As Dallas found almost every way to lose the game tonight and still won, this upcoming summer crossed my mind. What's going to happen this summer? Even crazier, what is going to happen next year?
We already know that next summer, the NBA elite become free agents. The 2010 offseason will truly shape the NBA for the next few years with it being a King's Summer, where Lebron will have the whole league at his disposal, being a free agent. But it's also the summer of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Tyson Chandler, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Joe Johnson, Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Redd, each of whom can become an unrestricted free agents in 2010.
But with Atlanta already out this round, and Dallas presumably already gone (even with tonight's win), who could be moving this summer?
Next year, some players will be able to make many teams instant contenders, but this summer brings a few players that can indeed change teams dramatically. Carlos Boozer is free to go anywhere, and could make a struggling team all of a sudden, very very good. Carlos Boozer and Kevin Durant? One of the hottest free agents, Ben Gordon could make any team very, very good with instant offense. Can you imagine a Spurs team with Parker, Gordon, Ginobili and Duncan? Put the veteran experience with a pure shooter?
Where do players like Stephon Marbury and Jason Kidd go? It might be safe to say that Cuban has given up on the J-Kidd project. And the Marbury in green didn't quite exactly work out as he has done nothing but sit on the bench, although we should credit him for making Rondo a beast in fear of losing minutes possibly? What about (freaking) Allen Iverson? Who is going to sign him after his comments? On second thoughts, what if Boozer decides to sign a 1-year contract and play in Cleveland? Would they welcome him back? Definitely don't think Bron Bron would mind.
Could we see the end of AI's career? Rasheed Wallace has already given hints about possibly retiring if he doesn't get a big contract (somewhere in the $10 millions), which means we just might see him call it a career. Orlando has a dilemma with Hedo Turkoglu. He's going to want big money, and some teams are going to give it to him. Orlando already has committed nearly franchise tags to Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis...are they going to do the same to Hedo, and soon after that, Jameer Nelson?
What about impact role players like Shawn Marion, Raymond Felton, Jermaine O'Neal, Eddie House, Anderson Varejao, and Nate Robinson? And Ron Artest? Does he stay with Houston and see who they get when they try to trade T-Mac?
And who else is going to get traded? Detroit will break up that team. Is Rip or Prince gone? Shaq? The entire Mavericks team? Baron Davis? Corey Magette? Elton Brand? Andre Kereilinko?
Here's a scary thought for some people who feed off of yellow and purple...Do the Lakers commit to Trevor Ariza or Lamar Odom? Can they keep both? Or...if the Lakers lose again this year...does Kobe opt out and leave a year early? He can't really go anywhere, but what if this team falls apart like Bynum's knees and he's, simply put...over it (An article in its entirety later this week, stay tuned).
Here's one big reason why 1) Kobe won't do that and 2) none of this list below is going to be very happy or get the money that they really want... NBA teams are losing a lot of money. With David Stern getting over $200 million in funds to help out some struggling NBA teams (Orlando, New Orleans and Oklahoma City being a few teams for example). So with Kobe getting over $15 million next year, there's no reason for him to opt-out and lose out on that money. Everyone else on the other hand, will be struggling to get the contracts that they want. Some players may only get 1-2 year deals. But players will be moving regardless. And for some fans of teams that are just a player away, or two missing pieces...this might be the summer of magic, because players will come at a bargain...and not by choice.
But where will they go? And we haven't even talked about sign-and-trades.
True, next summer is going to be a straight up circus. This summer might get interesting.
Here's a list of notable players that are restricted and unrestricted free agents:
(Restricted meaning a player's current team can match any offer they get, and retain them. Unrestricted, however means a player can go wherever he wants, and a team cannot match the offer to keep him.)
Restricted: Mario West, Marvin Williams
Unrestricted: Zaza Pachulia, Mike Bibby, Flip Murray
Restricted: Glen Davis, Leon Powe
Unrestricted: Eddie House, Stephon Marbury, Mikki Moore
Restricted: Raymond Felton
Unrestricted: Ben Gordon
Unrestricted: Zyrunas Ilgauskus, Joe Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, Andy Varejao
Unrestricted: Brandon Bass, Devean George, Jason Kidd, Gerald Green
Restricted: Linas Kleiza
Unrestricted: Chris Anderson, Anthony Carter, Dahntay Jones
Unrestricted: Antonio McDyess, Rasheed Wallace, Allen Iverson
G. State Warriors
Unrestricted: Jamal Crawford
Unrestricted: Ron Artest, Von Wafer
Los Angeles Lakers
Restricted: Shannon Brown
Unrestricted: Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom, Kobe Bryant (player option)
Restricted: Jamario Moon
Unrestricted: Jermaine O'Neal
Restricted: Charlie Villanueva
New York Knicks
Restricted: David Lee, Nate Robinson
Unrestricted: Eddy Curry, Al Harrington, Quentin Richardson
Unrestricted: Matt Barnes, Grant Hill
Unrestricted: Hedo Turkoglu
San Antonio Spurs
Unrestricted: Drew Gooden, Michael Finley (player option)
Restricted: Carlos Delfino
Unrestricted: Shawn Marion, Anthony Parker
Restricted: Paul Milsap
Unrestricted: Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Price, Kyle Korver (player option), Mehmet Okur (player option)