As for the rest of free agency

We can all be granted a pardon for being enamored in the Wade-Bosh-Stoudemire-Boozer-Former Number 23 saga; it was all anybody anywhere talked about. I even had an old man – like, 70’s – pull me aside in my local pub (bar) and ask me what all the fuss was about. So if a 70 year old Irishman, tucked nicely into the corner of a local pub is taking interest in the “Decision” and so on, you can only imagine the rest of us. And it was a circus, garnering tens of millions of viewers, hundreds of thousands of articles and unrivalled hatred/abuse/criticism. Now, I’m done with that, but what for the rest of free agency? Last I checked there was more than just the five mentioned above coming onto the market, right? I think it’s about time we talked about some of those other guys.

 

The Obvious Moves

 

For all the mystery and intrigue surrounding the process, some of our free agents were always going to take home cooking over a new menu in a new town. Dirk Nowitzki was never ever leaving Dallas – Mark Cuban would sell his face before trading Dirk. Dirk even did the luxury-tax-obsessed Mavs a favor by taking less money then he could have, settling an $80 million, four-year deal. That is a bucket load of cash, but he could have signed for $96 million.


As obvious it was that Dirk was staying, the Paul Pierces decision – the untelevised one – was just as if not more inevitable. Pierce knows one home, has suddenly become an all-timer in Celtics’ history, where else would he have went? Four years, $61 million and a career spent entirely with one team – a rarity in any sport. John Salmons and Ray Allen inking new deals should come of no surprise, though I figured both may have gotten some more love from a team needing scoring at the two-spot, like a New Jersey, but not to be. Channing Frye and the Suns go better together than cheese on pizza, and Matt Bonner is riding a great wave in San Antonio, which he was never going to abandon. Darko Milicic staying with the Wolves was somewhat obvious, but his huge deal shocked us all.

 

For those of you keeping tabs out there, picks 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the 2003 NBA Draft signed deals this summer totalling $347 million.

 

Let’s move on shall we…

 

The Generous Moves

 

Drew Gooden: $32 million over five years. No explanation needed, if you require validation for my opinion, my details are below or alternatively walk through Cleveland and just ask.

 


Amir Johnson:  Career averages of 4.7 points and 4.2 rebounds – will earn even more than Gooden, $34 million over the same five-year period. Now, Johnson has got some ability and athleticism, but has never shown it enough to warrant that kind of deal.

 

Jermaine O’Neal: 2 years worth $12million with the Celtics. The move with the biggest disaster/masterstroke subplot attached to it. He fills a gap in Boston, but how productively remains to be seen. If he wins a Championship in Boston it’s vindicated. If he breaks down a week into the season leaving the Celtics with Scalabrine and Shelden Williams as their only big men not named Garnett, it’s a nightmare.

 

Tyrus Thomas:  Has the talent and possibly the upside to get a five-year, $40 million deal, but does he have the hunger to put it all together? And heck, even if he doesn’t, he’ll get PAID!

 

Steve Blake, Wesley Matthews, JJ Redick and Travis Outlaw will be laughing all the way to the bank when their respective deals get finalized.

 

I seriously question the Joe Johnson (who I thought was a certainty to go to new York) deal, what odds would you have gotten that he’d make the most money this summer? Rudy Gay and his $82 million dollar contract will go well together…especially when he won’t have a post season to play in for the foreseeable future and thus leaving him copious amounts of spare time on his hands to spend his money.

 

The Good Moves

 

Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and potentially JJ Redick make the Bulls big winners this summer. They’ll not only rebound the bajeesus out of the ball with Noah and Boozer, but the lights could very well and truly be shot out with Korver and Redick.

 

I like the idea of getting Amare in New York, but $100 million for a no defense playing, barely visually-able power forward who has bad knees has red flags everywhere, though Stoudemire won’t be able to see them from one eye. I do like the Raymond Felton move, he’ll thrive in D’Antoni’s system. Anthony Randolph is a kid with real potential just bursting to get out, where better than the Garden? While it’s no way near the LeBron-Bosh coup they had hope for, it’s not that bad in New York is it?

 


Getting Anthony Morrow, a stone cold assassin from anywhere inside the gym for $12 million over three years is a nice move by the Nets. If they can get a veteran or two in via trade or free agency to add experience and toughness – Matt Barnes anyone? – then last season’s debacle should become a not so distant memory. The imminent arrival of Jordan Farmar is a nice addition.

 

David Lee was always going to get paid this summer, might aswell do it on a team where he’ll be option A down low. All they have to do now is tell Monta Ellis to pass once in a while amidst his 39 shots a night.

 

Who’s left?

 

Shaun Livingston, Acie Law, Kyle Lowry and Nate Robinson are young point guard that in the right environment could thrive, be it instant scoring, defense at that position or a punt on potential. Carlos Arroyo, Rafer Alston and the artist formerly known as The Answer represent the older, potentially more combustible options. Shannon Brown – would we take him back to Cleveland folks? I think so if the price was right.

Tracy McGrady and Matt Barnes are still unsigned and unrestricted, likewise Josh Howard. If McGrady could get in shape – a big if – some team could be tempted to use the MLE on him, but he’s looking at a major fall from his mammoth $22 million dollar salary from last season.



Richard Jefferson was a name repeatedly linked with the Cavs the past few years, how would he look in the Wine and Gold?  I genuinely thought we were going to make a play for Josh Childress, looks like he’s headed to Phoenix however, along with costly flop Turkoglu.

 

The Cavs need a big man to plug the middle, and while I’m glad we didn’t over pay for Brendan Haywood, free agency offers slim pickings on serviceable centers. Earl Barron and Brad Miller are unrestricted, but one’s seven feet, white and can’t run (remind you of anyone) while the other is Earl Barron. Hey, Kwame Brown anybody?

 

Follow me on Twitter @DOL17, on Facebook under David O’Leary or email me on dol-17@hotmail.com for use in the Stepien Rules mailbag.

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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