Tag:free agency
Posted on: July 7, 2010 9:34 am
Edited on: July 7, 2010 9:44 am
 

Reports: Bosh to Miami

The next significant piece may be falling into place, and it's good news for Miami.

Our own Ken Berger reported last night that an executive close to the talks between the Big 3 free agents (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh) has indicated that Chris Bosh will be joining Dwyane Wade in Miami in a sign-and-trade. That's followed by a report from ESPN's Chris Broussard this morning indicating sources have confirmed Wade and Bosh announcing their decision to join the Heat Wednesday afternoon.

This will send tremors throughout the NBA as without Bosh, LeBron James will likely be rejoining a Cavaliers team that has won 60 games the past two seasons but has failed to win a championship and now returns with no significant changes to their roster outside of a new head coach in Byron Scott.

But more importantly, it signals Miami as a rising contender to the Eastern title. Miami will have enough room to sign auxiliary free agents to put support around the superstar duo. But the question will be how much. Miami will need to arrange for a sign-and-trade agreement that sends either Mario Chalmers or Michael Beasley out if they want to be able to have the flexibility to really improve the roster around this new monster combo to the point of contention. And as Ken Berger tells us this morning, that's not necessarily a done deal.

While the Raptors are prepared to move forward with sign-and-trade scenarios sending Bosh to Miami, the duo's agent Henry Thomas had yet to sign off on any finalized trade agreement as of Wednesday morning, two sources involved in the process told CBSSports.com's Ken Berger .

So now we wait to see how the rest of the pieces unfold. Will this deal get done, with Miami having one of the most formidable combinations in the league... and not much else? How will they put a contending support core around the two? What will James do, faced now with no significant superstar additions if he doesn't leave Cleveland? What else does Pat Riley have up his sleeve? Where does Chicago turn if they miss out on all three of the top free agents in this class, after working so hard to clear space, despite having the best collection of talent? The big questions are starting to be answered, which means the rest could be coming in a flood over the next few weeks.

-Matt Moore

Posted on: July 7, 2010 2:58 am
 

LeBron James follows the trend of control

Mr. Young brought you the news that LeBron James is hosting a little dog and pony show to announce his decision on Thursday. James, Bosh, and Wade will share a conference call Wednesday to discuss their plans and possibly coordinate the checkmate moves. The storm clouds are gathering, as one might say.

But let's take a moment and recognize the apex of a movement in cultural interactions between celebrities and their fans. As is often the case, trends in sports and sports personalities reflect the ongoing evolution of our cultural landscape, and King James, he is reflectin'.

Over the weekend, Joe Johnson's agent, Arn Tellem announced without announcing on the Huffington Post that Joe Johnson would be accepting the max offer from the Hawks to return to Atlanta. Tellem was able to give what the Johnson camp wants to expound as his motivations and intentions regarding the decision to re-sign with the Hawks. He painted the picture that Johnson wants painted, and that's the lead story. By controlling the story, shaping it and putting it in a public forum, Tellem took the power away from the small army of reporters that broke news of the extension offer throughout the week prior.

This follows a year where we saw the best and worst of social media interactions with athletes. Some NBA players stuck their foot in their mouth, Michael Beasley famously posted images of himself with marijuana on a nearby table (later confirmed to not be his house). But on the flip side, the Oklahoma City Thunder embraced Twitter and saw their public image soar, particularly Kevin Durant. Dwyane Wade reached out and communicated, as did Chris Paul. By reaching out and communicating up front with their fans, these players made themselves even bigger and did so on their own terms without the risks involved in third party conversations and interviews.

Which brings us to LeBron James' actions throughout the week. First his website appeared revamped, with talk of "finding out first." Rumors of James intending to announce his free agency decision via the website were later debunked . Then the Twitter account opened. Don't think there's been a radical shift in policy with James? Consider that the reporter who's followed him his entire career is completely baffled by the opening of James' Twitter account. That, along with the announcement of the live announcement represent a drastic change in the perception of James by those that have been with him the longest. The stakes have changed. And the playing field has changed alongside with it.

The key to this is the ability to control the message. Instead of having every angle, feeling, and angle about his business decisions laid out by reporters around the media sphere and the world wide web (it's an information superhighway, you know), James has the opportunity to lay out his decision in the most dramatic way possible, while raising money for charity. He raises his profile, puts himself on the map in a way never before seen. He'll never be Jordan, but he can market himself bigger. What's striking is that by doing so, he's somehow moved the importance of this operation from what his decision is to the announcement itself.

