As the clock struck 12:01 a.m on July 1st, the biggest free-agent season in sports history began, guaranteeing that the NBA landscape would be torn apart and rearranged. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, and Joe Johnson along a collection of other stars no longer under contract, can be wooed by teams like the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, and other franchises with the salary cap flexibility to spend millions.
The ringleader of this bunch is Lebron James, the self-proclaimed “King.” Even before the clock struck 12, reports indicated that teams had moved in as early as 12:01, filing into his hometown of Akron, pitching James on their grand plans to deliver him his first championship. The New York Knicks went as far as creating a special episode of Sopranos.
The Knicks opened their video presentation on Thursday July 1st with a scene from The Sopranos, a LeBron favorite. Suddenly James Gandolfini and Edie Falco were Tony and Carmela Soprano. Maybe for the last time, Tony hadn’t been killed off by David Chase after all. He was wearing a beard and living with his wife under the cover of the witness protection program, and Tony was telling Carmela he had an important friend coming to town. A friend who needed a place to stay; A friend named LeBron James. Carmela scanned her computer for the ideal midtown spot (read: Madison Square Garden), and when she told Tony she’d found the right place for a man of James’ stature, the final shot wasn’t half as suspenseful as The Sopranos’ final scene in the diner.
Apart from the Knicks,the New Jersey Nets, Bulls, Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers, his team for the last seven years, are scheduled to meet with James.
Get ready for All-Pro levels of misdirection and misinformation. The sports media is already covering this story as if it were a presidential election, and every NBA “insider” worth his salt will anonymously feed reporters the latest rumors, which will be tweeted in an endless stream of speculation.
Already, we’ve heard that LeBron to Chicago is a “done deal,” though that would be pretty difficult to pull off since radio host Stephen A. Smith tweeted that “LeBron James is heading to South Beach with Chris Bosh to team with Dwayne Wade and Pat Riley.” The Knicks are really focusing on Hawks free agent Joe Johnson, since they think he’s a better player than LeBron; but wait, one Knicks exec says “we still think we’re in” the LeBron sweepstakes. By this time next week, you’ll be sick of all the talk, and begging these guys to just pick a team, any team, and play ball.
As of July 4th : Joe Johnson was on the brink of accepting a 6 year 119 million max contract, Dirk Nowitzki resigned with the Dallas Mavericks accepting a 4 year 80 million contract.Steve Blake signed a 4 year 16 million contract with the Lakers. Forward John Salmon reached an agreement with the Bucks on a 5 year 40 million contract. The Phoenix Suns have signed forward Hakim Warrick on a four-year, $18 million contract, a deal that likely foreshadows the departure of All-Star Amare Stoudamire. Closer to home the Raptors and forward Amir Johnson have agreed on a 5 year 34 million contract.
Draft wrap up: The 2010 Draft threw no real surprises with University of Kentucky’s sensational Point guard John wall being selected the number one overall pick by the Washington Wizards. The Raptors with the 13th pick drafted Tar Heels forward Ed Davis.