The NBA free agent frenzy is at a all-time high. Everywhere there are different “insiders with knowledge of the situation” saying where Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson and another certain reigning MVP from Cleveland, will land. Come Thursday at midnight, the rumor mill will push to another level all the way to the July 8th signing date begins.
There are so many different scenarios that have been placed into the mix at this point that it gets made to be a foregone conclusion on some players intentions. I’m looking at it from a totally open perspective from the information available from financial perspectives and player intent. For the next few days leading into the July 1 cutting of the ribbon for the free agent race, I will be breaking down individual players roles from THE CHEAP SEATS, continuing with the guys that like it just fine where they are….
The Basics: Power Forward, 32 years old, 7’0, 245 lbs
The Numbers: 25 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1 BPG (2010); 22.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1 BPG (Career); 1 time MVP, 9 time All-Star, 4 time All-NBA
Why he’s staying: While he is up in age for a primary scorer on a contender, Dirk shows he is still up for the task. He has been loyal to the Mavericks and is hands down the best player in franchise history. By opting out he could add to the immediate value of his contract and is based in getting the most he can out of probably his final payday. Look for him to be among the first that signs back with his previous team, as he has no other serious suitors due to the consensus on him wanting to stay put.
To Maximize his stay……Dallas needs to add an interior presence. For years the Mavs have run the court with athletic guards and forwards, but mostly their interior play has been used to rebound and block shots. Nowitzki has always been a serviceable rebounder, but has always been a perimeter threat is definitely best used that way in his twilight. To extend his maximum productivity, allowing Dirk to move to the small forward spot and shoot more 3’s would be best.
The Basics: Small Forward, 32 years old, 6’7, 235 lbs
The Numbers: 18.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.1 APG (2010); 22.5 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.8 APG (Career); 8 time All-Star, 2008 NBA Finals MVP
Why he’s staying: Similar to Nowitzki, Pierce has established himself as a fixture in Boston. While his production is declining, he still can play a big role in getting the last few big seasons out of the aging Celtics core. With the emergence of Rajon Rondo the pressure has been lessened on the Big 3 to be the sole producers for Boston’s success. Boston has expressed a willingness to pay what is needed to keep Pierce in town and its seems unlikely that another team in the market would spend big money on an aging forward that still looks to be a go-to scorer. Everything he needs is in Boston, and they will lock him up for the rest of his career soon.
To maximize his stay…..the Celtics must continue to add younger depth. Pierce has seen his best days, but shows when given proper rest from his bench can still step up and produce at a high level. Doc Rivers already committed to return to the bench, so the system will still be familiar. Adding another younger forward to back up Pierce should be the next priority after getting Paul back on board.
The Basics: Shooting Guard, 34 years old, 6’5, 205 lbs
The Numbers: 16.3 PPG, .913 FT%, .363 FG% (2010); 20.5 PPG, .894 FT%, .450 FG% (Career); 9 time All-Star
Why he’ll stay: Of the group of undetermined guys, he has the most chance of leaving. At this point, Allen is nothing more than a pure shooter. Much of his athleticism and ability to create his shot have left him and coming off screens to find his shot is what he does best. With that said, he is still very good at doing so and could help many different teams that need a player that can start and bring this to the floor. While the Knicks, Bulls and Heat could all make inquiries into him, it seems likely the Allen will finish up in Boston, especially with Rivers returning and Pierce most likely back. While the structure of the East will be changing the Celtics showed they have what it take to make another run, and giving Allen a two-year contract wouldn’t be a terrible risk at another run.
To maximize his stay…..the Celtics have to resign their free agent guards. Both Nate Robinson and Tony Allen are free agents and Boston needs to resign at least one of them to make hosting Allen possible. He can’t stick with most starting shooting guards now and can only stay with some points. To keep his legs underneath him to continue being the offensive threat he can be, he has to be spelled on defense several times a night. Tony Allen and/or Robinson returning would be huge, or picking up Randy Foye, Rasual Butler or Ronnie Brewer to compliment rookie shooting guard Avery Bradley is a must.
One potential big free agent choose to stay home as well….
The Basics: Small Forward, 23 years old, 6’8, 230 lbs
The Numbers: 19.6 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.5 SPG (2010); 17.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.1 SPG (Career);
Why he’s staying: The contract, flat out. Memphis showed quick commitment to the best player in the young nucleus
they are building around with OJ Mayo and Marc Gasol. Memphis is a great place to be currently, as they could be the next Oklahoma City Thunder by making the jump into the playoff scene they were on the verge of it 2009-2010. In order to assure this, they had to lock up Gay, who signed a 5 year, $82 million dollar max contract with the Grizz on the first day of his restricted free agency. Gay is on the verge of joining the All-Star ranks, and while he is not there yet, by signing him to this contract early, Memphis makes sure he is on their roster when he starts playing like a definite max player.
To maximize his stay……they just have to keep growing. There are plenty of growing talents on their very young roster and having Zach Randolph as stabilizing vet (on the court at least) in the fold lets Gay, Mayo and Gasol grow into the stars they need to be. If 2009 #2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet and rookie Xavier Henry become solid contributors, Memphis could be a big problem in the West much sooner than later.
Next: David Lee