Chris Paul will re-sign with Clippers

NBA free agent negotiations begin tomorrow, and the biggest name on the market is a little point guard. And as expected, even before his team managed to land coach Doc Rivers, CP3 is expected to stick with his squad and re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Chris Paul

Chris Paul got off the NBA’s free-agent board about as quickly as he gets down the lane for the L.A. Clippers.

To no one’s surprise, Paul has decided to stay with the Clippers, where he’s running the show and can sign on July 10 for a maximum contract worth $107.3 million over five seasons.

Once the Clippers had obtained Doc Rivers in a trade with the Celtics last week, Paul’s future in Los Angeles was cemented. Paul’s representatives sent out word on Saturday night, more 24 hours before the start of free agency, that he would not entertain any offers from other teams.

With Paul off the board, the biggest name to hit the open market will be Dwight Howard, who was scheduled to meet with the Houston Rockets at 12:01 Monday morning. Howard doesn’t want to stay in L.A. and is expected to become a Rocket. He will meet over the next few days with the Mavs, Hawks, Warriors and Lakers.

Reported by Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News

Dwight Howard offered free chicken fingers for life if he signs with Mavs

Each NBA free agency period, some local businesses around the country come up with some fun offers to make at players in the hope of luring them to sign with the local team. Whether these offers actually ever get fulfilled, nobody knows. But they’re fun. Here’s the latest example:

Dwight Howard

A Dallas fried chicken joint is really trying to give Dwight Howard the finger, or in this case, fingers.

Raising Cane’s, a chicken finger chain, is offering a lifetime of free chicken fingers to Howard in exchange for his signature on a contract with the Mavericks.

“These next few days, Dwight Howard will be making arguably the most important career decision of his life,” Adam Reed the marketing manager at Raising Cane’s said in a press release obtained by the Dallas Morning News. “So we thought we’d make Dwight an offer he couldn’t refuse to up the ante for a Dallas-bound decision.”

Reported by Bernie Augustine of the New York Daily News

Spurs officially make Splitter, Neal restricted free agents

Like all NBA teams, the Spurs have some difficult free agent decisions to make, mostly centered around aging former star Manu Ginobili. But they took care of some relatively simple business today.

The Spurs on Sunday submitted qualifying offers for center Tiago Splitter and reserve guard Gary Neal, making both restricted free agents upon expiration of their current contracts at 11 p.m. tonight, central time.

By doing so, the Spurs retain the right to match any offer either player receives during free agency.

Splitter’s offer, as prescribed by the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, is for $4.93 million.

A solid starting big man in a league in which size matters, Splitter could draw higher offers than that once the bidding opens tonight, forcing the Spurs to make a decision.

Reported by Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News 

Kobe Bryant says his health is rapidly improving

The Los Angeles will go as far as Kobe Bryant will take them. Even if he’s past his prime, free agency of Dwight Howard aside, Kobe is the guy that can put the team on his shoulders.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant still has a long rehab ahead after tearing his Achilles’ tendon, but he’s rapidly improving over the off-season.

“It’s feeling really strong,” said Bryant on Friday in a video interview with Mike Trudell of

“I can walk without a limp … I can go up the stairs and just stand on my toe, which shows a lot of strength in the tendon.” Bryant was injured on April 12 in a win over the Golden State Warriors.  He had surgery the following day, sidelining him for approximately six to nine months.

While the Lakers guard has said he’d like to return by opening night at the end of October, it could be November or December before he’s ready to play.

Reported by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Blog)

Jerryd Bayless exercises option to stay with Memphis Grizzlies

Jerryd Bayless

Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless has exercised his player option and will return to Memphis for the 2013-14 season, the team announced today.

The scoring guard is able to provide explosiveness and points off the bench.

Bayless (6-3, 210) recorded 8.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists on .419 shooting in 22.1 minutes, playing in a career-high 80 contests (four starts) for Memphis last season.  The 24-year-old averaged 9.3 points in 15 appearances during the 2013 NBA Playoffs, scoring a postseason career-high 19 points on April 20 at LA Clippers in Game 1 of the first round.

The five-year veteran owns career averages of 8.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists on .414 shooting in 19.2 minutes in 309 games (40 starts) with the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Hornets, Toronto Raptors and Memphis Grizzlies.  After his freshman season at the University of Arizona, the Phoenix native was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the first round (11th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft and traded to Portland on draft night.  He signed with Memphis as a free agent on July 13, 2012.

Marreese Speights declines player option with Cavaliers

Marreese Speights declines player option with Cavaliers

Marreese Speights has decided that diving into free agency is a better option for him than playing out his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Speights today declined his player option on the final year of his contract with the Cavs, the team announced today. Speights had until June 29th to exercise the option. The five-year NBA veteran is now an unrestricted free agent.

Speights was acquired by the Cavaliers via trade with the Memphis Grizzlies on January 22nd, 2013. The 6-10, 255-pound forward/center appeared in 39 games (one start) for the Cavs where he averaged 10.2 points on .457 shooting, and 5.1 rebounds in 18.4 minutes. Speights has played in 344 games (61 starts) over his NBA career with averages of 7.8 points, on .472 shooting, and 4.4 rebounds in 16.4 minutes.

Houston Rockets waive Aaron Brooks and Carlos Delfino

aaron brooks

With NBA free agent negotiations starting tomorrow, the Houston Rockets are parting ways with a pair of players.

Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has waived guard Aaron Brooks and guard/forward Carlos Delfino.

Brooks (6-0, 161, Oregon) returned for his fifth season with the Rockets in 2012-13, averaging 1.4 points and 0.9 assists in seven games with Houston.

Delfino (6-6, 230, Argentina) averaged 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.01 steals in 67 games (five starts) in his lone season with the Rockets.

Boston Celtics waive Terrence Williams

terrence williams

The Boston Celtics are rebuilding, and are saying goodbye to some older players with big contracts as well as some young guys that don’t cost very much but aren’t considered part of  the future.

The team announced today that they have waived guard/forward Terrence Williams.

Williams, a 6’6” guard/forward, appeared in 24 games for the Celtics during the 2012-13 season and averaged 4.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 13.3 minutes per game. He also appeared in five games for the Celtics during the playoffs and averaged 1.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 9.6 minutes per game.

Udonis Haslem played through injury, needs surgery

Udonis Haslem

Heat forward Udonis Haslem played through much of the second half of Miami’s season with a torn right meniscus, and told The Associated Press that surgery will be required to repair the previously undisclosed injury.

Haslem made the revelation Saturday after a promotional appearance where hundreds of Heat fans began lining up to see the Miami native five hours before he arrived. Surgery will occur soon, he said, and Haslem expects to be ready for training camp this fall.

”It forces me to be smart and take my time with recovery this summer,” said Haslem, who just completed his 10th NBA season, all with Miami. ”Obviously, I don’t heal like I used to so I’ve got to be a lot smarter and this forces me to be smart. My body’s a little weary right now, a lot more weary than it was after last year.”

Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

Lakers waive guard Chris Duhon

The Los Angeles Lakers have waived guard Chris Duhon, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

In 46 games (9 starts) last season with the Lakers, Duhon averaged 2.9 points, 1.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 17.8 minutes while recording three double-figure scoring games, 10-plus assists twice and one double-double.