NBA Free Agency…So Far

Hedo Turkoglu Former Team - Orlando Magic Expected Team - Toronto Raptors

Hedo Turkoglu Former Team - Orlando Magic Expected Team - Toronto Raptors

 

 

 

Impact – Turkoglu emerged as one of, if not the most, important pieces of the Orlando Magic Nucleus.  Turk took command of the team when All Star Point Guard, Jameer Nelson, went down with a shoulder injury before the All Star Break.  He served as a major play-maker for the Magic, as well as an offensive facilitator.  Turk’s agreement with the Raptors, comes after an aggressive pursuit by the Portland TrailBlazers, who looked like the definite landing spot for the versatile Forward.  Turk brings his versatility, and shooting ability to a Raptors team that will be in a situation of whether or not to part with Superstar, Chris Bosh.  Bosh will be a free agent of the much heralded, 2010 Free Agent Class, and will most likely be in a new uniform thereafter.  Bosh has been rumored to be in a deal to Miami, but has yet to come to fruition.  The Raptors will get a player in the mold of a, Point-Forward, and will be able to create opportunities for teammates with his unique skill-set.  The Raptors were a playoff team before this season, and are looking to regain that form.  It’s looking more like Bosh will be dealt at some point, while the team looks to build around Turkoglu, Andrea Bargiani, and newly added rookie, Demarr DeRozan.  If Bosh is dealt to the Heat, most likely, Michael Beasley, will be a part of that deal, which would place Turk as the veteran leader, of a very young and talented core. 
 
Ron Artest  Former Team - Houston Rockets Expected Team - Los Angeles Lakers

Ron Artest Former Team - Houston Rockets Expected Team - Los Angeles Lakers

 

 

 

 
Impact – Artest may have just guaranteed a L.A. Title repeat, by joining an already potent Laker team.  Artest will be joining the Lakers on a 3-5 year deal, once the terms are locked in on the 8th of July.  What that means is, the Lakers will present a likely lineup of, (Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol, Bynum, and Odom at the 6th man position).  The unique part of this new lineup is, once Lamar Odom hits the floor, it will most likely be in a Point Guards role, giving the Lakers the toughest match-up situation in the league.  With the fire power in this new Lakers team, I expect them to challenge the 1996 Chicago Bulls, who won a record, 72 games in an NBA Season.  The Lakers will definitely have the talent, and leadership to rival such a record.  Artest signing with the Lakers, comes shortly after the Spurs acquired Richard Jefferson from the Nets.  The move by the Spurs meant the Lakers had to resign everyone, or upgrade on one of the departing players.  The last piece to the puzzle will be re-signing Lamar Odom, which the Lakers can now focus all of their collective efforts on.
 
 
Trevor Ariza Former Team - Los Angeles Lakers Expected Team - Houston Rockets

Trevor Ariza Former Team - Los Angeles Lakers Expected Team - Houston Rockets

  

Impact – Ariza’s stock sored after his playoff performance with the L.A. Lakers, as one of this year’s brightest young stars available.  Cleveland, Toronto, Portland and the L.A. Clippers, were all in heavy pursuit of Ariza. However, Ariza and Artest swapped area codes, and he will be replacing Ron Artest in the Houston Lineup, as the starting Small Forward, for a very injured Houston team.  Amidst the many moves in the league, was the announcement that All Star, Yao Ming, may miss the entire 2009 season, and possibly, his career.  Yao suffered a broken foot in the Lakers series, in this year’s playoffs, and the injury has not been healing correctly.  The Doctor’s are concerned that with Yao’s size, his bones aren’t healing properly.  If Yao misses this upcoming season, and Tracy McGrady, who’s already recovering from injury, then Houston could be doomed.  Ariza was a solid piece to the title run last season, by the Lakers, but, may regret his decision to sign with Houston.  McGrady, who’s in the last year of his enormous contract, is a very likely trade casualty.  Houston will most likely, target some youth in return for McGrady, but youth that will be able to someday reach the potential close to T-Mac’s.  With these injury concerns, and huge uncertainty of the team’s direction, this may be a signing that Ariza wishes he could take back.
 
