J.R. Smith: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation Surrounding Free-Agent Guard

June 30th, 2015 by Tyler Conway No comments »
J.R. Smith by all accounts developed a strong relationship with LeBron James during his stint with the Cavaliers, ostensibly giving him bargaining power as the four-time MVP exerts his power in Cleveland. Apparently, that's not quite the case. Continue for updates. Smith Not a Priority In Cleveland Tuesday, June 30 Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com reported a source said the Cavaliers "do not value" Smith, who became an unrestricted free agent after opting out of his $6.4 million option for 2015-16. Smith was acquired alongside Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov as part of a two-trade package that helped turn around Cleveland's season. Whereas Shumpert and Mozgov helped prop up a struggling defense, Smith played his gunner role almost ideally. He averaged 12.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists with the Cavs during the regular season, knocking down nearly three threes per game.  Unfortunately, Smith's inconsistencies reared their head at the worst possible time in the playoffs. After ...

Gary Bettman Denies Report Arizona Coyotes Will Move to Las Vegas

June 30th, 2015 by Alec Nathan No comments »
The Arizona Coyotes may soon have a new owner, but according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, the team will not be changing zip codes.  While the New York Post's Josh Kosman reported "the NHL is arranging the sale of the Arizona Coyotes to billionaire William Foley who will move the team to Las Vegas giving it its first major professional franchise, one source said," Bettman swiftly refuted that notion.  Fox Sports Arizona's Craig Morgan passed along responses from the commissioner and team owner Anthony LeBlanc:  Despite the prospective Las Vegas franchise having obtained the 10,000 season-ticket deposits necessary for relocation under William Foley, according to Kosman, the organization remained adamant regarding the future of the Coyotes in the Southwest.  "The Coyotes are committed to playing in Arizona," a Coyotes spokesman said, according to Kosman.  Foley is reportedly targeting the 2016-17 campaign as the franchise's inaugural season in Sin City, but there are evidently plenty of hurdles ...

Boston Celtics’ Draft Leaves More Questions Than Answers Entering Free Agency

June 30th, 2015 by Matthew Schmidt No comments »
The Boston Celtics are known for generally being a clever front office. They trade well, they draft well, and they have expedited their rebuilding process. It's that reputation that leaves many puzzled with their decisions during the 2015 NBA draft. The Celtics entered the draft with four selections. They used all four of them, taking Terry Rozier at No. 16, R.J. Hunter at No. 28, Jordan Mickey at No. 33 and Marcus Thornton (no, not that Marcus Thornton) at No. 45. The chatter right now, however, concerns the selection of Rozier. According to ESPN's Chris Forsberg, Boston intended to move up heading into draft night, and while general manager Danny Ainge did attempt to do so, he failed. It absolutely wasn't for lack of trying, though. According to Forsberg, the Celtics offered six picks to the Charlotte Hornets to try to move up to No. 9. Forsberg broke it down: The Boston Celtics made a strong final push ...

NHL Free Agency 2015: 5 Potential Targets for the Carolina Hurricanes

June 30th, 2015 by Mark Jones No comments »
The Carolina Hurricanes have executed a clearinghouse in June to position the team for a few free agency tweaks in July. Via trades at the NHL draft last weekend, general manager Ron Francis created a dual-starter situation in goal with Cam Ward and Eddie Lack and added a veteran top-four defenseman in James Wisniewski. In the week since, Francis has then bought out frustrating winger Alexander Semin, per ESPN, and let defenseman Brett Bellemore, winger Patrick Dwyer and center Riley Nash, among others, walk away without new contracts. Although prospect defensemen Haydn Fleury, Noah Hanifin and Ryan Murphy will fight for roster spots on the back end while European newcomer Derek Ryan will vie for a forward position, at least a few empty slots remain in the 'Canes 2015-16 depth chart. It's unlikely that Francis and Carolina will be in play for the biggest names when the market opens at noon Wednesday. They could, ...

Brandan Wright: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation on Free-Agent PF

June 30th, 2015 by Tyler Conway No comments »
The Dallas Mavericks' trade for Rajon Rondo cost them Brandan Wright, a high-flying big man who helped define their offensive identity. Now that Wright's back on the open market, Dallas will have competition trying to rectify that mistake. Continue for updates. Multiple Teams to Pursue Wright in FA Tuesday, June 30     Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com reported the Phoenix Suns, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers have interest in Wright along with Dallas. Wright, 27, spent the end of last season in Phoenix after bouncing from Dallas to Boston earlier in the year. He averaged 7.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game overall, with most of his best basketball coming with the Mavs. The former North Carolina standout was making nearly three-quarters of his shots at the time of the Rondo trade, emerging with Tyson Chandler as a solid big-man pairing. Chandler and Wright are each excellent roll men coming off ...

