The landscape of the NBA still has the possibility to change dramatically, and probably will, in the next few days and weeks. Instead of sitting and waiting for those changes to happen, let’s analyze what’s already happened just over a week into free agency with a few Pros and Cons:
Pro: LeBron James is still holding the league hostage
Until LeBron makes a decision, most free agents aren’t going to sign. It’s not financially responsible to take one offer when about five or six teams in the league aren’t exactly sure what their roster and cap is going to look like after LeBron signs. No one want to leave money on the table, and no team wants to make offers to free agents when there’s a possibility, however slight, LeBron will choose their team. It’s a vicious cycle, but that’s free agency. Isn’t it fun?
Con: LeBron James is still holding the league hostage
Seriously, checking my twitter account every five minutes to see if there’s something huge that I’m missing is starting to get a little old. Can we all just agree on a day LeBron will sign? No one should be allowed to make any stories out of rumors until that day is over. We just have to wait it out. It’s going to happen whether we like it or not. Can we all take a step back from the rumor mill and enjoy our summer for a second or two? Is that too much to ask?
Pro: Ben Gordon, apparently, has not retired yet
Free agency always has the out-of-the-blue signings that no one sees coming, and they’re all so much fun. You know it’s an especially good year in free agency when you’re surprised to see a guy ink a new deal because you forgot he was in the league. That’s how I felt when I saw Gordon’s two-year/$9 million deal with the Orlando Magic. How Gordon and his agent mustered up that offer, I have no idea. There’s legitimately no excuse for paying Gordon more than a veteran’s minimum at this point in his career, but now he makes nearly $5 million per season. Well done, Ben, keep getting that paper.
Con: Orlando Magic and their strategy
Any news about Orlando since the NBA Draft has made me think, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, ORLANDO?!?!?!?!”
So far, they’ve signed (or agreed to terms with) Willie Green (Who? Exactly), Ben Gordon, and Channing Frye. They’ve obtained Evan Fournier from the Denver Nuggets and traded Arron Afflalo. No one has any idea what the Magic are doing. I see the theory behind the scenes of adding veterans to a young team, but they just traded their best player, Afflalo, for cents on the dollar. Green and Gordon probably shouldn’t be allowed to play non-grabage time minutes in a real NBA game. Frye’s a good player, but is he worth $8 million per year. I guess, technically, that’s what his market value is, but you don’t have to sign him. I don’t see the fit in Orlando, other than the fact that he might be the only guy on the team who can shoot anything other than lay-ups.
Who knows, though. Maybe, Orlando will make the playoffs next season. I mean, we’re talking about a team in the Eastern Conference. Anyone has a chance at the playoffs.
Pro: Cleveland Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert, Cavs fans, and hope
As far as I know, America and its leaders never allowed Benedict Arnold to sign a max contract and welcome him back to America. I can’t believe the hypocrisy. You burned his jerseys when he left, and now you try and win him over. Show some pride.
On the other hand, LeBron is the best player in the world. The Cavs would also be straight stupid not to let LeBron come back to Cleveland. Of course, I’d want him on my team, regardless of the circumstances. There’s chance LeBron comes back to Cleveland, and the mere fact that #LeReturn is even a thing fours years removed from The Decision is a pretty cool thing. I mean, it’s probably not going to happen, but nothing better than getting your hopes up, right Cavs fans?
Con: Cleveland Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert, Cavs fans, and hope
You’re still Cleveland. For that, I’m truly sorry.
Pro: Avery Bradley getting paid
Way to get your money, Bradley! I don’t see how this deal makes any sense considering the Celtics now have three point guards, Rajon Rondo, Marcus Smart, and Bradley. Oh well, though. Ainge is all the about collecting assets, and keeping Bradley was probably a smart move. A four-year/$32 million deal isn’t exactly what I’d like to pay Bradley, but that’s the market right now for productive point guards.
Con: Kyle Lowry getting paid
If Bradley is worth $8 million per year, what’s Lowry worth? $12 million? $13 million? Based on productivity and what each player can do, I’d say Lowry is probably worth around $14 million on the open market. He took a four-year/$48 million contract from Toronto. That’s probably a steal for the Raptors. Lowry definitely had higher offers out there, but he chose the best fit. I guess we can’t blame him?
Pro: Gordon Hayward trying to escape Utah
The Charlotte Hornets tried to make a splash by offering the restricted free agent Hayward a four-year/$63 million max contract. Hayward and the Hornets agreed on terms of the deal, and now the ball is in Utah’s court (bad pun, sorry) to decide whether or not to match that offer for Hayward. Kudos to Hayward for trying to get away from one of the worst basketball situations in the league. The Jazz have been awful is entire career, and no one actually wants to play there. Most people expect Utah to match the offer, but if Hayward throws a big enough fit, maybe the Jazz will trade him…
Cons: Big names leaving Utah
In the last five years, we’ve seen five big-ish free agents leave the Jazz or force the Jazz to trade them. Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, and now Hayward. That’s not so good… Maybe the Jazz will keep Hayward, turn it around, and this will all be water under the bridge. Only time will tell!
That’s enough pros and cons for the first week and change of free agency. I’m sure there will be plenty more to come shortly!