It doesn't matter where James goes. It's how he announces it. The man is having an hour on the most powerful sports television entity in the world, selling his own advertising, and donating it to charity, only furthering his image. There will be backlash, because that's what happens when you market yourself. It's self-aggrandizement, but you should also recognize that it's proof of the power of controlling your own message, of honing and delivering it on your own terms. More so than going to New York or Chicago or staying home and being the hero, it's the process of his declaration that gives this moment its weight. It's false dramatics, but then, this is sport. We turn athletes into Warriors and games into legends. We're not above this behavior, James is simply harnessing its full power.

LeBron James is on the verge of a decision which will impact the next half-decade in the NBA. He could win multiple titles or walk away empty handed. He could destroy Cleveland or save it. He could resurrect New York, rise in Jordan's shadow, claim Brooklyn as his kingdom, or bring the party to South Beach. But in reality, regardless of his decision, he's making history. He's bringing the power of individual control to a new level, and capitalizing on the full weight of his business potential. For years, he's discussed wanting to be a global icon. It turns out that where he plays may not be the key to accomplishing that. Instead, his method for revealing his decision could be the launching pad towards finally reaching that particular atmosphere.

-Matt Moore
Posted on: July 6, 2010 10:22 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 11:02 pm
 

ESPN: LeBron will announce decision Thursday

Per independent sources, ESPN's Chris Broussard reports that LeBron James will be announcing his free agency decision live on ESPN Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.

That's right, NBA free agency has officially jumped the shark. Hopefully to complete the effect, LeBron will lay out four hats, start to pick up the Chicago one in the middle, only to have a Cleveland cap underneath. Then he'll proudly put it on, hug his mother and this whole "recruitment" will have gone full circle.

But as high school-ish as this all sounds, what's cool is that LeBron's people reportedly requested the option to sell sponsorship for the one-hour special, with proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club of America. I can dig that. As childish and self-centered this whole free agency thing can be, that's a pretty selfless, quality gesture. And good PR as well, mind you.

Obviously everyone is probably thinking what I'm thinking right now: So does ESPN already know? According to the report, no they do not. And supposedly won't until LeBron announces it live on TV.

Brian Windhorst also tossed out that ESPN was in talks with LeBron about filming his free agency "tour" but those talks ended after the Cavs bowed out in the playoffs to the Celtics. So LeBron was already planning out this televised special while he was playing in some of the most important games of his life? I think you can draw your own conclusions there.

So I guess we can all stop worrying about this Thursday night. Until then, speculate like you've never speculated before. Because even as draining and mind-numbing as this is, it's kind of fun, isn't it?

-Royce Young


Posted on: July 6, 2010 5:34 pm
 

The Bosh Conundrum

Deciphering the riddle of Chris Bosh with what we know so far ...
So if Chris Bosh wants the extra year, and wants to play with LeBron, then he might be able to go to Cleveland, New Jersey, or Chicago.

If he wants to play with Dwyane Wade and Wade wants to go to Miami, he can go to Miami, but can't get the extra year.

If he wants to play for the Knicks, well, tough.

If he wants to play with Dwyane Wade and get the extra year, he'll have to convince Wade to go to Chicago, New Jersey, or conceptually, Cleveland.

If he wants to play for the Clippers, he's obviously incurred brain damage.

Does that wrap things up?

Bosh no longer has one decision to make, he has several. He has the options in front of him, and now has to choose which road. Does he take the money, and the security? Or the best chance to win a championship? Does he take the weather? Or the fame? In one sense, Bosh has become the catalyst in all this. He commits to a sign-and-trade with Cleveland, that may be enough to pull LeBron back. He doesn't, and he's left waiting, staring at James in a game of chicken they both lose in. On the other, the onus may now be on Bosh. If he wants to get the perfect situation (a move to Chicago that gets him the extra money, and the city he wants, and a superstar contending core), he'll have to talk either Wade or James into leaving home. That doesn't seem like something Bosh has much interest in, but then again, trying to figure out Bosh's priorities at this point is as much a Nintendo Duck Hunt as it is with the other two.

There's a weird standoff taking place. For as much as the three have talked and discussed playing together, every indication is that each wants what he wants and wants the others to want what he wants as well. How's that for a tongue twister? James wants to stay home and not stab the state of Ohio in the heart, while contending for a championship and getting his extra money. Wade wants to stay home where he's made himself part of the community through charity and business, and most importantly, wants to contend for a championship again.