 

 

 
Ben Gordon Former Team - Chicago Bulls Expected Team - Detroit Pistons

Ben Gordon Former Team - Chicago Bulls Expected Team - Detroit Pistons

 
 
 
Impact – Ben Gordon was the first player of this year’s free agency class to make moves, agreeing to a 5 year deal with the Detroit Pistons, in excess of $50 million.  Gordon says he didn’t want to leave Chicago, but wasn’t pursued by the Bulls, after the Pistons expressed strong interest.  What’s ironic, is that Gordon was offered a deal similar to what he got from Detroit, last season, by Chicago.  The two sides had a disagreement on what Gordon’s monetary worth was to the team, which resulted in Gordon playing out the final year of his contract with the Bulls.  Gordon brings his offensive prowess to a Detroit team that has been in shambles, since the hiring of now former coach, Michael Curry.  The team lacked sensible direction all of last season, trading away Billups for Allen Iverson.  On paper the deal looked like the path was being cleared for Rodney Stuckey.  However, Iverson and Richard Hamilton, man the same position on the court, with Hamilton being a mainstay in Detroit’s lineup.  Gordon, who has similar game to A.I., should be looked at as a different situation.  Gordon has been in the role of an instant offense/sixth man role, for a majority of his career.  He’ll most likely man that same position as a Piston, and should make things very interesting, as Detroit moves into more of a youth movement.
 
 
Charlie Villanueva Former Team - Milawukee Bucks Expected Team - Detroit Pistons

Charlie Villanueva Former Team - Milawukee Bucks Expected Team - Detroit Pistons

  
Impact – As Detroit moves into a youth movement, the versatile Power Forward fits perfectly, replacing Rasheed Wallace.  Wallace was also known for his versatility, and ability to stretch the defense with his outside shot.  Villanueva, a near 7 footer, also has the ability to knock down the 3, as well as getting to the basket.  The Pistons will most likely develop into more of a running team, and surely be a more potent offensive team with this acquisition.  Ironically, Gordon and Villanueva were roommates at the University of Connecticut, and agreed to their deals on the same day.  Villanueva was on record, with him wanting to join LeBron James in Cleveland, which would have been a nice fit for them.  It’s a wonder as to what prevented that marriage from happening.  With 2010 approaching faster than we all think, it could have been the deciding factor in Cleveland not pursuing C.Villa.  With him joining Ben Gordon in the Motor City, Detroit now has a very young nucleus to build the future around, and look to make noise after a few years on the court together.
 
 
Best Of The Rest & Still Team-less
 
C2-2IVERS_MO_C_^_MONDAY
I never thought I’d see the day, when there wouldn’t be a line of teams wanting a scoring machine like Allen Iverson.  As a fan, it’s difficult to imagine, as well as hard to watch.  But, A.I, as unique of a player he has been, creates such a unique situation for himself.  Standing at barely 6 feet, the market for Iverson is very little, given his skill-set.  Iverson isn’t a true PG, and has been at the Shooting Guards position for most of his career, in a starter’s role.  Iverson, 34, is coming towards the end of his career, and is being seen as a declining talent.  However, if not for his time in Detroit, an argument could be made that there hasn’t been much fall off in A.I.’s game.  Iverson was put into a difficult situation in Detroit, both with a rookie coach, and a very crowded backcourt.  One discussion has been a sign-and-trade, with the Chicago Bulls, for Ben Gordon, who’s agreed to join the Pistons already.  Iverson and Derrick Rose would make for a very entertaining backcourt, but how would it impact the rest of the team.  The Bulls already had a difficult situation in the Guard/Swing-man department, while Gordon was there.  Adding Iverson, wouldn’t remedy the problem at all, if not worsen it.  Iverson has proved he isn’t comfortable coming off of the bench, which was a role Ben Gordon has dominated throughout his career.  With his addition, it would ultimately force John Salmons, or Luol Deng into a sixth man role.  The Bulls sound like the most realistic situation of the teams interested (Memphis & Charlotte).  This is definitely a situation that should be monitored.
 
