It’s Rumor Season! What’s Going On In The Western Conference?

Ah, rumor season… that week or so which spans the period between which players officially become free agents and the day they’re allowed to sign a shiny new contract.  Signing day 2012 just so happens to fall on July 11th, meaning we’ve got about six more days of unofficial agreements, speculation, and Chris Broussard before any ink is actually put to paper.  Here’s the latest from the West, team by team…

Dallas Mavericks: Having lost out in the Deron Williams sweepstakes, the Mavericks probably won’t be contending for a title in 2012/13.  To make matters slightly more difficult, the Mavs will have to find a replacement for Jason Kidd, who has reportedly come to terms with the New York Knicks, as well as Jason Terry, who plans to pack up his high socks and headbands and take his sixth-man talents to Boston.  Personally, I’d like to see the Mavs re-assemble their ’03/04 team—sign Antawn Jamison, get ‘Toine Walker out of retirement, and bring back the tinfoil unis.  Wait a minute… Steve Nash was on that squad, wasn’t he?  Yeah, nevermind.

Denver Nuggets: One half of the NBA’s illest alley-oop duo has been secured by the Nuggets.  Surprisingly, that half is Andre Miller, who will re-sign with Denver on a three-year contract that could be the last of his underappreciated career.  Now, can the team afford to keep its prized McNugget?  For entertainment’s sake, let us all hope so.  Oh, it should be noted that Rudy Fernandez will sign overseas for the time being.  He was pretty good for the Nuggets before getting hurt, but Corey Brewer was probably a little better anyway.

Golden State Warriors: According to Matt Steinmetz, the Warriors have expressed interest in free agents such as Brandon Roy, JJ Hickson, Antawn Jamison, Kirk Hinrich, and Jordan Hill.  Rumor has it they do not plan to extend Stephen Curry just yet.  Well, Dubs fans, at least there’s still the intrigue of the Andrew Bogut experiment.

Houston Rockets: It wouldn’t have made sense to hang onto both Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic.  Keeping one of the two probably would’ve been a good idea, though.  With Dragic committed to Phoenix and Lowry on his way to Toronto, Rockets GM Daryl Morey now finds himself trying to overpay Jeremy Lin, whom he cut loose prior to last winter’s Linsanity.  Unfortunately for H-Town, I think Dragic is the best of the bunch… and he figures to cost a little bit less than Lin, who I feel is the worst of the three (he certainly has the most to prove).  New York does have the right to match Houston’s offer to Lin, so the Rockets probably won’t get him anyway.  I think it’s fair to say that they’ve begun rebuilding.

LA Clippers: The Clipps have reportedly reached a four-year agreement with Jamal Crawford and dropped out of the Ray Allen sweepstakes.  One would think the Clippers, who have also elected to bring back Chauncey Billups, will allow Nick Young and/or Randy Foye to sign elsewhere.  With the addition of Lamar Odom, Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans are probably on their way out of LA, too.  With all due respect to Lamar Odom and Jamal Crawford, these two need to be a lot better than they were last season in order to make the Clippers a better team.  Reggie Evans, Randy Foye, Mo Williams, and Kenyon Martin were all fantastic in their roles, contributing on a nightly basis and stepping up in the postseason victory over Memphis.  The Clippers certainly don’t want to tread water or take a step backwards as they attempt to impress soon-to-be free agent Chris Paul.

LA Lakers: You already read my thoughts on the Nash signing, but how ’bout Grant Hill?  According to various reports he’s on the verge of following his buddy Steve to Hollywood, where Mike Brown would be wise to insert him into the starting lineup.  Twenty-nine, thirty-nine, or seventy-nine, he’s still better than Ron Artest, who should be sent elsewhere as soon as the acquisition of a serviceable three makes him expendable.

Memphis Grizzlies: OJ Mayo is an unrestricted free agent on account of the fact that Memphis decided not to make a qualifying offer.  The Grizzlies have little money to spend and, barring a trade, they figure to feature a roster very similar to last season’s.  Hold the Mayo.

Minnesota Timberwolves: I like Nicolas Batum as much as the next man… unless the next man happens to be David Kahn.  It seems that the oft-criticized GM of the T-Wolves has decided to offer $11 million per season for Batum’s services, which include career averages of 10 points and 4 rebounds.  Now, I absolutely believe Batum is a better fit than Michael Beasley, who has been let go, but I don’t think he’s a 50-million-dollar baller.  I just don’t… especially not with Derrick Williams in need of a few three-spot minutes.  In other news, the Wolves have also talked with Jordan Hill and Greg Stiemsma.  Greg Stiemsma and Nikola Pekovic: potentially the most likable frontcourt ever constructed.

New Orleans Hornets: Unfortunately for the Suns, New Orleans has the right to match any offer made to Eric Gordon.  Assuming he can stay healthy I firmly believe that Gordon is set to develop into one of the league’s finest two guards, and I figure the process will begin, if not end, with the Hornets.  GM Dell Demps cleared up a little cap space in that deal that sent Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza to Washington for Rashard Lewis, who has been bought out of his ridiculous deal.

Oklahoma City Thunder: I’ve googled “James Harden,” “Serge Ibaka,” and “Kendrick Perkins,” but there doesn’t seem to be much news out of Brick Town just yet (if you’re wondering what possible news I’m seeking in regards to Kendrick Perkins, I’m suggesting that he’s an amnesty candidate).

Phoenix Suns: I love the re-acquisition of Goran Dragic, and I like the addition of Michael Beasley.  If the Hornets surprise everyone by not matching their offer to Eric Gordon then I love the addition of him, too.  Oh, and their work to get something—albeit it a few average draft picks—in return for Steve Nash could pay off down the line.  Good job, Suns.

Portland Trail Blazers: As reported in the Eastern version of this post, the Blazers have offered a massive deal to Roy Hibbert.  Now they wait and see what Indiana does, then make a decision on Nicolas Batum.  One thing seems clear: they appear ready to make one young man very rich.

Sacramento Kings: The Kings have now drafted Thomas Robinson, made an offer to Jason Thompson, and talked with Ryan Anderson.  A lot of action at the four spot in Sacto, and a potential logjam in the making, it seems.  Honestly, I’m a little bit surprised that the Kings are interested in retaining Thompson.  He’s a solid guy to have on the roster, but he’s not lived up to expectations during the past two seasons.

San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs have one notable free agent, and his name is Boris Diaw.  I’m curious as to what kind of offers Diaw will receive… he played well in the playoffs, but his stint in Charlotte was, well, a complete disaster, to put it bluntly.  I haven’t seen any news in regards to Boris, but I’ll be keeping an eye out.

Utah Jazz: Mo Williams landed in Utah as part of that Lamar Odom trade, and now Devin Harris is on his way to Atlanta for Marvin Williams.  Kind of a strange trade for the Hawks, who have Jeff Teague, but from a Jazz perspective… I can understand why they were tired of the dude.  He’s been pretty awful since departing from New Jersey.

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