Posted on: July 6, 2010 9:32 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 9:35 pm
All's quiet on the free agency front. Too quiet. As we wait for the next bombshell, we decided to check in with Ken Berger and ask him for the latest on Chris Bosh's situation and how it affects the rest of the dominoes:
Matt Moore: Chris Bosh has all of a sudden moved into a catalyst-type position, if the reports of the sign-and-trade Cleveland option is true. Let's start there. What exactly would the Raptors be looking for in a package back, cap space and picks, or veteran assets?
Ken Berger: First, yes, the Raptors have told Bosh and his agent, Henry Thomas, that they're willing to explore a sign-and-trade with Cleveland. It's the most advantageous circumstance for everybody involved: LeBron stays and gets his max deal, Bosh leaves and gets his max deal, the Cavs become even more of a championship contender, and the Raptors get quality assets in return -- some combination of Anderson Varejao/J.J. Hickson, Anthony Parker/Jamario Moon, plus Delonte West (who'd be waived by Toronto with $4 million in savings because only $500,000 of his salary for next season is guaranteed) and possibly draft picks. (The Cavs don't have any extra ones, but have their own picks to offer). The problem is, Bosh doesn't want to go. He much prefers Miami, Chicago or the Nets. Thus, stalemate.
MM: We've been hearing strong indications the whole way through of Bosh to Miami. How many times has Bosh actually met with Pat Riley and Co., that you know of, and are you hearing the same?
KB: Once that I know of, and it's still in play. Miami also has explored Amar'e Stoudemire (committed to the Knicks) and Carlos Boozer (whom the Jazz are claiming they want to re-sign) as a running mate for Dwyane Wade. If Bosh wants to go to Miami on his own (without a sign-and-trade), it's more than doable; the Heat have the cap room. Problem is, Bosh would wind up with less money than Wade because of the 8 percent raises and five years he'd get vs. 10.5 percent raises and six years from Toronto. If Bosh is OK with that, Miami makes the most sense. If he wants to push for the sign-and-trade, the obstacle will be the Raptors; Miami doesn't have nearly the assets to trade that Cleveland does. One thing to consider: since Bosh would be going to a team with cap space, Toronto would get a massive trade exception, which will be very useful at the trade deadline when teams that are falling out of the playoff race are desperate to get out from under contracts. Bosh-to-Miami might not get the Raptors an immediate replacement -- a tough sell in the short term -- but with a little patience, they might do better in a few months. Is that a risk they're willing to take?
MM: Is New Jersey still in this thing at all?
KB: Although the Nets are on Bosh's preferred list if LeBron goes with him, those discussions aren't gaining any traction because the Cleveland scenario clearly takes precedence for the Raptors. Even the Rockets, in Bosh's home state of Texas, have some attractive pieces to offer (free-agent Luis Scola, Shane Battier, Trevor Ariza). So the Nets are in a little bit of a danger zone. Do they try to push things forward by making a play for Boozer, thus making themselves more attractive to Wade or LeBron (as the Knicks tried with Stoudemire?) Another option is David Lee, who wants to stay in the New York area and clearly isn't going back to the Knicks. Lee, probably attainable at $11-$12 million a year, is a better deal than all the other power forward on the market.
MM: How does Amar'e agreeing to a deal with New York affect Bosh? Does it raise or lower his value?
KB: Bosh's value is pretty much set; $125 million if Toronto pays him, $96 million is somebody else does. What Stoudemire going to the Knicks did was remove one possible destination and force LeBron and Wade to accelerate their decisions. The last thing either one wants is to return to his existing team with no superstar coming with him; although the Cavs believe they have the best to offer LeBron, having won 60-plus games two years in a row. With Stoudemire off the board, Bosh has the ability to lure LeBron or Wade with him. But if he wants to get all the money possible, he has to work with the Raptors. And to this point, he hasn't.
MM: Are all the free agents basically waiting on each other, or do you expect one to kick-start the rest of the dominoes?
KB: One team executive told me Tuesday that the market has come to a "screeching halt" while teams and free agents wait for LeBron, Wade and Bosh to make a decision. To a degree, their decisions are intertwined. But at some point, each player is going to have to do what's best for him. When one of them shows his cards and commits to either staying put or leaving, the rest of it will come together in a flurry of activity that will be the opposite of the paralysis we're currently witnessing.
