Thursday, July 1, 2010

NBA Free Agency

Let's put all speculation aside. No rumors. No ESPN reports. No recommendations. How does the NBA wants free agency to play out in order to preserve it image and produce a global product? Ideally, movement would be minimal (in order to advocate loyalty) and the NBA's biggest venues would have stars to fill them with. This is how an ideal offseason would play out for David Stern and his associates:

Atlanta would maintain its youth core. This team was a 50 win team despite difficulties in the playoffs. The Hawks have made the right decision by offering the maximum contract to Joe Johnson. Atlanta is a stronghold for the NBA, so it is important to maintain a playoff contender, especially since the Hawks spent such a long time building its core. Johnson has also become a favorite in Atlanta, so denying the offer would be a slap in the face to the organization and the devoted fans.

Boston needs to keep its squad together for another run. Boston has Bird Rights on Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, so keeping the two should be no trouble. Another piece who is important for Boston's future is Nate Robinson. Nate has finally found a home. This is a great fit because Nate maintains a bench role in which he can come off the bench and provide a spark. Also, Robinson's volatile temperament has been curbed by the veteran leadership in Boston which has allowed him to blossom. Nate would require the MLE which is a fitting price for such a dynamic player.

Chicago has a present and future stud in Derrick Rose. Rose is a playmaker; in fact, he is one of the best in the league, so there is no reason to add another ballhandler in Chitown. The Bulls simply need to add scorers who can play off of Rose and can draw defenders to allow Rose to play in one-on-one sets. Adding a max contract such as Carlos Boozer would be a solid addition. Adding a proven, veteran scorer such as Mike Miller would also be a solid fit. If Golden State doesn't hold onto Anthony Morrow, then he could be a final reliable addition. The Bulls would also have a MLE to provide another bench player which would make them a very deep team.

Cleveland has two options if LeBron goes: Dissemble like New York OR Restart with Gilbert Arenas. Fans will be remorseful, but if the Cavs can make a move that says a new future is coming soon or says that a new future is now then the organization could salvage some fans. If the Wizards are selling Gilbert Arenas, then the Cavs will be a small forward away from a solid starting five with Mo Williams, Gilbert Arenas, Antwan Jamison, and Anderson Varejao. Richard Jefferson and Josh Howard are now out on the market; if he would settle for a MLE then he would be an easy addition. A more complicated sign-and-trade for some of the Cavs' role players could be another option.

Dallas has been trying to play a pot that it has no business being in. The Mavericks should just sign Dirk to the four  year maximum salary contract and keep Brendan Haywood with the MLE (if they do not have his Bird Rights). The Mavericks have a proven roster that is, unquestionably, a contender in the West. The team made a commitment to winning now by trading Devin Harris for Jason Kidd, and the Mavs should stick with this philosophy while Dirk is still one of the perennial players in the league.

Like Dallas, Houston thinks that it could work into this summer's free agency. The Rockets will need some help from another team but that will not come because other GMs have no sympathy for the Rockets because they are one of the teams that walked away with unbalanced trades in order to create salary space. The Rockets should be happy that Yao is staying and should just resign Scola.

The LA Clippers have surprisingly built a nice, young core with Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, and Al-Farouq Aminu. Chris Kaman is a consistent center when he is healthy. Baron Davis is one of the most dominant players in the league when he is healthy. And, finally, Blake Griffin is one of the most promising players when he is healthy. Even with presuming injuries, the Clippers could actually make some sort of run a mediocrity. All LAC should do is add veterans like Rasual Butler and Zydrunas Ilgauskas to help foster the development of its youth.

Memphis should have only one objective this offseason: Match anything for Rudy Gay. Gay could be one of the potential steals as a back-up plan for LAC, New Jersey, or New York. The Grizzles will be successful if they are willing to spend money in order to retain its roster. Keeping other players such as Ronnie Brewer will show that this organization is committed to winning, though signing him is not as critical as Rudy Gay.

ESPN has beamed a light on Miami. One thing is obvious: Dwayne Wade is staying put. The second move would be to trade Michael Beasley for Chris Bosh in sign-and-trade with Toronto. This trade would benefit everyone involved: Bosh would be in Miami with the largest deal, Miami would have Bosh, Toronto would receive a former second pick in return, and Beasley would be in a less inciteful location which could recourse his development. From there one the Heat would finish up its cap and splurge in minimum contracts. Keeping Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony would be a start. Also adding a shooter such as JJ Redick at the MLE would help to expand the floor. Veterans like Jermaine O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal would fill out the roster.

Minnesota is actually starting to look like an actual basketball team. Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington, Wesley Johnson, Kevin Love, and Al Jefferson is the most promising one to five. Sessions, Brewer, and Webster are fine bench players. The team just needs to add some depth until the Ricky Rubio situation is figured out. They cannot let the Rubio situation drag out the way Fran Vazquez was handled by Orlando. Minnesota should look to add some short term depth such as Travis Outlaw and Juwan Howard.

New Jersey could steal a couple of very good role players to their frame of Devin Harris, Brook Lopez, and Derrick Favors. First, Tyrus Thomas and John Salmons are two immediate starters the team should not sleep on. They could walk away with two underachievers who can contribute to a defensively sound squad. Then adding Al Harrington, dynamic scorer who can reduce the load on Favors, wouldn't not be a disappointment. The Nets would not be the NBA favorite, but adding tier-two free agents could definitely catapult them into the playoffs.

The summer of 2010 has finally arrived for New York. The NBA needs New York to succeed this offseason. New York is a global stage. NY is a critical component for the NBA to spread throughout the world. When people visit the US, they go to NY. What would be better then to head to NY and see the Statue of Liberty, see the Empire State Building, and see a game at MSG. New York is also the global hub of the media. The NBA needs NY to be a playoff contender to sell its product. Whoever come to NY will automatically become a global brand. For LeBron James, this would help him become basketball royalty and achieve his goal of earning at least a billion dollars. The advertising and finanical opportunities for LeBron will be unparalleled. Jersey sales, ticket sales, and advertising will all skyrocket. All NY would have to do is add a proven point guard and a mobile center to become a powerhouse. The next order of business would be to sign Amar'e Stoudemire and allow Phoenix to make a move at David Lee. Lastly, the Knicks could acquire a point guard such as  Raymond Felton with the MLE. A starting five of Felton, Wilson Chandler, James, Danilo Gallinari, and Stoudemire would be the best in the NBA for years. The bench already has Toney Douglas, Bill Walker, and Sergio Rodriguez. A motivated Eddy Curry could be a decent player. After signing draft picks Andy Rautins and Landry Fields the Knicks would only have to add one interior bench player without having to go out a recruit ten bench players.

Sacramento just needs to add a point guard. The Kings look very good from two through five at every position. Then you cross Beno Udrith and his contract which makes you say "What"? All the Kings need to do is add a compliment for Evans. Consideration should be given to Steve Blake, a veteran combo guard, or maybe trade for one of the combo guards in Cleveland to let them foster their new future.

The last team with space is Washington. Washington has snagged a few promising players from teams that are looking to unload. Kirk Hinrich and Yi Jianlian are not superstars, but they are contributing role players who can be placed around a star (cough...John Wall...cough). The Wizards need to decide what to do with Gilbert Arenas. He could be shopped as a viable back up option to NY, Chitown, Cleveland, and New Jersey.

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