11:45 p.m. Eastern
-The Knicks could be doing a conference call with Amar’e Stoudamire deep into the night.
11:40 p.m. Eastern
-Gilbert Arenas’ name has been brought up by Cavaliers people as a trade candidate.
-There are conflicting reports on whether Amar’e Stoudamire will stay in Phoenix.
-Cleveland and Miami will both be in on Ray Allen.
11:35 p.m. Eastern
-If Denver is serious about trading Carmelo Anthony, Eddy Curry and Danilo Gallinari could get it done. Chris Mannix is speculating whether Curry, Gallinari and Wilson Chandler would get it done and would Denver blink.
11:15 p.m. Eastern
-With Joe Johnson likely going back to Atlanta, Josh Childress could make a lot of money on the open market. Miami likes Brendan Haywood, New York likes Raymond Felton and Mike Miller, Richard Jefferson opted out of his deal and David Lee and Steve Blake will be heavily sought after.
11 p.m. Eastern
-LeBron consensus: Bulls first, Heat, Nets, Cavs all in pursuit.
-Atlanta could resign Joe Johnson quickly. And with Amar’e Stoudamire lukewarm on New York, the Knicks could be in big trouble.
-The Knicks will meet with LeBron James Thursday at 1 p.m after meeting with Amar’e Stoudamire and Joe Johnson. Jay-Z will join the Nets’ contingent on Thursday as they lead things off with James.
-Cleveland is negotiating with Byron Scott to be their next head coach. A deal probably won’t get done tonight.
-The Clippers will offer Rudy Gay close to a max deal.
4:55 p.m. Eastern
-Paul Pierce is expected to resign with Boston as early as Thursday.
-The Nets believe they’re in the lead for LeBron James while most GM’s believe that Chris Bosh will go to Miami.
-Cleveland extended a qualifying offer Jawad Williams, making him a restricted free agent.
4:35 p.m. Eastern
-ESPN makes their free agency picks.
-Dirk Nowitzki is flying back to Dallas from Germany tonight and is expected to resign with the Mavericks.
-The full report on the upcoming max offer to Joe Johnson.
-Cleveland is involved in trade talks today but not with the Nets and Bucks on a three team deal.
-How the Knicks and Nets will make their pitches to LeBron.
4:15 p.m. Eastern
-Atlanta will offer Joe Johnson a full max six year deal, which means any team that would want him would need to offer the max and Johnson just might stay with the Hawks.
-As fully expected Amar’e Stoudamire opted out of the final year of his Phoenix contract and is an unrestricted free agent.
-Rudy Gay was extended a qualifying offer and is officially a restricted free agent, meaning Memphis has the right to match any offer.
-Chris Bosh’s free agency thoughts.
1:45 p.m. Eastern
-Brian Shaw is still the favorite to take the Cavaliers coaching job.
1:30 p.m. Eastern
-Yahoo! confirms Doc Rivers’ return to Boston.
-As expected, Shannon Brown will opt out and become a free agent.
-The Nets‘ really interesting plan to try to lure LeBron.
1:25 p.m. Eastern
-Amar’e Stoudamire’s agent told FanHouse that his client could resign with the Suns today.
-Doc Rivers will reportedly return to coach the Celtics next season.
1 p.m. Eastern
-A high level agent told Ira Winderman that Miami is currently the favorite to land Chris Bosh when free agency begins Thursday. Also something in this column that I didn’t realize. Joel Anthony, who would have to agree on any trade to Toronto in a sign and trade, is a Canadian citizen and plays for their national team so accepting a trade may not be so far fetched.
12:10 p.m. Eastern
-Tyson Chandler will not opt out of his $12.75 million 2010/2011 contract. Smart man.
11:20 a.m. Eastern
-There have been persistent rumors that Miami and Toronto have, or could quickly agree on, a Chris Bosh sign and trade deal to Miami which could hit a snag because Joel Anthony won’t sign his qualifying offer anytime soon.
-Also a rumor in Miami has a trio of Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen starring for the Heat.
-Cleveland’s plan to keep LeBron.
-The Knicks won’t be meeting with Amar’e Stoudamire between their meetings with Joe Johnson and LeBron James.
