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NBA free agency update: Knicks reportedly acquiring Andrea Bargnani from Raptors; Dwight Howard sweepstakes heating up

07.01.13 at 10:20 am ET
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He’€™s tall, he’€™s injury-prone, he’€™s expensive, and soon he’€™s going to be a Knick — maybe.

The Knicks and Raptors are close to finalizing an agreement that would send 7-foot power forward Andrea Bargnani to New York, ESPN reported, in exchange for center Marcus Camby and small forward Steve Novak.

However, the NBA refused to approve the deal Sunday night, so in order to complete the trade under 2013-14 cap terms, the Knicks are expected to sign-and-trade at least one player they had at the end of the season as part of the deal, according to ESPN’s Jared Zwerling. Earl Barron and Quentin Richardson are two candidates.

Howard Beck of The New York Times reports the Knicks also will include their 2016 first-round draft pick, and USA Today indicates two second-round picks will also go the Raptors’€™ way.

In his seven seasons since joining Toronto for 2006-07, Bargnani has averaged 15.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, with those marks down to 12.7 and 3.7 in 2012-13. Tommy Beer of hoopsworld.com points out that Bargnani was the first 7-footer to average both 28 minutes and fewer than four rebounds per game in NBA history this season.

The native of Italy has missed 98 games the last two seasons, including the end of this season after suffering an avulsion sprain of his right elbow. He is also set to make $23 million before his contract expires in two years.

The teams cannot officially complete the trade until July 10.

The Knicks aren’€™t the only team — or individual — preparing deals to be finalized in a week and a half.

The Rockets are pulling out all the stops as they enter the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, according to Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Besides Houston brass, a dinner meeting with the free agent also reportedly featured former Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, plus Yao Ming Skyping in from China. The AP reports the team cut guards Carlos Delfino and Aaron Brooks in an effort to open up some cap space.

Howard will visit with the Warriors and Hawks on Monday, then the Mavericks on Tuesday, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak met informally with the 6-foot-11 Howard Saturday and Sunday in an effort to get a head start on his competition.

The Lakers are using billboards and newspaper ads to woo Howard, and Dallas is getting some help from the community: Fast-food chain Raising Cane’s is offering Howard free chicken fingers for the rest of his life if he signs with the Mavs.

The Clippers’€™ acquisition of Doc Rivers, meanwhile, appears to be paying off. ESPN reports that Chris Paul, reportedly one of the driving forces in Los Angeles trading for the coach, is expected to accept a five-year, $107 million extension from the Clippers, and that it is such a sure thing that Paul’€™s agent told other teams to not bother with offers.

Forward Andrei Kirilenko, who averaged similar numbers to Bargnani with the Timberwolves in 2012-13, is turning down $10 million and opting out of his contract in favor of testing free agency again. His 12.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game were his best totals since 2005-06.

Read More: Andrea Bargnani, Andrei Kirilenko, Chris Paul, doc rivers