At a certain point, you have to laugh. Almost every other “name” free agent, guys all the way down the depth chart, has been spoken for — but the suspense around Kawhi Leonard only continues to grow. Is today the day we get the decision? Is today the day for elation or sadness? Is today the day?
Look at this list on Sports Illustrated:
Only nine of the Top 50 players remain in SI's free agency rankings.— J.E. Skeets (@jeskeets) July 3, 2019
Kawhi, Cousins, Marcus Morris, Danny Green, Rondo, JaMychal Green, Jabari Parker, KCP, and JaVale McGee. https://t.co/leRfCMWsxd
As Skeets indirectly points out there, the level of available talent drops off precipitously. There are but nine names left in the top 50 free agents out there.
Kawhi is the obvious number one, there may be no market left for DeMarcus Cousins, Marcus Morris is still waiting for something (while Markieff is apparently toast), Danny Green is waiting on Kawhi, and the rest will likely be happy to catch on at this point. (To be honest, all those names — Rondo, JaMychal Green, Jabari Parker, etc. — could find themselves on the Lakers. That team still needs bodies!)
So what has happened since our last update? Let’s see.
First up, more Nets news:
Source: One-year deal for the vet and an excellent complimentary piece to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. https://t.co/CP5rLvBm23— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 3, 2019
Free agent Jared Dudley has agreed to a one-year, $2.6M deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, agent Mark Bartelstein of @PrioritySports tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2019
They gained Wilson Chandler, but lost Jared Dudley in the process. Both are approximately as useful at the same things, except Chandler is a year younger. This is a tidy bit of business for both teams — but Dudley’s effectiveness as a mentor to younger players may be limited on a team with LeBron James.
Staying out in the West, the Jazz have added two more names to their aspiring roster, one young and the other old.
Free agent guard Emmanuel Mudiay has agreed to a one-year deal with the Utah Jazz, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 3, 2019
Free agent Jeff Green has agreed to a one-year, $2.5M deal with Utah, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2019
To have Emmanuel Mudiay down the depth chart is not a bad idea, especially with a steady hand like Mike Conley on the roster. Meanwhile, the ultimate wild card, Jeff Green, can either turn the Jazz’s fortunes single-handedly — it’s their turn to see what Green has left in the tank — or have Utah questioning their Mormon god. Fun times ahead!
So what else is happening? The Bulls got their man:
And the Warriors have declined to get theirs:
It stands to reason Quinn Cook will get picked up somewhere, but this is an interesting turn of events. The Warriors are up against the tax apron and suddenly have to get out from underneath some money — even if it is merely Cook’s $1.9 million qualifying offer. Tough times for a former dynasty.
And finally, we circle back to the moves of a Kawhi contestant, the Los Angeles Clippers:
Source: McGruder agrees to a three-year, $15 million deal. https://t.co/xcj7FAwenp— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 3, 2019
Hmm, is this the piece that convinces Leonard to head west? My feeling: no, no it is not.
We continue our vigil. And at least now Drake is involved.
3. The Raptors haven't backed off one centimeter and Drake is said to be mounting his own recruiting campaign on top of whatever the freshly minted champions are doing to convince him to stay— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 2, 2019
Hmmm, let’s see, nothing major to report here so far, I think. We’ve got a few deal updates and a trade to announce — thanks to Woj and Shams breaking the news:
- Boban Marjanovic is heading to the Dallas Mavericks on a two-year, $7 million deal. He’ll eat minutes and then get played off the floor in any playoff series. Meanwhile, Tobias Harris is crushed;
- Markieff Morris has signed with the Detroit Pistons, and while no details have been disclosed as of yet, this is a funny turn of events. His brother Marcus already spent time in Detroit and is likely the more useful of the two Morrises (Morri);
- Darius Miller, meanwhile, is staying with the New Orleans Pelicans for two years, $14.25 million. Not a bad bit of business for the 29-year-old forward; and
- The Grizzlies have traded Chandler Parsons to the Hawks for Solomon Hill and Miles Plumlee. This is essentially a salary dump for both teams, with Memphis figuring it will have an easier time to trade two medium-sized salaries rather than one massive one.
Anyway, that’s everything. There’s nothing else to report. No other news has made it into this cycle. Nothing at all... except.... oh no....... oh.... yes?
A CP24 news helicopter following two black SUVs. One of which believed to contain Kawhi. pic.twitter.com/dE6qn3NBv3— Rob Gillies (@rgilliescanada) July 3, 2019
This is the growing crowd outside the Hazelton Hotel in #Toronto where it's believed Kawhi Leonard is about to meet with Raptors pres Ujiri and GM Webster— James Wattie (@jameswattie) July 3, 2019
(Video: @GregRoss17)#KawhiWatch pic.twitter.com/tcBUtB7KSc
So, apparently Kawhi Leonard is in Toronto.
Bah, here, here you go:
The Grizzlies are trading Kyle Korver and Jevon Carter to the Suns for DeAnthony Melton, Josh Jackson 2020 second-round pick and 2021 conditional second-round pick, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 3, 2019
Apparently the Suns are planning on buying out Kyle Korver, which, of course they are — why else trade two prospects, including a guy you used the fourth overall pick on in 2017? The Grizzlies, meanwhile, get to take a try at making Josh Jackson into a usable NBA player.
Oh yeah, and with that T.J. McConnell signing, the Pacers have achieved something special. They have all of the league’s T.J.s (McConnell, Leaf, and Warren).
kevin pritchard explaining his offseason plan to herb simon pic.twitter.com/QkEviIq4Mb— Joe Wolfond (@joey_doubleyou) July 3, 2019
As for Kawhi, despite all of the hysteria, we have literally no new information. He’s in Toronto. He’s supposedly at the Hazelton Hotel. (I went down there for an appearance on Global News, and all I got was a bit of sun exposure.) And he’s made no decision.