Blog Entry

Free-Agent Tipoff

Posted on: June 28, 2010 2:32 am
The free-agent frenzy doesn’t officially begin for another two days, but the speculation already is rampant. Here’s the first edition of the Free-Agent Tipoff, a morning look at the news of the day from front-office executives and agents:

• We won’t know for a few days, or maybe longer, whether LeBron James sees his free-agent opportunity through the same prism I do. But as the week begins, the consensus among rival executives and influential agents is that the Knicks are in for a tough time when the clock strikes 12:01 a.m. Thursday. Word circulating over the weekend was that Knicks president Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni faced a “very tough sell” to the top free agents, according to one rival executive monitoring the free-agent buzz. The reason, according to an agent involved in the process: “They’re going to have a lot of convincing to do for guys. There’s not a lot of pieces there to make it attractive.” According to other sources, it’s even worse than that for the Knicks. A representative for one prominent free agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiating period hasn’t begun, said the Knicks may have as hard a time – or even harder – persuading second-tier free agents to go to New York. “If you come in there, expectations are so high you almost can’t – unless it’s LeBron, anybody else will have a really hard time living up to it,” the agent said. “What if the team makes playoffs and loses in first round? Is that a success? Probably not. You’re starting off negative. That’s the way you want to start off? Everybody should be happy about getting two All-Stars, but they’re not the ones you thought you were getting or were sold on getting.”

• Having said that, Hawks free agent Joe Johnson is expecting a hard sell from the Knicks in the event LeBron opts to go elsewhere. Johnson has set up shop in Los Angeles with his agent, Arn Tellem, who has an excellent relationship with Walsh. As of early Monday, Johnson had yet to schedule any free-agent visits – in L.A. or elsewhere. One person with ties to Johnson suggested a possible reason why he is 1) in L.A., and 2) in no hurry to entertain visitors. Don’t be surprised if his strong connection to Clippers GM Neil Olshey explains why Johnson is conveniently ensconced in L.A. for the purposes of signing a max deal with the Clips. As a trainer for Tellem when Johnson was entering the draft, Olshey worked with Johnson and has maintained a strong relationship with him. The Clippers situation is ideal because Johnson wouldn’t have to shoulder the burden as the franchise cornerstone, a title and responsibility that will fall on Blake Griffin. The Clippers, with enough cap space for one max player, will make their run at LeBron, but the answer is expected to be a swift and polite, “No, thanks.” At which point you can expected them to move on to Johnson as their Plan B.

• Henry Thomas, the agent for Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, shot down reports Sunday that Bosh had already decided to join James in Chicago. “Completely untrue,” Thomas told “He hasn’t decided anything.” Be that as it may, rival executives already are bracing for a LeBron-Bosh tandem in Chicago. “They’d immediately be the favorites to win the East, I think,” one of them said. The same exec said he believes that if LeBron and Bosh do team up with the Bulls, that would quickly set the next domino into motion – Amar’e Stoudemire signing with the Heat to play with Dwyane Wade.

• Stoudemire will be receiving visitors in Los Angeles, a person close to him said. As of Sunday night, no visits had been set up. Stoudemire made a few waves over the weekend when he tweeted about having dinner in Chicago with his agent, Happy Walters, and discussing free agency. He went on to mention how good it was to see his friend, Dwyane Wade, at the Nike Skills Academy in the Windy City. (It turns out, there were numerous people at the dinner, not just Amar’e and Wade. So slow your roll, conspiratorial internet rumor mill.) But the person close to Stoudemire provided some insight into what the man they call STAT is looking for in free agency: “He wants to be in a situation where he can win, and where there’s a team around him,” the person said. “He doesn’t want to be the only guy, obviously, and he wants to be in a city he wants to be in. I think everyone forgets that a lot of these guys are going to get pursued by teams that aren’t under the cap and people are going to want to do sign-and-trades.” That’s right, the Knicks, Nets, Bulls, Heat and Clippers aren’t the only teams capable of landing a marquee free agent in the next couple of weeks.

• To that point, the Magic are said to be actively considering trade scenarios that could provide Dwight Howard with a post-up power forward to play with, a play-maker to replace what Hedo Turkoglu brought to the 2009 Eastern Conference championship team, or a dynamic point guard. It would be easy enough to move Rashard Lewis to small forward and satisfy Howard’s first wish – something he feels strongly enough about to begin “heavily recruiting” free agents that fit the description, according to a source. As for the second item, if I were GM Otis Smith, I’d be exploring a Vince Carter-for-Joe Johnson sign-and-trade; what an upgrade that would be for a team that sorely missed Turkoglu in the conference finals against Boston this year. The third option is the most interesting: A person with knowledge of the Magic’s plans said a trade for Gilbert Arenas, the one-time superstar whose reputation took a massive hit with his gun suspension last season, remains a “definite possibility.” Smith has a good relationship with Arenas, but a stumbling block could be the fact that Howard has questions about whether Arenas would fit in. If Howard gets the answers he’s looking for, there could be legs to the Arenas-to-Orlando scenario.

