Odom leaning Miami?

Yes, at least according to a Yahoo! Sports source.

Odom has not reached a final decision, the sources said, but there is growing belief he will ultimately return to the Heat unless the Lakers improve their current offer.

“It’s close, but it’s not done,” said one source.

Lakers officials and Odom’s representatives resumed talking after a weeklong standoff that began when Jerry Buss, the team’s owner, withdrew a four-year, $36 million offer that guaranteed $30 million. Sources close to Odom said that while the two sides have since talked, Buss is now offering less than the Lakers’ previous proposal.

I still don’t know how the Heat’s offer of five years and $34 million is better than the Lakers’ offer of four years and $36 million (which works out to around $32 million after state taxes). Surely, Odom would be able to make more than $2 million in the year after the Laker deal expired. But hey, I’m not an accountant.

Or maybe he’s ticked off that Buss is offering less and wants to go to an organization that has demonstrated that it really wants him. If Miami can get Odom at the mid-level, it will be a coup, though it will create something of a logjam at power forward since that’s the position the Heat want Michael Beasley to play.

If the Lakers let Odom slip away, they will be going backwards this summer. The Ron Artest signing is nice, but Artest does not offset the loss of Odom and Trevor Ariza. With the Spurs, Blazers and Mavericks nipping at their heels, things could get very interesting in the West.

Note: John Ireland of 710 Los Angeles has reported that the fourth year of the Laker deal is only partially guaranteed (for $3 million), so the best deal that the Lakers offered was for $27 million over three years plus a guaranteed $3 million in the fourth year. So, after state taxes, that’s worth about $27 million over three years. It now makes sense that Odom would consider taking the five-year deal from the Heat since that deal offers as much as $7 million more in guaranteed money, maybe more if the Lakers’ latest offer has been reduced.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

David Lee is frustrated

Restricted free agent David Lee is frustrated that he hasn’t been able to come to terms on a new contract with the Knicks.

“At the start of this process I was really excited to be in New York, I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult to work something out, but now we’re forced to start looking at different options with sign-and trades and stuff like that,” Lee told ESPN.com. “I’m sure it’s going to be something we’re not expecting, it’s going to be something that’s very complicated. But my gut would be that it’s going to be difficult at this point to get a long-term deal done with New York, that’s my gut.”

Lee is seeking a five- or six-year contract in the range of $50-60 million, with New York willing to spend something more in the area of $8 million per season.

“He has an agenda with his agent, and rightly so, and [Knicks president] Donnie [Walsh] has an agenda that I think everybody knows, and right now they’re not coinciding — and until somebody kind of changes that format, it’s going to be a little bit apart,” [head coach Mike] D’Antoni said. “Hopefully we can get it changed. We’re exploring everything, and we’re trying to stick to our guns a little bit, and that’s about it. We love David, we’d love to have him back, but I don’t think we can do it at any cost. That’s what’s being defined right now: What’s that cost? And so far they haven’t been able to agree on it.”

“Going forward I thought I could still be a big piece of the puzzle — and it’s not as though I’m looking at a max contract, or talking about either me OR LeBron. I thought it was something where we could get something done and they’d still have more than enough left over for what they wanted in the future, but apparently there’s some disagreement on that — just on how the Knicks want to move forward. And I think at this point they’re not completely sure what they’re going to do and how they want to proceed,” Lee said.

“I’m not going to go with angry or disrespected, that’s not the way we feel,” Lee said. “I understand the Knicks have a lot of different factors they’re considering. At this point they’re looking toward the future and trying to figure out exactly what they want to do, and possibly even confused about what they want to do. I don’t know that they’re 100 percent sure right now, just from what Donnie is saying, that they 100 percent know what direction they want to go in. You’ve seen that with the different guys [Jason Kidd and Grant Hill] they’ve been trying to get, and they haven’t gotten them.”

In his comments, Lee paints the Knicks as a team that doesn’t know what it wants to do. I don’t think this is a case. The Knicks want Lee back, but not at $10 million per season. Just because the team won’t meet his asking price, it doesn’t mean that they don’t know what direction they’re going.

Here is what I wrote about Lee when there were reports that he was looking for $12 million per season.

The other thing to consider when trying to estimate Lee’s overall value is the pace at which the Knicks play, and how it affects his stats. The Knicks use 99.0 possessions per game, but the league average is only 94.1, so if Lee were playing for a team playing at an average pace, his stats would drop to 15.2 ppg and 11.1 rpg. Those are still impressive numbers, but I wonder if he’d be quite as productive if he weren’t playing in D’Antoni’s wide open system. It’s not just the Knicks’ pace, it’s the opportunities that the team’s pace creates in transition. I’d expect him to be a 14/10 guy for an average team, and that’s hardly worth $12 million per season.

