NBA Rumors: Odom, Iverson, Lee and more

Lakers only offering Odom a three-year deal?

Reports persist that Odom has been offered deals spanning three and four seasons in length from the Lakers, but that differs sharply from every bankable indication we’ve received.

The Lakers’ best offer to Odom, so far, tops out at $27 million over three seasons. The expectation among rival teams remains that the sides will eventually come to terms.

This makes more sense. I don’t know why Odom would turn down a four-year deal from the Lakers worth $36 million to consider a five-year deal worth $34 million from the Heat. If the Lakers are only offering three years, then the total value of the contract is about $24 million after state taxes, so Odom could elect to go with the security of the extra $10 million in the Miami deal.

This, coupled with the Lakers’ decision to pull their offer from the table, might convince Odom to head to Miami and play for the mid-level. Pat Riley also indicated that the Heat are trying to work out a sign-and-trade for Odom, though it’s not clear what players would have to be involved to get the Lakers to agree to take on the extra salary. Udonis Haslem? Michael Beasley?

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NBA Free Agency Rumors: AI, Odom, Childress and more

– The Clippers are interested in signing Allen Iverson, and if he’s interested in a big market where he can rehab his image, this might be the place. It looks like Miami isn’t willing to offer much money, but if cash is more important than playoff potential, then the Clips are a good fit.

– According to GM Mitch Kupchak, Lamar Odom and the Lakers aren’t on the same page. The team has offered $8 million per season but Odom wants $10 million, and the contract’s length may be an issue too. Dallas, Miami, Phoenix and Portland (if the Jazz match their offer for Paul Millsap) have emerged as possible landing spots for Odom. He doesn’t have much leverage if the Blazers aren’t interested. The other three teams would have to work out a trade and it would take a good player (Josh Howard, Michael Beasley, etc.) to get the Lakers to bite.

– The Jazz have until February to move Carlos Boozer before the luxury tax implications of keeping both Boozer and Paul Millsap kick in. Right now, it looks like the Jazz are planning to match, even if they have to take out a loan to pay Millsap the huge signing bonus that is a part of his deal with the Blazers. If the Jazz do match, it will be interesting to see if the Blazers have a Plan C after missing out on Hedo Turkoglu and Millsap.

– After a brief flirtation with the Bucks and the Bobcats, Josh Childress is heading back to Greece. The Hawks still hold his rights, and his camp was unable to work out a sign-and-trade with Milwaukee or Charlotte, so Childress’s best option was to play for Olympiakos for another season.

– Brandon Roy wants a fifth year option, but the Blazers have only offered four years. It’s not clear what the Blazers are worried about; I’d want to lock him up for as long as possible.

Blazers sign Millsap to offer sheet

Portland is making a push for Utah forward Paul Millsap.

The Portland Trail Blazers elected Friday not to wait on trade possibilities, deciding instead to offer Utah Jazz restricted free agent Paul Millsap a four-year contract worth an estimated $32 million-to-$36 million, according to sources with knowledge of the Blazers’ plans.

This is more compelling than your average, run-of-the-mill restricted free agent signing because a few days ago the Blazers were rumored to be involved in a three-way trade involving Chicago and Utah where the Bulls would have acquired Carlos Boozer, sending Kirk Hinrich to Portland and Tyrus Thomas to Utah.

But those trade talks stalled in part because the Bulls were not prepared to surrender Hinrich and Tyrus Thomas (who would have been Utah-bound) without getting back promising Portland guard Jerryd Bayless in return in addition to Boozer.

Since the Blazers didn’t want to give up Bayless, they’ve made the decision to extend an offer to Millsap, which puts the pressure on the Jazz to move Boozer. The contract is frontloaded, so if Utah were to have both players on the roster it would put the team deep into luxury tax territory.

