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NBA Rumors for Monday, June 29
InsideHoops NBA rumors updated 11:00 a.m. ET. More stories and other news also appears on the InsideHoops basketball blog.
The Orlando Magic have waived backup guard Ben Gordon, it was announced today by General Manager Rob Hennigan. Gordon played in 56 games last season with Orlando, averaging 6.2 ppg. and 1.1 rpg. in 14.1 minutes per outing, while shooting .361 (35-97) from three-point range and .836 (56-67) from the free throw line. He scored in double figures 17 times, including a season-high 22 points on Oct. 30 vs. Washington. InsideHoops
LeBron James informed the Cavs on Sunday he is opting out of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent again on July 1. The move was widely expected and is considered a formality at this point, with James likely to re-sign another one-year deal with a player option that will pay him roughly $22 million next season – about $500,000 more than the contract he signed with the Cavs last summer when he shocked the league by returning to Cleveland. Akron Beacon Journal
James continuing to sign one-year deals accomplishes two goals: it allows him to maximize his earning power under a rising salary cap and it keeps consistent pressure on the Cavs to improve the roster. Such is certainly the case this summer with a number of free agents in addition to James, including Kevin Love, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Matthew Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson. Akron Beacon Journal
The last time James became a free agent from Cleveland in 2010, he famously left his home state team to play for the Miami Heat. James won two championships and played in four NBA Finals in his four years in Miami before making the celebrated decision to return home last summer. News Herald
This time around, James plans to stay put while Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin set about improving the roster in hopes of surrounding James with the talent he will need to end Cleveland’s 51-year championship drought. News Herald
The Suns are expected to start with pursuits of All-Star power forwards Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge, who are unrestricted free agents, and have another priority to quickly reach contract terms with their restricted free agent, guard Brandon Knight. Signings will start July 10. The Suns have about $12 million of salary cap space, although they will be allowed to exceed the cap in re-signing Knight. Love and Aldridge would demand maximum-level contracts, which would entail the Suns trading players to create the space. Arizona Republic
The Suns have a large gap to close on the competition for top players, like when they tried to woo LeBron James last year. Getting Love or Aldridge is more realistic but still a longshot, considering Love is believed to be returning to Cleveland or favoring the Los Angeles Lakers or hometown Portland and Aldridge is likely headed for his home state (San Antonio, Houston or Dallas) or the Lakers. Arizona Republic
[Brandon] Knight, 23, expressed a desire to stay with the Suns and in the two-playmaker system with Bledsoe. Because Knight is a restricted free agent, the Suns can retain him by matching any offer sheet he might sign with another team. They also can negotiate a five-year contract, one more than other teams. They plan to keep Knight after cashing a big chip, a Lakers first-round pick, to get him. Arizona Republic
The Suns are interested in returning power forward Brandan Wright, who is an unrestricted free agent with the shot-blocking, athleticism and maturity the team desires. Other potential free agent frontcourt fits could include Amir Johnson, Thaddeus Young, Brandon Bass, Ed Davis, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Jerebko and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Arizona Republic
So what do you think of that Jrue Holiday trade now? Still think it was wise for the New Orleans Pelicans to shed not one, but two lottery picks for a player who was damaged goods? And how about the reparations? A $3 million payback for a player whom the Pelicans will ultimately compensate more than $40 million, having already forfeited two precious lottery picks which possibly could have buttressed a promising future? Can't say when the news broke Saturday in the Philadelphia Inquirer that it was surprising that Holiday had had previous issues with stress fractures in his right tibia. New Orleans Times Picayune
And it is ironic that two years to the day, June 27, it's revealed that the centerpiece of the transaction indeed had had stress reaction issues in his right tibia while playing in Philadelphia. The question in this debacle is how did the Pelicans' medical staff not identify the problem, which would have red-flagged the trade? New Orleans Times Picayune
A $3 million windfall for New Orleans doesn't put a dent in the $22 million the Pelicans have already paid to a player who has played the equivalent of one full season in the last two, nor the $22 million he's still owed on the final two years of the contract they inherited from the Sixers. New Orleans Times Picayune
The Bucks recently traded veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova to Detroit to clear $8 million in salary cap space. They are targeting a center or power forward in free agency and one of the options could be the Pistons' Greg Monroe. Ilyasova's arrival signaled the end of Monroe's days in Detroit, and the 25-year-old New Orleans native told The Advocate of Baton Rouge, La., that he will meet with five teams, including the Bucks, after the free agency period opens Wednesday. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Magic also can court a more attainable power forward like, say, Ed Davis, the lowly Lakers' most consistent player last season. But they can't give in to lowering their expectations. They need to shoot as high as any serious competitor would do in trying to improve a team and sell tickets. If a marquee player wanted to stop being a follower and make the biggest, most surprising splash this summer, he could do it by signing with the Magic. Orlando Sentinel
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