When Lebron James and Dwyane Wade decided to become free agents at the end of the 2009-10 season, it was inevitable that there would be a ton of teams getting under the cap to try and lure them to their team.
With the end of April, there are only two more months until the biggest NBA free agent season ever. So, here is one person's view on the top unrestricted free agents and where they will end up.
Carlos Boozer is an underrated power forward. He consistently scores and rebounds. He is physically strong, but a little short. Of all the free agents, he is the one most likely to leave his current team. he Jazz have Paul Millsap to replace him and want to reduce their salary cap number.
While Boozer is not the top PF available, he will have plenty of suitors. The Heat, Nets, Knicks and Bulls are all likely to be interested. However, Boozer was trying to get himself traded to Miami last summer to play with Dwayne Wade. So, I predict this Alaskan native goes to where it is warm and plays in Miami.
Joe Johnson has already had one big score when he left Phoenix for Atlanta. He has already refused to sign an extension, but the latest rumors say that Atlanta is going to sell its first round pick so that they can re-sign him and stay under the cap.
If he chooses to leave, the Knicks are likely to be interested as Mike D'Antoni loved him in Phoenix and Donnie Walsh is also rumored to be a big fan. However, after the Hawks' implosion against the Bucks in game five after he fouled out, I have a hard time seeing the Hawks let him get away over money. He stays in Atlanta when they offer him the max.
David Lee had a phenomenal year for the Knicks. He scored 20.2 points per game and averaged 11.7 rebounds per game. Lee is also a superior passer and dramatically improved his jump shot to become a truly well rounded player on offense. However, he is the worst defender among the top free agents and has never played for a winning team. His lack of defense and height are why the Knicks have wandering eyes for other post players.
However, he would be a great fit for a team with a quality center who can block shots and score in the post. Since the Knicks are probably going to ignore him while pursuing others, I can see him leaving for greener pastures. The Nets and the Thunder might be possible landing spots. However, Lee is rumored to love living in New York City. So, he gets to finally play with a quality center in Brook Lopez as he leaves the Knicks for the Nets.
Amare Stoudemire is a stud with a history of injuries. He can score on anyone when he is healthy. He can still out jump most big men and he is physically strong. He may be playing his best basketball this year. However, he is often overlooked as a top player. The reasons are that he does not rebound or block shots as well as he should. Plus, he has never been known as particularly interested in defense. However, he can play both center and power forward.
Phoenix will probably offer him the most money, but I think he wants to go where he will feel appreciated for what he does and get the spotlight that he craves. He goes to play for the Knicks and reunites with Mike D'Antoni in New York.
Chris Bosh had his best season this year in all aspects of his game, but his team was among the most disappointing. Bosh is clearly someone who craves attention as his hilarious you tube videos asking for all-star votes indicate.
However, he is a Texan and that means something, too. While the Knicks, Heat and Bulls are going to come calling, I suspect that he shocks most and signs with Oklahoma City to team with Kevin Durant and become the team to beat in the West.
Dwyane Wade is truly one of the few superstars capable of carrying a team by himself. He has already won a title and plays in one of the best NBA cities. Chicago is hoping to lure him away to his hometown with its collection of young talent. However, once Boozer agrees to join Miami, Wade is going to see the path to a title back open in the city where he is the man.
Wade stays with the Heat.
Lebron James is the King of the NBA. He soars above everyone with his freakish athleticism and incredible skills. There has never been a player quite like him. He is the best player in the NBA and he knows it.
The reality is that Lebron started the frenzy of this free agency year by choosing a short contract the last time and deciding against signing an extension. While he is from Ohio and the King of Cleveland, there is another side to Lebron. He craves attention and wants to be the King of the world. He has stated that he wants to get to $1 Billion in endorsements in his career. With an aging front line and perimeter teammates with a history of disappearing in the playoffs, Lebron might just decide to leave Cleveland for the chance to have another max contract free agent to play with.
Sorry Cleveland fans, my hunch says that Lebron decides to leave Cleveland and join Amare in New York to play with the Knicks.