Now that the NBA is no longer waiting on LeBron James to make free-agency decisions, the hard news is trickling in, and the franchise shot-callers now have an idea of the moves they need to make with one of the league's biggest superstars in his proper alignment in Northeast Ohio.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are hard at work building a team around their homecoming hero, the top-two picks from the 2014 NBA draft faced off in the Summer League, and one restricted free agent realized just how valuable he is in the 2014 free-agent market.
Here is the latest round-up of news coming out of the Association.
Cavaliers Trade for Brendan Haywood, Dwight Powell
The Cavaliers continued to add players to their roster beyond James. The Cavs engineered a trade with the Charlotte Hornets, bringing in Brendan Haywood and the draft rights to forward Dwight Powell for Scotty Hopson and cash considerations, according to the Associated Press (h/t NBA.com).
Haywood is a 12-year NBA veteran who averaged 3.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season. He is due $2.2 million this year, as per Spotrac.com.
However, he is due $10.5 million next year unless he is waived before August 1, 2015, per Spotrac. This makes him a likely trade piece for the Cavaliers as they look to add more talent to the roster.
ESPN's Bomani Jones gave his take on Haywood's unique situation:
This situation makes Powell the likely frontcourt depth the Cavaliers are looking for behind Anderson Varejao.
Powell is a rookie power forward who averaged 14.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last season at Stanford. The 6'10", 240-pounder brings NBA ready size and strength to the Cavaliers, provided he can play his way onto the team.
Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker Impress in Summer League Debuts
The Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks got a glimpse of their top draft picks in the NBA Summer League on Friday.
Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 overall choice by the Cavs, notched 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting while the Bucks' Jabari Parker demonstrated his array of offensive moves with 17 points and nine rebounds.
ESPN has the highlights of the opening performances:
The Cavaliers have an interesting roster situation now with the return of James. His presence puts a squeeze on Wiggins and Dion Waiters, as those two will likely fight for the starting 2-guard spot alongside James.
Waiters averaged 15.9 points and 3.0 assists per game for the Cavs last season, but he doesn't possess Wiggins' athleticism. The rookie swingman also projects as a better on-ball defender, something he excelled at in his lone season at Kansas.
There is still a chance that one of these two could be moved by the Cavaliers as they look to finalize a championship-caliber roster, but until then, Wiggins just has the Summer League to prove his ultimate worth as the No. 1 overall pick.
For the Milwaukee Bucks, Parker's first game should be a nice confidence boost as he works toward resurrecting the hopes of a middling franchise that hasn't won more than 50 games in a campaign since the 2000-01 season.
If the Bucks are to stop playing around the fringes of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Parker will be the one to boost them to a marquee spot.
Jazz Match Hornets' Offer Sheet for Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward was close to leaving for the Charlotte Hornets on a big contract. Instead, he will take the money and stay in Utah.
The Utah Jazz will hold onto their restricted free agent as Hayward's agent, Mark Bartelstein, confirmed the team has matched the four-year, $63 million contract offered by the Hornets, per the Associated Press (h/t NBA.com).
The Salt Lake Tribune's Gordon Monson believes Hayward isn't worth what the Jazz are giving him:
They paid for a Maserati and got a Buick. A really nice Buick, but a Buick, nonetheless. Let’s say this all plain and simple: In terms of where he is as a player, there’s no way Gordon Hayward is worth $63 million. He’s not a max-money guy. The Jazz know this. A lucky Hayward knows it, too.
Hayward averaged 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game last season. Those aren't superstar numbers, but he meant everything to the Jazz. Those numbers put him first on the team in points per game, third in rebounding and second in assists for 2013-14.
The Jazz would have been hard-pressed to replicate his production by signing lower-tier free agents with the money now likely committed to Hayward.
"I think it's certainly a gigantic statement of how the Jazz value Gordon," said Bartelstein, per the Associated Press.
The Hornets might have to scramble if they are to add a third big-name complementary piece to the emerging duo of center Al Jefferson and point guard Kemba Walker.
Small forward is still the best position for them to look to add a high-caliber player, as rookie Noah Vonleh will likely get the first crack at power forward and shooting guard will be a contest between rookie P.J. Hairston, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Gerald Henderson.
There are still several quality forwards out on the market, including veteran Luol Deng. The Hornets will have to move quickly to snag a player, as James' decision has invigorated a previously stagnated market.
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