Word began to circulate late Sunday that the Denver Nuggets were closing in on a verbal agreement with free-agent shooting guard Randy Foye.
And that initially seemed to signal that the Atlanta Hawks’ lead in the race to sign Monta Ellis, as detailed here late Saturday, has only widened.
An alternative scenario began to make the rounds as Sunday bled into Monday suggesting that a far wilder set of moves could soon follow and involve Atlanta as well as Milwaukee, Sacramento and possibly Cleveland.
Sources briefed on the situation told ESPN.com that the Hawks and Bucks have in recent days discussed a sign-and-trade deal to land Brandon Jennings in Atlanta and send fellow restricted free agent Jeff Teague to Milwaukee to reunite with former Hawks coach Larry Drew. ESPN.com reported early in free agency that the Bucks, at Drew’s behest, had interest.
If those sign-and-talks progress to the serious stage, sources said, Atlanta would inevitably have to rescind its longstanding interest in Ellis, knowing he and Jennings realistically couldn’t play together again given how poorly they functioned as a backcourt duo in Milwaukee last season.
Sources say that the Kings, meanwhile, have been shopping the likes of Jimmer Fredette and Chuck Hayes to the Cavaliers to create the requisite salary-cap room to try to sign Ellis comfortably. Hard to see Cleveland wanting Hayes, whose contract runs through 2014-15 and thus potentially cuts into Cleveland’s reserves earmarked for a free-agent run at LeBron James next summer. Fredette’s $2.4 million salary is a virtual expiring deal.
Yet the closest thing to a lock regarding all of the above, as Week 2 of NBA free agency begins, is that Foye coming to terms with Denver would essentially take the Nuggets out of the Ellis hunt. If the Nuggets strike a deal with Foye, that’s essentially an admission that Ellis is out of their price range.