Saturday, July 7, 2012

Latest NBA player transactions

Kidd to join Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Knicks found their point guard to team with Jeremy Lin - or perhaps even replace him.

Jason Kidd is leaving the Dallas Mavericks to sign with the Knicks, according to multiple reports. He could rotate in with Lin, or inherit the point guard role full time if the Knicks reverse course and decline to match an offer the Houston Rockets made to Lin, a restricted free agent whom they have said they intend to keep.

Kidd's decision was a surprise in a dizzying stretch of point guard news. It was believed he would return to the Mavericks, especially after they missed out on Deron Williams. But reported Thursday that anonymous sources said that Kidd had decided instead to join the Knicks for a three-year deal worth about $9 million.

The Knicks have been seeking veteran point guard help but lost out on Steve Nash a day earlier when Phoenix traded him to the Lakers.

Deals cannot be signed until July 11.

The Knicks didn't comment on the report and calls to Kidd's agent were not returned.

The 39-year-old Kidd helped the Mavs to the 2011 NBA title and also ranks among the top five all-time in assists, steals, triple-doubles and 3-pointers. Even though he's slowed down from his perennial All-Star days, he could provide the veteran leadership the Knicks need and perhaps be the player who can maximize the production of the Carmelo Anthony-Amare Stoudemire tandem.

Kidd had some of his best years in New Jersey, leading the Nets to a pair of NBA Finals, and still has children there. The Nets dominated the rivalry with the Knicks back then, and now Kidd will be on the other side of it as the Nets move into their new home in Brooklyn.

His loss continues a difficult summer for the Mavericks, who needed a point guard after Williams chose to stay with the Nets but have now watched Nash and Kidd get away.

The Knicks have said they plan to re-sign Lin, so it's unclear what Kidd's role will be. Perhaps they could even play together if the Knicks lose shooting guard Landry Fields, who agreed to an offer sheet with the Toronto Raptors.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Brandon Roy is on his way to Minnesota to start his comeback in the same place his career began seven years ago. If Nicolas Batum has his way, he'll soon join his former Blazers teammate on the Timberwolves.

Roy agreed to terms of a two-year deal worth $10.4 million Thursday night, and Minnesota also agreed to terms with Batum on a four-year, $45 million deal with bonuses that could make the deal worth more than $50 million.

Roy announced his retirement in December after battling chronic knee injuries, and the Blazers used the amnesty clause on the remaining $63 million of his deal to make him an unrestricted free agent. But after receiving treatments on his knees over the last few months, Roy is ready to try to resume his career and will sign the offer sheet July 11 when the free agent moratorium ends.

Batum's path to Minnesota will be much more difficult. As a restricted free agent, the Blazers can match any offer made to Batum. But his agent told The Associated Press on Thursday night that Batum is hoping Portland doesn't match Minnesota's offer or executes a sign and trade to get him to his preferred destination.

Batum and agent Bouna Ndiaye met with Blazers officials Thursday and informed them that the versatile swingman feels his best fit is in Minnesota.

''It was a very cordial meeting. There were no hard feelings,'' Ndiaye said. ''So Nicolas basically talked about his four years with the Blazers and he expressed that maybe it was time for him to look at a place where he could be more happy.''

The Blazers have been adamant that they will match any offer for Batum and weren't interested in trading the 23-year-old Frenchman. Ndiaye said Batum has great respect for the Blazers and their fans, but believes playing for Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman and alongside point guard Ricky Rubio and forward Kevin Love is the best situation for him.

Batum has averaged 10.2 points and 3.9 rebounds over four seasons with Portland, part of the reason the Blazers see him as such a valuable piece moving forward.

''We appreciated the face-to-face meeting to get our message across,'' Blazers general manager Neil Olshey told The Oregonian. ''And that message was that we intend to match any offer and we will not facilitate any sign-and-trade scenarios.''

Batum visited Minnesota this week and met with owner Glen Taylor, team president David Kahn and Adelman and was sold on the franchise's direction and the Twin Cities. Ndiaye said Batum is hoping the Blazers will do for him what the Suns did for Steve Nash and grant his request to move on to a place where he can be happy and competitive.

''Nicolas said 'I really respect the Blazers' organization, the Blazers' fans,''' Ndiaye said. ''He even mentioned he really loved to be coached by (former assistant) Monty Williams, who was a mentor. But his choice, his heart went to Minneapolis.''

Things started to sour for Batum and Portland in January when the Blazers didn't sign him to a long-term extension, saying at the time that they considered him a big part of their future but wanted to retain salary cap flexibility before reaching a deal with him. Ndiaye said Batum felt stifled in Portland's system and wanted to spend less time standing in the corner and shooting 3-pointers and more time breaking down defenders off the dribble and getting to the rim.

''Nicolas expressed this during his meeting with the Blazers,'' Ndiaye said. ''He was never himself. He has mentioned this in the meeting. He said, 'I just want to be me. I don't want to stand in the corner. I'm a player with movement. I was locked up in the corner. So he has expressed that for sure.''

