Sunday, July 10, 2005

Anatomy of a Free Agent Search

Las Vegas -- So I was hanging out with Pete Rose inside a casino, when I was distracted by a fight and bumped into by Norman Chad, which almost caused me to ignore my cell phone that was vibrating in my pocket with information about Larry Hughes.

What a wild week it's been, let me tell you.

I've been splitting my time here at the World Series of Poker collecting information for a story I'll do later this month, at the Vegas Summer League working over NBA executives and agents, and sending dozens and e-mails and making calls to trail the Cavs free agent search.

Oh, and I did spend some time playing blackjack a few feet from a 60s and 70s cover band that was apparently being paid in booze and entire focus on this evening was to get a 40ish plus size fake blonde to dance her way out of her taught spaghetti straps. I won $45 and the straps, thankfully but with not without some tense moments, held. Always double down on 11.

After five days, I'm ready to leave, but it isn't yet in the, ahem, cards. I'll be here awhile longer searching for information.

Last year while I was here covering the Cavs in summer league I was closely observing my friend Chris Tomasson of the Rocky Mountain News handle covering a team with $20 million in salary cap space. One night Kenyon Martin showed up at the games and to talk to Nuggets officials and later he was signed. I tried to learn as much as I could.

It has come in handy this year. Thrashing around, I was able to stay on top of the Larry Hughes chase. I actually got a call at 5 a.m. local time on Friday morning telling me my story that had run that day was on the money. The Cavs had a deal with Hughes.

The Wizards people are here. I worked them over. The Cavs people are here. They had nothing to say. There's an agent, whose's client is friends with Hughes. We talked. There's an executive with another team who wanted Hughes who was talking to Hughes' agent. We talked. Bits, pieces and guesswork to be sure. And with $16 million left in cap space much, much more to be done.

But now I'm off to the WSOP, where I continue to try to figure out what the hell is going on after three days. I asked Pete Rose, trust me, he doesn't know either.

If you're bored or just dying for more Hughes info, here's my Sunday Column.

Take care,