Once the clock hits midnight and its July 1st, the dominoes can officially begin to fall in what is arguably the best free agency pool in the history of the NBA – and possibly all of sports.
Of course, saying that a bevy of contracts will be inked immediately when the doorway opens is like saying that Mikhail Prokhorov is a penny pincher.
That also goes for the fact that we know what’s really going on – because the rumors are flying – and I mean REALLY flying.
So let me get this straight, one report has LeBron James and Chris Bosh both signing with the Heat to join Dwyane Wade as part of a “super team” in Miami – correct?
That’s correct, and Stephen A. Smith also mentioned it as “highly likely” on the Dan Patrick Show recently.
Yet, ESPN’s Chad Ford (via his Twitter account) stated earlier today that the “Nets believe they’re in the lead for LeBron.”
OK, hold the phone – so one rumor has King James in Miami and another has him headed to the New Jersey Nets?
What about the Bulls? Weren’t there rumors about LeBron following in the footsteps of Michael Jordan in the Windy City?
Well, sure there were – but Chicago has their eyes on others as well. As reported by both Doug Thonus on Chicago Now’s “Bulls Confidential” and Chicago Breaking Sports, the Bulls plan to meet with Chris Bosh first, and then Dwyane Wade on Thursday.
If your head is spinning, don’t fret – K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune puts the Chicago Bulls free agency situation in full perspective.
So wait, does that mean that Wade is not a certainty to remain in Miami, as many have speculated?
Hey, every guy has the right to weigh his options.
Man, my head hurts.
So who has the real answers to all these free agency questions?
Well, no one yet – it’s just the media fighting to get the answer right before the other guy – but Brian Windhorst of The Plain Dealer has a bunch of answers to a lot of Cleveland’s NBA free agency questions.
Imagine what will happen with all the teams that lose out – and there will be losers once the dust has settled. It could be the New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Clippers, the New Jersey Nets – heck, it could be anyone.
As for the Knicks, Marc Berman of the New York Post mentions a source stating that New York plans to meet with Mike Miller and Joe Johnson.
Speaking of Joe Johnson, he’s an interesting case – especially considering that Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Hawks plan to offer Johnson a max contract.
Offering a max contract with all these other big names available? That may be too hard to pass up. Cunningham chooses not to toss in his additional two cents – but if he shares my thoughts here, I think Atlanta would be crazy to do that – and I’m talking crazy like “Lady GaGa in the Yankees clubhouse crazy”.
Maybe a surprise team will come out of the woodwork – or a surprise trade will occur. After all, there have been the recent rumors involving another NBA power, the Orlando Magic – who have emerged in rumors for players such as Gilbert Arenas from Washington and Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets.
Sure those rumors are fine and dandy – but Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel seems to discard all of them, hinting that the Magic are likely to only have a few minor changes to pull out of their hat.
Then, there’s the announcement by Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, who has stated that he will return to the bench next season.
What does this mean for “The Big 3” in Boston?
We know Garnett will be back, but Paul Pierce opted out of his contract and Ray Allen is a part of this uber-talented free agency pool.
Some expect Boston to keep the group intact and shoot for one last title run.
Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe adds more proof to this theory, reporting that Danny Ainge and the Celtics will be making Paul Pierce “one of our top priorities.”
Meanwhile, the rumors continue to fly throughout other major cities of teams that have a pantload of cap space – and therefore hope to court any (or multiple) big names.
These are just a sampling of recent rumors to hit the basketball world hard like a LeBron James slam dunk – but who could expect anything less with a group headlined by James himself, and also including the likes of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Dirk Nowitzki – among others.
Where do you stand on NBA free agency? I’ll say this – and this is my opinion (with no sources influencing me, but just my gut talking):
- The most likely to be on a new team is Chris Bosh – count on that, actually.
- The most likely to stay with his own team – and this is aside from Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki (who many believe will stay) – is Dwyane Wade, who I feel will stay with the Heat. On top of that, I think Miami will add a major piece to its championship puzzle, but it won’t be King James.
- As for LeBron, my prediction is that King James will either stay in Cleveland or sign with the Bulls.
When it’s all said and done – this will certainly be remembered as one of the more interesting and fascinating free agency periods in sports history… and that’s even if the majority of the players decide to stay put – which I think a number of them will.
Let the games begin.