NBA Draft & Free Agency Rumors: Monta unhappy, Cavs looking at Jamison and more

With the Finals behind us and the draft and free agency looming, the rumors are flying fast and furious. Here’s a rundown of the latest scuttlebutt…

Things are rumored to be getting worse in Golden State.

The talk is that Monta Ellis is unhappy with the direction the organization is heading in, and still holds a bit of grief over the way they held his contract status in limbo for months following his moped injury. For weeks we’ve heard that Ellis is no longer interested in playing for Golden State, and apparently it had reached a point where it was “close to popping off” in the words of one NBA executive—meaning going to the media and publicly demanding a trade.

Let me get this straight — the franchise gives Ellis $66 million over six years and he rewards them by tearing up his ankle in a moped accident, missing 57 games this season. I’m sure he wasn’t happy about the 30-game suspension he served with no pay, but he wasn’t going to play in those games anyway. Shouldn’t he be punished for being boneheaded enough to tool around on a moped?

It sounds like the team has promised Ellis that he’ll be running the point next season and may have promised that they wouldn’t take a point guard at #7, prompting several prospects — Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Ricky Rubio — to refuse to work out for Golden State. Suddenly, Jordan Hill looks like a stronger possibility if he’s still on the board when the Warriors pick.

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2008 NBA Preview: #29 Minnesota Timberwolves

Offseason Movement: The team acquired Mike Miller as a part of a trade that sent the rights to O.J. Mayo to Memphis for the rights to Kevin Love. Miller is one of the league’s best shooters, but he’s a good all-around player at a fair price. He should be able to make teams pay if they elect to doubleteam Al Jefferson.
Keep Your Eye On: Kevin Love, F
GM Kevin McHale – that’s right, he’s still running things – fell in…um…love with Love’s game and elected to trade away the more dynamic Mayo for Love’s blend of power and fundamentals. Love showed much better athleticism after trimming down for the combine, so if he’s able to keep that going, he should be a fine power forward for years to come. He’s a terrific passer, a good rebounder and a solid shooter.
The Big Question: Is McHale the right guy to steer this ship around?
Usually, the guy who gets the team into a mess isn’t the one who’s given the job to clean it up. In this case, McHale has a close relationship with Glen Taylor, so it seems like he has a lifetime contract and is impervious to talk of his dismissal. To his credit, the Kevin Garnett-for-Al Jefferson gambit paid off (and not only for the Celtics), as he landed a young, All-Star caliber player in return for KG. Jefferson is one of the best post players in the game, and he gives the team someone to build around for years to come. If the Love draft pick pans out, the ‘Wolves might be onto something.
Outlook: In the short term, things look bleak. Other than Miller, the rest of the projected starting five (Randy Foye, Rodney Carney, Love and Jefferson) have a combined eight years of NBA experience. There’s no doubt that they’re going to struggle, but the team showed some life last season, and they should continue to improve. On the salary cap front, there is $13.5 million coming off the books next summer, so the franchise will be a player in free agency in 2009.

Check out our NBA Preview page for a look at every team. We’ll be posting three previews per business day, which will take us up to the start of the season on Tuesday, October 28th.

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