Magic Pistons Basketball
 Rasheed Wallace is now seen as the crown jewel, of the Free Agent Class.  While he controls his own destiny, he can ultimately control the team he chooses’ destiny as well.  Wallace is being heavily pursued by the Boston Celtics, who formed an entourage, visiting the Wallace Family in Detroit, leaving them very impressed.  Adding Sheed to a healthy Celtics Roster, would spell disaster to the rest of the Eastern Conference.  However, also pursuing his services are, The San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic, and the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Any one of those teams would be a favorite to reach the NBA Finals, instantly.  If the Spurs are able to land Wallace, it would make for a very interesting conference finals matchup, against the Lakers, who are almost a lock to reach the Finals, after grabbing Artest.  Wallace starting alongside Dwight Howard or Shaq, would also make things very interesting in the East.  Cleveland is already a favorite to reach the finals after acquiring Shaq, but are still in the hunt for another piece.  Wallace would give them an inside presence that they’ve been without for years.  However, with the Magic just coming from an NBA Finals appearance, would almost guarantee a spot if they were to secure his services.  Either way, it looks as though Wallace will be playing for a championship, no matter where he decides to play.
 
jason_kidd
Kidd is currently in search of a 3 year deal from his new team.  The Knicks were on the verge of reaching an agreement with Kidd, however, those plans look to have died out.  Dallas is also heavily favored to return the future Hall of Famer, who’ll be left without a floor general if he leaves.  It’d be interesting to see if the Cavs would emerge as a team seeking his services as well, allowing Mo Williams to play off the ball, and giving LeBron his dream Point Guard.  James was on record with his admiration for Kidd, during their time in the Olympics together, and would love nothing more to have Kidd in Cleveland.  This next contract will surely be the last of Kidd’s career, as he turned 36 in March, and has clearly shown his age on the court.  Dallas will most likely be his landing spot once again, but it would have been nice to see him get to the Finals again.
  
Raptors Wizards Basketball
One of the league’s most versatile players, is still without a home, in Shawn Marion.  The Matrix, as he’s known, can play both forward positions, but is a much more natural 3 man.  Marion doesn’t pose the size or strength that is needed at the 4 position, so with most of the title teams looking to add another piece, it’s difficult to give him a look.  It would be nice to see him back in the Phoenix Suns Uniform, and get back to the basketball we all knew him for.  But, with the Suns drafting Earl Clark, that would be an unlikely scenario.  A team like the Heat, although a former suitor, could still use Marion, but is also unlikely.  Marion may be put in a position where he plays for an underachieving team, or take a 1 year deal, just to try and get to a championship.  The difficulty with Marion’s skill-set, is the fact that he needs to play alongside a great passer, to be successful.  I mentioned before, the Cavs would make a nice place for him to play, and even more-so after the addition of Shaq.  O’neal more than makes up for the lack of size that Marion possesses at the 4 spot, and would allow Cleveland to remain competitive amongst the elite teams.  With Rasheed Wallace being the most sought after forward as of now, Marion could be the next best thing, to help a team on the brink of a title.
 
bibbypic1
After a semi-successful run in Atlanta, Mike Bibby is left in limbo, as he is in search of a new basketball home.  The Hawks, who have been without a real floor leader, since Bibby, find themselves in familiar territory.  Recently trading for Jamal Crawford, Atlanta has to make a decision on who will lead the team.  Crawford who has PG skills, but a shooter’s mentality, isn’t seen as the long-term solution.  Rookie PG Jeff Teague, is a very nice addition, but is also seen as more of a combo guard, rather than a Point.  The Hawks don’t have to look far as to who’s to blame for this, as they were in the position to draft Chris Paul in the 2005 NBA Draft, but opted for Marvin Williams.  Williams has grown into a nice complimentary player, while Paul is seen as the best Point Guard in the league.  Just the mere thought of what Paul could have done for the Hawks’ franchise is imaginable.  However, Bibby does look more likely to return to Atlanta, even more-so, after he rejected the one year offer from Philadelphia.  The Knicks have also expressed some mild interest in Bibby, as they’re still in search of a Point Guard of their own.
 
andremiller
Miller was quietly, one of the leagues top Point Guards last season, and continued his always steady play.  While he isn’t the flashiest of floor generals, he is one of the more consistent, and is currently pondering his next destination.  The Sixers were almost certain to lose Miller, and drafted UCLA Star, Jrue Holiday, to take over the reigns in Philadelphia.  Holiday, in my opinion, is more of a combo guard, rather than a legit Point, which is also what young riser, Lou Williams embodies as Philly’s sixth man.  Miller has been linked to, Portland, New York, Detroit, and of course, Philly.  Portland, who was in the running for Turkoglu, can emerge as the front runner for Miller, now that Turk has decided to reside in Toronto.  The Blazers have an abundance of guards, and are in need of some sort of trade to accommodate the situation.  Miller could be the floor leader they need in Portland, but would also create a situation of unhappiness amongst his new teammates.  Young Stars, Rudy Fernandez, and Jerrod Bayless, are waiting in the wings, and are itching for a bigger role.  Both players are high flying, scoring off guards, and could thrive in bigger roles, as well as bigger markets.  Miller could be the remedy for all parties, forcing Portland to make a much needed trade, and be the stalemate at the Point Position for the Blazers.
 