9:20 a.m. Eastern
-In case you didn’t hear, Paul Pierce opted out of his Celtics contract Tuesday night, opening up a whole new can of speculative worms. Pierce will talk to the Celtics at 12:01 Thursday.
-Just like the Knicks plan to lock up Joe Johnson to entice LeBron James to come to New York, the Bulls plan to get a quick agreement from Chris Bosh.
-Dwayne Wade is recruiting veteran fillers to come to Miami after 2-3 max players are signed.
-Could Denver trade Carmelo Anthony?
-Brian Windhorst laid out examples of endorsements not being as good as everyone makes them out to be. It’s a pretty compelling argument.
-Phoenix made their last-minute pitch to Amar’e Stoudamire and he hasn’t opted out of his deal yet. He could negotiate with the Suns into Thursday while talking to other teams. Pat Riley will talk to Amar’e and Carlos Boozer on Thursday.
-Toronto is looking for sign and trade options for Bosh and would want young players and picks. Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers from Miami. Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah from Chicago are appealing. A sign and trade with the Knicks involving David Lee. A potential sign and trade with the Lakers is reportedly unlikely.
-Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf will be involved in the team’s free agency meetings.
-LeBron James is house hunting in New York City. Knicks or Nets buzz, anyone?
-The Knicks are trying to trade Eddy Curry, with Danilo Gallinari as bait.
-Ian Thomsen lays out the new Knicks strategy for LeBron, which includes the Heat’s three superstar approach.
-Dwight Howard wants Chris Paul and Carlos Boozer as teammates in Orlando. The Magic have Vince Carter and others to deal for Paul and a big contract like Emeka Okafor and Brandon Bass and JJ Redick could be enticing sign and trade options for Utah, according to Ken Berger. New Jersey will clear even more space if they can negotiate a buyout with Kris Humphries.
-Andrew Bynum isn’t going anywhere and the Lakers could be interested in Steve Blake and Luke Ridnour, who also have gotten interest from the Knicks. Raja Bell is also an option.
-Chris Bosh will get his best argument from the Rockets, who are trying to work out a sign and trade.
-Minnesota really likes restricted free agent Rudy Gay and could send Corey Brewer in a sign and trade with Memphis.
Texas wanted a catcher who could contribute offensively and San Francisco wanted to open up playing time for Buster Posey so the Rangers acquired Bengie Molina from the Giants on Wednesday for reliever Chris Ray and a player to be named later, USA Today reports.
Matt Treanor and Max Ramirez were the everyday backstops for the first place Rangers and only had to deal a marginal releiver in Ray. Molina has had a disappointing season thus far, batting .257 with just three homers but perhaps he could heat up as a Ranger.
NEW YORK–By Keldy Ortiz
Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano has been officially put on the restricted list as of June 29 and will most likely be out until after the All-Star break.
Now, the Cubs at this point trail nine games behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals, nothing obvious. The problem is if come July, if they are legitimately out the race for the postseason, do they (can they?) trade the 29-year-old? There can be many reasons why they should and should not trade Zambrano, but the best way to show this idea is with numbers.
Zambrano is currently the second highest paid player on the Cubs roster. The Cubs meanwhile have seven players making at least $12 million. Also, the Cubs’ median range of players being paid over $12 million have the average age of 32. This says that Cubs GM Jim Hendry needs to understand that the Cubs’ opportunity to win soon is running out.
The last time the Cubs were a legitimate contender was back in 2003 when they were five outs away from clinching the NL. Cubs remember this moment as the Steve Bartman Moment. Since then, the Cubs have made it twice to the postseason but have yet to make it past the Division Series. What does this all have to do with Zambrano?
Whether we like to believe it or not, Zambrano is a type A, at most type B, type pitcher and by trading him, a lot can be received back for his services. The Cubs current line-up has not been producing quite like their pitching, well their has not been the best either posting a 3.90 ERA (ranked 9th among the Major Leagues). By trading Zambrano, you can even get some prospects because their farm system looks like the New York Mets’ system did in 2009; depleted. Their highest paid pitcher in the minor leagues, Jeff Samardzija, is nowhere near ready as he posted up an incredible ERA of 18.90.
