With LeBron James' exit from the 2010 NBA Playoffs, we can talk about free agency and what will happen on July 1.
It will be the NBA's own soap opera.
Will LeBron dump his partner for another? Can Dwayne Wade lure a rival to his side? Which team will be turned now by everyone and turn desperate in the final hours?
To add to the drama, no one can say for sure what will happen.
Under the rules of NBA free agency, the player's current team will be able to pay him the most.
But that team might not give him the best chance to win an NBA title.
Here is a list of five players who will become unrestricted free agents in July, or could become unrestricted free agents next year.
All five players need to change teams if they want to win an NBA title.
For one reason or another, they will not win on their current team and need a change of scenery.
He is not going to win a title in Cleveland. Period.
If he stays in Cleveland, I believe the team, as currently constructed, will have to be blown up and they will have to start over. Also, he will likely have a new coach.
Everything will likely be new to LeBron next season. So why not go to a franchise with a winning tradition that is down for now.
If he stays in Cleveland, I have a feeling that his career will be closer to Dirk Nowitzki than Kobe Bryant. Now, if Phil Jackson comes to Cleveland, all bets are off.
Best place: Chicago. Think about a team with Derrick Rose, LeBron James, and Joakim Noah.
If he wants to be like Michael Jordan, he might have to do it in Michael's city.
It's too bad that he is in the Western Conference against Kobe.
However, he is not "The Man" material. He would be a great wingman to another superstar.
For example, Miami would be great for Dirk. If he is paired with Dwayne Wade, the Heat would be a threat in the Eastern Conference.
I would say that Cleveland would be perfect for him, but they have already traded for Antwann Jamison.
The "soft" label in Dallas is starting to stick. He might need to leave to escape that label.
Can you name two other members of the 2009-10 Toronto Raptors?
The second-best center in the NBA is almost anonymous. It was a minor miracle Toronto was in playoff contention in 2009-10 with a losing record.
The Memphis Grizzlies have a brighter future than Toronto. If the Raptors played in the West, they would be as bad as New Jersey.
Here is the problem: he is not a primary scorer. He is a very good wingman who needs to play with a superstar. If I were Bosh, I would go where LeBron goes. So his what are his options: Cleveland, the Knicks, the Nets, etc.
LeBron needs to play with a big man and Bosh needs to play with a scorer.
He has a great point guard, great coach, and a lot of complimentary players in Utah.
But the Jazz won't have the money to pay him a max deal. So the Jazz will likely do a "sign-and-trade" deal this summer to send Boozer on his way.
That works out for Boozer anyway since Utah will probably good enough to beat the Lakers now. So his options are wait until "Kobe and Phil" show leaves L.A. Or leave now.
The question is where does he go. New Jersey would love to have him, but does he want to play for the Nets?
Denver was such a disappointment in the playoffs. I am starting to believe that Anthony is quickly approaching LeBron/Dirk status; a great performer in the regular season but falls short in the playoffs.
He can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2010-11 season, and will likely get the same attention that LeBron is getting now.
He makes the list because what happens this summer will affect where Anthony goes next year.
Anthony could be sought after by someone like Wade if he stays in Miami.
But Anthony has already played with big-name players Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups. That has not helped get him out of the West.
He could stay in Denver because they will offer the most money. But he might not win an NBA title in Denver.
Could he go to the Knicks in 2011? Sure. New York has a ton of money, and if they don't land LeBron, Wade, or Bosh, they could wait a year and save that max contract for Anthony.