With the most anticipated day in recent NBA history only 30 hours away, all of the focus seems to be centered around “The Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. There are rumours being thrown all over the place including the three uniting in Miami, LeBron and Bosh going to Chicago, as well as all of the possibilities including the Rockets going after Bosh, the Knicks and Nets having cap-space for a max contract player, and reports that the Mavs are going after a max player as well.
Some of the breaking news from today in regards to the upcoming free-agency includes Yao Ming announcing that he would resign with the Rockets, taking him off the market. The Nets sent Yi to the Wizards giving them almost enough space for two max contracts, and Dirk told the Mavs today that he would opt out of his contract.
Although it may be hard to believe, there are actually a few players in the league who would love for James, Wade, and Bosh to unite in the same city. These players are the unrestricted free agents whose value would rise drastically if teams are left with millions of dollars to spend on “the next best thing”.
Some of these players include:
Dirk Nowitzki – Today, Dirk sent a letter to the Mavericks stating that he would like to opt-out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. Although there is no doubt major interest from the Mavericks to bring Dirk back to Dallas, there is a big possibility that they would not want to offer him a max contract due to his age and the possibility that he doesn’t have too many years of stardom left in the tank. While this is a factor for other teams in the league as well, there could be somebody willing to take a chance on him and offer him a max deal as he does remain to be one of the best big men in the league.
Paul Pierce - Less than 24 hours before Free Agent signing will begin, Paul Pierce decided to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. There is still a big possibility that he will choose to resign with the Celtics, however if Lebron, Wade, and Bosh decide to unite, this could leave teams with excess money to offer Pierce that the Celtics may not be willing to match. Pierce will meet with the Celtics at 12:01 am on Thursday to discuss the possibility of a new contract. (see: http://wegotthiscovered.com/2010/06/30/breaking-news-more-top-talent-added-to-free-agency-frenzy/)
Amare Stoudemire – Stoudemire is in a similar situation to Dirk in that his previous team, the Suns, may not be willing to offer him a max contract due to his recent injury problems. The difference between the two is that although it feels like Amare has been in the league forever, he is still only 27 years old and could still have many dominant years ahead of him. Amare’s name was thrown around more than anybody’s in this past years trade deadline and had an incredible season after the deadline passed. This could leave teams like the Bulls, Knicks, Nets, or Rockets chasing Amare to offer him a max deal.
Carlos Boozer – Another big man who is on the market this summer and could be bringing in a great deal of interest. Right now the Jazz don’t have enough money to keep all of the big players on their team, and it seems as though Boozer is ready to move on to a new team. The combination of these factors could leave Boozer playing in the Eastern Conference for the Knicks, Nets, Bulls, or even the Pistons have shown interest in signing Boozer.
Joe Johnson - After Johnson’s struggles in the playoffs this year, and the trouble that he got himself into with Hawks fans during the playoffs, his value may have taken quite a big hit. This is somebody that would definitely benefit from Lebron, Wade, and Bosh joining together. A team like the Nets or Knicks could be willing to give Johnson a max deal to play alongside somebody like Boozer or Amare. I still think that Johnson has the potential to be a team’s number one player and still has enough years left in him.
Rudy Gay – Although Rudy Gay is a restricted free agent, he is still somebody that could potentially be on the market in the next few days. Gay is only 23 years old and with so many teams having money to spend, there is no doubt that there will be people going after this rising star. The only question is, how much will the Grizzlies be willing to put down to match another team’s offer?
David Lee – David Lee is an underrated player who really knows how to fill up the stat sheet. I wouldn’t put him the same category as Dirk, Amare, or Boozer, but he could be a valuable piece that the Knicks look to use for a sign-and-trade (If the Heat or Chicago thing doesn’t work out, the Knicks could try swing a sign-and-trade with the Raptors)
Some other less valuable players that will definitely be affected by the decisions of The Big Three include veterans such as: Ray Allen, Shaquille O’Neal, Tracy McGrady, Derek Fisher, Mike Miller, Drew Gooden, Josh Howard, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jermaine O’Neal, Al Harrington, etc. etc. Any of these players could be willing to take a significant pay cut to join Lebron and/or Wade and/or Bosh in their respective new homes to help them push for a championship ring.
I don’t expect all of this, in fact I don’t expect any of this to be decided by the end of the week, but there will definitely continue to be a number of names and deals being thrown around for the next few days in the rumour mill and next year’s standings will most likely be looking drastically different than the previous years.
One thing that I would like to throw out there before I finish is that although we haven’t hit July 1st, 2010 yet, next year’s free agent signing won’t be too much of a let down either. Some of the unrestricted free agents that could be available July 1st, 2011 include: Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, Michael Redd, Zach Randolph, Jason Richardson, and Tony Parker. There will also be a number of restricted free agents that could be on the market such as: Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Mario Chalmers, and Greg Oden.
Let the countdown begin…. the most anticipated day in NBA history is almost here!