We are officially 72 hours into NBA Free Agency, and some teams have already caught some nice free agents. However the prized NBA Odds-shifting fish are still out there. Let’s look at some of the signings, and some of the rumored ones as well.
Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony are still unsigned as of the morning of July 4th, however it seems as if we may be within a week from one of them making a decision. While the news on James has almost been nonexistent other than a disputed report than Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are about to take half the money they opted out of.
However Anthony has been courted by the Bulls, Mavs, Rockets, Lakers and Knicks as of Friday, so it seems like all there is left for him to do is pick and make his bet. In my eyes, the two Texas teams, Los Angeles and the Knicks have the best chance at signing him. They can offer him more money than Chicago, and two of the four can give him a better shot at winning right now. Rumors and speculation aside, let’s take a look at some of the bigger signings of the last three days.
Mark Stein is reporting that Dirk Nowitzki has signed a three-year deal worth about $30 million to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks. The question mark this offseason was not if he would re-sign with Dallas, but for how long and how much. This deal seems very fair and leaves Dallas with some cap room to make a run at Anthony. The Mavs still have about $18 million to work with under the cap, and possibly some more money after that depending on how much Mark Cuban wants to exceed the luxury tax to get Dirk another ring. Don’t sleep on Dallas.
Multiple outlets have reported that the Wizards have re-signed Marcin Gortat to a four-year deal worth $60 million. That is the bottom line of a max contract, and $15 million per season may be overpaying for his services, but I would argue that with the market on free agent big men very shallow this offseason, it was a fair rate on what other teams would have gladly given him. The Wizards may be regretting this deal in about three seasons, but for now he is going to be worth it. All big men in the NBA are overpaid to an extent.
Kyle Lowry also looks like he will be returning to his team from last season according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Lowry’s reported deal is four-years and $48 million, which seems to be a very fair deal for the 28-year old Lowry. He is coming off of his best statistical season in his career, and I would almost put this deal into the team-friendly category. However Lowry was not worth max money, so this puts him right around what he could have gotten with other teams. The Raptors made a great move with this one.
Notable UFAs left not names Lebron or Carmelo
We know that Bosh and Wade’s decisions in Miami will be directly coordinated with Lebron’s, so this segment is not for them. However there are still some game changing names on the board. Pau Gasol is reportedly drawing interest from the Heat, Thunder and Spurs, as well as the Bulls and a few other teams. Where he goes will likely all depend on which team gives him the best package of winning and money, however he likely is one of the free agents being held up by the Lebron/Carmelo drama.
Those guys are likely not holding up Paul Pierce, and there are rumors he could join Doc Rivers and the Clippers. I see this as a no-brain move for both teams, and Pierce could be a guy who could get LA over the top. He brings veteran leadership, defense and shot making ability, which are three things the Clippers lacked last season due to injury and youth.
The last two UFAs that are top-tier guys are Lance Stephenson and Luol Deng. Stephenson is likely getting hurt a little by not being a RFA, and I could actually see him going back to Indiana. They have offered him a five-year deal worth $44 million. Deng is probably going to get more than that but not much more. If the Bulls miss out on Melo, don’t be surprised to see Deng come back to Chicago if his market is what he suspected. The Bulls have traded players and then re-signed them in the years following (see Kirk Hinrich).
This list is short, and I see only four guys who are difference makers this offseason who are controlled by their current teams. Eric Bledsoe, Greg Monroe, Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward are all going to get contracts in the eight-figure range, however some of the numbers being floated are insane.
The Cavs were reportedly offering Hayward a max deal starting at $15 million per season, which is utterly insane for an inconsistent shooter like Hayward. Monroe is likely gone because it looks as if the Pistons will not be able to trade Josh Smith. Bledsoe is going to do well wherever he goes, even if he stays in Phoenix, and Parsons could be a nice add for several playoff teams. However all of this is irrelevant, because Lebron and company are holding up contract offers for all four of these guys.