• An aside on the potential LeBron-Bosh tandem in Chicago: Bulls GM Gar Forman will have a hard sell in this respect: Persuading both players to come on board with straight signings instead of through sign-and-trades. The pitch would be this: Despite losing a sixth year and 2.5 percent more in annual raises, they’d have a better shot at a title if the Bulls didn’t have to give up, say, Joakim Noah or Luol Deng to get them.

• Rod Thorn is telling colleagues that his impending departure from the Nets is “not about the money,” but that horse has left the barn. It’s well known in front-office circles that Thorn was asked to take a massive pay cut on a new contract, perhaps as much as 80 percent, according to two sources. It’s possible that after a cooling-off period, Thorn could be retained in some sort of advisory capacity while owner Mikhail Prokhorov pursues the young, dynamic voice he’s said to be seeking. Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti would make sense, and already there are rumblings that Presti is on Prokhorov’s list of targets. But in addition to Jerry Colangelo, another name that surfaced Sunday doesn’t fit that description: Spurs GM R.C. Buford, who is not one of the young guns in the NBA’s GM club but has done as good a job as anyone building a perennial contender on a small-market budget. Now that the Spurs’ run is nearly over, it’s scary to imagine an executive as shrewd as Buford turned loose with the limitless financial backing of a Russian billionaire. In any event, rival executives are scratching their heads as to why the Nets would allow themselves to enter free-agent pitch sessions with a lame-duck GM and no replacement on board. Makes you wonder whether Kevin Pritchard, fired by the Trail Blazers on draft night, could switch gears quickly enough to join Thorn on the recruiting trail as his official replacement. Also makes you wonder whether Pritchard would be emotionally prepared to work for another eccentric billionaire so soon after getting canned by one.
Category: NBA

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: June 28, 2010 12:51 pm

Free-Agent Tipoff

Ahhhh... it's cute to see so many Lebron lovers on this site so confident he won't go to Chicago... or New York... or Miami...... 

Do I know exactly where Lebron is going to go?  Obviously not.  But.... I do know exactly where Lebron ISN'T going to play next year...

Cleveland.  If he was going to sign in Cleveland he already would have done so....   or if he was waiting to see what Cleveland is going to do to improve this offseason ( another thing Lebron junkies believe)  he would have publicly said, "I'm going to give Cleveland until the middle of July to prove they want to compete for a championship and will not talk contract with anybody until then. If they do that, I'll sign with Cleveland, or if not,  I'll leave".

There would be no reason why silence would be an option for Lebron... no reason at all.  The only reason silence is an option is because he's leaving.  And before any of you say it, the answer is no.  It doesn't matter that he said Cleveland is in the lead.  There would only be two things he could do or say to convince anybody with a brain he's staying.  One, sign the deal now.  Or two, do what I said above. Announce publicly that Cleveland will have a couple of weeks to gain his trust and make the necessary moves.

It's not like if the did that everybody interested wouldn't wait for Lebron.... they would wait until training camp if they had to. Lebron is that special and that rare .....

So no, I don't know where he's going.... but I certainly know exactly where he isn't playing this year....

Since: Jun 28, 2010
Posted on: June 28, 2010 12:37 pm

Free-Agent Tipoff

If Lebron is  a real Man .. hes gonna be smart and come to LA..
If hes a "boy" he will go to the Nets w his cool hip rap friend and the big money owner.  His enterouge is BS!!!  playing each side against each other.. dropping  comments to the press  Bunch of Fu..... ng loser.    Just know if the goes to NY, NJ, MIami, or Chicago with all bandwagon Supposed Press experts potential situations etc..  HE STILL DOES NOT WIN A TITLE THIS YEAR OR IN THE NEXT 3 YEARS !!

He comes to the CLIPS he WINS NOW.  He makes up any money he misses from CLEVE with  MOVIES and other ENtertainment options here in LA.. NYC ? BFD  who cares.. Maybe even the Owner who is serious landlord of high end properties in LA throughs in a secret place to leave that cap watchers wont know about who knows who cares...   He needs to be in LA.   People make fun of the Clippers Organization and hype negativity against the owner ( ALL BS , NO EVIDENCE, BUT ANOTHER STORY FOR ANOTHER TIME)
BOTTOM LINE  this is written from a Ohio Boy myself Grew up in Ohio  LOVE THE BROWNS.. but I came to California.. I Still get to see the Browns either road trips or on Direc TV.  Serious..  NO comparison living in OHIO VS Los Angeles area..  MIAMI Or CHICAGO?  BFD. so MIami has Cool nightlife but thats bout it  we got than in LA.. too much HUMIDITY IN MIAMI anyway...
Chicago.. Living in JOrdons Shadow and  P... ing on the CAVS Constantly not very cool for a classy loyale type guy..
I understand  maybe if he stays put in Cleveland but when kids dont want to leave home town etc. but if Lebron is a MAN he will move on to new Challenges in his life...
If he goes anywhere besides the Clips or stays home he is a BOY!!!!

Like i said.. Its all about him coming to the CLIPPERS.. which I notice GETS NO RUN by the idiot national  Press types
F them all LEBRON IS GONNA BE A CLIPPER .. Since he is smart !!!

