Bullseye View: Waiting, Chaos of NBA Free Agency Drags On
Jerry Reinsdorf, Gar Forman, John Paxson, and the Bulls’ FO are trying to land either, if not both of, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
These two free-agents are arguably the best players in the NBA. Both of these men sit atop of the superbly talented 2003 Draft Class. Wade is a one-time NBA champion in 2006, whereas “King James” is the 2-time reigning recipient of the Most Valuable Player Award.
What do the Bulls need to do in order to land one of these two future Basketball Hall-of-Famers? Play their cards right. . .
This is a chess game with players on numerous sides of the board, and the first piece is yet to fall. If a piece like Chris Bosh gets taken off the board this could be the domino could cause the rest of them to fall. For instance, let’s say Bosh is dealt in a sign-and-trade to the Houston Rockets. This might cause Wade to bail from Miami upon realizing that he doesn’t have a chance to compete right away – his likely destination being Chicago. Depending on whether or not James would be interested in playing alongside Wade, this might be the determining factor upon whether he signs with Chicago or re-ups Cleveland.
Of course, there are multiple sides of the spectrum one could look through. Something is bound to happen soon. And when it does, it might reshape the NBA landscape for permanently.
There are too many variables to count this summer. It’s impossible to know for sure how the puzzle will piece itself together until those unknowns become constants. LeBron James will make up his mind on Thursday, at the earliest. Wade and Bosh may do so before that. The other free-agents left on the table, being Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, and David Lee, will serve as a back-up plan for those six teams who hope to snag LeBron James.
The heavyweight fight has only just begun.
Miami is going all-in. They have the chance to do something that no NBA team has done before – sign 3 first-tier players in the same summer. But that plan looks like it could backfire. After all, why would James, Bosh, or other big name guys go to Miami when D-Wade himself is not yet guaranteed to come back for 2010-11? As competent as Pat Riley has been, and as much success as he’s had, you would think that he wouldn’t take such huge risks while having only two players (Beasley and Chalmers) signed for next season. It remains a very real possibility that Wade soon re-signs with Miami, and Chris Bosh follows him. But there is no guarantee. . .
New Jersey and New York seem like long-shots to sign James or Wade (especially the Knicks, who appear-to-be on the brink of failure, yet again). But, like Miami, both of these teams can offer two max-contracts, and would be able to team James with either Wade or Bosh (or pair Wade with Bosh). And the Nets actually have a lot of young talent, charisma, and a future to look ahead towards that is much brighter future than their abysmal 2009-10 campaign.
Unlike the aforementioned clubs, the Chicago Bulls can’t quite afford to pay two maximum contracts. This could spell disaster for the Bulls, since it has become apparent that James, Wade, and Bosh are each interested in trying to pair up in some form of duo.
Though most Chicagoans would not dare to even dream this scenario, it is possible that James and Wade could team up as Bulls in 2010-11. But that would require one or both of these men to take less than max-dollars. That seems a little far-fetched. Even in the case of a Bosh/Wade or Bosh/James combination, that seems like it would be a stretch. Chris Bosh has made it apparent that he wants, and feels as though he deserves, max-money.
Signing Boozer or Lee seems like a somewhat realistic back-up plan for the Bulls, if all else fails. . .
The Bulls are still trying to trade away Luol Deng with the intention of clearing cap-space for two full maximum contracts – much like the Heat looking to move Michael Beasley’s contract in order to make room for (almost) three max-deals. But these teams are playing a risky game. The Bulls would then have 4 players under contract from last season, and Miami has only one.
The Bulls’ front office now has two of the best ballers in the world under the scope their proverbial cross-hairs. Only time will tell the story of which NBA teams will benefit, and perhaps even strike gold, from the already notorious Summer of 2010.