Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

Ray Allen, Celtics agree on two-year deal

July 7th, 2010 No comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

Ray Allen and the Boston Celtics have agreed upon a two-year, $20 million deal, his agent Lon Babby confirmed. The second year of Allen’s deal is a player option.

It was widely hoped that Allen would consider accepting a minimum contract in order to join a Wade-James-Bosh trio in South Florida. At one point, it was speculated that LeBron James had contacted Allen about the possibility of doing just that.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported on June 30:

LeBron James is calling the possible union of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and himself, “Dream Team.”

Those were the words James used when he reached out to another free agent in the past 10 days and pitched the idea of joining them.

He said, “Would you be willing to take less to join Dream Team?” the player, who did not want to be identified, told the Daily News. He said his people were putting it together.

The Miami Herald’s own Jorge Sedano followed it up with:

I’ve come across a source who has told me that free agent player could be Ray Allen. The source tells me that Allen has spoken to James and his preference is to remain with the Celtics, but that’s predicated on Paul Pierce remaining with the team. The money is not a huge factor. Winning more championships is the most important factor.

According to the source, Allen has spoken to James and would consider joining said, “Dream Team.” Along with possibly taking less money if it was the perfect opportunity.

Apparently, it wasn’t the perfect opportunity. Oh well.

Categories: Commentary Tags:

Bulls come to terms with Carlos Boozer

July 7th, 2010 2 comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

Mere hours after Chris Bosh committed to the Miami Heat, the Bulls secured their consolation prize – locking in Carlos Boozer to a long-term deal.

Per Ric Bucher of ESPN:

Carlos Boozer is the latest domino to fall, agreeing to a five-year, $80 million contract with the Chicago Bulls, a source close to the negotiations told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher on Wednesday.

Boozer follows agreements by premier free agents Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, Amare Stoudemire with the Knicks and Joe Johnson in Atlanta.

The 5-year, $80 million contract equates to an average of $16 million per season. For Boozer, it was approximately $11.4 million short of the maximum.

Boozer represents a nice back-up option for the Bulls. He’s certainly not to be mistaken with a member of the Trifecta, but he’s an ambidextrous scorer at the rim and a fierce rebounder at both ends of the floor. Of course, he’s also a man who has missed the season opener in three of his eight NBA seasons, and one who doesn’t much like to defend.

One can’t help but take notice at how his contact breaks out. It was likely structured with the maximum 8.0% annual raises, which would make his 2010/11 salary $13,793,103. That’s not a random number. The Bulls now have committed salaries totaling $36,644,079, enough, after incorporating roster charges, for a full maximum contract player (with $45,389 to spare at current cap projections).

LeBron’s mind is likely already made up. Anecdotal evidence suggests he has chosen Miami, the third part of the coveted holy trinity. If there remains any doubt, however, the Boozer addition in Chicago could make things interesting.

Categories: Commentary Tags:

Salary cap expected to be released tonight

July 7th, 2010 17 comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

UPDATE: The salary cap will be higher than the $56.1M projection, according to a league executive. The moratorium ends on Thursday morning at 12:01 AM and it will be when the NBA releases its official cap figure for the 10-11 season.

Well, it’s unofficially official. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each has publicly declared his intention to sign with the Miami Heat.

That leaves LeBron James as the only member of the triumvirate yet to make a decision.

There has been much discussion as to whether the Heat can actually afford to pay him the max within the confines of the salary cap. Of course, that depends on what the salary cap is.

The latest estimates provided by Commissioner David Stern, on April 16, called for a cap of $56.1 million. The final figure is expected to be released by tonight.

Keep these two figures in mind:

$55,986,936: If the cap meets or exceeds this figure, the Heat will be able to offer three max contracts IF it moves Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers

$56,367,721: If the cap meets or exceeds this figure, the Heat will be able to offer three max contracts IF it moves Michael Beasley

Categories: Commentary Tags:

Heat now a frontrunner for LeBron James?

July 7th, 2010 1 comment
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

Whether fans are sick of the LeBron’s self-glorification or not, he has done a good job of keeping people guessing.

It’s probably safe to eliminate the Bulls, Clippers and Nets from the running. Otherwise, the Cavs, Heat and Knicks are all still mentioned as viable candidates to sign the two-time MVP.

One theory has Cleveland emerging as the clear-cut favorite to retain James. The thinking would be that even he would have the nerve to break the hearts of his hometown Cavs fans in a grueling, one-hour ESPN special (Thursday, 9:00 pm). It just seems so unreasonably cruel. But then it was reported that James had long planned some kind of agreement with ESPN regarding his much-hyped free agency, well before the notion that James would even consider leaving Cleveland surfaced.

