals to round out his career in various locales might await him.
Regardless, his landing in Milwaukee continues to slot as one of the best fits for Rose’s career trajectory. He’ll get on the court with a quality lineup and can rehab his image by taking some of the young roster under his wing. It seems money is the only hurdle.
Carmelo’s Post-Jackson Intentions
From the sounds of it, Carmelo has had enough of the Knicks.
No sense in blaming the superstar—Carmelo had been adamant he wanted to end his career with the Knicks, even if it meant slogging through a rebuild. He liked it there, and from a legacy standpoint, it doesn’t get much better than being the reason the historic franchise finally got back on track.
Then Phil Jackson happened.
Before stepping away from his post, Jackson created drama around Carmelo, Kristaps Porzingis and others. Now the current front office, should it want to, needs to find a way to repair the damage done to the relationship.
Provided, of course, Carmelo wants to play along—and it doesn’t sound like he does, according to ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski: “Whatever stance a post-Phil Jackson front office is taking now, Anthony expects the Knicks to resume trade talks soon and honor the franchise’s long-standing goal to rebuild without him, league sources said.”
This puts the Knicks in a tough spot, to say the bare minimum about the predicament.
The longer version breaks down like this: As Wojnarowski mentions, Carmelo will waive his no-trade clause if it means landing with the Cleveland Cavaliers or Houston Rockets. But neither of those trade candidates will offer anything substantial for Carmelo, whether due to lack of resources or not wanting to shake up would-be contending lineups.
This has left the Knicks hoping Jackson will expand the list of teams he’d be willing to join after waiving his clause, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Forced out of where he wants to be, Carmelo isn’t going to waive something to help the team doing the forcing out. If the Knicks can’t strike a multiteam deal with one of his preferred destinations, he’s liable to hit the open market and join one of those two spots anyway—which doubly hurts the Knicks, because why would the Cavaliers or Rockets work overtime to sacrifice assets to get him via trade?
This all combines to suggest Carmelo won’t see an end to this odd portion of his career soon. Maybe there’s still an avenue toward patching things over with the organization, though all the rumblings from the mill point in the other direction.
All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.
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