Lakers target free agent veteran forward Raja Bell

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The defending two-time NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers aren’t even a month removed from winning their second straight NBA title, but they are already starting to think about their future and assembling a team to compete for yet another three-peat in the Phil Jackson era.

Even though the Lakers will almost certainly make some moves in the offseason, the team’s top priority as of right now is re-signing Phil Jackson. Over the past couple of years, the Zen Master has flirted with the possibility of retirement, but has stuck with the team and now has two more NBA titles to add to his legacy.

Now that Phil Jackson has 11 NBA titles to his credit and has officially passed Boston Celtics legendary head coach Red Auerbach by two NBA titles on the all-time list, there really isn’t much left for him to prove and he might feel that it is the right time to walk away from the game.

Even though Phil Jackson has still yet to make up his mind about his future, the Lakers must move on and continue to pursue other options for other areas of the team like upgrading the bench.

There have been a few rumors surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers recently with some pretty big names getting thrown in the mix. The one proposed trade that might still happen which has been talked about almost all season long was All-Star forward Chris Bosh heading to Los Angeles in exchange for Andrew Bynum and Sasha Vujacic.

This trade is obviously a stretch as it would have to be a sign-and-trade deal and the numbers would have to match up perfectly depending on what kind of deal Chris Bosh would want. Even though the deal could be very difficult to pull off, the Lakers are no strangers to one sided blockbusters as they were able to do just that back in 2008 with the addition of Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies for virtually nothing.

Although the Chris Bosh deal might still go down if the Lakers are bold enough to pull off another trade like that, the moves that the Lakers will most likely make will all be in free agency.

Obviously, the Lakers are a bit strapped for cash at the moment as they have very big salaries on the books with just Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol alone, so signing big-name free agents like Amare Stoudemire are pretty much impossible but there will be quite a few prominent players that will be available.

The one free agent that is getting more attention than other by the Lakers so far in this offseason is defensive minded forward Raja Bell.
It is no secret that Raja Bell and the Los Angeles Lakers have history, especially Bryant and Bell, but the addition of Bell would be perfect for the Lakers next season.

Raja Bell brings some much needed hardnosed defense (much like Ron Artest’s defensive mindset) and a great outside shot. Not only would Bell be a great addition for the Lakers in their attempt for a three-peat, but apparently Kobe Bryant really wants this to happen as he has squashed the past beef with the forward and would love to have him on the squad next season.

Everyone is waiting for LeBron

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The NBA free market is almost open for business as July 1st is just around the corner with the futures of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to be determined.

At midnight on the first day of July, the big-name free agents that everyone has been talking about lately will officially become available to the highest bidder. Not only will these big-name free agents be courted by the teams in the league with the most cap space this summer, but the decisions that they make will forever change the NBA and the possible title contenders for the next five to ten years.

Even though there are plenty of big-names that will be available come July 1st, there is nothing set in stone as to where any of these NBA superstars will be headed. At this point in time, any of these players could re-sign with their current teams or chose to go elsewhere, but as we come closer and closer to the 1st of July, the future of Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire and Chris Bosh seems to weigh heavily on where LeBron James will be going.

Never in the history of the NBA has one player been able to dictate that outcome of an entire free agent class, but that is exactly the kind of responsibility that LeBron James has unknowingly taken on as his decision will be the biggest of any free agent in the history of the league.

Not only will LeBron’s decision directly affect every other big-name free agent this summer, but his decision will also determine what the league will look like for the foreseeable future.

As of right now, the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers own the NBA after winning two straight NBA titles and possibly winning a few more over the next five years or so. Kobe Bryant and company consistently put a competitive basketball team on the floor every single season, but if LeBron James and someone like Amare Stoudemire or Chris Bosh team up with the likes of Derrick Rose in Chicago, the Bulls could quickly turn into the NBA’s next superpower.

Obviously, if LeBron decides to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the next three years or so, the Cavs will still be a serious force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference. The problem is that the role players on that team aren’t getting any younger as both Antawn Jamison and Shaquille O’Neal are arguably past their prime.

Personally, I really can’t see LeBron staying in Cleveland. He is a hometown, that has become clear over the past two years or so, but the temptation to go elsewhere and possibly win his first NBA title alongside another NBA superstar will be too much for the two-time NBA MVP to resist.

Even though anything can happen this summer in terms of free agency, I believe that LeBron will end up playing alongside either Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire in Chicago or New York.

Golden State Warriors trade Corey Maggette to the Milwaukee Bucks

Ever since point guard Baron Davis signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Clippers a few years ago, the Golden State Warriors have been in a serious rebuilding mode as they quickly went from one of the most promising young teams in the league to arguably one of the worst.

This past NBA season, the Warriors were able to draft a promising young point guard in the form of Stephon Curry out of Davidson. During his college days, Curry was arguably one of the best scorers in the country with the ability to score 30 to 40 points a night with his sweet shooting stroke. Even though he was an early draft pick by the Warriors, many questioned his ability to transcend his game on the professional level.

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Fortunately for the Warriors, Curry was able to do just that as he became the team’s second leading scorer behind Monte Ellis and finished the season second in the voting for the Rookie of the Year award behind Tyreke Evans.

Needless to say, the Golden State Warriors do have a promising future with Stephon Curry and Monte Ellis leading the way, but there are still some moves that need to be made in order to surround these talented players with the right pieces to make a run at the playoffs in the Western Conference.

Recently, the Warriors made a trade just before the 2010 NBA Draft by sending versatile forward Corey Maggette to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Charlie Bell and center Dan Gadzuric.

Obviously, adding Bell and Gadzuric isn’t exactly an upgrade for the Golden State Warriors, but getting Maggette’s contract off the books was probably the deciding factor for the Warriors in this move.

