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NBA Rumors for Saturday, June 25
InsideHoops NBA rumors updated 2:00 p.m. ET. We update this page several times a day. Most of our updates throughout the day appear on our basketball blog. Click a bball story to read more, then click "BACK" to return here.
The Los Angeles Lakers plan to aggressively pursue Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside when NBA free agency starts, according to league sources. With rim protection and perimeter shooting ranking as the Lakers' foremost areas of concern heading into the open market, sources told ESPN.com that Whiteside has emerged a priority target for L.A. ESPN.com
The Lakers, like the Heat, are still hopeful of securing a face-to-face recruiting meeting with Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant once free agency season commences at 12:01 a.m. on July 1. But the Lakers, sources say, are highly intrigued by Whiteside and what he could bring them as a double-double presence inside. ESPN.com
ESPN.com reported earlier this week that the Dallas Mavericks also intend to be a serious suitor for Whiteside, with Dallas expected to land one of the first recruiting meetings Whiteside conducts in the opening hours of free agency. ESPN.com
General manager Rich Cho has repeatedly said re-signing Batum is his top priority. Cho said he intends to meet with Batum and his agent as soon as free agency begins July 1. Based on his eight seasons in the NBA, Batum is eligible for a maximum contract in the area of $26 million a season. Charlotte Observer
Batum made it clear he’d like to return to play for coach Steve Clifford. The Hornets might not offer him the full max, but they have to come in with something above $20 million a season and five years of guarantees to not be in danger of losing him. Charlotte Observer
As well as Lin played, it was a foregone conclusion he’d opt out of next season on his contract to become a free agent. Lin said he enjoyed his first season in Charlotte and that money wouldn’t be the single biggest factor in where he signs. But if a team like the Nets tells him he’d start there, at a considerable raise in salary, might that not be too tempting to turn down? Charlotte Observer
If Boston Celtics fans were disappointed with the lack of a big-splash trade on draft night, it was maybe for this reason only: By not adding more established NBA talent, the Celtics seemingly failed to bolster their recruiting pitch for potential free agents looking for a surefire championship contender. But make no mistake, there's no shortage of positives surrounding this Celtics team. And part of the reason that Boston was hesitant to make a move on draft night was to maintain the sort of financial flexibility that would allow the team to make the strongest pitch possible to free agents like Kevin Durant. ESPN Boston
ESPN's Marc Stein reported Saturday that the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and incumbent Oklahoma City Thunder would be the first three teams to meet with Durant when free agency opens on July 1. The Vertical reported that Durant's reps were working to solidify invitations from other teams, including the Celtics. ESPN Boston
The Celtics have a nine-man core signed to less than $34 million in guaranteed salary for next season. Thanks to draft-and-stash possibilities, Boston is unlikely to dent too much salary despite making six picks in Thursday's draft, and that leaves Boston with enough cap space to pursue two max-contract free agents this summer. The biggest part of Boston's pitch would be: Pick a friend to join you here. ESPN Boston
If Durant wants to play with fellow free agent Al Horford, the Celtics can sign both (and still have enough cash left to fill out their roster with the sort of capable role players that every title contender needs). If Durant prefers a star already on another roster, the Celtics have the assets to try to pry that player free. ESPN Boston
Shawn Long agreed to a two-year partially guaranteed contract with the 76ers on Friday, according to a league source. The 6-foot-9, 245-pound post player of Louisiana-Lafayette went undrafted in Thursday’s NBA Draft. Long impressed the Sixers during his predraft workout on May 16. Philadelphia Inquirer
Forward Harrison Barnes doesn't know if he'll be playing for the Warriors or a new NBA team next season, but he knows where he'll be playing this summer. The fourth-year player and pending restricted free agent has been selected to play for Team USA in the upcoming Rio Olympics, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. Barnes will reportedly join shooting guard Klay Thompson and power forward Draymond Green, who have been named to the team. CSN Bay Area
Apparently the basketball doesn't fall far from the court in Memphis, Tenn. Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay has sold his home in a gated community to new Memphis Tigers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith for $1.48 million. The two-story house came back on the market in April and closed sale in under 60 days. Gay, who began his career with the Memphis Grizzlies, bought the house six years ago for a shade more than $1.176 million. Memphis Commercial Appeal
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