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Basketball Wiretap
Basketball news gathered from around the net.

Robert Covington, 76ers Nearly Finalize Agreement; Forward Likely Signing In D-League

Free agent forward Robert Covington and the Philadelphia 76ers progressed toward finalizing a multi-year contract this week, but a deal has deteriorated as the two sides failed to agree upon contract length, league sources told RealGM.

Without an NBA deal, Covington is expected to sign a contract in the NBA Development League on Thursday, where several organizations plan to monitor the 6-foot-9 forward. The 76ers had offered Covington their standard, four-year proposal, with high contract guarantees, and both sides couldn’t agree to a shorter-term deal.

Covington was formally waived by the Houston Rockets over the weekend, despite being informed of a parting with the franchise early in October.

An undrafted prospect out of Tennessee State, Covington had a breakout season in the D-League a year ago, averaging 23.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals for Rio Grande Valley and winning several awards (All-Star Game MVP, All D-League First Team).

He averaged 2.3 points and 4.8 minutes in seven regular-season appearances for the Rockets.

Via Shams Charania/RealGM

Gasol: Picking Bulls Over Spurs, Thunder Was Most Difficult Decision Of My Life

The New York Knicks pursued Pau Gasol in the offseason, but they didn't have the cap space or title contender status that he was looking for.

Choosing between the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder was "probably the most difficult decision that I made in my career and in my life," Gasol said.

"I considered it," Gasol said of the Knicks. "But I thought the team was not at the level of others, other contenders and options that I had. I'm coming down to my last few years of my career, and I want to maximize them. And it was difficult to leave L.A. in the first place. But now I feel like I'm in a great position, and we have a great opportunity, and now let's see if we're lucky and we deserve to do something special."

Gasol had 21 points and 11 rebounds in the Bulls' opener against the Knicks.

"Plays where you need a great shot and you know that anything isn't rolling for you, you can easily dump it down and space out," Rose said. "If you double-team, it's going to be a wide-open shot, a wide-open three. … It makes the game easy for everyone."

Via Howard Beck/Bleacher Report

Thunder Unlikely To Sign Reggie Jackson To Extension

The Oklahoma City Thunder are unlikely to agree upon an extension with Reggie Jackson, which will allow him to become a restricted free agent in 2015.

The Thunder will have the right to match any offer Jackson receives from another club.

Oklahoma City agreed upon extensions with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha, but were unable to with Jeff Green and James Harden. Green was traded at that season's deadline, while Harden was dealt before the extension deadline.

Via Darnell Mayberry/Oklahoman

Knicks, Nets, Mavs, Hornets Could Conceivably Be Interested In Kobe

The New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks and possibly Charlotte Hornets are all teams that could be interested in Kobe Bryant, according to ESPN's Chad Ford.

The Los Angeles Lakers lost Julius Randle for the entire season on opening night and are expected to struggle to make the playoffs. The Lakers also get to keep their 2015 first round pick if it is in the top-5.

The Knicks are an especially interesting possibility due to his connection to Phil Jackson, Derek Fisher and Carmelo Anthony.

The Knicks could include young players like Iman Shumpert and/or Tim Hardaway Jr., along with a 2015 first rounder and they also have the expiring contracts of Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani.

"I don't think Mitch has much choice but to find ways to lose," one GM told ESPN. "They're going to be bad anyway. You don't want to be just good enough that you lose the pick and still miss the playoffs. I don't think they have the assets to get good enough to make the playoffs and I don't think they have the [expletive] to trade Kobe. It's paradoxical, but right now losing seems like the only way to really get better."

Bryant's contract expires after the 15-16 NBA season.

Via Chad Ford/ESPN

Mavs Release Gal Mekel To Create Roster Spot For Barea

The Dallas Mavericks have released Gal Mekel.

The move will create a roster spot for the Mavericks to sign J.J. Barea.

Via RealGM Staff Report

Jimmy Butler, Bulls Unlikely To Agree Upon Extension

Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls are unlikely to agree to a contract extension before Friday's deadline, according to sources.

Butler is currently out two to four weeks with a thumb sprain.

Butler would become a restricted free agent in 2015.

Via Chris Broussard/ESPN

Enes Kanter, Jazz Break Off Extension Talks

Enes Kanter and the Utah Jazz have broken off talks on a contract extension.

Kanter will become a restricted free agent in the 2015 offseason.

“We have mutually agreed with Utah to concentrate on the season and look at our options again in the summer,” agent Max Ergul said in a telephone interview. “Enes likes Utah and the organization very much, and now he can concentrate on continuing to grow as a player and helping them win.”

The Jazz are still engaged in discussions with shooting guard Alec Burks, who is also eligible for a rookie extension before Friday night’s deadline.

