NBA Free Agent Signings, Trade Rumblings

Musical Chairs at Small Forward

As expected, the most sough after position was prioritized in free agency and have signed quickly.

You should definitely check out LeBron James’ letter on his return to Cleveland, 2 years, $42 million. Why a short-term deal? A new TV deal for the NBA will increase the value of max contracts in a couple years, James wants to extend and retire in his home state.

Carmelo Anthony released a statement today on his return to the Big Apple as well, 5 years, $122 million. He hearts NY and wants to see Phil Jackson’s plan come to fruition.

Houston Rockets decided not to match the 3-year, $45 million offer sheet for Chandler Parsons. He can continue to celebrate with the Dallas Mavericks and owner Mark Cuban.

It was thought that Houston would hang onto Parsons after missing out on Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. Rather, they pry Trevor Ariza away from Washington, 4 years, $32 million.

As for Ariza’s old team, the Wizards lured Paul Pierce away from the Nets. The veteran gives the young team a presence they can benefit from, 2 years $11 million. Two years from now, their plan is to bring D.C. native Kevin Durant back home, yes the reigning MVP and scoring champion.

Luol Deng played guarded Dwyane Wade and LeBron James throughout his career. Miami Heat fills the King James void with Deng, 2 years, $20 million.

Getting Better

Chicago Bulls have championship hopes, improving those chances by adding a former champion, Pau Gasol. The big man will work beautifully with this roster. Offensively, he gives them a proven scorer from the block to mid-range. If you thought Joakim Noah’s passing was threatening, pairing him with the future Hall of Famer makes them a favorite in the East.

On that note, we’ve seen Tom Thibodeau’s defensive blueprint take the league by storm. This off-season they have added offensive firepower with rookie Dough McDermott, and bringing Euro MVP Nikola Mirotic on board. For Mirotic, the Bulls received top-10 pick offers and rejected any deal for him.

Little is it know, the Detroit Pistons signed Jodie Meeks and Cartier Martin. They ranked 11th and 18th from behind the arc last season, good low-key additions for Stan van Gundy’s offense.

OKC brings Anthony Morrow to town, the sharpshooter should have plenty of open looks spotting up for the Thunder buddies.

With LeBron James’ arrival to Cleveland, he just might be bring some friends with him. Shooters actually, Mike Miller and Ray Allen, all three won a title together. Yes, they should be considered the favorites to win the East, until we see the Bulls’ Derrick Rose return to action.

The Kings sign Darren Collison to start at point, most likely replacing Isaiah Thomas.

Vince Carter to the Memphis Grizzlies caught me off-guard, but it does look like it should be a good fit. They need more scoring and the veteran can still do that in more ways than one.

Phoenix reached an agreement with point guard Isaiah Thomas, last season Thomas started 2/3 of the year in Sacramento. He averaged comparable number to Damian Lilliard, and is expected to be the sixth man.

Stretch-4 Channing Frye inked a deal to join Orlando’s starting lineup, one of the better shooting big men in the league.

They may not be the Lake Show anymore, the Lakers hang onto Nick Young and Jordan Hill after trading for Jeremy Lin. If they keep point guard Steve Nash and limit his minutes, that’s a decent guard rotation for Kobe Bryant to work with. Down low, Hill is paired with rookie Julius Randle, and have not hired a coach yet. Byron Scott is expected to be the man for the job.

Hanging Around

Chris Bosh got the max to continue a good thing in Miami. Dwyane Wade is on the verge on re-signing and ensuring that he retires in South Beach. So far Pat Riley has added Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger. Deng and McRoberts are expected to start at the forward positions, with Bosh at center and Granger bringing his scoring punch as the sixth man.

Point Guard Mario Chalmers just agreed to a deal to stay in Miami. A starter for several years, Chalmers was benched during The Finals’ loss to San Antonio. Being the most seasoned point on the roster, he will be challenged for playing time by Norris Cole and rookie Shabazz Napier.

The Suns plan on keeping Eric Bledsoe, the combo-guard started alongside Goran Dragic last season. Dragic won Most Improved Player and someone they refuse to trade, adding Thomas to the rotation makes them one of the strongest backcourts in basketball.

Kevin Garnett is returning to Brooklyn, probably to finish his career there. He gets to play with the returning Brooke Lopez and mentor the young big man.

The Bulls and guard Kirk Hinrich are happy to stay o the same page. The gritty veteran should make life easier for the returning Rose.

Devin Harris isn’t going anywhere, as of right now he is expected to start for the Mavericks with Raymond Felton backing him up.

Under-the-radar, as usual, the Spurs keep Boris Diaw and Patty Mills in the loop with extensions.

Toronto made the playoffs and did everything they could to keep a good thing going, keeping: Kyle Lowry, Patrick Patterson, and bringing back James Johnson after a short separation.

Trades?

Minnesota is going to make life hard on any team that wants Kevin Love. The all-star is a California-native and would welcome an extension with Golden State, and also expressed the same as far as LeBron and the Cavs are concerned. The Warriors refue to include guard Klay Thompson which has put a halt to trade talks there. Cleveland has made it clear, they want to keep #1 pick Andrew Wiggins. The Timberwolves are believed to include guard Kevin Martin in a package with Love, he can shoot and get to the line but they want to rid his contract.

Interesting that the Lakers and Bulls couldn’t come to terms on a sign-and-trade for Gasol. It was widely known that Chicago was looking to unload Carlos Boozer, the power forward definitely had better playing days in the West. Los Angeles is a team interested in his services, as are Central Division rivals, the Indiana Pacers.

Washington and Houston are discussing a sign-and-trade for Ariza, as D.C. wants to acquire whatever assets they can for losing him. At least they re-signed their main priority, center Marcin Gortat, and filled the void with Pierce and Otto Porter backing up.

All is quiet on the Rajon Rondo front. The Celtics do have a lot of guards on the roster now, as do the Kings, a team interested in the all star point guard. Of course, Boston would love to keep Rondo and are making efforts to land Love as well.

 

Best Free Agents Available

Lance Stephenson, the animated defensive-oriented guard led the league in triple-doubles last season. He’s improved on the offensive end, his perimeter shot isn’t too shabby and he’s shown flashes of taking over a game for stretches. Although Indiana is considered the favorite to keep him, the Lakers and Mavericks might show him the money to head west. The Bulls and Heat appear to be out of the mix now. Charlotte would be an excellent fit for the up and coming playmaker, amplifying their efforts to leap frog these other teams.

Shawn Marion, the ageless wonder is still hooping at a high level. Still getting deflections and doing the dirty work, filling the lanes on the break and defending the better wings in the game. He should be signing a deal in the coming week with plenty of suitors, likely landing on a playoff caliber roster.