Meetings, but few deals for free agents
Stoudemire looks east; Wade uncommitted; Pierce stays put
Amare Stoudemire is out of Phoenix and headed to New York — for a meeting.
If the Knicks are willing to give him a maximum salary contract, a deal might not be far behind.
Speaking of meetings, Dwyane Wade had a second one with the Chicago Bulls on Friday, perhaps a sign that his return to Miami isn’t as guaranteed as once thought.
Paul Pierce agreed to stick around in Boston and the Mavericks let Dirk Nowitzki know how much they want him to remain in Dallas.
Mavericks president Donnie Nelson said he made a “significant” contract offer to Nowitzki’s adviser during a meeting Friday. Nowitzki could respond as soon as today, when the sides are expected to meet again.
“We’re not celebrating yet, not doing back flips,” Nelson said.
Though the focus has been on LeBron James,
Wade and Chris Bosh, Stoudemire might be able to land big bucks before them.
When the Suns gave long-term deals to Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick, it became clear that Stoudemire was on his way out of Phoenix.
His agent, Happy Walters, confirmed that the Suns were no longer in the picture and said Stoudemire was going to New York this weekend to meet with the Knicks, “but we’re talking to other teams as well.”
The Knicks made pitches to James on Thursday, and Wade and Bosh on Friday.
With New Jersey, New York, Miami and the Los Angeles Clippers having made their pitches to land James, the Bulls and Cavaliers — considered co-favorites — will have opportunities to convince the reigning MVP that they are the team for him. The Cavs will go first today, and the Bulls will follow.
According to a person familiar with James’ options, he has no timetable to announce where he’ll play next. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, denied reports James had set July 5 as a deadline.
On Friday, the Cavs introduced Byron Scott as their coach, and he didn’t waste any time making a prediction on where he thinks James is headed.
“I think at the end of the day, he’s going to make the right decision, and he’ll be here in Cleveland for the rest of his career,” said Scott, who insisted he did not consult with James before agreeing to a contract.
The Cavs are asking Cleveland fans to line East Ninth Street and form a tunnel to welcome James to his meeting today. Fans will carry signs saying “Home.”
Wade has long said his preference was to stay in Miami, but he’s given himself options. He met with the Bulls and New Jersey Nets on Thursday, then got a pitch from the Knicks on Friday.
Wade shrugged when asked if the Bulls had made him an offer.
“Things are getting very interesting,” he said. He was asked whether James will have any influence on what he does.
“I can’t say. We’re both going to make our own decisions,” Wade said, then added: “We’re real good friends.”
The Celtics’ four-year contract with Pierce was not announced, but it was confirmed to The Associated Press by a Boston official familiar with the deal, who spoke on the con- dition of anonymity.
The Boston Herald, which first reported on the deal, said Pierce would get $61 million over four years, with a mutual option for the fourth year.
The Bucks made another move, agreeing in principle to a $40 million, five-year deal with free agent guard John Salmons, a person familiar with the negotiations said. That came one day after Milwaukee agreed to a $32 million, five-year deal with forward Drew Gooden.
Steve Blake says he has agreed to a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, who might lose starting point guard Derek Fisher in free agency.
Blake, a seven-year veteran, played for Portland and the Clippers last season.