Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant is the first NBA All-Star to defect to rapper and mogul Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports agency, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Roc Nation is a newly formed agency that has been aggressively pursuing star players in the NFL, MLB and now the NBA.
“KD doesn’t want a traditional NBA agent anymore,” a league source with knowledge of his thinking told Yahoo! Sports on Friday night. “He wants Jay-Z to handle his branding. …He had a chance to be with his idol and couldn’t say no.”
League executives and agents wonder whether the move to Jay-Z and Roc Nation could eventually lead to the agency pushing for Durant to depart small-market Oklahoma City for the opportunities of New York or Los Angeles.
Durant is signed with the Thunder through the 2015-16 season.
Check out Iman Shumpert’s monster slam as he flies down the lane & throws down the ferocious one-handed jam in Game 2 against the Pacers!
The New York Knicks are interested in signing Sean Williams, who was recently waived by the Rockets.
While there has been speculation of the Knicks’ interest in Josh Howard, the team is more interested in signing a big man.
Kenyon Martin, Andray Blatche, Louis Amundson, Chris Andersen and D.J. White are also free agents, but searching for a deal above the veteran’s minimum.
Jeremy Lin is now a member of the Rockets, but admitted that he would have preferred to remain with the Knicks.
“Honestly, I preferred New York,” Lin says.
“But my main goal in free agency was to go to a team that had plans for me and wanted me. I wanted to have fun playing basketball. … Now I’m definitely relieved.”
Lin received a call from Glen Grunwald at 11 PM EST to inform him that the Knicks wouldn’t match his offer sheet with Houston.
“We wanted to keep you, but it couldn’t work out,” said Grunwald. “Tell your family I say hello, and good luck the rest of the way.”
According to a report by the New York Daily News, Jeremy Lin is upset that the Knicks did not offer him a new contract before the Houston Rockets came calling with a lucraticve offer sheet.
Lin has verbally agreed to sign a four-year offer sheet with Houston. The deal is worth $28.8 million, with $10.2 million coming in the first two seasons and over $9 million in each of the last two.
Despite the Knicks insisting they would match the Rockets’ offer, Lin still feels slighted, according to the Daily News.
“He was surprised that the Knicks didn’t make the first move,” a league source told the paper. “They know they’ve got to mend some fences with him because he believes what the Rockets have told him, that the Knicks weren’t as interested as they are.”
The Knicks have a backup plan in the event that Steve Nash rejects their bid in free agency.
Raymond Felton is believed to be plan B for the Knicks, who have the $3.09-million mini-mid-level at their disposal.
Felton shot just 40.7 percent last season with the Blazers, amid rumors he was out of shape.
An arbitrator has granted Jeremy Lin his so-called early-Bird rights, which will give the Knicks much greater latitude in free agency.
The arbitrator, Kenneth Dam, issued his ruling Friday, siding with the NBPA, which challenged the NBA’s interpretation of the rules under the collective bargaining agreement. Dam handed the union a complete victory in the ruling.
The ruling means that both Lin and Steve Novak of the Knicks will be able to re-sign with the team without respect to the salary cap, for a starting salary around $5 million each. Just as critically, it means that the Knicks will not need to use their midlevel exception to sign either player, which will allow them to use that slot for another free agent.
New York Times
Who will Lamar Odom play for next season? That’s currently out of his control. He is under contract with the Dallas Mavericks, who likely will trade him or waive him.
But a source with knowledge of Odom’s thinking says the New York Knicks would be “on the top of his list” if the Queens native becomes a free agent.
“Lamar is big on being comfortable,” the source said. “And New York is somewhere he can be comfortable.”
The Knicks’ interest in Odom is unclear at this point.
Dwight Howard still prefers a trade from the Magic, according to a source.
Orlando announced that the tenures of Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith were over on Monday, but Howard still seeks a trade before the start of the season.
The Nets are considered the frontrunner, but “it is not going to be a one-horse race,” the source said.
The Mavericks and Knicks are also in the conversation, while the Lakers and Clippers are as well to a lesser extent.
Several sources confirmed that the Knicks have already begun targeting John Calipari.
“Do I think they’ve spoken directly to Cal? No,” said one source. “Do I think he knows they’re very interested? Definitely.”
Calipari is represented by Creative Artists Agency, who also represents Carmelo Anthony.
“When it comes to the Knicks and CAA … the Knicks are all in,” said one coach.
Calipari has publicly said that he intends to remain at Kentucky.