In mansions and resort villas and nightclubs all across this great land, the sound of BlackBerrys and iPhones ringing and buzzing could be heard just after the stroke of midnight on Thursday, July 1.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let NBA Freeagentpalooza 2010 begin!
The biggest, shiniest toy is LeBron James, of course. And apparently if you act now and purchase your LeBron, you can get, for little additional value, a Chris Bosh thrown in.
Although I thoroughly remain confused as to when Chris Bosh, for lack of a better term, became LeBron’s purse puppy? I can at least understand that Bosh knows his role and realizes that he’s not really the kind of player you can truly build around and needs to have at least one other big name player to shoulder the burden. But why are Bosh and LeBron considered a singular unit in most of these rumors? Couldn’t Bosh be successful traveling to South Beach from Toronto and pairing with Dwyane Wade as a tandem?
Look, don’t get me wrong. This is a major free agent class. This is also the last time, I think, that free agency in the NBA is going to look this way. Let’s not forget that the odds of a work-stoppage in the NBA after this coming season are still pretty good. There are lots of teams in the league that are hemorrhaging money. There aren’t dozens of Mikhail Prokhorovs or even David Geffens around to bail these flagging franchises out.
So this might be the last chance for the really, really big bucks to be out there for some players. A player the caliber of LeBron James or with a championship ring like Dwyane Wade will command superstar level money.
But I believe, in the future, that owners are going to be wary of paying guys who are aging (Ray Allen, Paul Pierce) or who might be overrated (Amare’ Stoudemire, Joe Johnson) the really big bucks. The money train is leaving the station after this year.
That’s why this year of what I am dubbing “Black Hanukkah” (a play on Washington Post columnist/ESPN personality Michael Wilbon’s nickname for the All-Star Game (“Black Thanksgiving”) since it is eight days before any player can officially sign) is such a big deal.
The fiscal climate of the game might not ever allow this much alleged talent to be on the block at one time ever again. For some franchises, this is one chance to make a big splash for the next five years by trying to bring in some big names.
And yes, the question of egos will have to be resolved in some of these cases, especially if the rumor about Wade, Bosh and LeBron playing together in Miami comes to fruition. I know that there are some folks like Dan Le Batard who think it can work and that those who are pooh-poohing the move are being lazy.
I agree to some extent; we don’t know if it can work because we haven’t really seen it attempted-at least, not with players in their prime. I remember the Rockets with Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwan and Charles Barkley, but all of those guys had definitely crested the hill by the time they united in 1996.
To me, though, the critical question about the potential modern day Miami triumvirate would be: at the end of a big game, who is going to take the final shot? Who would ultimately be the alpha dog? LeBron, who was used to going one-on-one on isolation plays under former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown? Or Dwyane Wade, who is used to going one-on-one in isolation?
Don’t forget: Wade has a championship ring already as the alpha dog. Miami is his city. Hell, the county Miami sits has changed their name to “Miami-Wade” county this week. It seems simple to me that he should be considered the man.
If LeBron is okay with that (and, more importantly, if Wade is okay with having LeBron around), then maybe Le Batard will get to see greatness every night.
As far as I am concerned, though, at least this will fill some of the time until football season starts.