Is Antonio McDyess necessarily returning to the Detroit Pistons? His agent says it isn't a sure thing.
"There are three other situations we're discussing right now and sifting through,'' says Andy Miller. "All are teams that have significant midlevel space, either partial or in total for him.''
League sources believe the three bidders to be Cleveland, San Antonio and Boston. The team offering the most money to McDyess is the Cavaliers, according to one league source. They could offer McDyess multiple years starting at more than $5 million this season.
The Cavaliers can make the case that landing McDyess would elevate their second unit while wounding their chief divisional rival, the Pistons. That relative improvement, in combination with the need to build a championship contender before LeBron James becomes a free agent in 2010, has driven up McDyess' value in Cleveland. (It doesn't hurt either that the Cavaliers owners have Michigan ties and no doubt would enjoy luring an asset away from the Pistons.)
These contenders are taking a run at McDyess because he sacrificed close to $9 million in his buyout with the Nuggets, after they acquired him in the Nov. 3 trade that also sent Chauncey Billups and Cheikh Samb to Denver for Allen Iverson.
No NBA player has ever left so much money on the table in a contract buyout. The question is whether McDyess is looking to recoup that loss immediately.
Is McDyess better served by signing an extended contract now? "Or is the transition going into [free agency] in '09 going to be smoother and better for him in Detroit?'' asks Miller. "If we're going to bypass [free agency in] '09, then we're considering these other options.
"If we were to take a minimum offer, it would be with Detroit. There is no other offer for the minimum that we would consider. His comfort level, his familiarity -- there are many factors that would make him want to go back to Detroit.''
McDyess must wait 30 days after the trade became official to re-sign with the Pistons, but that restriction exists with no other team. If he was going to commit to Cleveland or another contender, wouldn't he have done so already? Rivals view his patience as another indicator that McDyess is waiting until he can re-sign with the Pistons.