Free Agency Update

July 2, 2010

Not a huge spark on the start of free agency day, but it was still fun to see players switch around some teams. Let’s take a look on some key players that signed with certain teams.

Rudy Gay was the first free agent to make a big splash in the market. As a restricted agent, the Memphis Grizzlies made sure Gay went nowhere. Memphis secured him with a 5 year deal worth $82 million dollars. With a huge contract like that, Rudy should be able to deliver the Memphis fans a great few years. I think Rudy Gay doesn’t get enough attention out in the NBA world. One big reason is probably the fact that he’s playing in Memphis. The last I checked, Memphis fans barely even filled a stadium of people.

Milwaukee’s John Salmons also made a deal with his current team. The Bucks re-signed him for 5 years worth up to $39 million. Salmons is a wonderful player, but I wonder how will the combo of Salmons, Maggette, and Redd is going to work out. Chances are, Maggette will sit on the bench and be that sixth man. It’s great that Salmons can finally settle down in a team that likes him.

Other role players who were picked up by teams:

Drew Gooden – 5 year contract, $32 million with Milwaukee Bucks

Great pick-up for the Bucks. The Bucks are making the most moves so far in the market. Gooden has proved in the past few years he can be a factor off the bench.

Hakim Warrick – 4 year contract, $18 million with Phoenix Suns

Great athleticism for a PF. Warrick can block shots and bring the spark off the bench if he has the playing time.

Amir Johnson – 5 year contract, $34 million with Toronto Raptors

Arguable decision by Raptor’s GM Bryan Colangelo. Amir is young, but is his talent worth the contract given to him?

Darko Milicic – 4 year contract, $20 million with Minnesota Timberwolves

A slap in the face to Al Jefferson. David Kahn, you’re just bringing this team down into the dumps year by year…. No disrespect to Darko, but cmon’ now. He had a decent half season and immediately worth $20 million through 4 years?

Channing Frye – 5 year contract, $30 million with Phoenix Suns

Basically, the Suns are trying to build insurance for Amare if he leaves. Chances of Amare leaving are extremely high. Frye can play, but can he deliver a strong performance in the playoffs. That is the question.

Steve Blake – 4 year contract, $16 million with Los Angeles Lakers

One of the biggest upgrades in the free agent market was from the Lakers. The Lakers picked up a point guard who can run the ball well with the traditional triangle offense. At $16 million for 4 years, the Lakers got Blake for a discount. For he could have gotten an easy $6 million from the Knicks each year.

BIGGEST RUMORS AND CHATTER!

There have been reports about Amare Stoudemire close to reaching a 5 year deal worth up to $100 million dollars with the Knicks. Amare is strongly considering the deal, but will still snoop around on other teams such as Miami and Chicago. The Suns offered the same deal but $5 million dollars less. My prediction before was for Amare to head to NY, so far, it’s looking like it.

Dwyane Wade just met with the Chicago Bulls and is “leaning towards commitment” with the Bulls. That says a lot. Dwade is probably feelin’ the hometown love and putting Miami aside for now. The Heat are still scheduled to meet with Wade on Saturday and that meeting might change is mind in a snap.

Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki met with their current teams and are finding a deal to have them return. Sources say Pierce will sign a deal up to $62 million for four years. Smart for Paul to take advantage before the Collective Bargaining Agreement comes into play.

As for LeBron James, he met with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers. ESPN news says Pat Riley came out of the meeting with a grin on his face and the Los Angeles owner Donald Sterling did not attend the Clippers meeting since all he wanted to be presented to the King was pure basketball talk.

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Round and round wherever they go. Where they’ll end up, nobody knows

June 30, 2010

As there’s less than a day left before free agency negotiations go under way, the flame has grown much much bigger. Talks about LeBron, Wade, AND Bosh playing in Miami stirred up over the week and a few teams made big moves to clear up cap space for big stars in the market this summer. Other than those three players I just mentioned, there are also significant role players in the market to be signed too. Such players like Ray Allen, Allen Iverson, and Shaq need to find a team that can chase the title. Here are my predictions of where each superstar player will land this summer. I’ll also include role players and former stars that are old but still have the talent to help a team win a championship.

