The Detroit Pistons put on a full-court press to recruit Josh Smith when they figured the top two free agents, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, wouldn't be interested in playing in the Motor City.
Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars met with Smith for five hours in Los Angeles on July 1 when the NBA's free agency period began.
"I was selling, selling hard," Dumars said.
And, Smith was buying.
The Pistons signed Smith to a $54 million, four-year contract Wednesday, when he raved at a news conference about his long talk with Dumars last week.
"I felt comfortable, that's why the meeting lasted so long," Smith said.
Smith is the only NBA player to average at least 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal per game since blocks and steals became an official league statistic four decades ago, according to STATS LLC.
"Josh was the No. 1 guy we went after in free agency," said Dumars, who also acknowledged talking to free agent Andre Iguodala. "The primary reason for Josh being the No. 1 guy was because of his versatility. He's a 6-9, athletic forward who can play both positions and at both ends of the floor."
Detroit desperately needed to sign one of the top free agents because the franchise is mired in a four-year post-season drought, its longest since missing six straight from 1978 through 1983.
Smith expects the Pistons will snap the streak next season.
"I feel like we can definitely be a playoff team, and a contender," he said.
Dumars, though, isn't ready to say his rebuilding project is complete.
"Knowing a little bit about building championships, you know it's a long road and you need multiple talented pieces and we just got one talented piece," said Dumars, who won two titles in Detroit as a shooting guard and led the franchise to a third championship from the front office. "By no means are we even remotely proclaiming [we're a] championship contender."
The Pistons also confirmed Rasheed Wallace has rejoined the team as a first-year assistant coach on Maurice Cheeks' staff.
The Pistons will likely start the 27-year-old Smith in their frontcourt with 23-year-old power forward Greg Monroe and centre Andre Drummond, who turns 20 next in August. The backcourt will include Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the No. 8 overall pick in the draft.
Bulls sign F Mike Dunleavy to 2-year deal
The Chicago Bulls signed free-agent forward Mike Dunleavy to a two-year deal on Wednesday, looking to improve their outside shooting.
Dunleavy agreed to terms on July 1, the first day of the free-agent negotiating period. He averaged 10.5 points last season for the Milwaukee Bucks and shot 42.8 per cent from 3-point range.
The Bulls finished 20th in the league in 3-point percentage last season, and Dunleavy's accuracy has improved in recent years.
"I think as I've gotten older, I've become a better shooter," Dunleavy said at the Bulls' practice facility. "That's just with practice, knowing how to get your shots a little bit better, taking good shots. Hopefully, that trend continues to move forward. I think with this team, the way guys pass and move the ball, hopefully I'll get even more looks."
The 6-foot-9 Dunleavy is entering his 12th NBA season. He was the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2002 by Golden State and also played for Indiana before spending the past two seasons in Milwaukee.
"We are extremely excited to add Mike to our team," Bulls general manager Gar Forman said in a statement. "He was a priority for us from the second free agency began and we feel he will be a terrific fit for us, both on and off the floor."
Dunleavy said he missed Forman's initial phone call on July 1 because he was changing his son's diaper, but quickly got in touch and the process moved quickly from there. Dunleavy also spoke to coach Tom Thibodeau on the first day of free-agency and feels he'll fit in with the Bulls' defensive style.
"I don't foresee a big adjustment, because I know the way they play," Dunleavy said. "I watched a lot of their games, played against them a lot. It's a lot of the basic fundamentals. They just do it better than everybody else. I expect to fit right in."
The 33-year-old Dunleavy has never played for an NBA team that posted a winning record. He's made the playoffs twice as a No. 8 seed, with Indiana in 2011 and Milwaukee in 2013. Both teams lost in the first round.
By joining the Bulls, Dunleavy will reunite with Carlos Boozer, a college teammate on the Duke team that won the 2001 NCAA championship. Dunleavy will wear No. 34 with Chicago.
"I'm comfortable with the career I've had, but with me, it's all about winning," Dunleavy said. "So this is a major priority for me to be on a team like this that has a chance to win, certainly what I was looking for.
"Coming from a college at Duke where every night you go out and expect to win every single game, I've been in the pros 11 years and been through a lot of mediocrity. So being part of this is special. I don't take it for granted."
Heat, Chris Andersen agree to 1-year deal
Chris Andersen is returning to the NBA champion Miami Heat, and at a bargain price.
Andersen signed a $1.7 million, one-year deal Wednesday, becoming the latest in a long line of current Heat players who were willing to sacrifice some salary. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier and Ray Allen are among those who could have gotten more money either from the Heat or elsewhere when signing their current deals.
And now, Andersen has done the same, a move that lessens the luxury tax burden the Heat will face this coming season. Andersen could have commanded $3.2 million from the Heat this season, but by taking the lesser deal, he saves the Heat more than $1.5 million on that looming tax bill.
Andersen will also be receiving about $5 million this season from the Denver Nuggets, as part of the contract that his former club escaped from under the amnesty provision last year.
Andersen averaged 4.9 points in 42 games this past season off the Heat bench, then averaged 6.4 points in 20 playoff games. The Heat were 54-8 in games where Andersen appeared, after he joined the team in late January as a free agent and quickly became an intregal part of Miami's big-man rotation.
Pacers re-sign David West; sign C.J. Watson
The Indiana Pacers have re-signed David West and added free agent C.J. Watson.
West and Watson joined team president Larry Bird for a news conference Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
West, who will spend the next three years in Indiana, averaged 17.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last season.
