“I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.” – LeBron James
The best two-way player in the NBA, Lebron James decided to go to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Everyone knows the story. Lebron James, high school prodigy from nearby Akron, Ohio was drafted by the Cavaliers. After 7 moderately successful years (including a few ECF appearances and an NBA finals appearance) he used his status as a free agent and the best basketball player in the universe to go to the Miami Heat, where he won the NBA finals twice and made it to the game in all 4 years. While Lebron James was doing his four year program at Miami Heat University, the Cavaliers scraped by at the bottom of the league. The Cavaliers used 5 lottery picks to try to improve themselves, using 1st overall picks to gain Kyrie Irving, Anthony Bennett, and Andrew Wiggins and using 4th overall picks to gain Tristan Thompson, and Dion Waiters. On Friday, he announced that he would return to the team that once loved him.
A few weeks ago, Miami sportswriter Dan Lebatard, wrote that “choosing the option of putting profit again in [Cleveland Owner, Dan] Gilbert’s pockets would make him better at forgiveness than he is at even basketball.” In Lebron James’s letter published by Sports Illustrated, he showed that forgiveness. There were much more talented options available to LeBron James, since every team in the league would have made room for his arrival. Instead, he chose to go back to Ohio. Often, people forget about the impact of a city on the choices of players. One of the things that annoyed many fans wasn’t the fact that LeBron James chose to go to the Heat, but the fact that he was trading Cleveland’s fans for the often listless Miami Heat crowd. Cleveland’s fans may have also burned his jersey in effigy, but those fans also showed up to his games in force in a way that Miami’s fans didn’t. Those fans clearly outweighed the fact that he was going back to petty and vindictive owner team owner Dan Gilbert, as well as going to a team that isn’t championship ready right now. Those fans are now (broadly speaking) his community, his neighbors and his companions for as long as he wears a Cavaliers jersey. For all of our sakes, lets hope that this is for a long time. His current contract is a 2 year deal with a player option after next year.
Lebron James’s second experience with free agency held up the major transactions in the NBA. Sure, certain things weren’t affected much. Anthony Morrow signed a 3 year 10 million dollar contract with the Thunder, while Boris Diaw, Patty Mills and Matt Bonner decided to stay in San Antonio. But many of the major transactions were held in limbo until he made his decision.
Houston tried to set up a massive deal by trading Jeremy Lin’s 15 million dollar contract to the Lakers.
You can’t blame Houston for trying to make a splash. After stealing Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik using “poison pill” contracts, they traded both of them away. In 2012, both of them were signed to 3 year deals where they had a large jump in salary in the 3rd year. Each of them stated for a year in Houston and was benched in year 2. Now in year 3, Lin will be going to Los Angeles and Asik will be going to New Orleans. Lin will be joining Jordan Hill and Nick Young who both signed back with the Lakers. Meanwhile, Jodie Meeks went from Los Angeles to Detroit.
After Houston attempted to lure him there, Chris Bosh signed back with the Miami Heat for 5 years and 118 million.
Houston tried in vain to get Bosh to leave. After Lebron James left the Miami Heat, it appeared that Bosh would go to Houston. He will now be the best player on his team for the first time since his days with the Toronto Raptors which seem so long ago. Udonis Haslem and Chris “Birdman” Andersen will also be returning to the team .
After being rumored to go to Miami or Chicago, Carmelo Anthony stayed with the New York Knicks for 5 years and 122 million
Knicks fans might say that Carmelo Anthony chose #loyalty as opposed to the heathens who chose to go to better teams and better situations. Actually, Carmelo Anthony chose the status quo, where he would make a lot of money, the largest deal so far in free agency. The Knicks, for all of their flaws, are still a possible playoff team with lots of room to improve over the life of Carmelo Anthony’s contract (especially once Stoudemire’s contract comes off the books next summer).
The Chicago Bulls obtained Pau Gasol’s services for 3 years.
After being involved in trade rumors for the greater part of the last few seasons, Pau Gasol will go to the Chicago Bulls. This puts Taj Gibson back on the bench, for now. The current starter, Carlos Boozer is widely rumored to be an amnesty candidate. Meanwhile Nikola Mirotic, the Bulls draft pick from 2011, also signed with the team for 3 years.
Former Bull and Cavalier, Luol Deng took his talents to South Beach.
Continuing a recent trend of Cavalier small forwards tiring of Cleveland, Luol Deng signed with Miami for a 2 year deal. I think that Luol Deng is the one of the best small forward in the league (Behind Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony). I think that Miami will have a role that suits him well.
Isaiah Thomas signed to the Suns for 4 years and 28 million. Gordon Hayward signed to the Utah Jazz.
In a confusing move, Isaiah Thomas signed with the Suns. The Kings need a starting point guard and the Suns are currently filled with them. Phoenix may have picked him up as Eric Bledsoe insurance, but even then, the move doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. The 7 million dollar number also confuses me. I think that there’s another move in play for the Suns. Also, the Suns signed PJ Tucker.
Charlotte offered Gordon Hayward a 4 year deal, but the Utah Jazz matched the deal. Charlotte ended up settling for Marvin Williams, former Utah Jazz player and Brian Roberts, former New Orleans Pelican.
Chandler Parsons signed with the Dallas Mavericks
Parsons was released from the Rockets and his abysmally low 2nd round contract and entered restricted free agency so that the Rockets could potentially sign Chris Bosh. The idea was that Houston would sign Chris Bosh and then re-sign Parsons to a long term deal using Parsons’s “Bird Rights”, which allows a team to resign a player they already have even if they are over the cap. Dallas forced Houston’s hand by offering Parsons a huge deal. Houston wasn’t able to get Bosh and instead settled for Trevor Ariza. Houston decided not to match Dallas’s deal. Ariza’s starting spot in Washington D.C. was filled in by Paul Pierce, who signed there. The former Dallas starting small forward, Vince Carter signed with Memphis. Former Utah Jazz player, Richard Jefferson joined Parsons in Dallas.