Lee isn’t a guy that the Knicks can dump the ball to in the post and expect him to score. He gets his points in other ways, a la Shawn Marion, though he doesn’t have Marion’s defensive prowess or three point range.

The Knicks are projected to have a payroll of just under $24 million heading into the summer of 2010. If they sign Lee to a deal worth $10 million a season, and the cap comes in at around $50 million as some forecasts have said, that only leaves about $16 million to sign a big-name free agent next summer. If they can sign Lee for $8 million a year, they’ll have a little extra flexibility and it could mean all the difference in the world.

Lakers and Odom negotiating again

While some are reporting that Lamar Odom has already come to terms with the Lakers, the Los Angeles Times are simply reporting that he and the Lakers are talking again.

The discussions were labeled productive, but there was nothing to report “at the moment,” according to a source familiar with negotiations who was not authorized to comment publicly.

It didn’t look great last week for Odom’s return to the Lakers after the franchise yanked its offers of three years and $30 million or four years and $36 million, with the fourth year only partially guaranteed.

But the sides began communicating in a more positive light Wednesday. Financial details were not immediately available, though the Lakers were not expected to have improved their initial offers. If anything, the offers might have dropped slightly.

Odom doesn’t have a lot of leverage. The Lakers are offering him the best deal he can get, and the other teams with cap space don’t seem too interested in his services. He’d be willing to play for Miami, but the best that they can offer is the mid-level exception, and it simply doesn’t compare to what the Lakers are wiling to give him (even after state taxes are taken into account).

With the Lakers back at the bargaining table, all signs point to Odom’s eventual return.

Blazers interested in Andre Miller?

After Hedo Turkoglu decided to play for the Raptors and after the Jazz made it clear that they’d match the Blazers’ offer sheet to Paul Millsap, we all wondered what Portland’s Plan C would be. Apparently, it’s Andre Miller.

A deal is not imminent, but there has been progress made toward resolving Miller’s status, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.

The Blazers have been looking to upgrade at point guard but didn’t get very far in talks with Dallas guard Jason Kidd (who re-signed with the Mavericks) or Phoenix’s Steve Nash (who agreed to a two-year, $22 million extension with the Suns on Monday). Portland was not looking hard at Miller because the Blazers thought they needed to add someone to the roster with more perimeter shooting skills than the 33-year-old. But with $7.7 million in cap room and a dwindling number of free agents available, Miller may be Portland’s last best chance to bring in a veteran player that can help its young core.

For now, according to a source, the Blazers do not have any interest in Lakers free agent forward Lamar Odom, whose negotiations with Los Angeles on a new contract have stalled.

I’ve been hearing all summer how Miller is a poor fit for the Blazers given their overall pace (29th in the league) and desire to surround Brandon Roy with as many shooters as possible. (Miller is a career 21% three-point shooter.) So the Blazers’ sudden interest is surprising.

While Odom doesn’t represent the kind of toughness the Blazers want to add to their front line, Portland is uniquely positioned to wrest him away from Los Angeles, which would serve a big blow to the Lakers’ chances of winning another title.

Portland could work with Miami to help the Heat facilitate a trade for Carlos Boozer. Udonis Haslem is a good, hard-nosed player who can shoot the ball, and while he’s not truly starter-caliber, he’d be a nice guy to have on the bench.

Or they could go after Boozer themselves, if they can get the Jazz to answer their calls after trying to steal Millsap away earlier this month.

If the Blazers aren’t worried about having a point guard that can shoot, they should go after Ramon Sessions, who is just as productive as Miller, but 10 years his junior and quite a bit cheaper.

NBA Rumors: Boozer, Sessions, Miller and Jerry Reinsdorf

Carlos Boozer wants to play in Miami.

The two-time NBA All-Star said Monday that he and the Jazz have “mutually agreed” to a trade, and it would be “a beautiful thing” if he wound up reunited with Olympic teammate Dwyane Wade on the Heat.

“We first came here for tax reasons and fell in love with it,” Boozer said, taking a break from his campers. “We love the palm trees, the laid-back attitude, the sun, quality of life. It’s like paradise here, and I would love to be part of the Heat. They’re a very good team, and I’m real close to some of the guys. Dwyane and I started to get close at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and I’d love to play on his team. Plus, I already live here. I’m just waiting to see what happens.”

The Heat have a few trade chips, but when considering Boozer, who is in the final year of his contract, the Jazz aren’t going to want to take only expiring salaries in a trade. They might as well keep him for the year and hope they can make some noise in the playoffs.

Udonis Haslem is a good player, but he’s in the final year of his deal. Would Miami be willing to part with Michael Beasley? Would Jerry Sloan even want him? Miami may need to get a third team involved to facilitate this deal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts