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Old 07-12-06, 09:40 AM
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Mavs join Bonzi Wells hunt

As the NBA free-agent signing period begins today, it appears the Kings have competition
By Sam Amick -- Bee Staff Writer

http://www.sacbee.com/content/sports...15086311c.html

LAS VEGAS -- Maybe Bonzi Wells is going home again, Indiana-bound, as an Internet basketball site suggested Tuesday. Or perhaps he'll continue to call Sacramento home away from home.

Either way, it appears the future of the free-agent shooting guard might be close to unfolding. Today is the first day NBA free agents can sign contracts, and it appears Wells and his agent, William Phillips, remain in discussion with a fair number of teams beyond the Kings.

What's more, Tuesday's release of the coming season's salary cap ($53.15 million), luxury tax threshold ($65.42 million) and mid-level exception ($5.215 million) will make negotiations easier. The Kings, who are over the cap, worked hard to get under the luxury tax last season, finally doing so with the trade that sent Brian Skinner to Portland and brought Vitaly Potapenko and Sergei Monia to Sacramento. Teams that are over the tax have to pay an extra dollar for each dollar they spend over the tax, a costly price teams would rather avoid. The mid-level exception is available only to teams over the cap. Kings president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie said the official numbers could clarify some discussions.

"The numbers give you some finality so that you know for sure what you're dealing with," said Petrie, who returned to Sacramento from Las Vegas and the NBA's summer-league games. "Right now, everybody's working off projections. And they're probably reasonably close, but sometimes there are surprises."

Petrie was surprised to hear of a report from draftexpress.com, an online basketball Web site, which said the Kings and Indiana Pacers are discussing a sign-and-trade that would send Wells to his home state and bring center Jeff Foster and point guard Sarunas Jasikevicius to Sacramento.

"This is one of those things where some guy out there has been infected with his own version of 'The Bonfire of the Vanities,' " said Petrie, referring to the novel. "Nobody at draftexpress knows (about the negotiations)."

Asked if that was an unequivocal denial, Petrie said, "I didn't say that."

According to the Indianapolis Star, Pacers team officials said there was no truth to the report.

Reached late Monday night, Phillips told The Bee that a sign-and-trade was a definite part of the slow-moving discussions, and that one team had "come up the board" among the six teams he has been negotiating with.

Reportedly, the Kings' contract offer was for five years and $36 million, which would be a pay cut from the $8 million Wells received last season. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Dallas Mavericks are among those interested, joining Detroit, Denver and Indiana -- all teams that can only offer more than the mid-level exception through a sign-and-trade. Phillips would not comment Tuesday. But because many teams are limited to offering the mid-level exception, a sign-and-trade would be a way for Wells to find the money he's seeking.

Theoretically, making the deal involving Foster, a 6-foot-11 center/forward who will make $5.2 million this season, and Jasikevicius, a 6-4 guard who will make $4 million, certainly would give Wells the money he desires while giving the Kings the depth down low they need, not to mention a promising point guard.

Per terms of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, the salaries of the players in sign-and-trade deals must be within 25 percent of each other, meaning Wells' salary could range from $6.9 million to $11.5 million.

"That's part of (the discussions)," Phillips said Monday night regarding sign-and-trades. "Straight signings are part of it. We're talking with Sacramento. We're talking with other teams, some teams that are over the (salary) cap and some who are under. … One team has come up the board. I'll know a lot more in the next 24 to 48 hours."


Phillips told the Associated Press last week that Wells, a native of Muncie, Ind., who played at Ball State, would enjoy going back.

"Anytime you have an opportunity to come home, it's a great opportunity," Phillips said last week. "Initially, I mentioned the Pacers to Bonzi, and based off his reaction, I could tell he was pretty excited."

http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/sports/15019902.htm

By DWAIN PRICE
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Going with the highest bidder, Toronto Raptors free-agent guard Mike James spurned solid overtures from the Mavericks and Houston Rockets and said Tuesday he will instead sign a free-agent contract today with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"We offered three years and incentives, and [the Timberwolves] offered more," Mavs owner Mark Cuban said. "Mike was honest that it was about money and chose the bigger offer."

The T'wolves gave James a four-year contract worth roughly $23 million, with a first-year salary of about $5.1 million, the league's mid-level exception. The contract gives James more security and flexibility, and also includes a clause that enables him to opt out of the deal and become an unrestricted free agent after three seasons.

James' new deal includes a "trade kicker" that will pay him 15 percent of his contract if Minnesota trades him within the next three years.

