Sunday, July 1, 2007

Free Agency Begins

The NBA's free agency period has officially kicked off, with teams able to negotiate as of today. Teams cannot officially sign players until July 11th when final salary cap numbers will be made public. The Detroit News reports Chauncey Billups is expected to re-sign with the Pistons, who will be offering something in the ballpark of either a 4-year, $57 million deal or 5-year, $60 million deal. As expected this is more than the Bucks can offer anyway, so we should be able to put the Bucks/Billups speculation to rest.

Between Billups being a near lock to return to Detroit and Memphis filling their PG needs by drafting Mike Conley, it also seems rather obvious that Mo will be back in a Bucks uniform next season. I'm guessing Mo will be back for something in the range of 5-years, $40-45 million, as he won't be able to get anything more than that from another team anyway. Then again teams often seem startlingly willing to bid against themselves for their own free agents, so who knows.

Charlie Bell is perhaps even more or a lock to return than Mo, as both sides have expressed confidence that Bell would return for a third season in Milwaukee. I'm guessing the Bucks will take pre-emptive action and sign Charlie for something in the range for $4-5 mil per season. Another team could offer him up to the MLE, but the Bucks would retain the right to match the deal within a week.

Ersan Ilyasova has perhaps the most interesting situation since the greatest competition for his services will come from European teams.

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