Wednesday, June 30, 2010
NBA Free Agency 2010
I haven't blogged as much about sports on this blog, but i'm back. I used to cover the NBA Draft for rotowire.com/yahoo/espn/nba.com and it was the shit! Fantasy Sports anyone? I was a beat writer covering NBA/NFL/MLB too but I just got too busy and only watch NBA/NFL now. There has been a lot of speculation about where all the free agents are going so I'm breakin' down here where I think they SHOULD go and also where I think they WILL go.
SHOULD GO: New Jersey/BK Nets. I think the biggest flaw in the Nets' pitch is that Bron's gonna have to play in Jersey for the next 2 years. But, looking at the roster, this is a great fit for Lebron. Of all the teams with cap space available, Brook Lopez is the best big man that Bron can play with. A lot of people are assuming Bosh is going to go wherever James goes and that he's the best big for Lebron, but I disagree. Lopez is a defensive force who can play any top center straight up. Bosh is a weak on-ball defender and doesn't rebound like Lopez. The Nets also have a 2nd tier point guard in Devin Harris who could make the all-star team any given year. The problem with the Nets is that they don't have a knock-down shooter who can space the floor. Unless they can add that piece, they'd have some issues. As a stealth option, the Rockets just re-upped Yao Ming and they wouldn't be a bad fit either. Of course, with Yao, health is always a concern and Scola is a restricted free agent, but if healthy, Yao is the most offensively dominant center in the NBA, he knocks down his free throws, and does a good job on the glass. Houston also has a ton of knock down shooters in Kevin Martin, Aaron Brooks, Shane Battier, and a great perimeter defender in Ariza. They would have to do a sign and trade so you probably lose a few of those pieces, but there are plenty of shooters. But, it seems Cleveland is taking a stance that they won't do a sign and trade.... could be a smoke screen though.
WILL GO: Knicks. I just have a gut feeling this is going to happen. Lebron loves NY. Yes, the Nets have Jay-Z, they will have BK, but 2 years in Jersey could ruin anyone's life. The problem with the Knicks is that they have no depth to surround Lebron with if they sign 2 max free agents. But, I disagree. Why sign 2 max guys? You don't need that with Lebron. Gallinari is the shooter you need. David Lee, re-sign the guy at about half the max, he cleans the glass, can pick/pop, and you get consistent effort every night. Marcin Gortat is being shopped by the Magic and he'd be a great fit with Lebron too. I think the press has it all wrong with trying to pair Lebron with another superstar like Bosh. If you're a GM, I think the best bet is to put Lebron with a PG who's a lights out shooter and doesn't need the ball, SG who is a strong perimeter defender/shooter, PF who can pick/pop/rebound, and a defensive minded center who doesn't shoot free throws like Dwight Howard. You don't need a do-it-all guy like Bosh alongside Lebron. I'd also like to see Lebron get some opportunities to work on his post-game, but with Bosh, they'd occupy similar space since Bosh also likes to face-up, play on the wing, etc. He's not a true low-post bang em up dude. Not having delonte west around to fuck his mom probably helps too.
SHOULD: Miami. The franchise is dedicated to him, they cleared space to sign 2 other max free agents and there's really no reason to leave. I'm sure chi-town is interesting cause its hometown but he's not a great fit with Derek Rose. I haven't given up on Michael Beasley either. Move him to the bench, let him be the 6th man and continue to develop on the defensive end. I'm not as quick as most observers to give up on players. Beasley is a tweener, but he'll find a role in the NBA if he gets his attitude right. The only issue with the Heat is that they need a point guard who doesn't need the ball. In this free agent class, I love Steve Blake for the Heat.
WILL GO: Miami.
SHOULD GO: Chicago. Hands down, this is the biggest no brainer to me. It doesn't matter what Lebron does. Bosh doesn't need to chase Lebron. Go play with Derek Rose alongside a guy like Noah who will do the dirty work and doesn't need the ball. Bosh/Rose pick and pop would be unstoppable and Bosh won't be asked to carry the load defensively. If they get Bosh, they need a shooter and I think Joe Johnson is a great fit here. If I were the Bulls, I wouldn't even go after Lebron. You don't win by assembling the most stars. You win by putting together pieces that fit.
WILL GO: If Lebron goes to New York, I think Bosh will follow. I don't think he'll regret it, but I don't think its the best fit for him. I think Bosh/Lebron/Gallinari puts you in the hunt, but good teams do it as a team. Will they have enough depth? Don't be surprised if Bosh goes to the Rockets either in a sign-trade. They have a lot of shooters who can spread the floor and a dominant center so he can play PF.
SHOULD GO: CHICAGO. As mentioned above, Joe Johnson can spread the floor and knock down shots. He's a legit #1 option on offense, but in the playoffs, when he has to matchup with other #1s for 7 games, he's not going to win his match-up every night and that's not what you want for max dollars. He is a better version of Rashard Lewis, but giving him max dollars is a mistake. He should come at a 20% discount. Johnson is a wing player and if he has a point like Rose who's responsible for penetrating/distributing and a big guy like Bosh getting buckets in the post, Johnson can do what he does best on the perimeter and base-line.
WILL GO: KNICKS. If the Knicks strikeout going for Lebron and Wade, they'll be the only ones that I think are desperate enough to throw max dollars at Johnson besides Atlanta. I have a feeling Joe's gonna go for the money. Lebron, Wade, Nowitzki, these guys need to worry about their legacy. There is no Joe Johnson legacy, just Joe Johnson money. The clippers got money, but why would you give Joe Johnson paper when Eric Gordon is basically the same player.
SHOULD GO: Rockets. They'll give him the money he wants. He'll fit in the offense, he won't be asked to stand around on the low-block and he'll be able to roam which plays to his strengths. The Rockets also have more pieces than New Jersey. Additionally, he can play off the ball on defense and get stats blocking from the weak-side. Miami is a player but I don't think he wants to play center.
WILL GO: I want to say Rockets, but I have a feeling he may fall into New Jersey if they don't get any of the above players. Again, Brook Lopez has his back there. Devin Harris is a nice sidekick and Amare will be the man there. Will they give him max dollars? I don't know. I think the Rockets are more likely to give him the cash because they have to convince him to do a sign-trade, but if its not the rockets, I say Nets.
SHOULD GO: Miami. I don't think Dirk wants to go play with a bunch of young guys in Chicago. Not every one likes Noah and there's probably still some hesitation with how young Rose is. Wade is a proven vet who has a ring. Rose is the truth but I just think there's still a bridge he needs to cross as a star in the conference finals/finals/etc. Dirk and Wade would be a sick combo. Neither is a big ego guy. Dirk's a huge Hasselbeck fan so he likes layin out on the beach steez.
WILL GO: Tough call. Its hard to see Dirk leave Dallas, but if he's serious about winning a championship, why would he opt out? And if he is serious, its not going to happen in Dallas. But, I think Mark Cuban will chain himself to Dirk a la Jeff Van Gundy if he tries to bounce.
SHOULD GO: Rockets. This team would be perfect for Pierce. He loves to play inside-out, on the wing, and he wants to be the man. Yao doesn't mind deferring, nor does Aaron Brooks. Brooks is Rondo-Lite, Martin is a Ray Allen clone, Yao got the post on lock.
WILL GO: Chicago. He isn't going to cost a max contract. He would show those young kids how to win and they would be legit contenders, especially they could probably also get Bosh. It would be scary if Pierce goes to Chicago with Bosh. I like Pierce more than Johnson because he mother fuckin gets buckets! He aint a shook one like Johnson.
There are obviously other free agents but..... really, what's the use in predicting when it all revolves around these guys.