If you're not itching for the Finals to begin by now, you never will be. NBA fans have endured a full week without any games, giving us ample time to discuss the Cavaliers vs. Warriors matchup from a variety of angles. Check out Rotoworld's coverage from Mike Gallagher (here and here) and Aaron Bruski (here).
There was precious little headline-worthy news on Wednesday. Kyrie Irving's knee tendinitis is still a problem and it's doubtful that he'll be 100 percent at any point during the Finals. Irving said that he's "learned to mentally adjust to playing hurt," which ensures that the Cavs will have to get very creative with their defensive approach against MVP Stephen Curry.
Some coaching news also trickled out during Wednesday's news cycle. The Nuggets have spoken to former Kings coach Mike Malone about their vacant head coach position, but Melvin Hunt hasn't been ruled out, Mike Woodson is on the radar, and they've already met with Mike D'Antoni. Denver is also reportedly "showcasing" Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried, according to ESPN's Chad Ford, and they appear eager to shake things up with the draft on the horizon.
Speaking of which, we've been tracking the ins and outs of the NBA draft ever since the lottery determined that Minnesota will pick first, followed by the Lakers and Sixers. Jonas Nader took a look at what might be in store throughout the lottery, and you can explore the archive of Ed Isaacson's 'Draft Preview' columns here. Since the beginning of May, Ed has covered draft comparisons for every position, combine results, and his personal mock draft.
Without further ado, let's explore the free-agency situation for all 15 teams in the Eastern Conference (the Western Conference will follow in a few days). I've broken players down by their situation: Unrestricted Free Agents, Restricted Free Agents, and everyone else with player or team options. Players with early-termination options and non-guaranteed deals are included under the ‘options’ category for the sake of convenience.
Pertinent quotes from a player or team, relating to offseason decisions, will be provided (and linked to) where appropriate. This is intended as a bookmark page for reference throughout free agency, and as such I'm not speculating as to who might end up where, etc. To misquote Joe Friday: "Just the facts, ma'am." In addition to Rotoworld's own player-contract pages, I highly recommend the salary resources available at Basketball-Reference and Basketball Insiders.
Follow me on Twitter @Knaus_RW. That's also where you can let me know any and all of the players I inadvertently left off these lists!
DeMarre Carroll (The New York Post reported that Carroll "intrigues" Knicks president Phil Jackson and that he "has a desire to play for Knicks coach Derek Fisher." That rumor/report should be viewed with due circumspection. He's expected to command $10+ million per season.)
Restricted Free Agents: Pero Antic ($1.6 million qualifying offer)
Jonas Jerebko (“I loved it here. I’d love to come back. I’d definitely like to keep this going.” Danny Ainge said he'd like to re-sign Jerebko but suggested that it’s contingent upon how things progress in the draft and free agency.)
Restricted Free Agents: Luigi Datome ($2.2 million QO), Jae Crowder ($1.2 million QO. Celtics president Rich Gotham said, "Jae is definitely a priority ... He added toughness, energy and confidence. I think he gave our guys a swagger.")
Unrestricted Free Agents: None.
Jerome Jordan ($1.1 million QO)
Team or Player Options: Brook Lopez ($16.7 million player option. "I absolutely enjoyed my time with the Nets. It's been good for me ... I don't know [about free agency]. There's lots of different stuff. I haven't thought about it at all." Nets GM Billy King said he intends to re-sign Lopez even if he does opt out.)
Thaddeus Young ($10.2 million early-termination option. "I definitely want to see what [Brook Lopez] is going to do, but we've already been told that [the Nets] expect us back next year and they want us back next year no matter if we pick up our options or opt out.")
Restricted Free Agents: Bismack Biyombo ($4.1 million QO), Jeffrey Taylor ($1.2 million QO)
Team or Player Options: Al Jefferson ($13.5 million player option. "I’ve got unfinished business here. [Opting out] is not even an option for me ... Unless something dramatic changed, I can’t see myself opting out and leaving that bad taste in my mouth.")
Restricted Free Agents: Jimmy Butler ($4.4 million QO. "[Chicago] is a place for me. I love playing with the guys that we have. They continue to bring in great, high character guys that fit the team role. I love it here. I'm happy to be here.")
Restricted Free Agents: Tristan Thompson ($6.8 million QO. LeBron James said in late May that Thompson should be a Cavalier for "his career" and coach David Blatt seconded the notion). Iman Shumpert ($4.4 million QO). Matthew Dellavedova ($1.2 million QO).
Team or Player Options: LeBron James ($21.6 million player option. He's widely expected to opt-in before hitting the jackpot once the NBA salary cap explodes in 2016-17).
Kevin Love ($16.7 million player option. He expects to be recovered from shoulder surgery in time for next season's opener, and when asked if he'd be playing for the Cavs he replied, "Yes, sir." He's still expected to explore all of his options).
J.R. Smith ($6.4 million player option).
Brendan Haywood has a completely non-guaranteed salary for 2015-16. Considering he'd be owed $10.5 million, it's safe to say the 13-year veteran be looking for a new employer this summer.
Unrestricted Free Agents: Greg Monroe ("I have been [with the Pistons] my whole [adult] life ... They drafted me, so of course I am going to listen to them with the same ear as I listen to everybody else. They have the upper hand." Despite those statements, beat writer David Mayo reported that "the likelihood remains that [Monroe] seeks an external deal." Tayshaun Prince and Joel Anthony are also unrestricted free agents.
