NBA free-agent frenzy even makes Metta World Peace seem reasonable

July 03, 2012|By Ben Bolch
  • Lakers forward Metta World Peace stretches before Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder in May.
Lakers forward Metta World Peace stretches before Game 4 of the Western… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

The first 72 hours of NBA free agency have been such a whirlwind that the Lakers' Metta World Peace is suddenly sounding like the voice of reason.

OK, so not really.

"Actually, I'm being traded for Craig Sager," World Peace tweeted on Tuesday. "He can add excitement to L.A. And I can argue with the TNT producers."

At least it's nice to know that some things never change.

World Peace may or may not be accompanying Andrew Bynum to Orlando as part of a trade package involving Magic center Dwight Howard. As The Times' Mike Bresnahan reports, probably not.

But there has been plenty of signings and trades, though it's important to note that (almost) nothing becomes official until the league-imposed moratorium on free-agent signings is lifted on July 11.

In a move that might sound like a typo, Boston got older Tuesday by reportedly using its mid-level exception to acquire Dallas sharpshooter Jason Terry, 34, possibly nudging its own aging free-agent sharpshooter, Ray Allen, out the door, though Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge has insisted he wants his Big Three to return intact.

Allen is also considering the Clippers, Memphis, Minnesota and Miami. The Clippers already signed Lamar Odom, meaning Khloe Kardashian will probably have to shelve her Birkin handbag in Dallas Mavericks blue.

Atlanta unloaded the high-scoring Joe Johnson in a trade with Brooklyn, clearing enough cap room to make a run at Howard, the BFF of Hawks forward Josh Smith, next summer, presuming A) Howard isn't locked up in a long-term deal by then or B) Howard isn't literally locked up for driving everyone insane by then.

The Nets got Johnson, in what they hope was a precursor to creating their own Big Three of Deron Williams, Johnson and Howard. They might not want to get ahead of themselves, though, considering they still must convince Williams to stay and their proposed trade package of Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries and seemingly every first-round draft pick until 2050 for Howard might not be enough to satisfy the Magic, even with a year's worth of dinners at Brooklyn hot spot Peter Luger thrown in.

On the plus side, at least New Jersey has Gerald Wallace for the next four years!

In other moves, Indiana signed point guard George Hill to a five-year deal and must decide whether to match Portland's reported offer to star center Roy Hibbert for four years and $58 million. That's a lot of years and a lot of money for players who haven't taken a team past the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Jeremy Lin was expected to spend his July 4 with the Houston Rockets, among the suitors trying to pry the newly minted superstar away from the New York Knicks. The Rockets can offer the restricted free agent a four-year, $40-million contract that may be a bottle rocket to the heart of Knicks fans, should their team decline to match it.

The Lakers are busy trying "to hit a home run," in the words of General Manager Mitch Kupchak, though so far they've managed little besides foul tips. Ramon Sessions, Devin Ebanks and Jordan Hill continue to assess their options, keeping the Lakers in limbo. Got to give them some credit, though. They did secure third-string point guard Darius Morris to another year. Yippee!

No one should fret yet. It's still early in the free-agency period. And World Peace surely has plenty of tweets left in him.


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