The Milwaukee Bucks on the other hand may have made a considerable upgrade to their roster with the addition of Corey Maggette. This summer the Bucks could be the verge of losing forward John Salmons to free agency, so this move may have been a backup plan for Milwaukee, but if Salmons stays with the Bucks, Maggette would be great player off the bench as he could bring a much needed scoring punch for the Bucks.

The big question mark for the Milwaukee Bucks right now is whether or not John Salmons will test free agency come July 1st. Before the end of last season, the Salmons said that he probably would test the free agent market this summer and could quite possibly head back to the Chicago Bulls.

It is uncertain if John Salmons still intends to put himself out there in the free agent market, there will definitely be some takers if he does, but if Salmons does stay in Milwaukee for the next three years or so, the Bucks will be a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference for quite some time.

With John Salmons, Corey Maggette, Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut as the core of the Milwaukee Bucks franchise, they could bring in some other great players and contend for a title in the near future.

Will Paul Pierce opt out this summer?

The Boston Celtics are coming off the bad end of a thrilling NBA Finals series with their archrivals in the Los Angeles Lakers, but despite being unable to beat Kobe Bryant and company in game seven and win their second NBA title in three years, the Celtics are optimistic about their future.

Even though the Boston Celtics will almost certainly be able to put a competitive basketball team on the floor next season with All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo leading the way, the Eastern Conference heavyweights will have a few moves to make this offseason starting with head coach Doc Rivers, sharp shooter Ray Allen and leading scorer Paul Pierce.

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The Celtics head coach Doc Rivers still has a year to go on his contract, much like Paul Pierce, but he might be thinking about calling it quits to spend some time with his family in Orlando. There is no question that Rivers is a player’s coach and well liked by all of the Boston Celtics, but could be leaning towards retirement or taking some time off do to the fact that he feels he is missing out on important times in his children’s lives.

Celtics Coach Rivers

A good majority of the Boston Celtics players have already talked to Doc Rivers during this NBA offseason trying to convince him to stick with the team a little longer, but the popular head coach has said that he is leaning one way and won’t say which way that is.
In the meantime, the Boston Celtics have some players that they need to take care of in the form of free agent Ray Allen and superstar Paul Pierce. It is uncertain whether or not Allen will be re-signed as he might get some lucrative offers from other teams like the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks, but he has said that he wants to come back to Boston.

Paul Pierce on the other hand is another story altogether as he has the ability to opt out of his current contract this summer and become a free agent along with the rest of the superstars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The All-Star forward has given no indication that he intends to opt out, but with other superstar players that have played with the same team their entire NBA career like the Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki most likely opting out, Pierce testing the free agent market is always a possibility.

The one thing that will probably keep the Boston Celtics leading scorer from opting out of his contract this summer is the fact that he is owed $21.5 million next season which will be forfeited if he chooses to test free agency.

In all likelihood, the All-Star will remain with the Boston Celtics for at least one more year as he would be crazy to leave $21.5 million dollars on the table next season. Not only would he be leaving a lot of money on the table, but there probably isn’t a team out there that is willing to pay this aging forward that kind of money.

So in my opinion, Paul Pierce will stay in Boston and eventually retire as one of the greatest Celtics of all-time and might be able to add one more NBA title to his legacy if the Celtics can bring back Ray Allen, Doc Rivers and one or two veteran free agents.

Chicago Bulls trade Kirk Hinrich and 17th pick to the Washington Wizards

NBA free agency is right around the corner as July 1st draws near and the big-name free agents like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will officially become available to the highest bidder.

With the extremely talented free agent market almost upon us, the teams expected to make offers to these big-name NBA superstars are trying to clear as much cap space as possible. The one team that has made more moves than any other team recently in an effort to clear cap space is the Chicago Bulls.

The New Jersey Nets, Miami Heat and the New York Knicks are three other teams in the league that will have a lot of cap space to wheel and deal with this summer, but the Chicago Bulls may have cleared enough space to sign not just one big-name free agent, but two.

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The one player that the Chicago Bulls have their sights set on this summer is LeBron James. With promising young players on their squad like center Joakim Noah and All-Star point guard Derrick Rose, the Bulls have the right pieces of the puzzle to build around and with LeBron in the mix they would instantly be a title contender in many people’s opinion.

As of right now, the Cleveland Cavaliers are arguably the frontrunners to re-sign LeBron James this summer, but as July 1st draws near the chances of the Cavs bringing LeBron back to Cleveland seems to get worse and worse.

The Chicago Bulls on the other hand seem to keep improving their chances of signing the most desired free agent this summer and they continue to make moves in order to bring in some other big-name free agents to play alongside LeBron in Chicago.

One move the Bulls made recently to clear some more cap space for this summer’s free agent market was trading away defensive minded point guard Kirk Hinrich and the 17th overall pick in the NBA Draft to the Washington Wizards. The 17th overall pick in the draft turned out to be French power forward Kevin Seraphin who will now head to Washington instead of Chicago.

With the departure of Kirk Hinrich, the Chicago Bulls will have his contract off the books and much more cap room to deal with. Along with Hinrich off the books, the Bulls will also not have to pay the 17th overall pick Kevin Seraphin.

So with all this cap room this summer, the Chicago Bulls will give it their best shot to sign two big-name free agents come July 1st. LeBron James is the Bulls number one target and for good reason, but some other players mentioned as possible targets for Chicago are Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen.

It is uncertain what big-name free agents the Chicago Bulls will be able to sign this summer, but they will definitely be on the verge of seriously upgrading their roster this offseason and could be a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference once again from here on out.

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