Here we go starting with the main stage:

LeBron James

Prediction: New York Knicks

Knicks fans waited years to get to this point and letting LeBron slip off their hands would be heartbreaking once again. Money talks, but so does basketball. Money is a given in the big city of New York. The talent on the roster will be up to veterans who want to step in and sign with the Knicks to pursue a championship. The Knicks  have a nice small roster with contracts right now. With great young players like Gallinari who can shoot, Chandler who is versatile, and an improving Toney Douglas, all the Knicks need are a few players who are 1. Past their prime (former stars) 2. Still have gas left in the tank 3. And lastly desperately need a ring on their finger. Those veterans will need to take a pay cut in order to win. The Knicks will have the money to sign two superstars if they wanted. LeBron’s stock will skyrocket if he signed with the Knicks. Actually, if NY were to win the title next season with LeBron, anyone on the roster’s stock would rise. Right now, New York’s doing everything they can to clear cap room for players, and getting rid of Eddy Curry is a priority (not like it wasn’t).

Chances to: New York 40%, Chicago 30%, Cleveland 30%

Dwyane Wade

Prediction: Miami Heat

He’s been there and done that. Wade has a ring to look at while LeBron and Bosh don’t. The city of Miami have been very supportive behind DWade. Also, the team is moving in a right direction. The Heat has only missed the playoffs once after the their championship year in 2006 due to a series of injuries especially on Wade. Pat Riley and staff have been calm and considerate with Wade. Miami has the money to sign up to three superstar players. Chances of that happening are slim in my opinion. Most of the superstars in the market are in their prime. Taking a big pay cut and not winning a title in the next few seasons would have gone to waste. Especially in Miami, there isn’t much media attention as the other big cities. Wade will have a partner to work with in Miami since it’s still HIS team.

Chances to: Miami 80%, Chicago 20%

Chris Bosh

Prediction: Miami Heat

Bosh wants to win. Playing for the Toronto Raptors hasn’t gotten him anymore near a championship. Chris will follow a team that has had championship experience, and that is in Miami. Wade has a ring, Bosh can receive a ring and give Wade two. He would be Dwyane’s sidekick at most. It’ll be a smart move to go to Miami through a sign and trade. Miami has enough money to attract many valuable players. If the solution to getting Bosh is shipping out Beasley and Chalmers (recent source), Miami would need to replace those positions with role players who can step into play when needed. When Wade played with Shaq in 2006 and won the title, key players came into Miami such as Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning, Antoine Walker, and James Posey to help win that title. It can happen again.

Chances to: Miami 40%, Chicago 30%, New York 30%

Joe Johnson

Prediction: Chicago Bulls

In need of a SG/SF, Johnson would fit perfectly for the Chicago Bulls. A back-court of Derrick Rose and Joe Johnson would sound like one of the best in the league today. Besides Rose, Johnson can shine in Chicago if he plays well. He didn’t get that chance in Atlanta due to the lack of media attention and all-star caliber players playing around him. If the pulls don’t pull off a LeBron and Bosh deal, Joe Johnson would be their next choice.

Chances to: Chicago 35%, New York 30%, Los Angeles Clippers 25%, New Jersey 10%

Amare Stoudemire

Prediction: New York Knicks

Yup, LeBron’s sidekick. Why you ask? If Bosh signs with Miami and Wade is there, LeBron is going to need someone else to be there with him to dominate. Amare’s going to be that force. Playing under Mike D’ Antoni again would be enjoyable for the big man. Having LeBron adapting to the running game would be a piece of game, and Amare already knows how it would work. Plus, the money is good in NY. What is there to hate?

Chances to: New York 50%, Phoenix 30%, Miami 20%

Dirk Nowitzki

Prediction: Dallas Mavericks

The Mavs have been successful in the last few years. Their early playoff exit in 2010 was unfortunately against the experienced Spurs. Caron Butler was added on mid-way through the season, so that might have been a factor for them faltering. Next season will be different though. They will bring back Dirk and be on the lookout for a trade that might include Kidd.

Chances to: Dallas 90%, New York 10%

Paul Pierce

Prediction: Boston Celtics

He’s been there and been successful. The Celtics reached to the NBA Finals. Yes they are aging. But if Pierce was smart, he should take less money with the Celtics so Boston can sign key players to make another championship run while they can with a 34 year old Kevin Garnett and 32 year old Paul Pierce. Ray Allen’s name is up in the air, but it isn’t guaranteed he’ll come back.

Chances to: Boston 80%, New Jersey 20%

Carlos Boozer

Prediction: Chicago Bulls

The Bulls seem to be the front runner for LeBron and Bosh. But if Chicago doesn’t get those two, then which combo would they be able to get? Joe Johnson and Boozer would fill the positions well. With the Bull’s front court being very thin, Boozer can put bulk into the paint for Chicago. For any team to win a championship, the team must have a balance of great talents. Having Rose, Johnson, Deng, Boozer, and Noah as a starting line-up sounds a bit intimidating.

