Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Every weekday morning, Ball Don't Lie serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your pancakes.

Frank Dell'Apa/Marc J. Spears, The Boston Globe: "Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett(notes), and Paul Pierce(notes) joined president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck for a three-hour meeting with Wallace in Detroit yesterday, the Celtics offering a contract using their midlevel exception. But Wallace is apparently in no hurry to respond, preferring to weigh approaches from Charlotte, Cleveland, Orlando, and San Antonio, according to an NBA source. Bill Strickland, Wallace’s agent, said in a text message that it was a 'very good meeting; some contractual terms discussed, nothing agreed to.' Strickland added Wallace will be'meeting with a few more teams next week.'"

Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "To a degree, an Allen Iverson(notes)-Heat marriage makes sense. For years, Pat Riley has run a last-chance saloon. But it's not going to happen the first week of free-agent negotiations. It's not going to happen at the July 8 start of the free-agent signing period. And it's not going to happen until after the July 12 window opens for Dwyane Wade(notes) to be eligible to sign an extension. Iverson makes sense because Iverson may not have many other options. But until the Knicks spend their mid-level exception, until Larry Brown gets an official rejection from Bobcats management, and until the remaining precious little cap space around the league is spent, Iverson doesn't have to move to Plan B. With the Heat already into the dollar-for-dollar luxury tax, anything paid to Iverson will be doubled on the books next season. So even with a $2 million contract, is he worth $4 million at this stage?"

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: "Ben Gordon to the Pistons is a done deal. The method by which he will get there is still under discussion. CBSSports.com has learned that the Bulls and Pistons may yet revisit Detroit's agreement with Ben Gordon(notes) and instead investigate a sign-and-trade that would send Allen Iverson to Chicago. Discussions have not yet reached the highest levels of both organizations, but the revised look at how Gordon goes from Chicago to Detroit would benefit Gordon and the Bulls. Gordon would get an extra year, and thus more money, by signing with the Bulls and getting traded. The Bulls, who currently are getting nothing for losing him, would get Iverson — a fading future Hall of Famer who would get to finish his career in a major market as long as he's willing to accept a secondary role. It's a farfetched scenario, and not everyone involved would be on board — particularly the Pistons. The major sticking point would be how to sweeten the deal for Detroit, which would only consider such an option if it would provide significant cap savings."

Sekou Smith, AJC: "From Athens to Milwaukee and back to Atlanta, the name Josh Childress(notes) is being tossed around in every direction these days. Childress [was] in Milwaukee [Thursday] visiting the Bucks with his agent, Jim Tanner. What that means for the Hawks is that they might get a do-over with Childress, a restricted free agent again this summer as he was last summer. Last summer they lost him as an asset when he chose to sign with Greek power Olympiakos (for $20 million post taxes). What the Hawks didn’t lose was the right of first refusal on Childress if he decided to return to the NBA this summer. And two of my spies have made it clear that were Childress to receive any sort of 'reasonable' NBA offer (the $5.6 million mid-level exception or below), the Hawks would match it before Childress finished signing his name on the offer sheet (the aim, however, is to work out a sign-and-trade deal to appease both sides since Childress has made clear his desire to play elsewhere, per a source)."

Spears, The Boston Globe: "Celtics free agent guard Stephon Marbury(notes) said to The Globe early Friday morning that he doesn't expect to be returning to Boston after receiving a disappointing one-year contract paying $1.3 million using the veteran's minimum. Marbury said his representative, National Basketball Players Association deputy counsel Hal Biagas, called to tell him about the Celtics offer on Thursday night. The 32-year-old said three other teams, which he would not disclose, are currently interested. The two-time All-Star signed with the Celtics on Feb. 27 for the rest of the season after working out a buyout of his contract with the Knicks that paid $21.8 million after dealing with a soap opera-like situation that kept him sidelined over a year. Marbury averaged 3.8 points and 3.3 assists in 18 minutes per game during 23 contests last season with Boston."