Expectations for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s Rookie Season with Brooklyn Nets

June 30th, 2015 by Fred Katz No comments »
The Brooklyn Nets hardly found their savior when they acquired Arizona Wildcats product Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on draft night, but they did get some help. Hollis-Jefferson, the 23rd pick in Thursday night's draft, came over later in the evening as part of the deal that sent Mason Plumlee to the Portland Trail Blazers and brought Steve Blake to Brooklyn. Now, the 20-year-old slots in as another defensive weapon for coach Lionel Hollins. He's just another crop cut from Arizona coach Sean Miller's farm. Sure, Arizona has long athletes. That's a trend we've seen year after year with the Wildcats. But that's not necessarily why they're consistently one of the best defensive teams in the country. The greatest Arizona defenders know how to compete on that side of the floor because of their smarts. It sounds cliche, but it's true. Arizona defenders just know where to be on the floor. Aaron Gordon was a freak athlete, but his intelligence ...

NBA Free-Agent Signings 2015: Tracking the Latest Deals and News

June 30th, 2015 by Tyler Conway No comments »
The 2015 NBA free-agency period will go down as one of the most interesting in history. But unlike most years, the intrigue has little to do with where players actually sign. Reading free-agency rankings, your eyes tend to glaze over before finding a marquee player who will actually be on the move. LeBron James has no incentive to leave Cleveland after tethering his future to the Cavaliers last summer. Marc Gasol, Kevin Love and Dwyane Wade are staying in their current cities, even if the latter two are making their franchises sweat. Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green are restricted free agents. The best free agent with a high probability of leaving his current city is LaMarcus Aldridge, who will do the standard tour before choosing his new team—very likely in Los Angeles or his native Texas, per ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne. DeAndre Jordan will be making a similar choice, as the Dallas ...

NBA Free-Agent Rumors: Latest Buzz on Top Targets and Signings

June 30th, 2015 by Alec Nathan No comments »
It's sit-down season across the NBA, which means it's time for franchises to break out their best Powerpoint presentations and recruitment tools in hopes of landing some of this summer's biggest free-agent prizes.  And with high-profile targets taking meetings and exploring their options, new rumors are cropping up by the minute. So as teams jockey to establish prime negotiating position for rim-protecting centers, volume-scoring shooting guards and hot veteran commodities, it's time to run down the latest rumblings from across the Association.    Robin Lopez Has Plenty of Suitors Robin Lopez isn't being mentioned in the same breath as free-agent bigs LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan, but he should be. While Lopez hasn't padded his resume with All-Star appearances and accolades, he has the kind of two-way talent necessary to be considered one of the hottest players available this summer. And according to RealGM's Shams Charania, his offerings have been recognized by a few savvy suitors:  The New ...

Blackhawks’ Trading of Brandon Saad Shows Free-Agent Dynamic Changing in NHL

June 30th, 2015 by Dave Lozo No comments »
It’s as if after years of honoring unwritten rules and being too timid to confront the establishment, the NHL is becoming a place where prized restricted free agents on teams facing salary-cap issues are no longer impervious to offer sheets. Or at least, the threat of offer sheets. That’s great news for the league as a whole—not so much for the Chicago Blackhawks. According to BlueJackets.com, the Blackhawks traded Brandon Saad, a 22-year-old RFA thought to be a big piece of Chicago's future, along with two prospects to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday in exchange for Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Corey Tropp, Jeremy Morin and a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft. This deal comes on the heels of the Boston Bruins shipping 22-year-old RFA defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for draft picks in another move involving a team lacking cap space that was having a hard time signing its young rising star.  There have ...

Derrick Williams: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation on Free-Agent PF

June 30th, 2015 by Alec Nathan No comments »
Following a year-and-a-half stay with the Sacramento Kings, unrestricted free agent Derrick Williams could land with his third team in the span of three seasons after the club declined his qualifying offer.  Continue for updates.  Kings, Knicks, Lakers, Heat All After Williams Tuesday, June 30 Williams has yet to live up to his No. 2 overall pick billing after getting selected behind Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving in the 2011 NBA draft, but that hasn't stopped some high-profile suitors from pursuing the 24-year-old combo forward.  According to ESPN.com's Chris Broussard, the Kings, Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks are "expected to show interest" in Williams when free agency opens. Williams officially became an unrestricted free agent when the Kings declined his qualifying offer worth just over $4 million for the 2015-16 season, according to CBS Sports Radio's Grant Napear.  While he won't get paid like the starter he ...