If LeBron’s sole focus is to win a championship, as he has so emphatically claimed it to be, signing alongside Wade and Bosh in Miami gives him the best chance to do it.

James tried desperately to recruit Bosh to Cleveland, with no luck. Maybe this was all a charade. Maybe it was all part of James’ exit strategy. He can now say to his hometown fans, “I did everything I could to bring an all-star caliber player to Cleveland, but it didn’t work out.”

Per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Official with team that made a formal presentation to LeBron tells Y! Sports: ‘It’s down to Cleveland or Miami for him.

Of course, this is only a theory.

Whatever the case, the Heat appears to be the clear-cut winners, as much for what it did get as for what its rivals did not, of the biggest free agency sweepstakes in league history.

Categories: Commentary Tags:

Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat!!!

July 7th, 2010 4 comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

Per Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are teaming up together on the Miami Heat, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

ESPN’s Shelley Smith also reported the pending move through independent sources.

Whether LeBron James, the kingpin of this summer’s celebrated free agent class, will join them remains to be seen. James will announce his decision Thursday night at 9 ET during a one-hour special on ESPN.

Wade and Bosh are expected to announce their decision on Wednesday, according to the source.

If the reports are true, on July 8 the Heat will have Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers under contract, and $15,601,383 of remaining cap space available, of which up to $11,812,551 can be spent on any one player.

Yeah, baby!!!! None of us ever had a doubt!

Wade, James and Bosh plan one final call

July 7th, 2010 6 comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

The triumvirate is planning one final conference call on Wednesday to decide its fate.

Per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are expected to share a conference call on Wednesday to discuss free agency and try to move closer to finalizing their decisions, a league source with knowledge of the plan told Yahoo! Sports.

The three players are motivated to reach resolutions and make their choices public by Thursday, several sources told Yahoo! Sports. The stars and their agents with CAA continued on Tuesday to churn through numerous machinations and possibilities.

Cleveland has emerged as the clear-cut favorite to retain James. I can’t imagine that even he would have the nerve to break the hearts of his hometown Cavs fans in a grueling, one-hour ESPN special (Thursday, 9:00 pm). It just seems so unreasonably cruel.

So it could all come down to whether Wade and Bosh choose to team up in Miami or Chicago, or part ways altogether.

Bosh seems unlikely to take a discount. He wants to sign for the maximum, and he wants to do so for six full years. As it stands, the Bulls don’t have the money, and the Heat doesn’t have the required trade partner.

If Bosh can get Toronto to sign-and-trade him to Miami, you’ve got the think the Heat is in the driver’s seat. Despite the heavy-handed talk, common sense would dictate general manager Brian Colangelo would ultimately cede to Bosh’s wish, and grant him his sign-and-trade. At the very least, he would acquire a $16.6 million trade exception – and perhaps a first round pick or two – with which to make a run at a player(s) of his choosing. At the same time, he would be increasing Chris’ future salary, and thus decreasing the future available cap space of a conference rival. Not a bad combination when the alternative is losing your best and most powerful asset for nothing.

If asked for a prediction, I would say the Heat secures both Wade and Bosh, the Bulls settle on Carlos Boozer, the Nets wind up with David Lee, and the Knicks are left to scramble for a bunch of overpriced short-term contracts with which to surround Amare Stoudemire in the desperate hope of landing Tony Parker and Carmelo Anthony next season.

Not too bad an outcome if you ask me!

Categories: Commentary Tags:

Heat Gaining Steam in Free Agent Sweepstakes

July 6th, 2010 4 comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

LeBron James wants desperately to play with Chris Bosh. He sees Bosh as the key to a team that can win multiple titles. As such, he’s been trying to recruit the All-Star to Cleveland for several weeks. The capped out Cavaliers have even worked out a sign-and-trade with the Raptors to make it happen.

Per Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Everything is set for Chris Bosh to join LeBron James in Cleveland. Everything, that is, except Bosh’s approval.

The Toronto Raptors have told the Cleveland Cavaliers they will do a sign-and-trade with them for Bosh, according to several league sources.

The exact details of the potential trade have not been solidified, but Toronto likely would get Anderson Varejao and or J.J. Hickson, Delonte West, and perhaps Anthony Parker. A draft pick could be involved as well.

The Raptors are certainly doing their part to drive their departing power forward toward a potential union with James, disingenuously suggesting it would not be willing to cooperate in a sign-and-trade with the Miami Heat.

But Chris has not exactly warmed to the idea of playing in Cleveland. And for good reason. The average temperature in Cleveland is 49 degrees; the average temperature in Miami is 75 degrees. Cleveland has factories; Miami has South Beach.