lamar_odom
 Odom, aka The Goods, is expected to resign with the defending champion, Lakers.  However, Odom, 29, is in search of a nice size deal, and would love to stay in L.A.  He and Ron Artest are close friends, as well as, childhood teammates, and discussed the idea of playing together in Los Angeles.  Odom offers the most unique skill-set in the league, as a player that can legitimately play all five positions if needed.  At a near 7 feet, Odom possesses the handle of a Point, in the size of a Power Forward.  Re-signing Odom would be a huge deal for the Lakers, and a return to the Finals.  With Odom in the lineup along with Artest, the Lakers would have the most feared lineup in the league.  Odom can run the Point position, and have no one under 6’7 on the court with him, including two 7 footers, in Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum.  There hasn’t been much buzz around the league in regards to whom he may sign with, as he’s expected to return to the Lakers.  But, with his ability, and contract stability a major selling point, anything’s possible.
 
david-lee
New York’s double-double machine, David Lee, is on the verge of disheartening a lot of New York City fans.  Lee made major strides in his development last season, with the Knicks, and is expected a big pay-day this offseason.  Lee’s agent has estimated a deal in the range of $50 million, a deal which the Knicks wouldn’t be able to match, landing Lee in a new area code.  The Grizzlies, Blazers, Thunder, and Raptors are a few of the teams that requested Lee’s services.  The Grizzlies and Raptors will most likely fall out of the running for Lee, as they’ve each made major acquisitions this offseason, in Zach Randolph, and Hedo Turkoglu.  The Thunder would pose a small front-line, with Jeff Green, and Lee, at the 4 and 5 spots, while the Blazers would have an awkward situation with trying to play Lee at the 3 spot.  While Lee could develop at the 3, it would be a work in progress, with trying to develop a legitimate jump shot to match his positioning on the floor.  The Raptors could also work out some sort of sign-and-trade deal, with the Knicks, which would land Chris Bosh in New York City.  Bosh will already be a target of the Knicks during next season’s free agency period, and also make it more likely to land a formidable companion during that time as well.  It remains to be seen what will happen, but more than likely, Lee has played his last game in Blue, and Orange.
 
Rockets Jazz Basketball
 Seen as a solid fill-in during Carlos Boozer’s injury, Paul Millsap emerged a star.  Millsap allowed the Jazz to continue to play on a fairly high level, seemingly not missing Boozer at all.  With Boozer and Okur opting to return next season, it almost forces Millsap to find a new home.  The Pistons, Thunder, and also the Jazz, were all teams in the hunt for the young forward.  However, with Detroit signing Villanueva, it looks less likely he’ll be in the Motor City next season.  Millsap, like Lee, would present a fairly small front-line in Oklahoma City, alongside Jeff Green.  With his talent on the rise, it’s possible Utah could resign him, and then deal the free agent-to-be, Carlos Boozer.  Boozer was on the record saying he wanted to play in Miami, as well as, guaranteeing he’d opt out this season and become a free agent.  Boozer ultimately decided next summer would be much more beneficial, and returned back to Utah.  The Jazz could get Millsap to return at a much lesser price tag, than to keep Boozer, and still get the same production from the 4 spot.  While Millsap’s talent cannot be ignored, Utah seems poised to answer that call, and resign the young star. 
 
 
Other Notables – Brandon Bass (PF, Mavericks), Leon Powe (PF, Celtics), Glen “Big Baby” Davis (PF/C, Celtics), Stephon Marbury (PG, Celtics), Marvin Williams (SF/PF, Hawks), Raymond Felton (PG, Bobcats), Ramon Sessions (PG, Bucks), Nate Robinson (PG, Knicks), Marcin Gortat (C, Magic), Grant Hill (SF/SG, Suns), Matt Barnes (SF, Suns), Chris Andersen (C, Nuggets), Rashad McCants (SG, Kings), Drew Gooden (PF/C, Spurs), Chris Wilcox (PF/C, Knicks), Hakim Warrick (PF/SF, Grizzlies)
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