Trail Mix: LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews free-agency latest
Free-agency begins tonight at 9PM on the West Coast. The Portland Trail Blazers and their free-agents will be one of the teams everybody is looking at as the league waits for dominos to fall.
One of those free-agents, Wesley Matthews, is reportedly drawing interest from several teams. The Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors are among the teams in line for Matthews’ services according to ESPN.com’s TIm MacMahon and Marc Stein.
But two things are clear: 1) The Mavs are still very much interested, with ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reporting that the Toronto Raptors also plan to pursue him; 2) Matthews has no intention of being anyone’s injury discount.
You should give MacMahon’s full report a read as he goes into detail why the Mavericks would be so interested in Matthews after spending a few seasons with Monta Ellis. According to his report, the Mavericks would be unable to acquire both LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews.
LaMarcus Aldridge is reportedly meeting with “not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4…” seven teams this week, not including the Portland Trail Blazers who have already offered him a deal according to David Aldridge of NBA.com.
Zach Lowe of Grantland.com previewed free-agency and went into detail about how much more money LaMarcus Aldridge can get by signing a two-year max deal. A couple of recent reports say that the final year of a 5-year deal with the Blazers would be an extra $27 million that Aldridge would have to turn down, which could still woo Aldridge. I thought that this would end up being something that sways Aldridge, until I was told otherwise last week.
But Lowe’s piece is important in showing us–regardless of whose sources you believe–that the “$27 million” argument isn’t actually as clear cut as it sounds.
That advantage means much less with the coming cap boom, which opens up options that used to be too risky for players or teams. Aldridge could sign a two-year max deal with another team, then hit free agency again, sign another two-year max deal, and make more money in just the next four years — about $111 million — than Portland can offer in that traditional five-year max contract. Over the full five years, Aldridge could earn about $35 million more double-dipping in free agency than by signing the longest possible contract with the Blazers this summer.THIRTY-FIVE MILLION. Only a fool would ignore that.
This also doesn’t even touch on the fact that Texas has no state income tax, which would add considerably more money to Aldridge’s pockets. The question of course remains, will Aldridge go the short-term route or will he sign another deal, such as the 4-year max that’s reportedly on the table from the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Spurs are considered by many to be the favorites for Aldridge but the things get tricky as they try to create space to give him a max deal as outlined by the San Antonio Express News. The latest from SAEN’s Mike Monroe is that the Spurs are talking with the Cleveland Cavaliers about trading for Brendan Haywood’s $10.5 million non-guaranteed contract, which would help open up the necessary room for LaMarcus Aldridge if the right pieces are included.
Of all the reported suitors, the Spurs and the Rockets would seem to be the best situations in terms of winning right away. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com reports that the Rockets will get the second meeting with Aldridge after the Lakers, adding that a source told her it’s “very unlikely” Aldridge returns to Portland.
The other teams courting Aldridge are the Spurs, Mavericks, Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns.
The Blazers won’t be meeting with Spurs free-agent forward Danny Green, according to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian.
The Oregonian also reported today that the Blazers are “likely” to bring back Chris Kaman and fully guarantee is $5 million contract. This move screams “fourth big man,” but only time will tell.
Free-agency is now less than nine hours away. Once the big dominoes fall, it will become more clear who the Blazers are targeting and perhaps more importantly, who they can target as many of the other big free-agents are rumored to be looking elsewhere.