NBA Free Agency

Not the most inventive title, I know.

Suffice is it to say this post has been a long-time coming. And as far as the NBA landscape goes, the legendary Sam Cooke put it best when he sang a change is gonna come. With all the hoopla going on since the end of the NBA Finals, and everyone and their mother chiming in on what’s going to happen, I just had to get a piece of the action.

As you may very well know, I’m a huge LeBron James hater, as evidenced here, here, and here. That this entire summer is 70% LeBron-Watch 2010 doesn’t exactly tickle me. There is an absolute plethora of fantastic free agents in this class, but everybody seems to be waiting for his cards to fall before making their moves. That is, everybody except for Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Rudy Gay, John Salmons, Channing Frye, Hakim Warrick, Amir Johnson, and the best of the aforementioned group, Darko Milicic.

With all those free agents already signed, LBJ is already crying, "NOBODY WANTS TO PLAY WITH ME!" ala Ace Ventura.

It’s incredibly absurd that Atlanta is willing to pay Joe Johnson what they’re willing to, especially considering that that’s the kind of money LeBron James is expecting, and the former is nowhere near as good as the latter. On top of that, his name is way too plain to even be mentioned alongside LeBron. Joe Johnson is exactly the kind of alias you expect to see from a covert CIA Agent. However, ESPN’s J.A. Adande offers his take on what teams have in mind by offering said deals. It’s not far-fetched in the least, either. Franchises have a strong track-record of covering their backsides when it comes to NBA players and money. More often than not they’ll choose the direction of the franchise over loyalty to a player. Consider it utilitarianism at its finest.

There is a lot to cover when it comes to this particular topic. Because of that, I won’t over-extend myself and will focus on what I want to happen (and partially expect to happen) with the items that are already in place. Since we know Joe Johnson is staying in ATL, Dirk Nowitzki is likely to stay in Dallas, Paul Pierce is close to re-signing, Rudy and the Grizzlies have agreed on a Gay deal, we can infer that Kwame Brown remains the hottest free agent on the market.

The latest news has Amar’e Stoudemire being wooed by the New York Knicks, seemingly successfully, which would result in another major piece falling into play (no pun-intended). If this happens, expect David Lee to sign with another team. Don’t be surprised to see Minnesota in the mix for his services, assuming they can move Al Jefferson. The fact that Mike D’Antoni is the man in New York definitely adds allure for Amar’e, and the potential to bring in another max player increases as well.

From what it seems like, the Knicks may have given up on the LeBron chase. In doing so, they may actually lure him even more if they complete the Amar’e signing, because he’ll then have a formidable team that features Amar’e, Danilo Gallinari, Al Harrington, and an interesting piece in Eddy Curry/Eddy Curry’s expiring contract. He is in a contract year, has reportedly dropped down to 276 lbs, and is a legitimate size for a Center in the NBA. Plus, the idea of playing for D’Antoni has to entice LeBron, who would put up monster numbers in that kind of system. You know he has to be licking his chops to be able to play a run’n’gun style with one of the best pick-and-roll big men in the league, assuming Amar’e agrees. Of course, as I write this, the report that New York has been eliminated by LeBron just flew through the wire. At least they have the Mets?

With Amar’e likely to land there, that leaves two key players not named LeBron James up for grabs. Reports about Dwayne Wade wanting to stay in Miami are as stout as they come, but he is still fielding offers from Chicago and New York. Sources say he met with both teams already and has met with Chicago for a second time. I sincerely doubt Dwayne leaves Miami, but if he’s going to do it for any team, it has to be Chicago. He’s a perfect fit for them too, especially if they’re able to bring in that desired low-post threat they’ve sought after for years. You know, the one they traded away for the likes of Tyrus Thomas. That #12 guy in Portland.

The best-case scenario for LeBron, Dwayne, and Chris Bosh would be playing together. The second best-case scenario would be Dwayne and Chris playing together in Chicago. If that could be worked out, it would be the scariest team in the Eastern Conference, bar none. The third best-case scenario would be Dwayne and Chris in Miami, which would be a threatening duo but not supremely over-whelming. However, there have also been talks about Houston making a play for Chris in a sign-and-trade, of which they’re using Luis Scola, Trevor Ariza, and Shane Battier as trade bait. Yao Ming even made a plea to Chris Bosh to come play with him down in Houston.

Chris Bosh has already bragged about their dinner date to all of Twitter. D-Wade is his latest squeeze.

As I write that, Steve Blake has just agreed to a 4-year deal with my Los Angeles Lakers. More on that later.

Most importantly, that leaves LeBron. I would personally enjoy seeing him bounce to New Jersey to team with the mad Russian and Avery Johnson, playing alongside a solid point guard in Devin Harris, and a legitimate frontcourt mate in Brook Lopez. They’ve also said that if they sign LeBron they would clear more cap space, most likely to bring in some proven help. If he doesn’t end up in New Jersey, expect him to end up in either Chicago or Cleveland.

If he goes to Chicago, the Bulls have put Luol Deng on the block to bring back a serviceable center, as well as clear cap space. That simply has to be done if LeBron signs, because having both players really creates a logjam at the small forward position. At the end of the day you have LeBron playing with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and random serviceable center X. What I’m neglecting to tell you, however, is that they’ll still have enough money to try to get another stellar player in here to help LeBron, Rose, and Noah. As far as the wire goes, TWITTER just informed me that Dwayne is leaning toward Chicago.

When it’s all said and done, he’s already made up his mind. He just loves the attention and the recruiting process in general, having missed out on it by jumping straight to the pros and sidestepping college and all. If he really cares about winning, as the Persian Baller suggests he does, he’d take a pay cut and join Chris and Dwayne, or remain in Cleveland, who can both offer him the most money and has shown him its dedication to winning by doing whatever it is he wants them to do.

Whatever he does, as much as I hate to admit it, the NBA will likely feature two new power houses next year, both coming from the East. And I know one thing is for sure: for once, it won’t be China.

Till next time.

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2 Responses to “NBA Free Agency”

  1. babytyche08 Says:

    Everyone in the league is in wondering who’s going where and who’s choosing what. Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed, this is something to watch out.

  2. Daniel "Cool Beans" Lee Says:

    LeBron should retire.

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