As July 1 draws closer and closer, it seems that the number of rumors circulating around free agents is skyrocketing.
With so many reports coming out of every possible outlet, it is getting pretty difficult to separate the rumors from reality.
That's where I come in. It’s time to take you on a quick journey around the league and learn what is fact and what is fiction in regards to this summer’s prolific class of free agents.
Fiction for now:
Although I think this has the potential to become fact in the near future, the 27-year-old center is due to make $12.6 million this upcoming season for Charlotte.
While he is unlikely to make this right away elsewhere, he can probably secure a long term deal for only a few million less per season.
Many are criticizing Chandler’s potential decision to opt out, but it may not be such a terrible idea after all. It is rumored that he is finally back to full health and is expecting to have a career season.
Chandler would also have the advantage of being the best true center in the free agent class. With teams such as the Thunder, Heat, and Knicks all in need of a player at his position, he would have the potential to secure a great contract and play for a better contender than the Bobcats.
While this would be a large pill for Charlotte to swallow, the loss of his contract would give the Cats around $7 million to either replace him or add depth at another position.
Ray Allen’s future is entirely in the organization’s hands. He has said that he wants to remain a Celtic and eventually retire as a Celtic.
The only question is, will Boston bring him back?
I think there is no doubt Allen will be suiting up in green next season. The Celtics are an organization that doesn’t have enough money to make a splash in free agency this summer and replace him if they allow him to walk.
Allen figures to be looking for a two to three year offer worth about $5-7 million per season. This would be a drastic decrease from the $19 million he made this season, yet a very fair offer for Boston to jump on.
When you look at what they have behind him, Boston would be very unwise to let Allen’s 16.3 points per game and veteran leadership slip through their fingers.
Tony Allen enters this offseason with the highest stock of his career. After an impressive Finals performance against the Lakers, teams all around the league are drooling over the 29-year-old and his defensive ability.
The Celtics would like nothing more than to bring the veteran back, but can they afford to?
With teams looking to bolster their depth this summer, Allen is sure to receive a lot of attention from franchises all over the country.
In reality, his stock will probably never be higher, and while the Celtics will look to re-sign him, they may not have the means to do so. Teams such as Allen’s hometown Chicago Bulls have much more money to play with and could logically pull him from Boston’s grip.
Allen is a loyal guy, so I’m sure his first choice would be to return to the Celtics. But with a potential lockout looming on the horizon, taking big money to go elsewhere is a very appealing draw for the lockdown defender.
Rafer Alston is looking to land in a place he would like to finish his career. In his eyes, this place is none other than New York City.
“They do need a Point Guard, and I would hope I could be it,” Alston said. “I’ll definitely have my agent give them a call”.
I think that this is a deal which will end up getting done. New York only has a few players under contract next season and is expected to sign one, if not two, maximum contract players.
This will cause the Knicks to fill their roster with affordable, yet serviceable players. Alston is a proven veteran who could fit perfectly in a role coming off the bench in their up-tempo offense.
The Heat have broken the silence and said that they will aggressively pursue not only Boozer, but Amar’e Stoudemire and Chris Bosh as well.
Boozer is long believed to be the best fit in Miami, yet that may not be what Dwyane Wade wants. Wade and Bosh are good friends, and I think the Heat star will be leaning towards the front office adding him rather than Boozer.
The Heat are willing to do anything to bring Wade back, and if he is pushing towards someone other than Boozer, it is highly unlikely the former Duke Blue Devil will end up joining the team.
Other teams pursuing Boozer will be New York and New Jersey. All are very possible destinations for the double-double machine.
Bosh is no doubt one of the most outspoken of the free agents in this summer’s class. The All-Star power forward has recently come out saying that he doesn’t want to be considered an “addition” but rather a centerpiece.
This is interesting considering he would no doubt be an “addition” to the Miami Heat, who is the most widely believed destination for Bosh.
This leads me to believe that we could see him heading to a franchise which may not be as much of a contender as Miami or Cleveland.
All his statements and actions up to this point lead me to think one thing: New York.
The Knicks are a team where Bosh would undoubtedly be the centerpiece, and a very high paid centerpiece at that. The draw of a New York market is something that appeals to Bosh, who wants to be the face of a franchise.
Bosh is the free agent most likely to move this summer, along with the most likely to settle for a large contract and maximum exposure, rather than the best chance to win.
Stoudemire has said that he will opt out of his final year and look for a maximum contract.
While he has been quoted as saying he prefers it to be with Phoenix, this is something that is very unlikely to happen. General Manager Steve Kerr is now out, and the Suns are not a team which seems open to dishing out that kind of money.
This puts Stoudemire in a position to land with a quality contender, most likely in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat, Knicks, Bulls, and Nets will all make a push for Stoudemire, who is arguably the most athletic player at his position in the entire league.
Expect Amar’e to land a maximum contract somewhere, most likely with Chicago or New York.
While Chris Bosh is the free agent most likely to move, Dwyane Wade is the player most likely to remain with his current team.
Wade has said that if Miami can surround him with more talent, he will remain with the organization.
Miami is one of the most popular destinations in the entire NBA, and many players are drooling at the chance to be on the floor with Wade and other talent such as Michael Beasley.
Another reason on the side of him staying is that he is already in recruiting mode. He recently had lunch with friend Chris Bosh and also Joe Johnson, two marquee free agents. Wade can say this was just a casual meal all he wants, but the fact is that he is pitching Miami in the hopes that one of the stars will join him.
Things are really looking up for Miami. With an abundance of draft picks and one of the best players in the league recruiting talent, the Heat are slowly making a resurgence to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Yep, this one is true. Celebrities on this "recruitment committee” include Spike Lee, Alec Baldwin, and even Donald Trump!
While there is no doubt that the Knicks are pulling out all the stops, I highly doubt that this is going to affect LeBron’s decision.
This is a three horse race in my opinion. Cleveland, New York, and Chicago are the franchises which appeal most to The King. Each one offers their own advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s face it. No one really knows what LeBron is going to do. Despite reports out of every camp that he is leaning this way or leaning that way, the winner of the LeBron sweepstakes is one that will not be known until the pen hits the paper.