Saturday, July 3, 2010

The NBA Free Agency Letdown

Now I’ve had blue balls before, but NBA free agency is the worst.

After I woke up this afternoon and toasted myself a delicious everything bagel, I decided to turn on SportsCenter and check if anything had happened yet in regards to LeBron, D-Wade, and everyone else. I got excited when I saw that box after box on the left hand side of my TV had to do with the NBA. I was on the edge of my seat, toes clenched, hardly able to contain myself as Sage Steele and J.A. Adande went at it on screen. However, a few minutes in, I realized that they were talking about nothing. I was no longer excited, and I became less and less interested on what was going on. By the end of the segment, I was left feeling empty, disappointed, upset, and with a familiar pain in my lower stomach.

What I have come to realize about July 1, 2010, is that it was never going to live up to the hype. This was a day, and a subsequent week, that had been hyped up by NBA analysts and sports anchors for over 2 years as being the most important moment in the history of the NBA. What I should have seen coming was a lot of talk with nothing to back it up. Nothing but speculation and guessing. And in the end, I’m willing to bet that nothing monumental or unexpected will happen. After reviewing who was out there and what teams were chasing them, I found it easy to relieve my pain and frustration by rubbing out a quick analysis as to which players will end up where, and why.

LeBron James
The King is easily the king of this class. He is the most important part of the equation. He is one of only two players, in my opinion, who actually command a max contract. And after he finally signs, we will get to know a lot more about him. If loyalty, family, and/or money are his motivation, he will re-sign with the Cavaliers. If he wants to win a title, he will sign with the Bulls or join D-Wade in Miami. If he wants to become the biggest sports figure in the world, he will sign with the Knicks, where the endorsements will rain down on him like an over-zealous kid topping his ice cream sundae off with sprinkles. If he wants to blow out his knee and throw his career away, he’ll sign with the Clippers. If he signs anywhere else, he’s taking crazy pills.

Dwayne Wade
D-Wade is still somehow underrated. And that’s saying something, considering he has a championship, a Finals MVP award, and is commanding a maximum contract. However, people still see him as being beneath Kobe and LeBron. He has more rings than LBJ, and he has consistently made the playoffs without nearly the supporting cast either Kobe or LBJ have. There’s a 90% chance D-Wade stays in Miami. He already has a title there, it’s his team, they can offer the most money, and he gets to live in Miami. Also, with their cap space and ability to use him as bait, they can entice at least one other max contract free agent (Chris Bosh?) to join him.

Chris Bosh
The best big man available, hands down. You know you’re getting 20/10 from him, but he doesn’t dazzle and therefore doesn’t draw the interest from the media, and sponsors, that other players do. How often do you look up highlights of Chris Bosh on YouTube? Thought so. However, you can’t teach size, and therefore he’s going to get the big bucks. Not a chance that he goes back to Toronto, he wants to win. From experience we know he can’t do it on his own. This means he will be the third one to sign. He will most likely end up joining D-Wade in Miami. They’re good friends, have the same agent, played together on Team USA, and Miami has the cap space to do it.

Joe Johnson
Certainly the most overrated player in this class. Yeah, he’s athletic. Yeah, he can score. But can he win? The answer is no. You can’t build a team around this guy. In the 06-07 season, his best statistically, he averaged 25 points, 4 boards, and 4 assists per game. That’s not a max contract player. Last year he averaged 21/4.6/5. Not a max contract player. He’s never gone beyond the second round of the playoffs. He doesn’t play good defense. He’s going to be 29 next year and most guards only get worse after they hit 32. He does not deserve this money. He shouldn’t get more than a 3 year deal. Everyone knows it except the Hawks, and they’re going to pay him $119M over 6 years. Joe Johnson stays put.

Amar’e Stoudemire
The second best big in the free agent class wants out of Phoenix, despite being on a consistent playoff team. The man wants to get paid and get out of Nash’s tiny shadow. He goes to New York to be the man on a sub-par team. I can see him maybe going to Miami if Bosh goes to Chicago.

Paul Pierce and Ray Allen
Both sign back with the Celtics after taking a pay cut to make one, maybe two more runs at a ring before they call it quits. No brainer here.

Everyone Else
Who cares?

Have a happy holiday weekend. And remember, pimpin’ ain’t easy.


  1. You forgot Dirk and Carlos Boozer but I forgive you. Bosh and Amare both deserve max contracts because whether they help their team or not, the owners will almost definitely get that money back in sales and marketing.

    I'm of the opinion that LeBron should sign with the Clippers because, other than Chicago, that team has the best chance to win. I don't think LeBron wants to play under Jordan's shadow, so what better place to cement his own legacy than with the most pathetic franchise in professional sports (unless you're a Pirates fan)?

  2. Dirk in Dallas has always been a done deal, and I don't put Boozer in the same class as the rest of the "elite" free agents. But I definitely agree with you on Bosh and Amare, and it's coming true: Amare has his max deal and Bosh's isn't too far away.

    I would like to see LeBron end up in LA, but it's not going to happen. And here's why: if he decides he doesn't mind playing for a team with a less than desirable history, he'll stay in Cleveland. The Clippers can't really offer him anything more, except to play in the shadow of the Lakers. He's already a legend in Ohio, and in addition, it's home. I think he stays.