Tim Buckley, The Deseret News: "Some days, he feels he might be able to play one final season. Others, he suspects his NBA career could already have come to a close. Matt Harpring(notes) isn't sure what will happen. But he does plan to let the Jazz know by late August if he'll be good to go for training camp in October — or if his seven-year Utah run is done, cut short by a rash of injuries that have ravaged his body. 'Sometimes,' Harpring said Thursday from his offseason home in the Atlanta area, where he played in high school and starred at Georgia Tech, 'I have thoughts of playing. And then I have thoughts of not playing. Right now I haven't made a decision ... so I'm going to do whatever I can and see where I am the end of the summer,' he said. 'It's really too early to tell what's going to happen.'"


Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer: "Looking to address the Charlotte Bobcats' need for a backup power forward, general manager Rod Higgins has contacted agents for Antonio McDyess(notes) and Brandon Bass(notes). McDyess, who played for the Detroit Pistons, and Bass, a Dallas Maverick, are both unrestricted free agents. Higgins said both discussions were preliminary, but he made it clear either one could fill a hole on the depth chart. 'You look at our roster, and he makes a lot of sense,' Higgins said of 6-foot-8 Bass, who played a total of four NBA seasons with the Hornets and Mavericks. 'But he's going to have options, too.'"

John Reid, The Times-Picayune: "Whether they sign Bass or not, New Orleans is seeking a capable backup power forward to allow starter David West(notes) a little more rest. West averaged a team-high 39.2 minutes per game last season. The Hornets are also interested in veteran power forward/center Joe Smith(notes), but his Los Angeles-based agent, Dan Fegan, could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon. In addition, the Hornets have inquired about free agent frontcourt players Mikki Moore(notes), Maceo Baston(notes) and Jake Voskuhl(notes), all are unrestricted free agents."

Kevin Tatum, Philadelphia Inquirer: "According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the 76ers reached out this week to the agent for Atlanta Hawks guard Mike Bibby(notes), only to find that the 10-year veteran is intent on staying with the team he played for the last two seasons. With the uncertainty of the Sixers' relationship with guard Andre Miller(notes) — he also is a free agent, and there are no signs that he plans to return — the team may be in need of a veteran point guard for first-year coach Eddie Jordan. There is not much separating Miller, 33, and Bibby, 31, either in performance or contract requests."

Darnell Mayberry, The Oklahoman: "Gerald Green spent last season in Dallas after signing a one-year contract. He played in 38 games and averaged 5.2 points in 9.9 minutes. Now, he's looking for his next chance. But Green knows his reputation for having great character is superseded in coaching and GM circles by the tag of him not being a hard worker. It's a label Green desperately wants to shed — so much so that he's taken up boxing this summer as a form of conditioning to supplement the time he spends in the weight room and on the practice court. 'I always hear about how I'm a bust or I'm this or I'm that,' Green said. 'I just want to prove everybody wrong. I've just really been trying to control my own part by being in the gym and becoming a better player. The more work you put in the better you get because of it.' And Green insists he's learned much throughout his NBA odyssey, taking something from players and coaches each step of the way."

Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune: "One thing I thought I'd never see out of the Jazz is this: They could wind up with the highest — or near the highest — payroll in the NBA. Even though the Jazz in the past shouldn't be characterized as cheap, if you had asked me a decade ago which would come to them first, a championship or the league's biggest or near-biggest payroll, I would have, without hesitation, taken the title. Well. They are closer to the big-money trophy. The Jazz rank fourth on the NBA's payroll list, behind the Hornets, Lakers and Wizards. There is some inexactness, of course, because some individual salaries are estimates, and totals are fluid. Still the Jazz rolled in at over $73 million. And one of the most notable things about that number is it does not include a full roster of players. Most significantly, it doesn't include whatever it will take to re-sign Paul Millsap(notes). Add that in, and the Jazz could find themselves at the head of the big-spenders club, or near it, if the Lakers, as expected, roll out some major bones to re-sign all their guys."

Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press: "Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars needs to get moving if he wants to have a coach in place by the time the team leaves for play in the Las Vegas summer league next week. Former Pistons coach Doug Collins withdrew his name from consideration, which would appear to open the door for former Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson. Collins told ESPN.com late Wednesday night that he thanked Dumars for the consideration, but he would remain an analyst for TNT. Johnson appears to be the front-runner to replace Michael Curry, who was suddenly fired Tuesday on the eve of the NBA's free-agency period. Dumars has said he wants an experienced coach to lead the Pistons as he tries to shape the roster into an Eastern Conference contender. And Johnson has the experience."

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