Chances to: Chicago 40%, Miami 35%, Utah Jazz 25%

David Lee

Prediction: New Jersey Nets

Yes, they just got Derrick Favors. Favors isn’t ready to bring the Nets anywhere near the playoffs himself. Having David Lee and Brook Lopez as a front court is going beast mode. I would feel sorry for the opposing team trying to bang for boards, because those two usually clean it up. Avery Johnson would love to have David Lee work with the Nets, especially that Lee is a player willing to listen and do rather than talk back. If Avery ran a running game, look for the Nets to head to the playoffs.

Chances to: New Jersey 50%, New York 25%, Toronto 25%

Rudy Gay

Prediction: Tie between Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves

Clippers: Plain and simple, Rudy would fit perfect there. They just need a coach to let Baron Davis run the ball like he did in GS the year they went to the playoffs. If BDiddy got the chance to do that and have Rudy Gay on the Clippers, be afraid of the Clippers for the time being.

T-Wolves: It wouldn’t make sense if David Kahn signed Gay. They just drafted Wesley Johnson. But rumors are swirling around about Kahn chasing Rudy. Horrible move if they sign Gay because they would have too many SG/SF’s.

Chances to: Los Angeles Clippers 40%, Minnesota Timberwolves 40%, Memphis Grizzlies 20%

Ray Allen

Prediction: New York Knicks

Allen is smart. He will follow where championship contenders are. Playing with LeBron and Amare in a running system is perfect for Allen since he’s just a spot up shooter. With the ability of LeBron being able to pass the ball, Ray Ray would have great looks if he plays with the King. Allen has a few more years left in him, and it would be sweet if he won one more ring under his belt with LeBron and in Madison Square Garden rather than the TD garden.

Chances to: New York 30%, Boston 30%, New Jersey 20%, Miami 20 %

Allen Iverson

Prediction: Miami Heat, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics

All these teams would be contenders and in need of veteran talent. Iverson can still play, no matter what anyone says, the guy can ball still. Whether he will be a sixth man or a starter, he will be a factor for any championship contending team to get the title.

Shaquille O’Neal

Prediction: Dallas Mavericks or Retirement

Old Diesel would only fit in one place. Dallas. Assuming Dirk comes back to Dallas, Shaq would work next to Nowitzki. It’ll make them a stronger contender and definitely in the top 3 best teams in the West. I wouldn’t be surprised if Shaq chose retirement this year. The man is old. Whatever decision he makes, more power to him.

Tracy McGrady

Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks

Lakers: Artest is letting Tmac know that if he comes to LA, he’ll get his ring he always wanted. Ron got it. If Ron can get it, Tracy can get it. The time is ticking on Tmac’s career.

Mike D’ Antoni let McGrady play and he didn’t do bad for being off the court so long. If the relationship is still good and the Knicks pick up big names, I see TMac staying in NY.

John Salmons

Prediction: Sacramento Kings or Miami Heat

Sacramento: Salmons had a great time in Sacramento since he started blossoming is talent there after countless years. Going back as a starter and to have a chance to shine with Tyreke Evans can be fun and memorable. Money speaks to Salmons.

Miami Heat: If Salmons wanted to, he can play for a contending team where he can start. In Miami he will definitely need to take a pay cut.

Steve Blake

Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers

Chances are, they Lakers can’t bring back Farmar or Brown. A starting passing point guard who can adapt to the triangle well would benefit the Lakers in getting another three peat going.

Josh Howard

Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trailblazers, Sacramento Kings

All three teams need a SF. Whether Josh will start or not, he’ll come for a cheap price. At most, a Mid Level Exception contract. Howard still has the slashing talent, just needs a chance from a team.

Mike Miller

Prediction: Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers

Both teams are in need of a sharp shooter like Miller. Boston will chase Miller if they lose Ray Ray. Lakers will go after Miller if they lose Brown. Mike’s talent is overlooked upon in this league. I think he’d be a great sixth man or starter if a team needed him. In the end, it’s up to Mike’s decision whether he wants to play for the redemption team or defending champs.



Ready for the grades?!?!