Posted on: July 6, 2010 5:34 pm
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 6, 2010 11:37 am
Edited on: July 6, 2010 11:39 am
Chris Broussard of ESPN is reporting that the Raptors have agreed to a sign-and-trade of Chris Bosh if Bosh agrees to such a deal.
So right off the bat, there are conflicting reports . Secondly, again, Bosh has not agreed to such a deal, and Broussard reports that he is cold to the idea of being by the Lake instead prefers Chicago (yes, I know, also by a lake, go with me), New Jersey, or Miami. Miami is out, according to Broussard because they lack the pieces the Raptors would want in a sign-and-trade. Both Chicago and New Jersey have players the Raps would be interested in, but not moreso than what the Cavs have to toss in.
So what's the big deal? Isn't Bosh an unrestricted free agent, able to sign anywhere?
That's true, but the Raptors can let Bosh have his cake and eat it too. He can sign for more money and more years with Toronto, then be sent to where he wants to play, with who he wants to play with.
The tightly held puzzle of free agency is starting to loosen.
If Broussard's on the money, and the Raps can't figure out a deal of high enough value with Chicago or New Jersey, then Bosh will have to decide between the extra money and security, or his own autonomy and a bigger market. It's a tough decision, but consider that once again, LeBron James has the impetus to control the situation here. If LeBron signs with Cleveland outright, he could force Bosh's decision, especially if Wade is still on the fence.
Meanwhile, the report has significant implications for both Miami and Chicago. The time may have come to divert attention from James and to Wade, in an effort to get him off the fence and in their respective uniforms first. With Amar'e in New York, off the market, and Joe Johnson locked up in Atlanta, both Chicago and Miami will have to make significant moves to avoid being left out in the cold if they feel like talks with the Raptors are stagnant. Bosh may be reticent to go to Cleveland but he's now looking at extra money and a direct courtship from LeBron James. That's enough to open some eyes to the beauty of Cleveland.
Things are starting to shake loose. We'll keep you updated on where the next piece falls.
Posted on: July 6, 2010 10:47 am
What's going on in the NBA world...
Dwyane Wade cancelled his press conference for this morning in Miami. No reason was given. Let's not try and get ahead of ourselves, but whichever way you lean in the whole thing, it's curious.
Mikhail Prokhorov told advisers he thinks Chris Bosh will join Dwyane Wade in Miami. He's still hopeful to land LeBron James. Most interesting to me from the notes was Prokhorov's statement about Bosh and Wade's agent Henry Thomas not being aware of the global business implications. If this was leaked intentionally, that provides a whole new context to these statements.
The Magic signed Chris Duhon to a four year deal , which should help with almost none of their needs.
LeBron James is giving indications he plans on announcing his decision on his next team via his own website . Which will, inevitably, crash when he does announce it. I like this plan, already.
Allen Iverson wants to return to the NBA. This should end well. And by "well," I mean "in a turnover."
The Cavs and Suns have started talks about a Leandro Barbosa for Delonte West and Jamario Moon swap.
We'll have more on these stories and more throughout the day.
Posted on: July 5, 2010 1:26 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 1:28 pm
After the first weekend of the most important free-agency period in history, and one of the wildest, who were the winners and losers?
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.
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 3, 2010 10:21 am
Edited on: July 5, 2010 12:52 pm
After the second day of the most important free-agency period in history, and one of the wildest, who were the winners and losers?
New York Knicks: From worst to first in 24 hours, folks. Yesterday the Knicks were losers , having not made a dent in LeBron James and looking at the up close side of panic. But Friday, everything turned around for them. Their meeting with Dwyane Wade went well enough to get Wade to say he was "intrigued." And as close as these free agents are playing their cards to their vests? That's a huge win right there. Then, the Knicks advanced talks with Amar'e Stoudemire after the Suns basically let him walk, and came to a "broad agreement" with him , KB reported. Huge upswing for the Knicks Friday.