Now here on SprungOnSports, we have discussed about the possible firing of Houston Astros’ GM Ed Wade and how he has manage , but with the way of Hendry has been managing the front office of the Cubs, he may as well just pack his bags too. It is a lot to believe but there are expectations in Chicago, especially for the fans that not witness any glory since 1908, the last time they won a World Series, though in other sports Chicago has been graced with a guy name Michael Jordan who gave the NBA franchise Chicago Bulls six NBA Championship along with the newly crowned NHL champion Chicago Blackhawks.
That said, over the next few months we will see if Cubs will be buyers or sellers come the trading deadline and beyond. One thing to expect is that at the end of the season, if the Cubs do release Zambrano by season’s end and get nothing back, look for the Cubs to start with the rebuilding process, starting with the GM.
So some context before we begin. Only 25 major league players this season has more than three triples this season. Minnesota speed demon Denard Span had three triples last night in the Twins’ 11-4 win over Detroit that allowed them to reclaim first place in the AL Central. Span went 4-4, driving in five, including a bases clearing triple that broke the game wide open. Jim Thome’s homer in the 8th ended the scoring. Minnesota seems to have the pieces in place but may be a starting pitcher short of being a legit contender. Which brings us to our next bullet point.
-Cliff Lee became the first pitcher since CC Sabathia (Brewers version) in 2008 to throw nine inning complete games in three consecutive starts. If that doesn’t boost trade value, I don’t know what does. Lee allowed a couple of cheap runs in the 9th inning but continued his mastery of the Yankees in a 7-4 Seattle win. The Mariners teed off for six earned runs off Phil Hughes and scored in five different innings for the first time this season. Ichiro Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez each had two hits and two RBIs and Lee’s AL leading ERA rose slightly to 2.45.
-The Yankees’ AL East lead is down to one game over Boston, who got a great start from John Lackey, a three-run homer from David Ortiz and two RBIs from Jason Varitek in an 8-5 win over Tampa Bay. Boston’s offense continued it’s great June even without Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez but there’s a new AL MVP candidate that calls Beantown home. And it’s Adrian Beltre. Beltre went 4-4 with two runs scored to raise his average to .349, second in the major leagues to Robinson Cano’s .358. His .387 OBP and .561 slugging are also excellent and he’ll sufficiently prove his worth while two key hitters are sidelined to prove his value to this team. Who would have thought the Beltre MVP thought would have originated in New York?
-Speaking of injury plagued teams, the Phillies visited Cincinnati without Chase Utley and Placido Polanco. So the unheralded tag team of Brian Schneider and Wilson Valdez each hit three-run homers off Mike Leake to take a 6-1 lead. Fast forward to Brad Lidge allowing three runs in the 9th inning and Arthur Rhodes (the 32 consecutive inning scoreless streak Arthur Rhodes) coming into the game in the 10th, and you would’ve thought Philly was in trouble. But struggling hitters Raul Ibanez, Ben Francisco and Valdez drove in runs off Rhodes in the 10th and JC Romero saved a wild 9-6 win. Philly is now 2.5 games behind Atlanta in the NL East and one game back of the Mets for the NL Wild Card after both teams lost. St. Louis retook first place in the NL Central with Cincy’s loss and an 8-0 win over Arizona led by Albert Pujols’ 37th multihomer game (tying Stan “The Man” Musial for the franchise record) and Adam Wainwright’s 11th win.
-Manny Ramirez got hurt, Matt Kemp was on the bench after a spat with Joe Torre and Jonathan Broxton was unavailable, but the dysfunctional Dodgers got a big 4-2 win over Giants to get within three games of first place San Diego in the NL West. James Loney had a two-run single followed by Casey Blake’s single off Matt Cain in the 5th to seal the win for surprising rookie John Ely, who allowed one run over seven to lower his ERA to 3.62.
-Heading down the freeway to the Angels, Anaheim finally got their hands on the Rangers and defeated Texas 6-5 highlighted by a four run 6th inning. Jeff Mathis tied the game at three with a single and Bobby Abreu’s bases clearing double would be all the runs the Angels needed. It’s the third straight win for the Angels, who are now 3.5 games back in the AL West.