Disappointing swingman decides to become free agent
San Antonio’s Richard Jefferson opts out of final year; who else will be on the move?
As the biggest free agency in the history of the NBA opened today, the San Antonio Spurs received a huge and unexpected gift.
Swingman Richard Jefferson, a bust in San Antonio, opted out of the final year of his contract and joined the free-agent class. One could almost hear the cheers coming from Spurs management.
Jefferson was due to to pull down about $15 million next year after his underachieving first season in San Antonio.
Jefferson, who averaged nearly 20 points for Milwaukee in 2008-09, scored only 12.3 per game for the Spurs — his lowest average since his rookie year. He struggled to adapt to coach Gregg Popovich’s system, at one point losing his starting job.
The Spurs traded for Jefferson and his bloated contract last summer in a deal gone bad with Milwaukee.
It was assumed Jefferson would exercise
Continued from C1 his player option for 2010-11 and drag down the Spurs’ attempts to upgrade their roster. Now, without him, the team has eight players under contract for just over $52 million. The projected salary cap is $56 million, which gives the Spurs some room to operate. In other developments:
Dirk Nowitzki saved the Dallas Mavericks a trip to Germany, a sign the team’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder might not be a free agent for long. Mavs president Donnie Nelson said he was moments away from boarding a plane for Nowitzki’s homeland Wednesday when the former MVP’s adviser called to say they were flying to Dallas instead. “A really good sign,’’ Nelson said. The nine-time All-Star will meet with club officials at his Dallas home today.
LeBron James will begin his interviews with six or seven teams today in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, starting with a presentation by the New Jersey Nets. James also will meet with New York, Miami, Chicago, the Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is testing free agency, but said he’ll travel to Dallas to talk instead of team officials visiting him. Los Angeles Clippers and his former team, Cleveland. There are reports that the Mavs’ Mark Cuban is trying to get an audience with James, as well.
Free agent forward Chris Bosh tweeted that it’s unlikely he, James and Dwyane Wade could all wind up with the Miami Heat. Bosh said he expects a full maximum contract, and it was difficult to see how the Heat would have the cap room to spring for three max contracts.
The Houston Rockets extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry. By making the offers, the Rockets retain the right to match any offers they receive. Houston also exercised its option on forward Chuck Hayes. The Rockets quietly hope they can interest Bosh and Toronto in a sign-and-trade deal. Houston has 12 players under contract.
Restricted free agent Rudy Gay received a qualifying offer from the Memphis Grizzlies, meaning that team has the right of first refusal for the 6-foot-8-inch forward who averaged 19.6 points.
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers will return for another season, staying with the team he led to the finals twice in three years for a run at another championship.
Cleveland is in serious negotiations with Byron Scott to be its next head coach. Scott was most recently coach of the New Orleans Hornets. Earlier reports had the Cavaliers chasing Lakers assistant Brian Shaw, who is on the short list to replace Phil Jackson if Jackson retires. Former major league star Roger Clemens pitches to his son, Koby, who plays for the Double-A Corpus Chrisi Hooks, on Wednesday during the Texas League Home Run Derby in Midland.