With the NBA Draft now over, teams are turning all of their attention to the start of free agency on July 1. Every team has cap space with the increased salary cap, and most teams are planning to go after the top players available on the open market. Check out the latest NBA news and rumors below.
Lakers to pursue Whiteside
Hassan Whiteside is the top free agent center on the market, and the Mavs, Trail Blazers and incumbent Miami Heat have already expressed their interest in signing him. You can now officially add the Los Angeles Lakers to that mix, who plan to "aggressively pursue" him this summer, reports ESPN's Marc Stein:
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.
The Lakers are still planning their pursuit of Kevin Durant as priority No. 1 for them, but since they have enough cap space to sign two players to a max contract, that won't affect their offer or pursuit of Whiteside.
Bulls turned down offer of Crowder, two first-round picks for Butler
Boston and Chicago were actively involved in trade discussions that would've sent All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Celtics on draft night, and more details are emerging about what exactly when on in those negotiations. Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
The Bulls held advanced discussions with the Celtics centered on Butler and the No. 3 pick, with whom they would’ve selected Providence guard Kris Dunn, league sources said. Several proposals were exchanged, including one with Jae Crowder and the Celtics’ No. 3 and No. 16 picks, league sources said.
Chicago would've drafted former Providence PG Kris Dunn with the No. 3 pick and used Crowder to fill Butler's spot in the starting lineup, while the 16th pick would've been their third in the round. The Bulls ultimately decided not to pull the trigger on a deal, deciding they didn't want to trade Butler one day after they sent Derrick Rose to the Knicks, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
Boston selected Jaylen Brown with the No. 3 pick and French forward Guerschon Yabusele with the No. 3 pick. Dunn ended up being drafted by the Timberwolves with the No. 5 pick.
Bulls GM Gar Forman has denied that they are shopping Butler.
Suns deny shopping Bledsoe
Phoenix was rumored to be shopping point guard Eric Bledsoe leading up to the draft, specifically to draft Dunn with the No. 4 pick, but those rumors may have been overblown.
Suns head coach Earl Watson told SiriusXM NBA Radio that there's "no truth" to the rumor and that they're looking forward to having him back next season. Phoenix kept the No. 4 pick and drafted Croatian forward Dragan Bender.
A knee injury limited Bledsoe to just 31 games last season, but he averaged 20.4 points and 6.1 assists per game before the injury.
Barnes to play for Team USA
After several big-name NBA players opted not to represent Team USA in the Rio Olympics this summer, Warriors forward Harrison Barnes has accepted the invitation that has come his way.
Barnes, who averaged 11.7 points and 4.9 rebounds for the Warriors last season, will join teammates Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on the team.
There is still one spot left on the 12-man roster, and Team USA is hopeful that Kyrie Irving will accept his invitation to fill the role.Back to the NBA Newsfeed