The Free Agent Class of 2010, is possibly the greatest class of free agents ever. LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh headline a ridiculous class of talent. Other talents include Joe Johnson, Amar’e Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, David Lee, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, and Rudy Gay. Outside of Gay, all will be unrestricted free agents able to sign with whomever they please (that can, of course, afford them). With that said, here are some predictions on where they land:
LeBron James – Chicago: Chicago really is the perfect landing spot for LeBron. Its a great city with worldwide appeal, it has two great young talents in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, they can sign LeBron and another max player, and they could contend instantly. Outside of going to Miami with Wade and Bosh, there is no other better choice for LeBron.
Chris Bosh – Chicago: Its assumed that Bosh goes wherever James does, so my two picks need to line up. Also, the perfect fit for Bosh too. He gets to play power forward and play next to a great defensive and rebounding center in Joakim Noah. If it isn’t obvious yet, the Bulls are going to be the title favorites for quite some time.
Dwyane Wade – Miami: I don’t anyone expects Wade to leave Miami. In fact, he’s been lobbying free agents to join him in Miami. The Heat can re-sign Wade and two other max contracts so the Heat look to be in good shape.
Joe Johnson – Atlanta: 24 hours ago I would have said New York. However, now Atlanta is throwing the 6 year max at Johnson so it appears that the Knicks may have to work out a sign and trade to acquire Johnson. The problem is that New York really doesn’t have any desirable talent. I’m guessing Johnson takes the most money and stays.
Amar’e Stoudemire – Miami: Stoudemire hinted in a recent tweet that he would be leaving Phoenix. I think Miami wiffs on LeBron and Bosh, but there’s no way they end up with nothing. While Stoudemire can’t play defense or rebound, he’s an offensive force and will be a nice Robin to Wade’s Batman.
Carlos Boozer – New Jersey Nets: The Nets are actually a much more talented team than most realize. Brook Lopez will be a stud center his entire career and Devin Harris is a talented point guard who flourished under Avery Johnson before. Derrick Favors figures to be a talented power forward, but is nowhere near ready. Boozer will produce until then and create a formidable frontline for the Nets.
David Lee – New York: Its highly possible the Knicks miss out on every major free agent. David Lee is a solid 20/10 player every night, but in no way a franchise player. The Knicks would have to renounce his rights in order to sign a second max contract, but until they are ready to do that they will retain his rights. Doing so allows them to sign him for a 6th year and more money.
Rudy Gay – Miami: I can’t see Miami missing out on the opportunity to add two major pieces. Gay is still only 23 and a solid scoring threat. He probably isn’t good enough to be the 2nd option on a title contending team, but certainly good enough to be the 3rd scorer on such a team. A Wade, Gay, and Stoudemire trio would be disgustingly athletic and with some pieces added around them ( a shooter and rebounder) they’d be a top contender. The Clippers and Timberwolves also figure to be contenders to sign Gay.
Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce both opted out of their contracts just to resign for more in the long term.
Ultimately, the next few days are going to shape the NBA’s future for the next decade. Nobody really knows what will happen, but it certainly be exciting. As a Lakers fan, I just hope to avoid the James-Wade-Bosh triumvirate.