February 22, 2010

As usual, rumors often become just rumors before the trade deadline. Not too many big deals at all. Other than that, lets recap with all the trades that went down right before Thursday night.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Acquired: Antawn Jamison and Sebastian Telfair

Losses: Zydrunas Illgauskas, Emir Preldzic, and a 2010 first round pick

Probably the biggest trade before the deadline was the Jamison deal. This trade surprised me. I thought the Wizards should have known better to make this team a more of a powerhouse than it already is. Don’t let the Bobcat’s whipping to Jamison’s behind fool you tonight. Antawn is a great player. His age might be a concern for the Cavaliers in the long run, but the man can still shoot the ball. Sebastian is currently injured, but I believe he may be a solid third string point guard if Mo Williams or Daniel Gibson gets hurt.

Grade: A-

2.Dallas Mavericks

Acquired: Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson

Losses: Josh Howard, James Singleton, Drew Gooden, and Quinton Ross

Butler and Haywood are the main pieces to this Dallas team. Caron gives the Mavs another offensive threat which Josh Howard hasn’t been filling in for and Haywood gives another big body down low who can crash boards and play incredible defense. What I like to see from the Mavericks after the trade is the productivity of their bench. The bench has to be one of the best in the league today with Jason Terry, J.J. Barea, and Erick Dampier are one of the big names not in the starting lineup.

Grade: A

3.Houston Rockets

Acquired: Kevin Martin, Hilton Armstrong, Jordan Hill, and Jared Jeffries

Losses: Tracy McGrady, Carl Landry, and Joey Dorsey

I thought for one thing Houston would try to find another big man to their roster. They found two decent ones, but nothing to go “WOW” about. Kevin Martin was a great pick up for the Rockets. Shane Battier would probably move back to the sixth man spot where he does exceptionally well. Aaron Brooks should be leading this team now that Carl Landry who was probably the Rocket’s best active player this season is now gone. This trade was a great playoff push trade for the Rockets.

Grade: B+

4.Portland Trail Blazers

Acquired: Marcus Camby

Losses: Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw

In desperate need to find a big man, Portland finally came through landing a experienced player. Camby is a solid acquisition for the Blazers since Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla went out. Old Juwan Howard needed a break from playing so much sometime soon. Portland plays an uptempo style which fits perfectly with Camby since he used to play with the fast paced Denver Nuggets.

Grade: B

5.Charlotte Bobcats

Acquired: Tyrus Thomas and Theo Ratliff

Losses: Flip Murray, Acie Law, future first round pick, and future second round pick

The Bobcats are a fun fast paced team to watch. Funny how they can beat the Cavs and lose to the Nets. Tyrus Thomas is a perfect addition to the team. The Bulls were fed up with the kid, but the Bobcats picked up the slack for them by taking Tyrus off their hands for a decent Flip Murray, traveling guard Acie Law, and a first round pick which Tyrus once was. Ratliff was a questionable decision on the other hand. But having a veteran who can protect the paint for some few minutes won’t hurt much for a second round pick.

Grade: A-

6.Milwaukee Bucks

Acquired: John Salmons, Primoz Brezec, Royal Ivey, and a second round picks (from 76ers and Bulls)

Losses: Joe Alexander, Hakim Warrick, Jodie Meeks, and Francisco Elson

With Redd out the whole season, the Bucks look to start fresh with a new roster look. Redd’s contract will be done by the end of this season, so they are trying to find a replacement for him. Salmons is a decent pick up for the Bucks. But these trades to me doesn’t seem to make much sense. Warrick was a solid player for the Bucks. He didn’t have a great jump shot, but his athleticism makes him have skill talent similar to players like Josh Smith or Shawn Marion. I mean, he was a natural forward so I don’t expect him to shoot the ball outside much. Joe Alexander had potential to become a good player too, but the Bucks gave up on him. Milwaukee should have used this non playoff season to experiment young players like Alexander and Meeks.

Grade: D+

7. Boston Celtics

Acquired: Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry

Losses: Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker, and a future second round pick

Nate Robinson as a sixth man for the already stacked Celtics? That’s crazy talk. Eddie House was a great role player for the Celtics. Shipping him and two young players for the 3 time Dunk Champion to me was pretty much a steal. The one problem on my mind is how is Nate going to share the minutes with Rondo or Allen? His minutes will go down for sure. Let’s see how this will work out.

