Paul Millsap’s big payday in Denver was the biggest headline of Day 2 on Sunday. Things are quiet on the free-agency front, which is exactly when mind-boggling deals tend to spring forth. We’ll be keeping track of the Monday updates here as they come.
Hill to the Lakeshow?
George Hill is reportedly in Los Angeles to meet with the Lakers to discuss a one-year deal, which would mean that there would be a Beverley and a Hill in L.A.’s two starting backcourts, should an agreement be reached. Hill, an unrestricted free agent, has been connected to many teams other than his former Utah Jazz this offseason, including the Nuggets, Spurs, and Wolves.
Of the three, Denver emerged as the most attractive and realistic: San Antonio’s money is still tied up, and Minnesota inked a deal on Saturday with another former Pacer, Jeff Teague. But Los Angeles is intriguing, especially if the deal does turn out to be for one year. That contract would leave things flexible for everyone. Hill wouldn’t be locked into a long-term mentoring role on a losing team if, say, his former teammate Paul George doesn’t leave for Los Angeles as the entire NBA world is planning on next summer. Everything the Lakers are doing this offseason actually seems to be setting up for the next one.
As for the fit between Lonzo Ball and Hill, consider what The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks wrote in May: "Lonzo, to me, is more of a shooting guard who can stretch a defense out to 28-plus feet, grab boards, push the pace himself, and then take advantage of ball movement created by another point guard." In other words, it’s a great fit.
No Chauncey in Cleveland
Thirteen days after being offered the president of basketball operations job in Cleveland, Chauncey Billups has reportedly turned down the position. On one level, it makes sense to walk away from working with Dan Gilbert: Taking the job at any point in the past two weeks would’ve been a losing proposition, getting thrown into the fire right before the draft or right in the thick of free agency without a full command of the resources available to him. Gilbert picked an unfortunate time to get rid of David Griffin, who was reportedly working on acquiring Jimmy Butler an hour before the news. The timing of Billups’s hiring would have also made it difficult to make a good first impression.
But on another level, this is what Billups, currently an in-studio analyst for ESPN, has always wanted. He’s been public about his wish to move into a front-office gig since 2008, while playing for Denver in his 12th season (and still averaging 35 minutes a game!). At the end of last season, he even turned down an assistant-coaching position with Frank Vogel’s Magic, reportedly to keep his management options open. This offseason, he interviewed for the Hawks’ general manager position before Atlanta hired former Warriors assistant GM Travis Schlenk.
Cleveland, in the Finals the past three years, seemed to be his chance. Billups told his current employers that "Ultimately I would like to lead a team’s basketball operation and be a part of a successful franchise. But presently, the timing just isn’t right to delve into that role in Cleveland." ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported that "staff concerns" and "money disparity" were also concerns.
Thanks to its cap situation, the franchise has managed to only add Jose Calderon and re-sign Kyle Korver so far in free agency. Probable trade pieces Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert are still on the team. Unless the Cavs land Carmelo Anthony, chances are this team will likely look just as it did last season, but with a higher price tag. And now, reports of LeBron James not actively recruiting for the Cavs at this time have come out. Who can blame Billups for passing?
Rose in Milwaukee
Derrick Rose is reportedly meeting with the Bucks. Matthew Dellavedova and Point Giannis were the main distributors last season, but we’re living in a world where you can’t have too many point guards, so adding some depth (outside of Gary Payton II) could help Milwaukee.
But Rose, perhaps the only guard the franchise can afford in free agency once they move an asset or two, isn’t a perfect fit. First, the obvious: the former Bulls MVP hasn’t played more than 66 games in a season since 2011 in a career that started in 2008. He appeared in 64 games for the Knicks in 2017 before another season-ending knee injury benched him. Even when he’s healthy and on the court, Rose isn’t the 3-point threat Milwaukee needs. Though he averaged 18.0 points last season, Rose took less than one deep attempt per game and shot it at 21.7 percent. Nor will his ball-dominant style of play fit well with the current Bucks centerpiece. Last season, Rose managed to no-show a game without telling anyone in the Knicks organization about his whereabouts. The Bucks might need veteran leadership to help them take the next step, but Rose probably isn’t the best candidate for the job.
Melo sticks it to Phil
Days after Phil Jackson was removed from the Knicks’ front office, Carmelo Anthony has reportedly agreed to waive his notorious no-trade clause in any potential trade to the Cavs or Rockets. The reason is obvious: He would be playing with at least one of his fellow (non-Gabrielle Union) Banana-boaters, with LeBron James in Cleveland and Chris Paul now in Houston.
If either team can pull this off, the ultimate winner will not be the Knicks, or whoever receives the forward, but Melo himself. For months, Jackson publicly asked the All-Star to consider being open to a trade but way less politely let everyone with internet know that "the direction with [the Knicks] is that he would be better off somewhere else." In the end, the Knicks essentially used that same line of reasoning to can the Zen Master.