– The Nets have signed F Brook Lopez to a 4-year/$61M contract. Lopez can’t be traded by the team until after January 15, meaning that the Nets are officially out of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes until at least then–assuming he’s in Orlando at all beyond the new year. Brooklyn’s starting five will consist of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries (if he signs) and Lopez, with MarShon Brooks as sixth man.
– ESPN’s Ric Bucher is reporting that the Trail Blazers and Timberwolves are discussing a deal that would send F Nicolas Batum to Minnesota for two future 1st-round draft picks, as well as a veteran small forward acquired from a third team. Early rumours indicate that the third player could be Bulls’ F Kyle Korver. The Blazers are expected to match Batum’s offer sheet, but with Batum having publicly stated that he wants to play in Minnesota, it’s wise for them to try and move him and get something in return, rather than having a disgruntled player on the roster. If the deal can’t be completed by Wednesday night, the Wolves are set to officially sign Batum to an offer sheet, which the Blazers would have three days to match.
– The Pacers have agreed to trade G Darren Collison and G Dahntay Jones to the Mavericks for F Ian Mahinmi in a sign-and-trade deal. Mahinmi will sign a 4-year/$16M contract and move to Indy, while Dallas will get it’s new starting point guard and the Pacers will roll with G George Hill as the starter.
– Knicks’ coach Mike Woodson said Wednesday that G Jeremy Lin is the starting point guard. This means that G Jason Kidd will come off the bench, and that the Knicks will match the Rockets’ offer sheet for Lin.
– The Mavericks are reportedly close to signing free agent F Chris Kaman to a 1-year deal, and will use their amnesty clause of F Brendan Haywood. As long as he remains healthy, Kaman should provide the big body down low that Dallas has needed the past few seasons.
– Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that Red Sox’ OF Carl Crawford (elbow, wrist, groin) is expected to be activated from the DL on July 16. Crawford will restart his rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket Thursday after a mild groin strain. OF Jacoby Ellsbury (separated shoulder) is also expected back for the first game of the second half, so it should be a big momentum boost for Boston. Crawford, who has batted .292/.452/.417 over eight rehab games thus far, will eventually need Tommy John surgery on his elbow, but will try to play through it for the rest of the season.
– Adam Rubin of ESPN NY reports that Mets’ RHP Dillon Gee (artery damage in right shoulder) will undergo potentially season-ending surgery Friday in St. Louis. Gee has opted to undergo surgery rather than use blood thinners. Doctors were able to dissolve a blood clot in Gee’s shoulder, but determined that his artery was damaged. He had a 4.10 ERA and 97/29 K/BB ratio over 109 2/3 innings, but it’s the right move for something that could be potentially fatal down the road. He’ll be allowed to resume throwing in 6-8 weeks and could make it back in late September.
– Stars’ F Derek Roy (shoulder) underwent surgery and will be sidelined until November. GM Joe Nieuwendyk said, “He played through it before and he could have played through it again, but we want the best Derek Roy we can get. It was a group decision, and we felt this was the best decision.” The Stars acquired Roy a week ago from the Sabres for F Steve Ott and D Adam Pardy. He had a disappointing 17 goals and 44 points in 80 games last season.
– Cowboys’ RB DeMarco Murray (right ankle) reiterated Wednesday that his surgically repaired ankle is healthy and ready for training camp. ”The ankle is doing great. I’ll be able to do whatever the coaches want me to do.”