Grade: A

8. New York Knicks

Acquired: Tracy McGrady, Sergio Rodriguez, Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker, and a future second round pick

Losses: Nate Robinson, Marcus Landry, Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill, Larry Hughes, and a future protected first round pick

The New York buzz is TMAC. Tracy amazed NY in his debut scoring 26 points. I always thought Tracy still had his talent. New York needs all the expiring contracts they can get for the LeBron chase. Having Tracy a former star on the team can bring in ticket sales for the Knicks at least. Also, the Knicks got lucky getting rid of Jared Jeffries and Jordan Hill whose contracts were going to spill into next season.

Grade: B+

9.Chicago Bulls

Acquired: Flip Murray, Joe Alexander, Acie Law, Hakim Warrick, and a future first round pick (Charlotte)

Losses: Tyrus Thomas, John Salmons, and future second round picks

Chemistry issues made the Bulls ship out Thomas. Understandable in some sense, but Chicago took a huge hit on losing a talented player. On the good side, Salmons for Warrick and Alexander was a great trade for the Bulls. Warrick would fill the spot for Thomas and Alexander hopefully can develop in Chicago behind Deng and James Johnson. If Chicago is trying their best to chase after LeBron, I highly doubt it’ll happen. Their chances of landing Dwade is more likely.

Grade: C+

10.Los Angeles Clippers

Acquired: Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw, Drew Gooden, and Cash

Losses: Marcus Camby, Al Thornton, and Sebastian Telfair

Clippers were all about the money in this trade. They didn’t get much, but as they say “every penny helps”. The Clips will be looking busy this off season in the free agent market. Their best addition I thought was Drew Gooden, but rumors are he might get bought out. Other rumors are that he might stay. If he stays, I see Drew getting some good minutes to show off his role player model. Blake should be starting, but of course LA has Baron as their starter. Outlaw is out. In the end, it comes out to just Benjamins.

Grade: C (If Gooden plays)/ D+ (If Gooden gets bought out)

11.Sacramento Kings

Acquired: Carl Landry, Larry Hughes, and Joey Dorsey

Losses: Kevin Martin, Hilton Armstrong, and Sergio Rodriguez

Another team who will make many moves in the 2010 market is the Kings. The loss of Kevin Martin is always backed up by Tyreke’s break out year. I felt that the Kings could have gotten much more for KMART 2. Hilton Armstrong was also a tough loss for Sacramento. Hilton is surprisingly athletic for his size and Houston got a steal for that. Of course, on the upside the Kings received one of the sixth man of the year candidates and expiring contracts. Too bad Carl is now starting and will soon be out of the award race.

Grade: C-

12.Washington Wizards

Acquired: Josh Howard, Quinton Ross, James Singleton, Zydrunas Illgauskas, Al Thornton, 2010 first round pick (Cleveland), and rights to Emir Preldzic

Losses: Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson, and cash

Washington is making the biggest push to rebuild before the deadline. They didn’t really care if they gave up Antawn. In desperate times, you need to make a move quickly. Big Z will most likely be bought out, but unsure if he will head back to Cleveland. Al Thornton was a nice cheap pick up and everyone else they got had expiring contracts.

Grade: C+

Minor Trade Deals

Memphis Grizzlies

Acquired: Ronnie Brewer

Losses: Protected 2010 first round pick

I just have to say, Memphis had one of the biggest steals of the deadline day.

Grade: A

Minnesota Timberwolves

Acquired: Darko Milicic

Losses: Brian Cardinal

Darko impressed many NBA fans in his debut as a Twolve. This might be his last shot at the NBA. Darko stated he wants out of the NBA after this season and wants to head to Europ to play. After a performance like that, he should think otherwise if he keeps it up.

Grade: A-

Philadelphia 76ers

Acquired: Jodie Meeks and Francisco Elson

Losses: Royal Ivey, Primoz Brezec, and a 2010 second round pick

Jodie Meeks was a good pick up for two players who practically do nothing for the 76ers. A second round pick would be pushing the Meeks trade outcome. If Philly ends up getting a high pick in the draft, the Bucks would benefit if they picked up a great player. Right now the 2010 mock draft says Greivis Vasquez from Maryland would be the Bucks pick. That’s bad on Philly’s note since Vasquez averages pretty good stats all across the board.

Grade: B-

San Antonio Spurs

Acquired: Protected 2010 second round pick

Losses: Theo Ratliff

Ratliff is old. The pick is protected. Spurs are slipping quickly out of the playoffs. If somehow the Spurs are in the lottery and get a high pick, they will regret it just a bit.

Grade: C-

Utah Jazz

Acquired: Protected 2010 first round pick

Losses: Ronnie Brewer

Why?!?! This was just plain idiotic. Ask Deron Williams and see how he feels.

Grade: F