Recap: The Craziest Free Agency Period in NBA History

Alex ShultzCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2010

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What exactly happened Thursday night? Anyone really  know? Because I don’t.

The NBA landscape shifted big time , like, San Andreas Fault splitting in half big time. To make sense of it all, here’s a mega-super-spectacular review of free agency thus far, with a special emphasis on July 8th. I’ll go with 20 points of analysis, presented in numerical form. Enjoy.

1. LeBron James is sort of an egotistical jerk. Like, seriously…”The Decision?” Was that really necessary LeBron? You talk about winning and how much it means while simultaneously hosting an ESPN TV show in which you handpicked Jim Gray to gush about you with a bunch of children in need sitting in the background. We’re not idiots. Fans can tell sincerity from PR moves. Moving on…

2. Joe Johnson received the worst deal in NBA history. Six years, 118 million dollars. Congrats on ruining your franchise by 2013, Atlanta. Never knew a 29-year-old who couldn’t get the Hawks out of the second round was worth a max contract.

3. Not a soul is talking about Carlos Boozer. For years, he’s been an underrated commodity. He gives you 20/10 every single night, and he doesn’t choke come playoff time. That’s an invaluable trait. Watch out for the Bulls, with Rose and Boozer carrying the scoring load.

4. Joakim Noah is one of my favorite players. He’s a walking quote machine. Take last night, for instance:

“I think it’s perfect. Everybody’s going to be talking about that team down there,” Noah told reporters Thursday night. “It’s going to be real Hollywood down there. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to go out there and you gotta play. And I think we have pieces…that can compete against anybody. I think our organization did a great job locking in (free-agent acquisition Carlos Boozer). I think with Booz, we’re going to be able to fight, and that’s a good feeling.”

5. I’m not sure if Dwyane Wade realizes what this does for his legacy. I truly believe he’s all about winning, but that blind ambition for a championship could put a dent in his future hall-of-fame credentials. How much credit can you get for winning a championship with two other top-15 players?

6. Congrats to Rudy Gay for making as much money as Kevin Durant. Gay: 5 years, 82 million. Durant: 5 years, 86 million. I don’t know about you, but I’d probably be willing to pay far more than four million extra dollars for Kevin Durant’s services as opposed to Rudy Gay’s.

7. LeBron’s beard doesn’t look good. He’s trying to look more mature and seasoned, but it doesn’t come off right. Shave it, James.

8. Dan Gilbert, you’re the man . Has there ever been a more entertaining blow up from an NBA owner? Here it is, in case you missed it:

    Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

    As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

    This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

    Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

    The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

    There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

    You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

    You have given so much and deserve so much more.

    In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:


    You can take it to the bank.

    If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

    Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

    Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

    This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.

    But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.

    The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

    Just watch.

    Sleep well, Cleveland.

    Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….

    I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

    DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….

    Dan Gilbert

    Majority Owner

    Cleveland Cavaliers

    9. Follow up on Gilbert’s note: Definitely a nice move from an owner who may or may not be saying this just to get the Cleveland fans against LeBron as opposed to against the Cavaliers. He’s painting a betrayal, as the big star leaves the poor little team in Cleveland hopeless, and is now swearing revenge. It’s like a terrible Hollywood movie plot we see 20 times a year.

    10. Michael Beasley got traded to the Timberwolves for a second round pick. He was the second pick in the draft two years ago. David Kahn made a smart move. What…is…happening…here? Of course, for a guy with off-the-court issues, Minnesota is a golden ticket for disaster. But on paper, great move for Minny.

    11. The New York Knicks traded basically their entire roster for Amare Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike, and Ronny Turiaf. Considering Donny Walsh purposely traded away valuable pieces the past few years for the 2010 free agent class, I’d have to say he failed miserably. Unless the Knicks swing a trade for Tony Parker, Gilbert Arenas, or Carmelo Anthony, they’re absolutely sunk.

    12. Love the Kyle Korver pick up for the Bulls. He’s the perfect shooter for a team that desperately needed someone to stretch the floor. I really truly believe Chicago will be a top four team in the Eastern Conference next season.

    13. David Lee is a perfect fit in Golden State. He lives off the fastbreak, and can rebound effectively. Basically, he’s the Andris Biedrins that the Warriors envisioned Biedrins would become (which, of course, he didn’t).

    14. Sneaky best offseason award goes to the Milwaukee Bucks. Unloaded Charlie Bell, who was a locker room problem, and added Corey Maggette, Larry Sanders, and Chris Douglas-Roberts. They also re-signed John Salmons, who many assumed was going to leave town.

    15. Anyone notice how bad the Jazz are going to be next season? They’ve lost Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver already. Better hope Gordon Hayward turns into a 20 PPG scorer if Utah is going to make the playoffs.

    16. Strangest Tweets Award from an NBA player on July 8th goes to Mo Willams, @mogotti2. He literally has a breakdown on Twitter. His quotes are literally too long to post. Check out his feed here to see what I’m talking about:

    17. Time to get into the nitty gritty. I do not think the Miami Heat will win an NBA championship next year. And I’m not sold on them the year after either.

    Basketball is a team sport. I’m a firm believer in having a balanced attack to win games. How many times have we seen a Cinderella team knock out a powerhouse, especially in college basketball? Those are the squads with less talent, but more heart, and more chemistry. And sometimes, that’s all you need.

    I think Dwyane Wade is a great locker room guy, and an excellent floor general. You can absolutely build around Wade.

    I have my doubts about James and Bosh. Perhaps Dan Gilbert was simply talking out of anger, but I buy into the theory that James quit on his team in the playoffs. He looked like he quit. And I’ve never thought of him as a great locker room guy. He won’t fight to the death with his teammates. He’s been too pampered from an early age. And Bosh looks the same way.

    The Heat are going to have quite an uphill battle going forward. I don’t see how they can find quality league minimum guys to fill out the team. Even if Mike Miller signs, Miami still doesn’t have a center. Bosh doesn’t want to play center. Are they expecting second-round pick rookie Dexter Pittman to play 30+ minutes per game?

    Until question marks at center and the bench are answered, I still like the Bulls, Celtics, and Magic over Miami next season. The most exciting team to watch will no doubt be the Heat, but that doesn’t mean they will be the best.

    18. The powers are shifting. I’d argue the Eastern Conference now has as many talented teams as the Western Conference does. Just something to keep an eye on…

    19. More teams should be looking at Luis Scola. The guy just flat-out hustles. He also averaged 16 PPG last season. Houston will probably match an offer, but teams like the Nets and Knicks have the money to put together a package too steep for the Rockets to handle.

    20. LeBron will never be looked at the same after this offseason. He’s always been known as a cocky player, and hey, there’s nothing wrong with that, but now people are starting to see that he’s more than just cocky, he’s narcissistic.

    I refuse to believe he’s going to Miami simply to win. Miami is the perfect spot for him to grab more endorsement deals, add to his global image, and party with his good friends. I’ve said this from day one and still firmly believe it: LeBron James doesn’t have the drive to win. He doesn’t. He will never earn as many rings as Jordan, as Bryant, as Duncan, because he’s as much about his image as he is winning. And it can’t go both ways.

    Jordan didn’t care what you thought about him as a person, as long as you respected his game. That’s why he won six championships. That’s why he’s the greatest ever.

    And that’s why LeBron has yet to win a title.




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