After the holiday weekend everyone likely needs a little catchup on all the free agency moves, or more appropriately, free agency rumors because that is all we really have at this point regarding some of the major players.
I don’t think anybody has a clue about Lebron yet. The ESPN scroll continues to act as if every meeting Lebron has is breaking news and that he is on the verge of making a decision when in reality this is likely playing out as Lebron planned all along, with him visiting several teams, listening to pitches, then making an informed decision. Nothing impulsive was ever going to happen. My original guess was the Bulls and they are still in play but this is not a hunch I would bet my mortgage on. The longer this lasts the more likely I feel Lebron will be back with the Cavs.
I thought Wade was a lock to return to the Heat, and unlike Lebron, I think the longer it plays out with Wade the greater likely-hood he could actually leave. Of the thousands of rumors or speculation going on I did see something yesterday regarding Wade’s children being in Chicago and how that could play into his decision. At this point I am not sure what to believe about any of the players but that is one factor that I could see forcing Wade to think about Chicago.
No news on Bosh other than it is still possible he will be moved in a sign and trade which can pull other teams into the mix. I think Amare beat Bosh to the punch on being one of the top players of some influence to sign somewhere. I always expected Bosh to sign somewhere before Amare did and that somewhere would likely have been where Dwayne Wade already was, or where Lebron was going.
This wild ride of a Free Agency period could provide Anthony with an extension from the Nuggets. The latest is a $65 million extension. It would be very wise for the Nuggets to get something done now. I am not sure why Carmelo would sign the deal however, he could be the very big fish in a very small free agency class in 2011.
Our Milwaukee Bucks made it official over the weekend that John Salmons will be staying at 5 years, 39 million. Even with Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts added to the mix I really like this signing. Salmons was the Bucks go-to-guy down the stretch of most games last season. The Bucks will not wow people and be able to outscore opponents every night, they grind with defense and opportunistic offence. Salmons was a critical player down the stretch due to his ability to get to the line, something so few of the Bucks were able to do with any regularity.
Amare is going to the Knicks at 5 years, 99.7 million. Amare is not a max player in my opinion but that doesn’t seem to really matter. This signing at least prevents the Knicks from getting snubbed, instead it ensures them of adding a contract that could become a problem if Amare’s knee acts up after working hard to clear up cap space. It is like when you are a kid and you parents gave you $5 dollars to go somewhere, did you ever come back with any money? It seems like that is the same way NBA GMs treat the cap, if I got it I gotta spend it.
Staying with the Hawks for the max, 6 years 119 million. This is worse than Amare getting the max, mostly because if Lebron James and/or Dwayne Wade sign somewhere other than their current teams Joe Johnson will have a higher salary due to the max contract rules. Does that even sound close to a good idea?
Dirk is staying with the Mavs for 4 years at 80 million. I was mildly surprised, I thought it might be time for both sides to move on.
So the big news so far in free agency is the really big players, Lebron, Wade and Bosh, have not made a move yet and it will be highly likely that some teams will experience some buyers remorse in the next few years as players that have no business getting the max are getting exactly that.