No, not just to visit, but to join the team.  This has been and will continue to be over-analyzed non-stop th..."/> No, not just to visit, but to join the team.  This has been and will continue to be over-analyzed non-stop th..."/>

What Free Agents Could Realistically Come To NYC This Summer? Part I


No, not just to visit, but to join the team.  This has been and will continue to be over-analyzed non-stop through the summer.  There’s been an article about how LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh should give up some salary to form a “Dream Team Jr.” in NYC and they’d make more than enough in endorsements to cover those losses.  Yeah right, keep dreaming.  This article describes how Toronto could lose Bosh due to bball’s second-class status next to hockey (at a recent Toronto Raptors’ home game all the locals in attendance were secretly watching & cheering a Canadian Olympic hockey game).  Here we can read about how LeBron and Wade played so well together at All-Star Weekend, and might this be an omen for the future?

And New Yorkers are buying into this hook, line & worm (why is it supposed to be sinker — I mean when a fish really falls for it he goes after the worm, much like an alcoholic with a bottle of tequila).  Darren Rovell who discuses the business side of sports tweeted yesterday that “Knicks 2010/11 tickets went on presale last Thursday. They’re on record pace, having sold 770 new tickets so far.”  Record pace???  Do fans realize we haven’t signed ANYONE yet?  If we end up looking like we’re gonna suck, even one-legged Tracy McGrady will look to leave town.  So this is a two-part look at what to realistically expect.  Part II will be sometime next week.

Clearly Knick fans are living in the current moment

Let’s look at this first based on the available teams.  First, here are the ones who’ll be competing for poaching rights:

New York Knicks: $18.64 million in 2010-11 payroll
Miami Heat: $26.07 million in 2010-11 payroll
New Jersey Nets: $26.63 million in 2010-11 payroll
Chicago Bulls: $31.85 million in 2010-11 payroll
Los Angeles Clippers: $33.53 million in 2010-11 payroll

Sacramento Kings: $34.0 million in 2010-11 payroll

The Washington Wizards and Minnesota Timberwolves could also conceivably get in on the bidding, but they seem unlikely to join the chase.  I doubt Sacramento will even seriously look into trying to grab a big name and instead will prefer to build up a bit more from the ground up through draft picks.  It’s also kinda erroneous to list Miami as only having about $26 million.  Well, first the reason I list them even that low is ‘cuz I assume there’s no way they pick up James Jones’ $4.6 million option.  However, what makes them even lower is that their payroll includes Dwayne Wade’s $17.15 million contract that he’s said he’s gonna opt out of.  In other words, they’ll have less than $10 million in committed contracts!  So they could pay a max salary to both Wade & LeBron and still have say $10 million to offer to say Carlos Boozer.

Next let’s look at what each of the five teams has to offer (I’m excluding Sac).

The Knicks:

1. the second most cap space (after Miami),

2. the mass market of New York to provide much richer endorsement deals and better national exposure,

3. Perhaps the allure of playing at Madison Square Garden, aka “The Mecca of Basketball”,

4. An open and willing wallet (& now a well-respected GM in Donnie Walsh to make you feel they’ll spend wisely),

5. Coach Mike D’Antoni has a good rep as a “player’s coach” and as an assistant coach on Team USA he’s actually worked with most of these guys before.

Cons: 1. David Lee could likely be gone, meaning they’d be coming to a team with literally only Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler (oh yeah, plus Eddy Curry in the trainer’s room),

2. Perhaps a feeling that you’d have to sorta start from nothing.

The Heat:

1.For Wade it’s the only team he’s known(&he’d get more $), and for others it might feel less risky to jump with someone else to a brand new team rather than to join someone on their current team,

2. No income taxes in Florida,

3. Perhaps Pat Riley?,

4. A solid young player in Michael Beasley, and

5. The weather (& yes, that is a real factor for players).

Cons: 1.For some players it might actually be less appealing to join “Wade’s team” rather than go with him to a new place where it could be “our team” (kinda like how it’s usually better for a young couple to move into a new place rather than say just the gal moving into the guy’s place ‘cuz then it’ll always feel like “his place.”),

2.The fact that the Heat/Riley haven’t really looked for help for Wade since the championship year might make some concerned (including Wade) that this isn’t a franchise that will do whatever it takes to win the trophy.

The Nets:

1. Jay-Z is part-owner (& you bet that’s a factor for this hip-hop idolizing generation),

2. Will be moving to Brooklyn, giving it that New York mass market appeal, plus a chance to sorta “recreate” this franchise from the ground up in this new location,

3. Potentially a stud rookie (like John Wall),

4. Some decent players in the spots that are often toughest to fill: Brook Lopez at center and Devin Harris at point.

Cons: 1. They will be coming off a season where they were either the historically worst team ever or darn close to it,

2. It’ll be at least one year, if not two or more, until the team does actually make it to Brooklyn and the crowds ain’t been stellar in Jersey,

3.Uninspiring coach and front office,

4. If the NY angle is exciting, why wouldn’t ya just go to the Knicks?

The Bulls:

1.A chance to play alongside a franchise player in Derrick Rose, as well as solid pieces like Joakim Noah and Luol Deng,

2. Get to play in the house that Jordan built,

3. For Wade a chance to go home,

4.Good media market and good city.

Cons: 1. You’re playing in the house that Jordan built so you’ll likely always be second in the city’s heart to him,

2.Not enough $ to get a second max player so you’d have to feel that the addition of you alone can turn this team into a contender,

3. Questionable coach in Vinny Del Negro, and a timid front office that’s proven to be afraid to go all in (like by refusing to give up Luol Deng for Pau Gasol).

The Clippers:

1.Best nucleus of players with Baron Davis at point, potential all-star second-year player Eric Gordon at shooting guard, Blake Griffin at power forward, and Chris Kaman at center.  Throw in LeBron James at small forward and they could be contenders ‘cuz you could make a legit argument that the Clips would be stronger at every position than the Cavs supporting cast,

2. The huge market of Los Angeles,

3. The warm weather and Hollywood connections/glamor of LA,

4. A chance to do the impossible and turn a cursed laughingstock into a champion.  Even Jordan couldn’t have saved the Clips,

5. The chance to out-do Kobe Bryant in his own arena.

Cons: 1. It’s the Clippers,

2. Cheapskate owner Donald T. Sterling, so basically what you see is what you get — don’t expect any help walking through that door,

3.The injury curse — Wade gets hurt enough as it is, if he joined the Clips his torso would probably fall off his legs,

4. It’s Kobe’s arena and it’s a Laker town, even LeBron bringing the Clips three championships in a row still might not catapult him and the team to town favorite,

5. It’s the Clippers.