NBA News & Notes: Free Agency Edition- by Dustin Brewer

NBA Free Agency is underway and Dustin gives you a look at some of the more intriguing stories and possibilities. And Dwight, yes, there’s Dwight talk.

1. Free Agency Begins, So Does Dwight-ysteria- Being that I’m a Lakers fan and that we’re operating out of Southern California, it’s impossible to write something on the start of free agency without beginning with the broad-shouldered, rebound monster elephant in the room; Dwight Howard. Reports have been all over the place regarding what it would take to make Dwight stay in LA (hint: new coach, he’s also not a big fan of the LA fans apparently) even though the Lakers can make him an offer that far exceeds any other out there, reportedly in the 5-year, $120 million range. Most likely though, none of that matters, Dwight had a very difficult year and much publicized issues with Kobe, Mike D’Antoni, back issues, Nash injuries and just about everything he came across. It’s clear that the pressure and expectation of the city got to him and when fans got a glimpse of what the franchise could look like on his shoulders, they got a lackluster 7 points and ejection early in the 3rd quarter of their Game 4, sweep-clinching loss to the Spurs. Both parties should just wash their hands of the lost year last year and move on. For Dwight, that most likely means Houston, where a 4-year, $88 million (taxless) contract to play with Jeremy Lin and James Harden probably looks pretty tempting. Other rumored suitors include Golden State (apparently shopping David Lee) Atlanta (Dwight’s hometown) Dallas and maybe even Brooklyn. And as we learned with Dwight last year, even the most sure thing can quickly change.

2. Keep On Lobbin’ In the Free World- Chris Paul has agreed to sign a 5-year, $107 million contract extension to remain with the Clippers. Paul had apparently expressed interest in going to Atlanta and possibly teaming up with Dwight but when the Clippers acquired former Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Paul’s decision to stay seemed undoubted. Paul joins Blake “LandShark” Griffin, who signed a 5-year, $95 million extension last year, as they continue to legitimize the once-laughed at Clippers and continue their hunt for a deep playoff run and ultimately a Finals appearance. With Doc in place as coach and Blake and CP3 signed long-term, the Clippers are poised to make all sorts of moves in free agency to bring even more excitement to Lob City.

3. Raptors Outsmart Knicks- The Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks have agreed to a trade that will send PF Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks in exchange for Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, Quentin Richardson and more importantly, first and second round draft picks in 2014 (2nd round), 2016 (1st round) and 2017 (2nd round). Shipping out the popular Novak likely won’t make fans too happy and Bargnani is owed $23 million over the next two years, which drastically limits the moves the Knicks can make. For the Raptors, the trade makes more sense as it gets rid of the injury prone Bargnani, brings in a great off-the-bench shooter in Novak and loads them with future draft picks as they continue the rebuilding process started when they obtained Rudy Gay at the trade deadline last season.

4. Quick Notes- 

  • Milwaukee Bucks PG Brandon Jennings has hinted that he’s likely to stay with the team, hoping to sign a long-term deal before he’d become an unrestricted free agent next summer. ” The hiring of Larry Drew as head coach also seems to have Jennings looking at the future in Milwaukee. “I believe he can help me become an All-Star and a better player,” said Jennings.
  • Atlanta Hawks F Josh Smith met with the Detroit Pistons and is one of the most sought after free agents available this off-season. Smith has played all 9 years with the Hawks and has often been rumored in trades every year.
  • On July 12, the blockbuster trade between the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets will become officially, sending Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and longtime Celtic Paul Pierce to Brooklyn in exchange for Kris Jospeh, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kieth Bogans and MarShon Brooks. Sorry Cameron.

Stay tuned to as we keep you current on all the biggest moves in NBA Free Agency! 

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