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Day one of NBA free agency signings: Serious tampering allegations against Nets in Howard talks, Grant Hill staying in PHX

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At 2 p.m. EST on Friday, NBA teams can begin signing free agents and we'll be updatng in this post, mostly related to teams and players relevant to the Bulls fate.

The salary cap will be $58.044 million, luxury tax line will be $70.307 million, and teams minimum payroll will be $46.435, Ken Berger tweeted. The Bulls are currently just under $65 million.

Bulls targets -- reported and potential:

  • As mentioned in yesterday's post, Caron Butler will sign with the Clippers, Shane Battier with the Heat, Tracy McGrady with the Hawks, Tayshaun Prince (not recently targeted) back with the Pistons.
  • Grant Hill (unrestricted): Will re-sign with the Suns to a one-year, $6.5 million deal. Don't chalk this up under not-willing-to-take-less-to-win category, though. Hill's an old family man, who lives in Scottsdale, AZ, and credits the Suns' training staff with rejuvenating his career.
  • Chauncey Billups (waivers): Will be waived by the Knicks after they sign Tyson Chandler under the amnesty clause of the new CBA. Not a reported target of the Bulls, but fans can't resist the possibility. That said, again, the Bulls can only offer the mid-level exemption [assuming he gets through secondary waivers. He's claiming he'll throw a tantrum if he's claimed, but I'd hope a team would call his bluff -yfbb].
  • Dwight Howard (unrestricted after the 2011-12 season): The trade rumor to the Nets was one-sided and now riddled with serious controversy. There are allegations not that tertiary parties of the Nets and Howard's camp, but that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov personally met with Howard on Thursday. The Magic is considering filing with the league and are reportedly "not at all interested" in the Nets' offer. This is a serious tampering allegation to meet with a player-under-contract without explicit permission from the player's team. Joakim Noah can't be traded before Jan. 15, 2012, so a preseason deal is beyond the fringe.
  • Keith Bogans (Bulls' team option for 2011-12): Attended the first day of Bulls training camp on Friday, though the Bulls have yet to pick up the $1.73 million team option. They're extended to do so and there's no reason to be against it.
  • Gilbert Arenas (waivers): Orlando used the amnesty clause to waive him. Sounds like a great idea if he grows a couple of inches, guard someone, and didn't need 15 shots to get 11 points. No word from the Bulls.
  • Marcus Thornton (restricted): Another one not reported as a Bulls target, but a favorite among many Bulls fans while he flew under the radar in New Orleans. His skills aren't a secret anymore, so the Kings re-signed him to a five-year, $40 million deal.
  • Wilson Chandler (restricted) and J.R. Smith (unrestricted): Both are playing in China and locked into their deals through March. The Chinese Basketball Association reportedly caps player salaries at $60,000 per month. The NBA recently allowed for teams to pay up to $500,000 to buy teams out of their Chinese deals. Neither of these players are on the Bulls radar to buy them out.

Other relevant transactions on Friday not reported before yesterday's post:

  • Tyson Chandler (unrestricted): All day Thursday, there was apprehension to call it a done deal, but Chandler will indeed sign with the Knicks to a four-year, $60 million deal. I was on board with the speculation that this doesn't mean they've given up on acquiring Chris Paul, but that Amare Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony will be dangled in the package between now and the trade deadline. The Hornets did turn down a deal including Stoudemire. Will they offer 'Melo? They should, so Bulls fans shouldn't want this, but either way the Knicks have definitely become bigger and somewhat scarier.
  • Brandon Bass traded for Glen Davis (unrestricted): Relevant because Bass is a great improvement by the Celtics. He showed he can hang with starters, allowing for better minutes management of Kevin Garnett, playing a KG-Bass frontcourt looked silly at times with Davis. No way Davis' addition and Bass' subtraction makes Howard like Orlando more. The deal was a sign-and-trade by the Cs. (h/t: BDL)
  • James Jones (unrestricted): Re-signed by the Heat for three years, less than $2 million per.
  • Mario Chalmers (unrestricted): Re-signed by the Heat.
  • Mickael Pietrus (traded): Not a Bulls target, but somewhat fits the mold of what fans want. Traded by the Suns to the Raptors for a conditional second-round pick. Pietrus is to make $5.3 million this season.
  • Not Bulls-relevant, but Brandon Roy's health is forcing him to retire. He had surgery last season when no meniscus had him operating bone-on-bone in both. He was informed that he can play no more. Sad story. Great talent. Good guy. Tough as nails. I don't romanticize much, so give me this.

Find confirmed updates of other player transaction developments at The SBNation StoryStream.

Another handy tool: The Free Agent Scoreboard