The Rockets offered James a four-year deal with a first-year salary that starts at the $5.1 million mid-level exception. But they were unwilling to allow him to opt out of the contract after the third season, and they also refused to include a "trade kicker."

Likewise, the Mavs were not going to invest that much money in a 31-year old combo guard who, this fall, will be playing for his seventh team in six years in the NBA.

"We were honest with Mike and told him that due to health concerns, we would only guarantee the last years if he was healthy and playing," Cuban said.

The NBA's free-agency period began July 1, and today is the first day free agents can sign contracts. With Tuesday's news that James is off the market, the Mavs have turned their attention to other prospects, including 6-5 guard/forward Bonzi Wells, 6-8 forwards Reggie Evans and Jumaine Jones and 6-5 guard DeShawn Stevenson.

The Mavs had hoped James would be their starting shooting guard next season after he admittedly was wowed at Monday's meeting with coach Avery Johnson in Las Vegas.

"Avery Johnson, he's a mentor to me, he's a friend to me," James said. "I didn't just meet Avery Johnson July 1. I have the utmost respect for him, and yes, I would loved to have been coached under him. But business is never personal."

James said a conversation with Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Garnett helped make his decision. Earlier, he also said he was impressed that Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy was visiting his Houston home one minute after the free-agency period started.

Despite all of that, James apparently simply signed with the team that offered him the most money and the flexibility to become a free agent sooner.

"It dragged on and on so long," Cuban said of the negotiations. "I'm just glad it's past us and we can work on other alternatives."
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Old 07-12-06, 12:02 PM
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somebody PLEASE tell me how Detroit or Dallas could have Bonzi on their roster!

Last edited by spUrpenguin3000; 07-12-06 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 07-12-06, 12:56 PM
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bonzi on the mavs ?
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Old 07-12-06, 01:06 PM
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Less touches for Terry, Stackhouse, and _Irk.
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Old 07-12-06, 01:07 PM
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So who do the Mavs trade away to get Bonzi on their squad?
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Old 07-12-06, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amente
So who do the Mavs trade away to get Bonzi on their squad?

Let me consult my XBox...be right back
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Old 07-12-06, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james_austintx
Less touches for Terry, Stackhouse, and _Irk.
my thoughts exactly...not enough basketballs to go around
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Old 07-12-06, 01:30 PM
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He knows Wells killed us in the playoffs. Everything for Cuban revolves around the Spurs.
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Old 07-12-06, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l=w
He knows Wells killed us in the playoffs. Everything for Cuban revolves around the Spurs.
Just like a few years back everything for us reviolved around the Lakers.

_allas is going to kick our ass!
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Old 07-12-06, 01:54 PM
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having bonzi will destroy team chemistry, so maybe that can go to our advantage
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Old 07-12-06, 02:00 PM
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PLEASE let him go there. That would be great news. He will either hog the ball or be so happy with his contract he'll OD on Big Macs.
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Old 07-12-06, 02:09 PM
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Artest said he would kill Bonzi if he left
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Old 07-12-06, 02:22 PM
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Excellent. One's dead, the other's in jail.
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Old 07-12-06, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiseacres
Excellent. One's dead, the other's in jail.
Works for me!
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Old 07-12-06, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesR
I would crack up laughing if the Mavs land Wells and James.

Can you say "only one ball?"

Not to mention the fact that Howard is going to want to get paid soon.
Attainin' Bonzi alone would put the Mavs future in jeopardy.
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Old 07-12-06, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesR
I would crack up laughing if the Mavs land Wells and James.
James?
James agreed to go to Minny.
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Old 07-12-06, 02:41 PM
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James is in Minny now, and the Mavs just signed Buchner, not sure how the Mavs can get Bonzi now.
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Old 07-12-06, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boo_radley
James is in Minny now, and the Mavs just signed Buchner, not sure how the Mavs can get Bonzi now.
Sign and trade.
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Old 07-12-06, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Real
Sign and trade.
But who?
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Old 07-12-06, 08:53 PM
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OK...Cuban wants the Mavs to implode. That would definitely be too many egos on that team.

I am looking forward to next season because now he will see how hard it is to get to the Finals...
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Old 07-12-06, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LifelongSpursFan
OK...Cuban wants the Mavs to implode. That would definitely be too many egos on that team.

I am looking forward to next season because now he will see how hard it is to get to the Finals...
Cuban's going to funnel all their anger and aggression into complaining about calls. It'll work like a charm.
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