Let the NBA's offseason officially commence. Beginning at 12:01 a.m ET on July 1, teams and perspective free agent targets could officially begin negotiations on a series of contracts that could reshape the Association's hierarchy.
James, Wade and Bosh exercised their early termination options with the Heat, seemingly calculated moves to allow Pat Riley to retool the roster around them. However, on Friday, July 11, James made his anticipated decision to return to Cleveland through an essay with Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins. Unlike James, Bosh opted to stay in Miami, according to ESPN.com. He reportedly signed a five-year, $118 million deal with the Heat.
Anthony, having already made seven All-Star teams and been selected to six All-NBA teams, is ready for championship contention. With New York's roster undergoing a complete retooling under Phil Jackson, Anthony will have to wait at least one more season before having a winner in the Big Apple. That has him courting offers from the likes of the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and a couple other suitors more equipped to win now.
Besides Anthony, Kyle Lowry, Lance Stephenson and Luol Deng highlight a second tier of free agents who could make an impact in new cities. Stephenson might be the most interesting, given his high talent level, young age (23) and proclivity for antics on and off the floor that frustrate teammates.
The restricted free agent pool is also unusually deep and not necessarily guaranteed to return to their current stomping grounds. Eric Bledsoe, Chandler Parsons, Greg Monroe, Isaiah Thomas and Gordon Hayward lead the pack, each possessing a dichotomy of potential and flaws that makes each player's contract level something to watch.
Nick Young was one of a few high-profile unrestricted free agents on the market this summer. After a pleasantly surprising 2013-14 season, he re-signed with the Los Angeles Lakers for four years and $21.5 million. The fourth year of that deal is a player option, per ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin.
Another unrestricted veteran on the move looks to be Trevor Ariza, who signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Houston Rockets, according to USA Today's Sam Amick.
With roughly half the league boating $10 million or more, the high-salaried offers are going to be flying off the shelves like an auction house. When folks call this the silly season, it's about these next few days—a never-ending flurry of rumors, innuendo and negotiations that leave even the most strident NBA fan unable to keep up.
Be sure to check back here as we highlight every deal that goes down over the next few weeks and days. (Note: No contract signed is deemed official until July 10, the date the NBA's moratorium on transactions ends.)