Via Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Kemba Walker Agrees To Four-Year, $48M Extension With Hornets

Kemba Walker has agreed to a four-year, $48 million contract extension with the Charlotte Hornets, according to sources.

Walker was the 9th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft out of UConn.

Walker has averaged 17.7 points per game in each of the past two seasons, while his rebound and assist totals increased.

Via Marc Stein/ESPN

Dwight Left Lakers 'For Myself', Not For Fear Of Kobe

Ahead of the Houston Rockets' opening night game at the Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard said his free agency decision in 2013 had nothing to do with Kobe Bryant.

"I didn't leave L.A. because I was afraid of Kobe Bryant," Howard said Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle. "I went to a good situation for myself. I can't change people's opinions, but I did what I had to do for myself."

A report from ESPN's Henry Abbott last week suggested Bryant was part of the reason why Howard left, while Byron Scott also theorized on the departure.

"My outside perspective is Kobe is a real serious guy and wants to win championships," Scott said Monday. "I don't know if Dwight is that serious about it. I know No. 24 is. I think that probably was the clash."

Howard told reporters he had "no response" to Scott's comments.

"It's over with now. There's no need to continue to talk about it. It happened. We played together for a year," Howard said of his time in L.A. with Bryant, according to the Chronicle. "The whole team was injured, didn't really get an opportunity to do what we all set out to do.

"Things happen. Life happens. I think everybody needs to move forward from the situation and worry about their respective teams."

Via Baxter Holmes/ESPN

Bucks Guarantee Contract Of Kendall Marshall For 14-15 Season

The Milwaukee Bucks have guaranteed the contract of Kendall Marshall for the 14-15 season.

The Bucks could have waited until January to make a decision on Marshall, but he made a strong impression in training camp and earned the backup point guard job.

The Bucks acquired Marshall on a waiver claim in July after being released by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Via Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Knicks Exercise Third-Year Option On Tim Hardaway Jr.

Tim Hardaway Jr. averaged 10.2 points over 23.2 minutes in 81 games (one start) last season for the Knicks and was named to the 2013-14 NBA All-Rookie first team.

Bucks Waive Micheal Eric

Michael Eric appeared in four games this preseason for the Bucks and averaged 5.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in 14.9 minutes per game.

Kings Receive Trade Interest In Jason Thompson

Jason Thompson is signed through the 16-17 season.

Blazers Exercise 15-16 Options On Leonard, McCollum

The Blazers have exercised team options on the contracts of center Meyers Leonard and guard CJ McCollum.

Terrence Williams Works Out For Kings Again For Potential Signing

Terrence Williams worked out for the Kings on Monday for the second time since July, with an opportunity to sign, league sources told RealGM.

Suns Exercise Third-Year Options On Alex Len, Archie Goodwin

The Suns have exercised their third-year options on Alex Len and Archie Goodwin, according to league sources.

Knicks Trade Outlaw, 2nd Rounder To 76ers To Clear Roster Space

The Knicks will also send a future second round pick to the 76ers.

Tristan Thompson, Cavs Stall On Extension Discussions

Tristan Thompson is represented by Klutch Sports and LeBron James' agent and business partner Rich Paul.

Knicks Expected To Pursue Marc Gasol In Free Agency

Phil Jackson believes Marc Gasol is the "quintessential center to play in the triangle offense."

76ers Sign Malcolm Thomas

Malcolm Thomas is entering his fourth NBA season, having been named an NBA Development League All-Star last season.

Cavs, Anderson Varejao Seriously Discussing Extension

The Cavaliers are engaged in serious talks with Anderson Varejao on a contract extension, according to sources

Leonard, Spurs Not Progressing On Extension As He Pursues Max Deal

Multiple league executives believe Kawhi Leonard will command a max offer sheet on the market next summer.

J.J. Barea Finalizing Buyout From Wolves, Hopes To Re-Sign With Mavs

J.J. Barea is finalizing a contract buyout with the Timberwolves on Sunday, according to sources.

Knicks Consider Cutting Travis Outlaw To Keep Travis Wear

Travis Outlaw is owed $3 million this season.

Warriors' Lack Of Max Extension Offer Frustrates Thompson's Camp

Joe Lacob has yet to become comfortable offering Klay Thompson a maximum deal, sources said.

Malcolm Thomas Agrees To Deal With 76ers

Malcolm Thomas will be a part of the 76ers' 15-man roster on opening night.

Lakers Waive Jabari Brown, Roscoe Smith

Roscoe Smith averaged 3.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in seven preseason games while shooting 45 percent from the field.

Cavaliers Exercise Fourth-Year Option On Dion Waiters

Dion Waiters owns career averages of 15.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 29.2 minutes per game.

Earl Barron Waived By Suns

In six preseason appearances, Earl Barron averaged 3.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 13.7 minutes.

Wolves Waive Brady Heslip

The Wolves roster now stands at 16 players.
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