Bosh? No one knows what his angle is. But whatever he decides may end up deciding the future of the league for the next half decade.

No pressure, Chris.
Posted on: July 5, 2010 8:00 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 8:16 pm
 

Did the Knicks win in Amar'e vs. Bosh?

Now that the signing of Amar'e Stoudemire by the Knicks has been agreed upon (though it can't be finalized until Thursday), we have to look at several angles. But how Stoudemire will fit on the Knicks is a question that has yet to be answered, because there are other max free agents in play for the Knicks. We can't look at the impact for Amar'e without knowing who could really be playing next to him (KB has some info on a possible sign-and-trade for a Knicks point guard ).

But what we can look at is if the Knicks made the right decision, committing close to $100 million towards Stoudemire. Amar'e comes with tremendous explosiveness and top-level scoring ability. But he also comes with significant questions as to whether he can play elite level defense, or even acceptable defense, and if he's a good enough player when he's not on offense. So the question is, would the Knicks have been better off if they'd managed to get Chris Bosh?

I took a look at the numbers on each player defensively via Synergy Sports . Synergy Sports tracks every moment of every NBA game and brings you an in-depth look, possession by possession, on how players do not only overall, but in certain situations. For example, their key stat is PPP, points-per-possession. It factors how many points are scored with a player as the primary defender, and then divides by the number of instances a player was in that certain play scenario. It factors turnovers, free throws, and points to bring you how many points per each possession a player gave up overall, and in certain possessions.

I looked at four specific play types breakdowns for Bosh and Amar'e in comparison: overall, pick-and-roll man (guarding the player providing the pick and rolling (as opposed to the ball-handler), isolation (pretty simple, one-on-one defense), in the post, and spot-up (off a pass in a catch-and-shoot situation). The results were pretty surprising.


Play Type Amar'e PPP Bosh PPP
Overall .86 .89
Pick-and-roll man .76 1.13
ISO .95 .65
Post-up .89 .84
Spot-up .84 1.03


Right off the bat, Amar'e Stoudemire allowed fewer points per possession last season than Bosh did. The first thing that you'll say is that the Raptors' defense was a crime against basketball. And you're absolutely right. It's certain that Bosh's defense was impacted by how terrible the rest of his team defended.  But the individual play types are kind of startling in terms of where he was good and where he was bad. The same can be said for Stoudemire. Pick and roll being the biggest alarm bell if you're a team out there still looking at Bosh as your signature big. Stoudemire, despite being known as a terrible help defender, was ranked 18th in the league overall as a pick and roll defender, one of the more complex defensive sets requiring combination and knowledge of where your teammates are.

But Stoudemire certainly struggled in ISO situations. If you put him straight up on a player, he gave up .96 points per possession, a far cry from Bosh's .65. And there were nearly twice as many instances of ISO defense versus pick-and-roll man situations. At the same time, help defense is something you can account for, and switching assignments is something Mike D'Antoni can do to alleviate a situation where Amar'e is getting taken repeatedly straight up.

How about the post-up numbers? I had anticipated a huge advantage for Bosh in this area, with a more physical reputation and Amar'e's notorious softness. Yet Amar'e is still allowing less than .89 in the post, and Bosh is at .84. A difference of .05 points per possessions? Not exactly what I would have expected.

Finally, spot-up, which deals with recovery, is probably the most affected by the Raptors' terrible defense. Bosh was repeatedly having to overcompensate to help his teammates, meaning his man was open for jumpers as he tried to cover too much defense to recover. It's a terrible mark for Bosh at 1.03 while .84 is reasonable for Stoudemire.

The big takeaway here is that Bosh is a better defender, no doubt. But the separation is not one where you would feel the Knicks made a horrific mistake in getting Stoudemire. Stoudemire's defensive numbers match up favorably with Bosh, both play in high-possession systems last year, and both have issues in various defensive sets.

Many will claim that the Knicks got the rough end of this choice between Bosh and Amar'e. But if the evidence from last year is any indication, the Knicks may have gotten a better deal than the consensus believes.