Since: May 29, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2010 12:33 pm

Free-Agent Tipoff

U only need to notify the league of a # change if you are going to be on the same team the following year.  LeBron did it just in case he stayed in cleveland but he did do it to honor jordan.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2010 12:18 pm

Free-Agent Tipoff

Dude are you out of your mind, stars and celebrities come to New york because they can actually walk around without being harassed. From Madonna to Robert Di nero, New Yorkers are use to seeing celebrities. They're are no big deal here, Apparently you've never been to NYC.   you can not even compare Cleveland to it. NYC is the MEDIA capital of the world. His earnings alone will double commercially. Decaying????? Dude you're from arizona!!!! The only thing Arizona is good for is sand, heat and harassing immigrates

Since: Jun 28, 2010
Posted on: June 28, 2010 12:18 pm

Free-Agent Tipoff

As a Clipper Fan I say NO THANX to JOHNSON..
He has already reached the peak at his career at age 28, he's been a  team w serious talent and they cant advance in the Playoffs.. he plays NO DEFENSE..  The Clips already have our own Future AllStar Shooting Gaurd Eric Gordon.. Why do we need or want to pay inflated Pay check to this Guy who will probably be paid more than he is worth by some of the other Desperate Teams in the Free AGent hunt with tons of Cap Space.... Like i said No thanx To this Johnson.. If we could have had Atlanta's other baller Forward. than maybe but he's not available... WE ARE GETTING LEBRON.. if we dont get lebron.. Im ok w RUDY GAY but NO OTHER TOP FREE AGENT to me Is welcome here including overated CHris Bosh.. ... Another overated guy.  DOnt even mention Stodemeier either..
ITS LEBRON   and back up plan RUDY GAY.. otherwise we will keep our Money and go after Carmello next  summer
WITH OUR WITH OUT MY TOP 2 FREE AGENT Aqusitions.. CLIPPERS making the PLayoffs NOW.  BTW  Lebron a fool not to come to the Clips if hes serious bout winning titles NOW.. We have ALLSTAR CENTER under contract for 4 more years.Aging but still got game Point Guard in the top 6 Points in this league...  Serious Back Up Center Diondre Jordon who RUNS Circles around any center in Cleve, NY, NJ, Chic, or Miami..    Amazing Draft . just picked up the  Next Best Point guard in this years Draft.. THis years ROOKIE OF THE YEAR  Seriously healthy..BLAKE GRIFFIN...  Great Scorer  ERIC GORDON.. and the rest of the guys on this team ARE NOT SLOUCHES!!!!

Since: Jun 6, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2010 12:13 pm

Free-Agent Tipoff

"I don't think LeBron really matches up well in Chicago, if he is if fact considering going there. You have Rose, who looks to score first, pass second, Kirk is gone, and then what, Luol Deng? Brad Miller? This young "core" that Chicago fans seem to have sold the country on is eerily similar to that of Cleveland. " from grec530

This a stupid comment.  The bulls have Deng, Noah, Gibson and Rose which is better than any other team that has a lot of money.  How can you compare the Bulls to the Cavs?  Cleveland tries to hit open three's while the present Bull's can not do that and have a totally different offense scheme. BY the way Brad MIller is a free agent and he sucks.  Read something before you post.

Since: Jun 13, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2010 11:56 am

Free-Agent Tipoff

The comment by the agent that NY is overcritical is only partially correct. NY Knick fans have been waiting for this moment for some time. For years the Knicks were contending every season. We are hungry for a chance to be relevant. If we don't get LeBron and wind up with Joe Johnson and Stoudamiare or such I will be more than excited to at least have a chance to be good. Its not like any team in the eastern conference is that great to begin with. I find it amusing that most writers outside of NY have been hell bent on bashing the Knicks, and fans and proclaiming no chance for the Knicks to sign any top level talent. Well It will be funny to see you all eat crow on Thursday or shortly after if the knicks pull off what is being deemed impossible by some. What will the media approach be then? More bashing probably in the form of Championship in first year or everyone is on the hot seat or NY fans wont stand for any less. Gimme a break.

Since: Jun 21, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2010 11:36 am

Free-Agent Tipoff

Tengeta your an idiot, and apparently have never been to the big apple.. NYC is one of the most craziest cities in the U.S.A. Higher population than ANY other city in the U.S.A. It also has endless (exaggeration) of jobs, and tons and tons of things for a young guy like LeBron to do. Lot's more publicity and what not as well. WAY bigger market than cleveland.

Since: Jul 24, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2010 11:32 am

Free-Agent Tipoff

It should be pretty clear that Lebron is not going to be choosing the Knicks based on "building blocks." The Heat (Wade), the Bulls (Rose and Noah), and arguably the Nets (Harris, Lopez) have better situations for Lebron than the Knicks. He may very well choose the Knicks, but it won't be because he is excited about the young talent on the team. 

Since: Dec 22, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2010 11:16 am

Free-Agent Tipoff

first of all dont believe what you read   for lebron it new york or cleveland  and cleveland has no upside players are old  where as newyork has building blocks  chandler and the the itilian stallion  plus broadway lebron will become the first billionaire basketball player i hope its new york

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