Watson, a six-year veteran point guard, has played for Golden State, Chicago and Brooklyn. He has career averages of 7.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He averaged 6.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 80 games for Brooklyn last season.
Bobcats sign Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller
Al Jefferson says he's thrilled to join the Charlotte Bobcats, regardless of their market size and recent struggles.
The 6-foot-10 centre says he was blown away after meeting with team officials last week and "couldn't sleep a wink" in anticipation of signing with Charlotte. The move became official Wednesday as the Bobcats introduced their newest free agent acquisition at a press conference.
The Bobcats also announced they have signed first-round draft pick Cody Zeller and waived forward Tyrus Thomas, designating him their amnesty player.
Jefferson says he's thrilled to sign with the Bobcats because "they're a team that respects my game and wanted me to be a part of their family."
Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins says Jefferson gives the team the low-post presence it needed.
Kings officially acquire Greivis Vasquez
The Sacramento Kings have acquired point guard Greivis Vasquez in a three-team trade agreement reached last week that sends Tyreke Evans to the New Orleans Pelicans.
New Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro said in a statement Wednesday that Vasquez "established himself as one of the league's most talented young point guards last season and we're confident he'll continue this trajectory in Sacramento."
D'Alessandro also thanked Evans for his contributions to the Kings and wished him well in New Orleans.
Sacramento also received a 2016 second-round draft pick and future second-round draft considerations in the deal, while Portland acquired Robin Lopez and guard Terrel Harris from the Pelicans in exchange for the draft rights to Jeff Withey, future second-round draft picks and cash.
Wizards sign Eric Maynor, Garrett Temple
The Washington Wizards added free agent Eric Maynor and re-signed Garrett Temple for backcourt depth behind John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Maynor played 64 games with Oklahoma City and Portland last season, averaging 4.5 points and 2.8 assists.
"He will bring stability and experience in that role and add leadership and character off the floor," Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said Wednesday.
Maynor said he was impressed by the Wizards' play with a healthy Wall.
"Just knowing that we got a bunch of young guys, talented," he said.
Signed originally by the Wizards on Christmas out of the NBA Developmental League, Temple averaged 5.1 points and 2.3 assists in 51 games last season, including 36 starts.
"His defensive ability, toughness and team-first attitude make him an excellent fit in our system," Grunfeld said.
Temple, who spent time with five NBA teams before joining the Wizards, signed a one-year deal for the veteran minimum, the 27-year-old's first guaranteed contract.
"It feels good. Definitely not satisfied, though," Temple said. "I think we have a really good chance to make a run for the playoffs this year."
Blazers make it official and bring in Wright and Lopez
The Portland Trail Blazers formally signed free agent small forward Dorell Wright and acquired centre Robin Lopez and Thomas Robinson in trades, sealing three of several deals the team struck last week.
The Blazers got Lopez in a three-team trade with New Orleans and Sacramento that sent guard Tyreke Evans to the Pelicans and guard Greivis Vasquez to the Kings.
Portland traded the rights to Kostas Papnikolaou and Marko Todorovic, as well as two future second-round picks, to the Rockets in exchange for Robinson, the fifth overall pick in last year's draft.
Wright, a nine-year NBA veteran, averaged 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists off the bench for the Philadelphia 76ers last season.
Pelicans add Greg Stiemsma, Anthony Morrow: report
People familiar with the deals say the New Orleans Pelicans have agreed to contracts with centre Greg Stiemsma and guard Anthony Morrow.
The people say Stiemsma got a one-year deal worth $2.7 million, while Morrow's deal is for about $2 million over two years, with a players' option for the second year. The people spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the moves had not been announced.
The 6-foot-11 Stiemsma has averaged about 3.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 15 minutes per game during his first two seasons. Morrow, a 43 per cent career 3-point shooter, has averaged nearly 11 points during five NBA seasons.
The Pelicans confirmed they've waived Lance Thomas and renounced their rights to Lou Amundson, Xavier Henry and Roger Mason Jr.
Henry, drafted 12th overall by Memphis out of Kansas in 2010, averaged 3.9 points in 50 games last season, his second in New Orleans.
Chicago waives veteran Richard Hamilton
The Chicago Bulls have waived veteran guard Richard Hamilton, as expected.
The Bulls signed Hamilton before the 2011-12 season, hoping he could help take some of the load off Derrick Rose, but he had trouble staying healthy and fell out of coach Tom Thibodeau's playoff rotation.
So the Bulls exercised their $1 million buyout and officially parted with the former Detroit Pistons star on Wednesday.
He appeared in 78 games over two seasons, averaging 10.5 points and 2.6 assists, and it was clear his time in Chicago was winding down, particularly when he barely got off the bench in the playoffs, making just four appearances against Brooklyn and Miami.
The Bulls also signed first-round draft pick Tony Snell and second-rounder Erik Murphy, and introduced veteran Mike Dunleavy Jr. on Wednesday.
Timberwolves acquire Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer
The Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed to a trade with Oklahoma City for guard Kevin Martin that also allowed them to land swingman Corey Brewer in free agency.
The Wolves agreed to terms with Martin on a four-year contract worth nearly $30 million last week. Rather than sign him outright, they decided on Wednesday to execute a sign-and-trade deal with the Thunder to help them free up more cap room to land Brewer. Luke Ridnour is headed from Minnesota to Milwaukee in the three-team trade, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person requested anonymity because the deal has not been officially announced.
With the extra cap room, the Wolves agreed to terms with Brewer on a three-year, $15 million contract. The parameters were first reported by ESPN.