The clock struck midnight on the East Coast, and the scramble began for too many teams to sensibly list in one sentence.
The Lakers, meanwhile, had their own issues on which to dwell Wednesday night, none of them including the frenzy surrounding LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
They called the agent for Derek Fisher right after free agency began and expressed interest in having the 14-year-veteran return for another run at a championship.
Fisher is the main free-agent concern for a team that is well over the salary cap but definitely wants him back without going too far beyond a $2.5-million deal for next season. Fisher, 35, wants to make closer to the $5 million he earned this past season.
The Lakers and Fisher did not agree to terms Wednesday, but there was definitive movement involving two Lakers' reserve guards earlier in the day.
Shannon Brown officially opted out of a contract that would have paid him $2.15 million next season, making him an unrestricted free agent., and the Lakers decided not to tender a qualifying offer of about $3 million to Jordan Farmar, making him an unrestricted free agent who can also sign wherever he wants.
Just the same, the Lakers called the agent for Brown within minutes of the advent of free agency to also express interest in re-signing him.
The up-tempo Indiana Pacers are interested in Farmar, who averaged 6.9 points and 2.1 assists in his four-year Lakers career.
If the Lakers had tendered Farmar a one-year deal, known as a qualifying offer, he would have remained a restricted free agent and they could have matched any offer sheet he signed with another team.
"The Lakers cared enough to let me become a free agent," Farmar said in a phone interview. "I was excited to hear it. I was real happy. If I do decide to leave, I'll have nothing but positive things to remember about the Lakers."
The Lakers will wait and see what happens with Brown, whom they rate slightly ahead of Farmar and probably will generate more interest around the league based partly on his high-flying reputation.
If both players go elsewhere, point guards such as Steve Blake, Luke Ridnour and Earl Watson will move to the Lakers' forefront, though all three earned between $4 million and $6.5 million last season, salaries that the Lakers wouldn't come close to matching for next season. A low-cost alternative might be Javaris Crittenton, who was drafted by the Lakers in 2007.
After further review, Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw will not be coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Shaw's agent, Jerome Stanley, said Wednesday that his client thanked Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and General Manager Chris Grant for two days of interviews, but that the process was moving too fast for Shaw to make a decision.
"Brian is withdrawing his name from the Cleveland coaching job," Stanley said in a phone interview. "Things were moving too fast and the timing of everything was at a fast pace."
Byron Scott is engaged in talks with Cleveland and is the front-runner for the job.
Shaw just completed his fifth season as a Lakers assistant and would be considered a leading candidate for the Lakers' head-coaching job if Phil Jackson does not return.
Jackson is expected to make up his mind by the end of the week.
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