Adam Silver's first trip to the draft podium as NBA commissioner was a resounding success in what has been the most exciting June in a decade, but fans understand that free agency is where titles are won and lost in that time span.
With all due respect to the likes of No. 1 overall selection Andrew Wiggins and the 2014 draft class, free agency continues to be the highlight of the offseason.
It's what spawned the Miami Heat and gave the San Antonio Spurs throwaways like Boris Diaw and Danny Green—allowing them to go on and win it all.
Many teams are on the hunt to cash in via a similar strategy. With that in mind, here is a look at the latest buzz making waves around the association.
Will Pau Gasol Follow Phil Jackson?
Despite the fact that he's going on 34 years old, Pau Gasol still has plenty to offer an NBA team if he is placed in the right system. It's not as if his numbers have taken a major nosedive in recent years:
Gasol no longer needs to be the focal point of an offense, as he was last year on the horrific Los Angeles Lakers, which means he can sit in the post and allow an offense to run through him thanks to his terrific passing.
If that sounds like a fit for Phil Jackson's triangle offense once more, that's because it is. Jackson apparently thinks the same thing, and per ESPN's Marc Stein, he is intent on bringing his former center to New York:
Furthermore, one source close to the process told ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne that Jackson is planning to make a determined attempt to try to recruit his former Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol to replace the freshly traded Tyson Chandler alongside Anthony on the Knicks' front line, despite the fact New York is limited to offering Gasol less than $4 million for next season.
When the Knicks shipped Tyson Chandler away, this was an easy connection to see coming. Samuel Dalembert isn't starting material per se, and Gasol is a free agent and may be willing to take a discount to play under his former coach.
The problem lies on the financial side of things, as plenty of other teams will be on the prowl for Gasol's services, many of them not being as cap strapped as New York. But perhaps the two sides can come to an agreement, especially if Jackson can somehow convince Carmelo Anthony to stick around.
The Lakers Have a Dream
Then again, Gasol's former team has a few plans in mind to jump start the rebuild after perhaps the worst season in franchise history, and both thoughts include Anthony.
ESPN's Chris Broussard details the plan:
Lakers' dream is to add LeBron & Melo this summer. If that fails would go for CBosh & Melo, sources say. That's assuming Bosh opts out— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 27, 2014
It makes sense the Lakers would want in on the bidding war for Anthony (27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game last season) after a 27–55 campaign and just a few players actually on the roster at this point.
Of course, the Lakers have to understand that the race for his services will be quite close. As Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears notes, several contenders have a legit shot at reeling in Anthony:
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony hopes to make a decision on where he will play next season in the second week of July, a source told Yahoo Sports.
Anthony opted out of his contract with the Knicks recently to become an unrestricted free agent and can begin talking to teams July 1. A source said there is currently no frontrunner for Anthony's services. He is expected to meet with the Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks
For one of Broussard's alleged dream scenarios in Los Angeles to come to fruition, Anthony seems like the No. 1 priority. We don't know the status of Chris Bosh (check below) and can safely presume LeBron James would rather stay in Miami, where he has found plenty of success and can make the most cash.
The underlying factor in all of this? Kobe Bryant.
How Anthony would mesh with Bryant—if he would even want to—is hard to discern. The same applies for all players the Lakers pursue. It is still Bryant's team, and the offense will surely run through him first and foremost.
If players like Anthony don't want to be put in such a situation, there are plenty of other options.
Chris Bosh the Odd Man...In?
Conventional wisdom says that Bosh will follow James and Dwyane Wade by opting out of his contract. He shares the same agent as the latter and Udonis Haslem, who have already done so.
According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Bosh indeed plans to follow suit:
Chris Bosh plans opt out of contract, source tells ESPN. Dwyane Wade & Udonis Haslem also out per reports. Heat have record 55M cap space— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 28, 2014
The key word there being "plans," as Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald hints that things are still in flux:
Can now confirm through agent that Pat Riley has been informed of Haslem/Wade opt outs. Chris Bosh "has not yet decided."— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) June 28, 2014
Windhorst also notes that a decision should come on Monday and that Bosh sounds willing to take a pay cut from the $20 million he was due next season. But it's interesting the Georgia Tech product is taking his sweet time.
Now 30 years old coming off a season in which he averaged 16.2 points per game, 6.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks (the first two numbers declined for the fourth straight year), one would think Bosh is on the hunt for one last payday via a major deal.
Then again, Bosh has been the vocal party trying to keep the group together.
"We want to stay together, man. I'll say that," Bosh told the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "It's a great organization, great team and great city. And to have a chance, that's all you can ask for."
Bosh has long been expected to act as the catalyst to keeping the Big Three together in Miami, so it's notable that he is the holdup. There is no rush per se, but the sooner the numbers are off the books, the sooner Pat Riley and Co. can get to luring free agents and striking deals to improve upon a formula that has reached the Finals four consecutive years and running.