Outside of northeast Ohio, July 11—the day LeBron James took his talents back to Cleveland—was a horrible day for NBA franchises.
James was the domino the league needed to fall. His pondering perhaps the biggest decision of his life, much to the anger of those who wanted to know now, froze the landscape of the league in a way that may never be seen again.
But with James' decision came a flurry of moves, and the ripple effect of a boulder being dropped from space into the pond has hurt more teams than it has helped to this point. A variety of trades, negotiations and the overall market are perhaps even more chaotic than before as things slowly get sorted out.
Let's take a look at some of the updated items making the rounds, all impacted by the Decision II.
Austin Rivers a Trade Casualty?
The problem, of course, has been cap space for all involved. Houston had grand plans to bring on Chris Bosh and put him next to Dwight Howard, having him play the 4-spot but stretch the court to give Howard room to operate beneath the basket.
That didn't happen, with Bosh re-upping in Miami and all, per Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
Still, one can safely presume the brass in Houston would love to get rid of Asik, who is both assuredly disgruntled with his playing time and due an excess of $8 million next season, per Spotrac. For the Pelicans, it is young guard Austin Rivers who may get outright released to make the move happen, per Grantland's Zach Lowe:
Re: Bosh/HOU: Several league sources say Pelicans considering waiving A. Rivers via stretch provision to complete Asik trade.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 11, 2014
This should not come as a surprise. The No. 20 overall pick in 2012 has struggled mightily out of Duke, shooting just 40.5 percent from the field last year and averaging just 7.7 points per game. At 21 years old, Rivers touts plenty of upside, but a trade would have been worked out at this point were there any interest around the league.
How the Rivers saga ends is no easy task to figure out, but surely teams around the league are willing to let him hit free agency than give up assets in a trade. The Pelicans seem happy to oblige at this point.
The Story of the Careening Houston Rockets
It was the Rockers who wound up hurt the most by James' electing to go back to the Cavaliers, as Bosh reneged on a potential deal for more money in Miami. They did manage to land Trevor Ariza, per Sam Amick of USA Today, but the overall theme is still negative.
While it can be difficult to have too much sympathy for a contender still well-equipped with Howard and James Harden, the decision to ship off Lin and a first-round pick in order to free up space, per Wojnarowski, is the least of the front office's concerns at this point.
According to Chris Haynes of Comcast SportsNet Northwest, No. 25 overall pick Clint Capela has taken offense to the franchise's actions:
The Houston Rockets and their 2014 NBA first round draft pick Clint Capela are in a contract dispute following the team’s failed attempt to lure Chris Bosh from Miami, league sources informed CSNNW.com.
According to one source, for cap space, the Rockets requested that Capela spend another season in France, believing they would land Bosh in free agency. Capela’s representatives were strongly against that idea and that still stands. Friction amongst the two sides is ongoing, sources say.
Chalk it up as a downright horrific week for general manager Daryl Morey.
Not only is Bosh keeping his talents in South Beach, Morey's power forward of the future has now taken offense to the fact, allegedly at least, that Bosh may have come to town and that the team prefers if he spent another season overseas.
It's interesting that Morey and Co. may now want Capela to come on over with Bosh out of the picture, although Haynes notes that there is a $500,000 buyout with his European team.
Unless the Rockets are suddenly willing to splurge and bring Capela on over to appease his wishes, don't expect a resolution to this saga any time soon. Even if Houston keeps the Swiss star stashed overseas, they still own his draft rights.
Regardless, it's yet another issue to cap off a miserable week in Houston.
LeBron James' Followers
No, not his Twitter legion, but 13.6 million is pretty neat, too.
As was the case for his tenure in Miami, players were willing to flock to James' team for the hopes at a title. In some cases, this included taking a pay cut or even extending careers for a very strong shot at a ring.
Now this appears to be the case with soon-to-be 39-year-old Ray Allen, per Fox Sports' Sam Amico:
As for Ray Allen, he is contemplating retirement. But if he returns, it sounds as if it will be with LeBron and Cavs.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 12, 2014
To be more precise, I'm told Cavs have spoken to reps of Ray Allen and Mike Miller, talks "serious." Also told, yes, LeBron helping recruit.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 11, 2014
Allen's minutes tailed off during his two-year stint in Miami, and he was easily a favorite to hang up the sneakers this offseason based on age and the potential dissolution of the Big Three.
But the allure of coming off a deep bench on an obvious title contender may be too difficult to resist for Allen, who has remained steady in his production despite age and playing time reductions in recent years:
Allen is a smart fit with Dion Waiters the starter and an impressionable rookie like Joe Harris as the backup, not to mention the obvious camaraderie he shares with the team's leader.
There is not a ton of room on the join-James bandwagon, though, so the fact he is helping to recruit Allen speaks volumes about the veteran sharpshooter and his odds of extending his career by at least one more season.