I don’t know if anyone else has watched the NBA play-offs lately, but let me give you a quote from game 4 of Boston vs. Orlando:
“This is the first game in the 2010 playoffs that has gone to overtime”
Alright, the quote wasn’t exactly that, but it might as well have been. These playoffs have been sub-par at best, and the worst ever… at worst. The NBA saw its second most competitive team in the West go down in flames in the first round (Denver), its best player go down in hotter flames in the second round (LeBron), and its apparent “best team” is now on the brink of elimination in the conference finals (Orlando).
So why should anyone watch anymore? Yeah, the finals might be Boston vs. LA… history, legacy, rivalry, blah blah blah. No one besides Los Angeles and Boston fans wants to see either of these two teams win the finals. Kobe would get his fifth, or a mediocre regular season team would prove how irrelevant the regular season is by literally ratcheting it up 10 octaves in the playoffs to cruise past the three teams that played their hearts out from the start (Cleveland, Orlando, and LA). I might be biased as a victim of these playoffs, but I have a hard time believing anyone would be nearly as intrigued by this Boston/LA match-up as they were 2 years ago.
With that being said, I’m going to look past the NBA Finals, and get a head start on free agency coverage. As you may or may not have heard, July 1st marks the start of the biggest free agency season in the history of the NBA. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Dirk Nowitzki,…, Channing Frye, John Salmons,…,Brendan Haywood, Z, Shaq, oh, and LeBron James; the list goes on and on and on and on… and on. There was lot of the speculation during the season that a majority of these free agents would end up right back where they were already playing, but with the results of the playoffs things may have changed a bit.
The big players in free agency are sure to be Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Miami, Los Angeles (the bad team), and Cleveland (simply because they have the main target). All of these teams underperformed this season, and some don’t even have a coach in place for next season. Come July 1st, things are going to move fast, so let’s look at what could ultimately influence the big names to go to their final destinations. I’ll break it down team by team (for the aforementioned teams):
Chicago- Many have argued that the Bulls have the best shot at signing LeBron in the off-season, and that may be true, but let’s take a look at some of the arguments that have been made. The Bulls have Rose and Noah. Okay, I’ll buy that as a great, young supporting cast. Add in Taj Gibson, and you’re looking at a team that can contend immediately. However, there are only two ways for LeBron to end up in Chicago: signing there directly, or through a sign-and-trade. The first simply won’t happen. LeBron would be leaving 30 million dollars on the table to skip town, and that’s something the self-proclaimed “businessman” is not going to do. So that leaves the sign-and-trade as the way for ‘Bron to end up in the house that Michael built. Chicago just doesn’t have the pieces to pull that off, and therefore LeBron won’t be in the Chi next year. Mark Cuban has already expressed interest in LeBron, and he can offer a much more enticing package than Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, as can a handful of other teams around the league. If Danny Ferry makes it clear that LeBron is available for a sign-and-trade, then Miami, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles (both teams), Dallas, and Houston will all be possible destinations… Chicago has the least amount of assets that they’re willing to give up out of those teams. Sorry Chicago. I believe you will have to settle for Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire and a shooter such as Anthony Morrow or Ray Allen.
New York is next. Check back soon for that post, along with the opening of our new site!