NBA Free Agency Thoughts
Outside of the playoffs and finals, the free agency period for the NBA is most exciting to follow and this July has been one of the most exciting since the 2010 offseason which featured the Decision and the infamous formation of the Big 3 in Miami. From a Celtics perspective, they have been rather quiet after there had been talks of ‘fireworks’ from the organization. Here I’ll take a look at the recent big signings around the league. My Celtics related comments will be all the way at the bottom for the Celtic fans out there.
· LeBron James signs a 2-year $42-million deal with Cleveland
o This is the move of the offseason obviously. Of course, the James haters find this move a sell out by LeBron. I’ve heard people say he finds the first door after losing (which is true), he knew returning to Cleveland would make people pat him on the back (also true), or even he left to go to a better situation with a young Kyrie and Wiggins (which I disagree with). I think if he returned to Miami, he would have a better chance at a ring. Unless the Cavs get Love, they wouldn’t be as good as Miami would have been with him. Even though I am a huge James hater, I really respect this move outta him. Yes, he may have found the door and ran when the tough got going, but I’ve come to learn that that’s what kind of guy LeBron James is. He’s a front runner. But, I respect the hell out of the fact that he knew he messed up big time in 2010 and righted a wrong by returning home to the city that so badly needed a star and relevancy in it. I’m a sentimental kind of fan, and a star that turned his back on the area that raised him, then returns is a great story. I’m sorry if I’m a sucker, but it really is. If LeBron is able to deliver a title to Cleveland without getting a Kevin Love to help him that would make his story and legacy so much better. Also, I would be happy for those fans over in Cleveland because they deserve a title so much. This is a class move by LeBron to go home. For those of you who still do not respect him or hate the move, what do you expect? It’s LeBron. At this point, we all know that he just isn’t the type of guy that Jordan, Larry or Magic was that’s just fact. LeBron is just as skilled as those players, but he doesn’t have that ‘it’ factor. Anyway, all of that aside, I really respect the move by LeBron to come back home.
· Carmelo Anthony signs a 5-year $129-million deal to stay in New York
o Good for Melo for getting paid, good for NY and Phil to retain him. New York is looking up though, if you ask me. Melo will still have to carry them and most likely it will be a 7-8 seed in the East. The Knicks need to get that horrible Amare contract off the books before they become relevant again.
· Chris Bosh signs a 5-year $118-million max deal to stay in Miami
o WOW. Very surprised to see this happen. This move, in my opinion, shows the greatness of Pat Riley as a GM and salesman. He somehow sold Bosh on staying in Miami even after LBJ ditched town. Obviously that extra money and year helped Bosh make the decision, but let’s be honest, Bosh’s best situation was to take the max in Houston and ball with a new big 3. I am very surprised to see him change his mind; sadly, Miami will not be a title contender for at least two more seasons so Bosh will be stuck on a decent team. He will also be back to the old Bosh in the post averaging 24/11 like he did in Toronto. A good move by Riley to keep a star around to build something with, and a solid move by Bosh to stick around and take the money.
· Dirk Nowitzki agrees to a 3-year $30-million deal to stay with Dallas
o Big Shot Dirk staying home. Not really a surprise. This guy belongs in Dallas. Of course he could have gotten more on the open market, but he has that gene of loyalty in him, which adds to his legacy. The Mavs may be a decent team that could make a surprise run in the playoffs now that they added Tyson Chandler as well. Class move by Dirk to stay for cheap, good for Dallas.
· Kyle Lowry agrees to a 4-year $48-million deal to stay in Toronto
o This is a big resign for the young Raptor team. The Raptors have a very good core in place with Lowry, DeRozan and Johnson to be a competitive team each season. Lowry should only get better as the years progress as well. For a guy that can down the road by a top tier PG, 12 million per season is a very good deal for the Raptors.
