NBA free agency starts Thursday. Not sure if you guys had heard about it.
The way this off-season is looking like it will play out, it seems like the NBA might as well just re-draft the entire league and give the teams with the most cap room the first picks.
Right now, all sorts of reports of floating around. LeBron and Bosh to the Bulls. LeBron/Wade/Bosh to the Heat. Joe Johnson/Amare to the Knicks. The Mavs want a shot at LeBron. The Nets want to make a huge splash. The Wolves want Rudy Gay (seriously David Kahn? You just acquired 4 small forwards you freak). The Clippers want to get in the mix.
It’s going to be ridiculous and I’m sure we will talk a lot about it here, even though the Sixers won’t likely be a part of it (though a team that totally strikes out might look to trade for someone like Iggy).
So this post is going to be a place where everyone can guess what’s going to happen before the big day on Thursday.
Who Has Cap Space?
*projections assume a $56 million cap, and assume this site is correct
- Heat ($47.4 million)
- Knicks ($38.2)
- Bulls ($30.2)
- Nets ($28.9)
- Wizards ($21.5)
- Clippers ($18.6)
- Kings ($17.6)
- T-Wolves ($13.5)
- Thunder ($11.9)
- Memphis ($11.0)
- Suns ($10.9)
- Cavs ($10.0)
- Raptors ($7.7)
- Hawks ($7.6)
- Bucks ($2.4)
Who Are The Players?
Here are the big players that we want everyone to take a guess at…
- LeBron James
- Dwyane Wade
- Chris Bosh
- Amar’e Stoudemire
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Joe Johnson
- Carlos Boozer
- Rudy Gay
- Paul Pierce
- Ray Allen
- David Lee
In addition feel free to guess where other chips may fall. Here is a list of CNNSI’s top 40 FA for this off-season (I assumed Yao would not opt-0ut and join the fray).
Pete’s Best Guess
I have no more info than you guys, so don’t think this has any weight. But here is my best guess as to how it will play out (some of this is wishful thinking and going with the idea that I don’t think this will play out at all how people think). Also if you just copy and paste this in the comments and change the teams to what you think will happen, that would work well.
James – Cavs (I still think his heart wins out, Joe Mauer-style)
Wade – Heat
Bosh – Nets (the surprise. He gets to be “the man” while being surrounded by a very good supporting cast. They then trade Favors.)
Stoudemire – Heat
Nowitzki – Mavs
Johnson – Knicks
Boozer – Knicks
Gay – Bulls
Pierce – Celtics
Allen – Bulls
Lee – Suns
Left twiddling their thumbs: Clippers, Bulls to an extent
Dannie’s Best Guess
James – Heat
I don’t think he can risk his legacy on the sentimental value of staying in Cleveland in hopes they built the right team around him. His time is now and there are much better options out there for him in Miami and Chicago.
Wade – Heat
I don’t see anyway he leaves Miami.
Bosh – Heat
Bosh is probably 80% going wherever James goes. I have LeBron in Miami and that means Bosh is there too.
Stoudemire – Knicks
Reunite with D’Antoni in the city of bright lights. Seems like it would appeal to Stoudemire. And I find it hard to believe Phoenix would give him the money he wants (and they probably shouldn’t).
Nowitzki – Mavs
Johnson – Chi
Good fit here. Chi needs a shooting guard next to Rose who can knock down shots and be a playmaker when he needs a break.
Boozer – Utah
I feel like he stays in Utah, but he fooled Cleveland before.
Gay – Knicks
Perfect fit in D’Antoni’s system. He could put up ridiculous numbers there. I think Memphis took Henry in preperation for getting blown out of the water by another team with cap space that misses out of James/Wade/Bosh. The Knicks are a good candidate.
Pierce – Celtics
No way he leaves and I wouldn’t be surprised if he opts out to structure his deal so they can resign Allen.
Allen – Celtics
They find a way to keep him and that team in tact for another year. The caveat is, if Doc leaves that is in serious doubt.
Lee – Wash
You have two ball dominating guards there, Lee isn’t a big personality and can get points on the glass, seems like a fit.
In the end I think Miami offers the strongest pitch to Bosh and LeBron.
From a winning championships perspective no team can provide better. From a financial standpoint, Miami is in position to offer each player a starting salary of roughly $15M with normal yearly increases. BUT, you also have to account for the fact that their are no personal income taxes in Miami, meaning the players get to keep significantly more of their money, which would cover for any pay reduction they take to play together.
Miami’s owner is Mickey Arison one of the 50 richest people in the U.S. so the luxury tax isn’t going to ever be an issue with this team. Maybe they can’t get the top role players for 2011, but they can every year thereafter with the exceptions they’ll have. Also, he has built a culture with the Heat that does things like this for it’s players.
Oh and IT’S MIAMI!
I kind of wonder if LeBron can handle playing in Chicago, with Jordan’s statue out front of the arena and those 6 championships (two back to back) hovering above every day. If he doesn’t have similar success with a team clearly capable I think he personally would be devastated and his legacy would take a major hit as well. I just think, that actually does cross his mind.
The only reason this doesn’t happen is ego and I know there is a lot of it. Financially it makes sense, winning-wise is makes too much sense and the city is certainly acceptable. If it doesn’t happen it’s because James couldn’t stand being on a team with Wade where he has to share the lime light (Bosh is really an after fact in all this).
I tried (and failed I’m sure) to make sense of this but it’s impossible and in now way will anyone be able to predict what happens.
I think a lot of teams who need wing players could either lose out on everyone because the top wings go elsewhere OR they could just pick the next available best player regardless if it’s a position of need (think Boozer/Stoudemire/Lee to the Nets or Clippers).