Chicago Bulls: Any time you get one of the top free agents in the field who isn't one of your guys to provide a second meeting, along with the third best player? That's a win. Huge win. The Bulls jumped hard into this pool and made an impact. If they can convince LeBron James today to buy-in with Wade, they'll have pulled off one of the biggest gambles in NBA history and be the impact team for the next decade.
Los Angeles Lakers: Signed Steve Blake to a 4-year, $16 million deal, which essentially means that combined with Derek Fisher's expected one year, $2.5 million contract, they'll have their starter and backup point guard positions improved and solidified for $6.5 million. It's good to be on top.
Miami Heat: Pat Riley made an impassioned plea to LeBron James based on sacrificing to win championships, and the Heat have met with every available free agent except Dwyane Wade. So far, there have been no reports that anyone is "leaning" towards Miami aside from a few Chris Bosh rumblings. Meanwhile, Wade was "intrigued" by New York, and took a second meeting with the Bulls. Not a great day for the Heat, but they didn't lose much ground, it seems like.
Los Angeles Clippers: In a stunning turn of events, absolutely no one is talking about the Clippers' meetings having any effect whatsoever on any of the top free agents. It's almost like a lifetime of misery and bad luck compounded by having the worst owner in the NBA has negatively impacted their chances at getting a top free agent in the most competitive class ever. Huh.
Phoenix Suns: I like Hakim Warrick. You'd probably like Hakim Warrick. He works hard. He's tall. He's talented. He's not Standing Tall and Talented. He's not Amar'e. The Suns watched as arguably their best player (considering Steve Nash's age) walked away from the table, likely headed to New York. Even though the Suns chose to go this route and were proactive in their approach, it's still a rough day for the Suns, who had an era end for them today.
Posted on: July 3, 2010 9:09 am
KB reports that Amar'e Stoudemire has a "broad agreement" with the Knicks on a 5-year, $100 million dollar contract.
There's a million things that could change in this regard, and a milllion ways this could develop with Amar'e and other free agents over the next week. But for the time being, let's focus on what this deal would conceputally mean.
Stoudemire's best season was D'Antoni's last in Phoenix, in 2007-2008, when Amar'e posted a 27+PER to go along with 26.7 points and 9.7 rebounds (and 2.2 blocks). D'Antoni understands Stoudemire's game. It fits perfectly with the Seve Seconds or Less strategy, freeing him up to finish off the trailer in transition, and constantly in the pick and roll. It makes sense that Stoudemire would feel comfortable going back to a coach that for the most part simply told him what he was doing was awesome.
But there are questions. Stoudemire, in all likelihood, is not going to have a quality point guard, much less Steve Nash, running the show if he takes the New York deal. He won't have the plethora of shooters at his disposal. And if the Knicks are unable to find another max free-agent willing to play with him, he'll be solely responsible for bringing the New York Knicks back to prominence. That's a lot of pressure for a tough situation.
But money talks, and right now, the Knicks' gums are flapping. We'll see if the medical tests come out clean on Amar'e, and if he elects to take on this massive responsibility.
Posted on: July 2, 2010 7:00 pm
Free agency moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Just hours after Dwyane Wade told reporters he was "intrigued by the presentation of the New York Knicks (Knicks fans: "Yay!"), Wade is headed back to Chicago for a second meeting with Bulls brass according to Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel . And he's bringing his agent in tow.
Reports vary between Winderman and ESPN as to whether the Bulls requested this meeting, or Wade did .
This comes hours after LeBron James' schedule was adjusted for Saturday. The meeting was moved up, and multiple reports suggest that the move was made because the Bulls intend to push for a decision from James by the end of day. Which sounds like abject suicide. Until you consider that the gambit may be to try and get Wade and James sealed and delivered (but not signed since they can't until the 8th) before any other teams can make another run at him. Then it sounds like a dangerous, but bold, manuever that could result in the mega-team the Bulls have been working towards, or a complete strikeout.
So the Nets started out strong, then the Knicks made a comeback. Then the Heat started appearing strong, and the Bulls looked terrible. Now the Bulls look like they're coming back. (The recurring theme is that the Clippers are irrelevant. Which means reports will indicate they're "close" to a free agent tomorrow most likely.)
If someone could get me some duct tape to keep my head strapped on to my neck, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.