Restricted Free Agents: Reggie Jackson ($4.4 million QO. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said that he thinks a backcourt of R-Jax and Brandon Jennings "can work." Jackson himself seemed to embrace a return with Detroit, saying, "Getting to know these guys has been amazing ... Looking forward to texting [teammates] over the summer, trying to give each other motivation to get better each and every day we have workouts. I feel like we're ahead of schedule.")
Team or Player Options: Cartier Martin ($1.3 million player option). Caron Butler, Anthony Tolliver, Quincy Miller and Shawne Williams all have contracts which are non-guaranteed (to varying degrees) for 2015-16.
Unrestricted Free Agents: Luis Scola (As of mid-May, Scola was working out at the Fieldhouse "more than anyone," and Pacers president Larry Bird reportedly hopes to re-sign the 35-year-old backup PF).
C.J. Watson (Bird reportedly "does not think" that he'll sign Watson as a free agent this season). It's always nice to get blunt honesty from an NBA front office. Lavoy Allen and Donald Sloan are also unrestricted free agents.
Restricted Free Agents: Chris Copeland ($3.9 million QO) and Shayne Wittington ($1.0 million QO).
Team or Player Options: Roy Hibbert ($15.5 million player option) is expected to opt-in, but coach Frank Vogel explicitly said that his role will be "diminished" if he returns in 2015-16).
Unrestricted Free Agents: None.
Restricted Free Agents: None.
Team or Player Options: Dwyane Wade ($16.1 million player option. The Heat are hopeful that Wade will take a hometown discount to re-sign with the only NBA team he's ever played for, which may not be feasible. He'll join ABC as a studio analyst during the Finals and we're sure to have more than a few updates on his thinking in the weeks leading up to free agency.)
Luol Deng ($10.2 million player option. Deng hasn't explicitly commented on his option, but he expressed some doubt about his role with the Heat. "This year, [Erik Spoelstra] wanted me to take the corner threes more than I’ve done in the past ... Not having someone like Josh [McRoberts] definitely hurts my game.")
Hassan Whiteside has a non-guaranteed deal worth $981k next season which the Heat will obviously pay, as the league's CBA prevents them from offering him an extension. James Ennis, Henry Walker and Tyler Johnson all have contracts which are non-guaranteed (to varying degrees) for 2015-16.
Unrestricted Free Agents: None
Team or Player Options: Jared Dudley ($4.2 million early-termination option. Dudley has made headlines since the end of the regular season for taking shots at both Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant, but he has also commented on his contract situation, saying that there's an "80 to 90 percent chance" he'll return to Milwaukee even if he opts out.)
Jorge Gutierrez has a fully non-guaranteed contract for 2015-16.
New York Knicks
Unrestricted Free Agents: Andrea Bargnani (As translated by Sportando: "I am happy with the Knicks. I love the city and the organization ... I will consider all the offers I receive from July. I want to remain in the NBA. And I will. I am at the peak of my basketball career and I want to win in the NBA.")
Restricted Free Agents: Alexey Shved ($4.1 million player option. “I hope next year I can stay here ... We had a lot of problems and injuries. Everything will change next year and I want to be part of it.")
Unrestricted Free Agents: Willie Green
Restricted Free Agents: Tobias Harris ($4.4 million QO. Orlando's new head coach Scott Skiles said that he has a "great" relationship with Harris. "Even during [the 2012-13 season] when Tobias was not playing as much as he would like," Skiles said, "I never said to any person in the organization that I still didn’t love Tobias.) Kyle O'Quinn ($1.2 million QO)
Fans intent upon following the 76ers' offseason moves should follow all of these people on Twitter: Keith Pompey, Tom Moore, Dei Lynam, Bob Cooney, Marc Narducci, Derek Bodner...and also, I suppose, the 76ers official account.
Unrestricted Free Agents: Amir Johnson, Lou Williams, Tyler Hansbrough, Landry Fields, Greg Stiemsma and Chuck Hayes (There's zero news about any of these free agents, as far as I can tell, but it's interesting to note that they earned a combined $28.9 million last season. I'm not keen on expounding the extravagant salaries of NBA players, or how much certain MLB players earn per at-bat, which could be a never-ending exercise, but I still occasionally gawk at the figures: Fields and Hayes sucked up $12.1 million while playing a combined total of 471 minutes all season, which works out to $25,690 per minute on the court.
Restricted Free Agents: None
Team or Player Options: None
Unrestricted Free Agents: Kevin Seraphin ("I definitely want to be somewhere I have a chance to be a starter.") Rasual Butler, Drew Gooden and Will Bynum are also headed toward unrestricted free agency.
Restricted Free Agents: None
Team or Player Options: Paul Pierce ($5.5 million player option. Pierce suggested in early May that he might stay with the Wizards for a few more years, and coach Randy Wittman sounded optimistic: "I’d love him back. I think he wants to be back. I don’t know, I won’t put words in his mouth, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t." John Wall hopes that he'll return, but Pierce hasn't yet ruled out retirement and recent rumors suggest that he may opt out his 2015-16 contract to join Doc Rivers and the Clippers in L.A.) Garrett Temple also has a $1.1 million player option.
Check back this weekend for a Western Conference free agent synopsis, which I'll tweet out from @Knaus_RW.
Until then, enjoy Game 1 of the Finals!