Today is the day that the NBAs summer free agent frenzy kicks into turbo mode. NBA squads couldn’t officially sign unrestricted free agents until July 6 at 12:00 p.m. ET, when the July moratorium ends. Teams can begin to sign, extend or trade players and the two-day period for matching a restricted free agent offer sheet begins.
Maybe this is the point where Kawhi Leonard, who is floating in free agent No Mans Land and cant be found or seen in public for a quote or a proof of pulse finally gets out of San Antonio and with a contending squad. Every team involved in trade discussions have been playing hardball, including the Spurs who wont allow themselves to get fleeced by a team because of how desperately Leonard wants out.
Cleveland succumbed to Kyrie Irvings trade demands and have nothing to show for it so far. They also lost LeBron James and his ability to cover up all the blemishes. Leonard is in a tough spot right now, kind of just floating in the wind. The Spurs have made it clear that they don’t want to trade Leonard to a team in the West. That doesn’t leave him with many options.
Zesty SA Spurs on Twitter
Report: Spurs wont trade Kawhi Leonard to any team in West https://t.co/fls1GAQxWH
Thats also why they reportedly are trying to gut the Lakers squad to get him. With Leonard to LA losing steam by the minute, reports have surfaced that the Lakers are looking at other potential All-Star caliber free agents to play with LeBron.
Sam Amico on Twitter
Lakers targeting Damian Lillard, Kevin Love, others to pair with LeBron. #NBA https://t.co/QQ8kVEeH5J
A Damian Lillard-LeBron hookup would be pretty explosive in LA and give Lillard a chance to prove that he is that championship caliber dude. Maybe Love takes a pay cut to rock with King James in LA.
In other NBA Free Agency news
Kyle OQuinn Moves From The Big City To Hoosier Town
Kyle OQuinn, a Queens-bred and born Knicks player and product of Andrew Jackson High School, hightailed his way out of Madison Square Garden by signing a one-year deal with the cheaply constructed Indiana Pacers on Friday.
Its not major news, but it could be career salvation for OQuinn who has skills and intangibles as a hard-nosed player to offer a team that isnt in tank mode. The Pacers won 45 games and finished fifth in an Eastern Conference that will be much more competitive with the departure of LeBron James to the Lakers.
Marcus Smart Is The Fourth Member of Migos
With their wealth of riches, especially at the guard position, the Boston Celtics brass dont have to sweat Marcus Smart, a hardworking glue guy who is probably lucky to be on a contender that can utilize his grit and sustain his lack of offensive prowess.
Smarts leadership and tenaciousness D played a key role in the young Celtics deep Eastern Conference Finals run, but the teams surprising success, despite the losses of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward — who are both back and ready to attack — also showed how dispensable Smart is.
After four years with the Celtics, Smart was expecting some interest from a variety of teams and is now reportedly ‘hurt and disgusted’ that the Celtics have yet to contact him during his restricted free agency.
This is not a plentiful free agency for restricted free agents as Jabari Parker and Clint Capela are finding out.
The Sacramento Kings and ATL Hawks have cap space, but if they were going to offer Smart they probably would have done so already. If Smart returns to the Celtics it certainly wont be under the terms that he wants. Maybe he will find his pot of gold next season in free agency.