Another interesting thing about this move by the Blazers is that Millsap plays the same position as LaMarcus Aldridge, so either they (1) plan on playing Aldridge at center, (2) plan on bringing Millsap off the bench or (3) aren’t optimistic that they can keep Aldridge, who is eligible for an extension this summer. The bad news for the Blazers is that the Jazz have seven days to decide whether or not they’ll match the offer, and during that time Portland’s cap space is tied up, so they can’t make an offer to another free agent. But other than Lamar Odom, Allen Iverson and Andre Miller, there isn’t much out there in the way of unrestricted free agents, so it doesn’t make sense to hold onto the cap space if they aren’t going to use it elsewhere.

If the Blazers can pry away Millsap for $8-$9 million per season, it will be a great move. That’s a good value for a young power forward has proven that he has a potential to be an All-Star-caliber player. But I’d expect that the Jazz will be able to trade Boozer and get a good young player (of Tyrus Thomas’s caliber) in return. There are a number of teams that are interested, including the Bulls, Pistons, Heat and Knicks.

I’d also expect this deal to bring David Lee’s contract expectations back to Earth. I think he and Millsap are about on the same level value-wise, with Millsap having a small edge due to his ability to score in the post.

Boozer headed to Chicago?

There is a possible three-team trade brewing…

Sources stressed to that no deal was imminent Thursday and that both Portland and Utah are still evaluating multiple trade scenarios. But two sources with knowledge of the three-team proposal confirmed that there have been substantive talks regarding a trade that would land Boozer in Chicago, Hinrich in Portland and Tyrus Thomas in Utah.

A deal featuring those main components would deliver the elite low-post scorer that the Bulls have been chasing for years in Boozer and furnish Portland with a lead guard in Hinrich that the Blazers are known to rate highly as a potential backcourt mate for Brandon Roy. It’s possible that other players would be added to balance out the transaction from a salary-cap perspective if the three teams elect to take these talks further.

It’s not clear whom the Blazers would have to give up to land Hinrich, but they have cap space so they have some flexibility with regard to how the salaries match up. For the Bulls, this looks like a decent deal depending on whether or not anyone comes over with Boozer. Hinrich and Thomas for Boozer sounds about right.

The Jazz would like to move Boozer, but want to get something in return, and in this case that’s the up-and-coming Thomas. He’s more of a face up forward, so his game should compliment Paul Millsap’s pretty well.

As for the Blazers, they’ve long been rumored to be interested in Hinrich, who can initiate the offense and is a good enough shooter to create space for Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. More importantly, he’s a pesky defender that can cover the other team’s best guard, allowing Roy to get a breather on defense. The Blazers need a point but they don’t really want to go too young at the position. They need veteran leadership and Hinrich fits the bill.

NBA Free Agency Rumors: Turk, Charlie V, Millsap and more

Pistons, Blazers interested in Hedo Turkoglu.

The Oregonian reports Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard and assistant general manager Tom Penn called agent Lon Babby last night to begin the courtship of Hedo Turkoglu.

With Carlos Boozer out of the picture, an NBA source tells the Chicago Sun-Times that Turkoglu is now the Pistons’ first choice in free agency.

While the Blazers’ interest has long been rumored, Detroit’s interest is a little surprising. They already have a very good small forward on the roster in Tayshaun Prince, so unless they’re planning to play Turkoglu at the four, someone is going to lose some minutes. Of the two teams, the Pistons have more cap space, so if they want him, they can get him. (And what about Ben Gordon?)

Charlie V ahead of Turkoglu on the Pistons’ wishlist?

Chicago’s Ben Gordon remains the backcourt player deeply coveted by the Pistons, but the prospect of a Gordon-and-Villanueva combo likely would be slightly cheaper than trying to sign Gordon and Turkoglu with Detroit’s nearly $19 million in projected salary-cap space.

The Pistons may also be interested in Paul Millsap, but anytime a team signs a restricted free agent to an offer sheet, that money is tied up for a week while his current team decides to match. That makes signing an RFA a dicey prospect.

I wonder if the Bucks are regretting letting Villanueva given the amount of interest he’s generating from their division rivals (Detroit and Cleveland).

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