· Chandler Parsons signs 3-year $46-million offer sheet to join Dallas
o What a huge signing for Dallas. It fills a huge need as a scoring 3. Add a young Parsons to Ellis, Nowitzki and Chandler and you have a team that can make some real noise in May. The only thing is, 15 million a year for Parsons is a HUGE overpayment if you ask me. Also the other big overpayment this offseason was Gordon Hayward going back to Utah for 4/63.. Like what? I would take Bradley over him. I was upset at Avery Bradley’s 8 million per year and Jeff Green’s 9 million this season but both those deals look like steals compared to this deal. It certainly a high price, but Parsons should fit in well with Dallas and keep them youthful as well.
· Luol Deng signs a 2-year $20-million deal to join Miami
o This is a bargain for Riley and Miami. Deng’s rumored price going into FA was anywhere from 13-15 million but he ends up getting 10 a year. Miami has quickly rebounded from losing Bron to making a decent playoff team in the East with Bosh and Deng as the core and more cap space to make moves. Deng will be a 2nd option there so he gets to shine and Miami gets a bargain and stays a winning team. Good for both sides.
· Pau Gasol signs a 3-year $22-million deal joining Chicago
o If Derrick Rose can play a full season and postseason 100%, this signing is huge for Chicago. Pau can score, which Chicago needs badly. With Rose, Butler, Pau and Noah and Gibson off the bench, this Bulls team could end up being the 1-seed in the East and be a legit title contender. A great signing for Chicago and a good spot for Pau to shine.
Celtics Related Moves
· Celtics sign Avery Bradley to a 4-year $32-million deal
o I like Avery Bradley; I do, just not at this price. At least that’s what I was saying when the deal was signed. Now that the numbers for the Hayward and Parsons deal have come out, I really don’t mind the Bradley signing. He’s still very young and has upside at and at 8 million a season, looks to be a bit of a bargain. Rondo, Smart and Bradley is a good combo of guards for this Celtics team.
· Celtics trade 10.3 TPE and conditional 2nd round pick to Cleveland as part of a 3-team deal getting Tyler Zeller, Marcus Thornton and a future protected 1st round pick.
o Love this deal. Love it. We traded pretty much nothing and still got a solid shooter Thornton with an expiring deal, a young big man in Zeller (which the C’s desperately needed) and yet another first round pick. All of that for nothing. I think we may see Thornton traded before the season even starts or at the trade deadline. He is a good scorer that a contending team could use off the bench in the playoffs. Even if he isn’t traded, he has an expiring deal which is perfect for the Celtics through this rebuild. Zeller looks to be part of the future plans of the team. Hopefully he can develop into a solid big man who can give us 20-24 minutes a night down low. You gotta love this trade by Ainge. He gave up nothing for something.
· EXTRA: Paul Pierce signs a MLE 2-year $10-million deal with Washington
o When I saw this I said, “Good for Paul”. He brings veteran leadership and clutch scoring to a very young and competitive Wizards team that they need. The Wizards will make the playoffs again this season and if the Celtics drop into tankapalooza 2.0 then I will easily root for the success of Paul in the playoffs with the Wiz. Something to think about, Pierce has an opt out after one season though, so maybe if the Celtics gets some studs by 2015, Pierce will opt out and rejoin for one last run in his career. Obviously, a pipe dream, but what a great story it would be. Best of luck to my favorite player all-time Paul Pierce.
The Celtics have been relatively quiet in this free agency a little to my surprise after the “fireworks” were supposed to be coming. There are still rumors of Kevin Love, which I’m holding out hope for, but that seems very unlikely too. I think the C’s can still offer the best package IF Cleveland doesn’t give up Wiggins and Golden State won’t give up Thompson. If the Celtics cannot get Love, they should just sit back the rest of the offseason (as they are doing) and just play the young guys and see how the season turns out, then make a run at FA in 2015. I’m still holding out the dream that Love is coming here though, and I’m not giving up until he wears another team’s jersey.