The Detroit Pistons acted quickly to remake the former championship contender by agreeing to five-year contracts with Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva on Wednesday, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said.
Those were the first big moves of the NBA’s free agency period, which began just after midnight. Detroit, thanks to the Chauncey Billups-Allen Iverson trade, is one of the few teams with significant salary cap space this summer.
Gordon and Villanueva are former University of Connecticut teammates who will remain in the Central Division. Gordon was Chicago’s leading scorer and Villanueva played for Milwaukee.
Jason Kidd also seems in high demand, meeting with two suitors.
So does Polish center Marcin Gortat, who could land an offer to be Kidd’s teammate.
And Ron Artest might be able to swap Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady for LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal.
Artest’s agent, David Bauman, said his client would like to remain in Houston, but also will consider a team’s championship potential. Artest is the only healthy member of the Rockets’ trio of stars, with Yao and McGrady both injured and perhaps out for at least the early part of next season.
In that case, he may be willing to listen to a pitch from another title hopeful.
“All the superstars are very savvy and great recruiters,” Bauman said. “The superstars are sometimes even better recruiters than the general managers or their staffs. Between Kobe [Bryant] and Ron or LeBron and Ron, there are always conversations that occur. I think I’ll just leave it at that at this point.”
Kidd listened to pitches from the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks on Wednesday. The Mavericks can offer significantly more money to their point guard, and owner Mark Cuban showed his interest by flying to New York to meet with Kidd before the Knicks did.
Later, Cuban wrote in an e-mail that the get-together “went well, I was really happy how it turned out.”
The Knicks said they didn’t make an offer to Kidd. New York is also trying to retain its free agents, David Lee and Nate Robinson, but won’t spend too much because it wants to maintain enough salary cap space to be a major player next year.
NBA finalists the Orlando Magic are bracing for the loss of two key players. Hedo Turkoglu, one of the top free agents available, was due to be in Portland yesterday to meet with the Trail Blazers, agent Lon Babby said.
Teams are interested in Gortat, who backed up All-Star Dwight Howard. Houston general manager Daryl Morey met with Gortat minutes after free agency opened, and urged Rockets fans on Facebook and Twitter to leave notes for Gortat at an e-mail address.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Montreal Canadiens, with the fewest wins of any NHL playoff teams, ignited the rink returning from a COVID-19 hiatus with upset triumphs in Saturday openers. NHL Rookie of the Year candidate Dominik Kubalik inspired the Blackhawks to a 6-4 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in game one of their best-of-five qualifying series at Edmonton, Alberta, scoring two goals and assisting on three others. “We were ready to go, and I think the game was pretty good,” Kubalik said. “I felt pretty good and everything went my way, so it’s nice, but it’s just the first game,