Posted on: July 5, 2010 5:15 pm
 

For some odd reason, Sloan wants Boozer back

You'd think the Jazz would be doing backflips with Carlos Boozer possibly leaving and taking his significantly high paycheck with him, opening up more cap flexibility and time for Paul Millsap. But according to Jerry Sloan, who spoke with Chris Tomasson at the Orlando Summer League, the Jazz have established a desire among team officials to bring Boozer back to Utah. This despite Boozer going on multiple radio shows in Chicago and Miami and saying he'd love to play there, and despite Boozer's considerable pricetag in this market.

Boozer's productive, able to knock down mid-range jumpers and work in the post as well. He's a veteran leader that can also work the glass. He's also prone to games where he's completely invisible and is a block magnet, being eighth in times blocked in the league , without elite size or athleticism to compensate.

But the Jazz also would like to remain in contention with Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko, and Boozer represents their best chance for a major power forward. Boozer may not be the most inventive or value-oriented option, but he's reliable. We'll see if the Jazz can produce the kind of dollar signs Boozer is looking for in a year he looks to sneak in as a default option for big spender teams.
Posted on: July 5, 2010 1:26 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 1:28 pm
 

Free-agency 4th of July weekend winners

After the first weekend of the most important free-agency period in history, and one of the wildest, who were the winners and losers?


WINNERS:


New York Knicks: They continued their rally from Friday by getting a second conversation with LeBron James' people Saturday night. Chicago is the only team we know of to get a second meeting with a max agent or his representatives. On top of that, they're zeroing in on Amar'e Stoudemire. The Knicks have done a complete 180 in the last four days, and look like they're going to be improving at some level in the first week of free agency.

Cleveland Cavaliers: They had to make their shot count. Seven years of hard work and dedication could have been eliminated if they hadn't made a significant pitch when they met with LeBron James Saturday morning. They didn't pitch him a billion dollars or a super team, but they did do a pretty good job of making an appeal to his sense of drama:



David Lee: Dude's getting paid . Lee had meetings with the Timberwolves, who have already proven they love to overpay frontcourt players. The Knicks are looking to use him as a sign-and-trade option to land a major player, which keeps his value high in that scenario. And he gets out from under the Knicks who haven't really valued him much despite his contributions. Win-win weekend for Lee.

LOSERS:


Miami Heat:
They haven't even gotten a meeting with their own free agent yet. The Chris Bosh rumors have cooled off, and Amar'e is headed for New York by all indications. The Heat are still in this thing, but it's their lack of activity over the weekend that makes you think they lost some ground this weekend. The next four days are going to crucial for them.

Chicago Bulls:
They got a second meeting with Wade. They pushed up their meeting with LeBron. They gambled huge to try and pull off a coup over the weekend, and they missed. The Bulls have some great signs, including the latest from ESPN's Chad Ford that Wade's divorce may be leaning him that way .

Joe Johnson:
How could a guy that signed a max-max contract lose? Because he's nearly guaranteed that he won't win a championship in his career. In four years he's going to be one of the worst contracts in the NBA, constantly shopped around as the Hawks try to get out from the crushing yoke they've put on themselves. And Johnson will be facing all the responsibility thereof. Hope he can comfort himself in the gigantic bed made of cash.


Posted on: July 4, 2010 1:06 am
 

Amar'e recruits Tony Parker and Carmelo Anthony?

The New York Daily News is reporting that Amar'e Stoudemire, outside of the production of the Broadway play he helped produce, said:

"I've talked to Carmelo Anthony that he needs to come out here," Stoudemire said. "I've talked to Tony Parker. Both guys are ready to join me if I decide to come here. So we will see if we can work it out."
KABOOM.

And so there's that. The number of questions this brings to mind is stunning:

  1. Is Amar'e going to get fined for tampering here?
  2. How will this affect Parker's relationship with the Spurs?
  3. How will this affect the Nuggets' attempts to extend Melo?
  4. Where did Amar'e get the idea to talk to those two about it?
  5. What's Amar'e thinking that he thinks talking about this is a good plan, true or not?
Let's go into La La Land for a second: Parker dribble penetrating from the perimeter, running the pick and roll with Amar'e Stoudemire's athleticism and Melo available for the pick and pop. Two man game with Amar'e and Melo. Running and gunning with those three, all under the age of 29

Ye Gods.

But in reality, if there's one thing we can take away from the Daily News article, it's that Amar'e is already mentally checked into the Knicks.  You don't start shopping for other partners already on rosters unless you're committed to the squad. It also means that the next 24 hours are going to be full of denials and speculation. The 2010 Free Agency Apocalypse: The self-propelling hype machine.

-Matt Moore
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com