The first shots are fired in the early hours of the NBA free agency period. The Detroit Pistons started things off by working out deals with both Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. This seems like an odd situation for a team loaded with Shooting Guards and Forwards but with Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess and AI all having expiring contracts I guess the deals are not that bad of a move after all.
Next up are the LA Clippers making a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Clippers sent PF Zach Randolph to the Grizzlies for SG Quentin Richardson. I have never liked Randolph; I will always connect him with the Portland Jailblazers. This really could turn out to be a decent move for the Clippers; they open up a position for PF Blake Griffin and add to the depth at Shooting Guard. I think the Clippers could turn some heads next season; they have a nucleus of both veteran players and young players so they have the experience as well as the youth.
Next up are a couple of rumors from various teams around the league.
Both Dallas and the New York Knicks seem to be coveting PG Jason Kidd. It looks like he will be looking at a deal running $25 million over three years. The Knicks have a couple of average Point Guards so adding Jason Kidd could help them out now plus it may work in their favor when they try to lure LeBron James in 2010. I have also heard rumors that PG Nate Robinson may be used as trade bait so adding Kidd would definitely open up that avenue too.
The Portland Trail Blazers are in the lead for the services of SF Hedo Turkoglu who has turned down an offer to re-sing with the Orlando Magic for a reported $36 million over four years. It is believed that the Portland Trail Blazers may be offering a contract for $50 million over five years. The Blazers are short on Small Forwards, so the addition of Turkoglu will fill a need but it is rumored that SG Rudy Fernandez is angered over the potential deal because it would essentially cost him some minutes and he supposedly has talked with a couple of European teams if he can get out of his contract with the team. But there is also the potential that Fernandez could end up getting traded if he is not allowed out of his current contract. It would be nice to see him head back to the team that drafted him, the Phoenix Suns, he would be welcomed back to the Valley of the Sun and he could easily pick up substantial minutes in the Small Forward position.
One team that may have suddenly been thrust in to the free agency market is the Houston Rockets. The hairline fracture in Yao Ming’s foot may have him out for the season and possibly could even be a career ending injury according to the team’s physician. The Rockets do have a number of options on the market but the question is will any of the options fit well within the team? Only time will tell.