5. Chris Bosh (Miami Heat, 2010)
After what happened in the summer of 2010, it is hard to talk about free agent LeBron James without mentioning Chris Bosh. A forward out of Georgia Tech, Bosh spent the first seven years of his career in Toronto. Chris Bosh’s breakout season came in 05-06 when he averaged 22.5 points per game. A five time All-Star, Bosh has been criticized for only leading the Raptors to the playoffs on two occasions. According to espn.com, Bosh and LeBron James each signed six-year deals worth $110.1 million. Time will tell if these players can bring NBA titles to Miami.
4. Chauncey Billups (Detroit Pistons, 2002)
While the signings of Chris Bosh and LeBron James are expected to bring NBA titles to the Heat, little was expected of free agent Chauncey Billups when he signed with the Detroit Pistons. After bouncing around four teams in the first six years of his career, Billups signed as a free agent with the Pistons in 2002. A consummate winner, Chauncey Billups led Detroit to the Eastern Conference Finals each year he played there, including two trips to the NBA Finals and one NBA championship. When Detroit won the title in 2004, Chauncey Billups was the NBA Finals MVP.
3. Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns, 2004)
When the Phoenix Suns made the mistake of letting a young, rarely-used point guard named Steve Nash get away, at least they saw the error of their ways and resigned the free agent several years later. After blossoming into one of the best point guards in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks, Steve Nash signed a free agent contract with Phoenix in 2004. Like all great point guards, Nash has consistently averaged double digit assists in his second tenure with the Suns. Despite his better assist numbers, Steve Nash has yet to win the championship that Billups has.
2. LeBron James (Miami Heat, 2010)
Based on the unprecedented media attention surrounding free agent LeBron James signing with the Miami Heat, he must appear high on this list. The overall #1 pick in the 2003 NBA draft, LeBron James signed with his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. After joining the Cavs, LeBron James brought instant credibility to this hapless franchise. But either because Cleveland did not put enough talent around their star or because LeBron James himself lacked the killer instinct, Cleveland never won a championship with LeBron James. He will have no excuses in Miami.
1. Shaquille O’Neal (Los Angeles Lakers, 1996)
While fans in South Beach can only dream of what will be with Bosh, James and Wade, fans in L.A. can reminisce about what has already come to pass after signing free agent Shaquille O’Neal. In 1996, it can be argued that Shaq may have been second only to Michael Jordan in the NBA in terms of talent and popularity. When he joined a young Kobe Bryant and the zen-master Phil Jackson, it was only a matter of time before the Lakers started a new dynasty. In fact, O’Neal helped the Lakers win three NBA titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Unfortunately, tension between him and Bryant eventually led to Shaq being traded to Miami.
“Heat Stars Sign Six-Year Deals,” espn.com
All playing statistics found at the NBA’s official web site.
Check out this other great NBA article on associatedcontent.com.
The Bizarre LeBron James Free Agency Hype