The one thing that could complicate Portland's plan to keep Batum is a reported max offer to Indiana center Roy Hibbert. If Hibbert takes the deal, and Minnesota's offer is big enough, the Blazers could be hampered financially starting in 2013-14, when the new collective bargaining agreement levies much harsher fiscal penalties for exceeding the salary cap.

The 27-year-old Roy, meanwhile, is returning to the place where it all began, albeit very briefly. The Timberwolves drafted Roy in 2006, but traded him that night for Villanova guard Randy Foye. Former GM Kevin McHale's decision to make the deal haunted the franchise for years, as Roy emerged as one of the bright young stars in the league and one of the game's top closers, while Foye languished through injuries and had difficulty making an impact before being traded to Washington in 2009.

''Welcome Brandon Roy,'' tweeted Wolves forward Derrick Williams, who wore Roy's No. 7 in Minnesota last season. ''(No.) 7 is all yours.''

But one of the reasons McHale made the decision was concern about Roy's knees, and a lack of cartilage severely limited him in 2010-11, when he averaged just 12.2 points, 27.9 minutes and shot 40 percent from the field.

Roy also was being courted by Chicago, Indiana, Cleveland, Dallas and Golden State, but ultimately chose Minnesota, where he'll be relied upon to provide a veteran presence on a very young team while likely playing smaller minutes, at least at first, to maximize his production. The Oregonian first reported Roy's decision.

Kahn, Taylor, Adelman and Wolves athletic trainer Greg Farnam visited Roy in Seattle last week to make a hard push for him. Roy is also close with Wolves assistant Bill Bayno, who coached him in Portland.

Bayno also is a big part of Batum's desire to play in Minnesota. The two remain close and Batum rents Bayno's house in Portland.

''Nicolas is really anxious to join and play with a great unselfish point guard, excited to play with a young team that thinks he is the missing piece,'' Ndiaye said. ''He had a great feel with the coach Rick Adelman and Nicolas thinks this is a system that will fit him.''

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Magic are making some progress on solidifying their roster for next season, agreeing in principle to a new deal with Jameer Nelson.

Orlando's 30-year-old point guard announced the news on his Twitter account Thursday. The deal comes just a week after Nelson opted out of the final season and nearly $8 million of his contract to test free agency.

''Glad to say I've reached an agreement with the Magic... I'm blessed to have the best fans and a great organization supporting me!'' Nelson posted on his Twitter feed.

He did not disclose the length of the new pact. A message left for Nelson seeking additional comment was not immediately returned.

Free agents can't officially sign new deals until July 11 when the NBA's moratorium ends. Teams aren't allowed to comment on new contracts until then, either, but Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said earlier this week that there was a desire to see Nelson return to the team.

''My hope is that he remains in Orlando and in a Magic uniform,'' Hennigan said of Nelson. ''But there needs to be a mutual desire for that to happen.''

The question for Nelson was whether he was better off playing out next season under his expiring contract and risk becoming a trade asset, or to seek a long-term deal elsewhere. The new deal indicates that he found comfort in both the finances and length of the Magic's new deal.

Nelson has spent each of his eight NBA seasons in Orlando, which drafted him along with Dwight Howard in 2004. Howard is signed through next season, but recently told the Magic he wanted a trade to Brooklyn and wouldn't sign long-term anywhere else.

When Howard originally made his trade demand to the Magic last season, he referenced a desire to play with other point guards, including the Nets' Deron Williams and Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul.

Intentional or not, it seemed to be a direct comment by Howard on Nelson's ability to lead the Magic to a championship.

Though Nelson has dismissed the notion that any of that affected his play, former general manager Otis Smith - who had talked with Nelson about it - said last season that he thought it was on Nelson's mind at times.

Nelson shot a career-low 42 percent from the field this season and averaged 11.9 points and 5.7 assists per game this season. The scoring and assists numbers were both down from the previous year.

Along with Howard's unresolved status, the Magic also has lingering decisions to make on forward Ryan Anderson, as well as guard J.J. Redick.

Redick is due $6.1 million next year in the final season of his deal, but the team can get out of that if they waive him by July 7.

Anderson is the reigning league most improved player and a restricted free agent, though the Magic extended a qualifying offer to the third-year forward. It allows the team to match any offer he receives on the open market this summer.

The Philadelphia 76ers will use the NBA's amnesty clause to cut Elton Brand and the $18.2 million left on his contract, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

In part, this move clears the way for the Sixers to sign Los Angeles Clippers free agent Nick Young to a one-year, $6 million deal.

The 76ers can’t use the amnesty clause until the league’s moratorium on signings ends July 11. Teams under the salary cap can place bids on Brand through the amnesty wire with the highest bid claiming him. Teams currently under the cap include the Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets.

If no team claims Brand off the amnesty wire, he will become a free agent and can sign with any team.

Brand, 33, averaged 11 points and 7.2 rebounds for the 76ers last season.

Young gives the 76ers a consistent outside scoring threat. He averaged 14.2 points for the Washington Wizards and Clippers a season ago. 

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