"Sources say that LeBron James and Chris Bosh have confirmed that they will both sign with the Chicago Bulls."
"Sources say that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have confirmed that they will both sign with the Chicago Bulls."
"Sources say that LeBron James and Joe Johnson have confirmed that they will both sign with the Chicago Bulls."
Now let me ask you something, if I make every single prediction that could come to fruition on July 8th, does that make me a credible source or does that make me sound like someone who's just wasting their breath? You want to know the truth about this upcoming free agency and the future of the NBA? Realize I have no clue WTF I'm talking about, but I'm going to attempt to separate the what's real and what's not.
What's Real: There will be 1-2 teams that will be really happy at the end of the free agency because they signed LeBron James, Chris Bosh, or Dwyane Wade.
What's Not Real: That 6-8 teams truly believe they will have an opportunity to land LeBron James, Chris Bosh, or Dwyane Wade.
And I'm not sure if its going to be Chicago or Miami that's going to be ultimately happy at the end the of the day. What's real is that we truly don't know what's going to happen on July 1st. Wait stop, lets end the whole July 1st stuff. I'm not truly believing anything until July 8th, why? Because you can't sign anything until then. July 1st is just when you're allowed to start talking to teams, you can't sign a damn thing until the 8th. What we do know is that Dwyane Wade is more than likely not leaving Miami, Chris Bosh thinks he deserves a "Bird's Rights" sign-and-trade max deal, and that LeBron has to go to a team that can be a title winner for multiple years.
What's Real: Chris Bosh is considered the 3rd best player and best big man available in this free agent class.
What's Not Real: That Chris Bosh is the best big man free agent available, the best big man available is Dirk Nowitzki.
Kenny will probably read this and be baffled by the statement, but Dirk Nowitzki is the best big man available in this free agent class. Dirk's entire legacy has been ruined by the referees in the 2006 Finals (because he probably should have a ring on his finger right now) and that crazy lady that said she was pregnant with his seed. In all seriousness, what in the hell has Chris Bosh done to make us believe that he legitimately is "that dude"? Kenny has always made a point to say what is it worth to put up big numbers for a team that isn't worth a damn? Even when Toronto got decent in 2009, I never personally looked at Bosh like he's THAT dude. Dirk? I've always said Dirk should never ever in life be your #1 player, but IF he's your #2? I think you've got a legit chance to run through the league. If I'm Wade or LeBron...I'm lobbying for Dirk to join me, not Bosh.
What's Real: This is the deepest free agency class in NBA History since 1996.
What's Not Real: Besides LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and Dirk...these players aren't as good as they were in 1996.
Because of that, these players need to get paid like they were in 1996, and by that I mean 1996 prices, not 2010 prices.
Think about who was in the 1996 free agent class: Shaquille O'Neal, Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning, and Michael Jordan were all up for free agency in '96. Arguably, the 3 best players at their position were available (PG, SG, C) and one of the best defensive centers of all-time (Mourning) were readily available to the highest bidders.
Not only those 4 players were up, but Reggie Miller, Latrell Sprewell, Dennis Rodman, Horace Grant, Tim Hardaway, Dikembe Mutumbo, Allan Houston and Kenny Anderson were all available.
That list of players is mind-blowing, and I wonder if the players we're ultimately talking about in this free agent class all while talking about paying these folks with max money contracts and what not just sounds crazy. I'm sorry but Reggie Miller signed a 4-year/$36M million dollar deal back in 1996-97 and was one of the top 5 paid shooting guards in the league. He wasn't getting a max deal though! No way. Yet, Joe Johnson's camp thinks he should command a max deal? Get the eff outta here with that, you've got to be kidding me. Amare thinks he's going to get a max deal and he's basically a 6'9" small forward? You can't get max money and not be capable of getting 7 rebounds a game in the playoffs! SEVEN!
So I say all of that to say this. We're going to see a frenzy of activity from July 1-8, yet we have no idea of what's truly going to happen prior to. What we do know is that there's only a couple of players that really matter on their own, and that everyone else only matter in the context of who they're grouped with. Folks will be overpaid, but that's what free agency is, you overpay.
Be interested to see what happens with players like David Lee and Rudy Gay, two young players who I'd argue probably have more long-term value than some of the players that are commanding max contracts. (Looking at you Joe Johnson & Amare Stoudemire)
What does it matter though? I clearly have no idea what I'm talking about.
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!