Sources: Knicks strong favorites to sign free agent Joakim Noah (June 30, 2016)
Marc Stein and Ian Begley [ Source: ESPN ]

Joakim Noah could be reunited with his former teammate Chicago Bulls teammate Derrick Rose should he sign with the Knicks. Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images

The New York Knicks have emerged as strong favorites to sign free-agent big man Joakim Noah, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that multiple teams interested in Noah have all but conceded already that the Knicks are his runaway preferred destination in free agency.

No deals can be officially signed until July 7, but teams and free agents can start coming to verbal agreements on contracts ‎starting Friday at 12:01 a.m.

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Sources: Free-agent guard Mike Conley, Mavs to meet on Friday (June 30, 2016)
Chris Broussard [ Source: ESPN ]

Coveted free agent Mike Conley has played his entire 9-year career with the Grizzlies, averaging 13.6 points and 5.6 assists. Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Free agent Mike Conley will meet with the Dallas Mavericks on July 1, according to league sources.

Conley, who is widely regarded as the top point guard on the free-agent market, has played his entire nine-year career with the Memphis Grizzlies. However, a return to the Grizzlies should not be considered a foregone conclusion, according to a league source.

Conley wants a five-year max deal from Memphis, and if the Grizzlies refuse to go beyond four years, Conley could leave, the source said. Under league rules, Memphis is the only team that can offer Conley a five-year contract.

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There appears to be mutual interest between the Knicks and free-agent big man Joakim Noah. Gary Dineen/Getty Images

ORLANDO, Fla. -- There are many moving parts in NBA free agency, so plotting out a plan of action might be a waste of time. But it sounds as though the New York Knicks will enter July 1 hoping to find a center first and then filling out the rest of the roster.

Here’s why: New coach Jeff Hornacek points out that the Knicks have several scorers on the roster (Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis) so they don’t necessarily need a shooting guard who “can create a bunch of plays.”

“We need a guy at the 2 spot who can help run the offense, get maybe some kick out 3s,” Hornacek said Wednesday after the Knicks’ first summer-league practice. "When you look at it that way, maybe the [center is] the more important position right now."

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The Warriors would like to keep free agents Harrison Barnes (40) and Festus Ezeli (31), but how they fare in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes will play a big role in determining both players' fate. Rocky Widner/NBA/Getty Images

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors have extended qualifying offers to forward Harrison Barnes and center Festus Ezeli.

The moves, which were made Wednesday, mean Barnes and Ezeli will be restricted free agents in July, and the Warriors will have the right to match any offer sheet that Barnes and Ezeli sign with another team.

Golden State didn't extend qualifying offers to guard Ian Clark and forward James Michael McAdoo, making them unrestricted free agents.

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NBA

The Boston Celtics upset much of their fan base when they were unable to swing a trade for an established veteran and instead selected Jaylen Brown with the No. 3 overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft.

That emotion even carried over to some of its younger fans. At a basketball camp that the team hosted at a local community center on Wednesday, a young boy had a chance to play one-on-one against Brown.

"He challenged me, and I just blacked out," Brown told MassLive.com. "He said, 'You ain't good.' He said, 'Ben Simmons is better.' So I said, 'All right, OK.'"

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NBA

The Orlando Magic acquired shooting guard Jodie Meeks from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for a future conditional second-round draft pick, Magic general manager Rob Hennigan announced Wednesday.

"We are excited to welcome Jodie to the Orlando Magic family," Hennigan said. "Jodie adds perimeter shooting and is another veteran presence. He adds depth to our backcourt, and we look forward to his contributions."

Meeks signed a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Pistons in 2014 but has played only 63 games over the past two seasons. He missed the first 22 games of 2014-15 with a lower back injury. In 2015-16, he played only three games because he had surgery to repair a fracture in his right foot.

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Gilas Pilipinas. FIBA photo

Many Filipino fans are praying for a massive upset when the Philippine national men’s basketball team take on powerhouse France on the opening day of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at Mall of Asia Arena.

Turkey coach Ergin Ataman, however, doesn’t want to keep Gilas Pilipinas fans’ hopes high.

“Philippines beating France is impossible for me,” he said in an interview with News5. “Against France I don’t give any chance to the Philippines.”

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LeBron James. ESPN

LeBron James is starting a process that could see the Cleveland Cavaliers forward become the NBA's first $200 million man and the highest-paid player for a single season in league history in 2017.

James informed the Cavaliers on Tuesday night that he will not pick up his $24 million player option for next season. This move, which was expected, potentially paves the way for James to sign the largest total value contract in league history next year.

James has the option to sign a one-year deal with the Cavs for $27.5 million for next season, which is about $3.3 million less than he could get were he to sign a multiyear deal in which the first year would be worth $30.8 million. Under league rules, the Cavs aren't able to give him the full max next season on a one-year contract.

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 Marc Pingris. Photo courtesy of the PBA Media Bureau

Marc Pingris said Gilas Pilipinas learned a lot from their their blow-out losses to Turkey and Italy during their training camp abroad.

Hopefully, he said, they will be able to use these lessons when they face France and New Zealand in the coming FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Following a nine-day training in Greece, the nationals got beaten by the Turks, 103-68. They also bowed to Italy, 106-70, before edging China, 72-69.

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 Will Alaska be able to end their title drought this coming conference? Photo courtesy of the PBA Media Bureau

Despite failing to win the title in their last three Finals appearances, the Alaska Aces remain hungry in their quest to end a three-year title drought.

Based on deputy coach Louie Alas’ observations during their training sessions, the Aces are highly motivated going into the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup.

“Kung gagawing basis ang practice, feeling ko hindi napapagod at hindi nagsasawa ang mga players. Yung motivation nilang manalo, nandoon pa rin at hindi nawawala,” he said in the PBA website.

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