And for a guy who’s so motivated by the money, he’d be paying approximately $750,000 more in annual taxes (state, net of federal deductions) in Ohio than on an equivalent contract in Florida. Read more…

Plan B Defined

July 6th, 2010 1 comment
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

There is no great Plan B for the Miami Heat. If they can’t maneuver to get a marquee free agent to join Dwyane Wade this summer, Wade will likely bolt for the Chicago Bulls and the power balance of the Eastern Conference will shift even further away from South Florida.

A title-contending team needs a future hall-of-fame talent through whom to run its offense. For the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s LeBron James. For the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s Kobe Bryant. For the Heat, it’s Wade. If Wade doesn’t re-sign, there’s simply no way to build a winner. It’d be a tear-down rebuild that could take a decade from which to recover.

But if we pretend Wade loves the Heat to such an extent that he’d consider a Plan B scenario, what would it look like?

James is the clear prize of a loaded free agent market. Chris Bosh is second. Both would be ideal. One would probably be enough to keep Wade happy. Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer are the only other possibilities around which a compelling storyline can be crafted. But if the Heat should strike out on all these names, however unlikely that may be, there may still be a path to future success.

The free agent market is considerably lacking in depth if the Heat strikes out on the headline names. In order to present him with a remotely compelling offer, the Heat would need to ferociously attack the trade market.

The good news is that the Heat has considerable assets with which to deal. To start the summer, the Heat will have eight first round draft picks over the next seven years – including a protected first round pick acquired from the Toronto Raptors in Shawn Marion-Jermaine O’Neal swap on February 13, 2009 – and a nearly full complement of second round picks. They’ll also have Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers to dangle, and the most cap room in the entire N.B.A. – a valuable commodity for teams in salary cap hell and looking to shed valuable contracts.

How do you build a championship roster?

You start with your superstar wing player, and you give him the space he needs to operate. Floor-spacing, both vertical and horizontal, is everything. That requires an athletic interior presence down low, and a bunch of multi-dimensional shooters.  Read more…

New York Knicks to sign Amare Stoudemire

July 5th, 2010 6 comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

The first highly-touted power forward is off the boards. And it’s not a bad outcome for the Miami Heat.

As expected, the New York Knicks have come to terms with Amare Stoudemire on a contract worth nearly $100 million over five seasons.

Said Stoudemire:

I feel great, really, about being a pioneer and showing my leadership. It’s a situation where no one wanted to make that first move. Totally comfortable, totally confident that my leadership qualities will uplift all of us to do something great this upcoming season. So again, the Knicks are back.

Sounds like a man with some doubt still lingering. Stoudemire would have preferred to join Dwyane Wade and the Heat. But Miami has bigger plans. And those plans look more and more promising with each passing moment.

Wade and Chris Bosh seem inexorably linked. The two have been friends for some time. They share the same agent. They dine together. They laugh together. They appear to want to play together.

There have been rumors stating that a D-Wade and Chris Bosh partnership is imminent. With just over two days left to go until projected commitment time (Thursday), South Florida is currently the only place where that can happen. Chicago, the only other destination where such a pairing is even remotely being considered, remains below the second max threshold by $2,730,417. And neither Wade nor Bosh strikes me as willing to forgo that excess cash.

Amare in New York, with nothing surrounding him, is manageable. They’re getting him at an excessive price. And they won’t be getting Steve Nash with him. Read more…

Categories: Commentary Tags:

Breaking down Dwyane’s impending decision

July 4th, 2010 No comments
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

While the South Florida community sits on pins and needles in anticipation of the decision of its superstar shooting guard, Dwyane Wade today suggested that he will do what is best for his family amid his custody dispute over his children currently living with him in Chicago.

Wade’s contentious divorce from his estranged wife Siohvaughn was confirmed on June 25.

To say the divorce is finalized would be an accurate yet loosely applied statement. While the couple is officially not a couple anymore, critical issues about the division of marital assets and custody of their children two sons, Zaire, 8, and Zion, 3, are still in dispute.

Wade and his wife separated in September of 2007, when Siohvaughn, then living with husband Dwyane in a beautiful Pinecrest mansion, returned to Chicago shortly after the birth of their second child because she “needed help with raising the kids.”

Divorce proceedings commenced the next month. She has refused to return to Miami ever since.

From the outset of the divorce proceedings, Wade has been the bigger person. He hasn’t disrespected his ex-wife in the media, he hardly ever talks about the divorce, and he maintains that his children are what is most important to him at the moment.

Siohvaughn has played the part of the enraged lunatic, the type of ex that isn’t really concerned about the well-being of her children but rather focused on tearing down her ex-husband. Read more…

Categories: Commentary Tags: