The summer of mega free agency begins in a matter of hours, and both teams and players are sizing up their odds of who and where they will sign. There are max contract free agents who will ultimately define the rest of their careers with their next signing, and there are lesser free agents just looking for a deal.
Regardless, every free agent must weigh the cost and benefits of their next deal and whether it truly is the best move for themselves and their careers. That is the game in free agency. Who will be happy with their decision and who will regret it? Here is a look at the latter and the 10 players who may regret their decision to stay or leave.
Amar'e Stoudemire views himself as a max contract free agent. The problem is not many teams consider him as such given his checkered health record and at times inconsistent play. The only team likely to give him a max contract deal is the Knicks and that will only come if they are shut out of the LeBron/Wade/Bosh sweepstakes.
Stoudemire will regret a departure from Phoenix, where he had an All-Pro point guard and a chance at winning, simply for the cash of what will still be a relatively weak Knicks team.
News broke overnight that Paul Pierce threw his hat into the free agency ring by opting out of the final year of his deal with the Celtics. Pierce, who would have earned $21.5 million next season, is now in a position to earn upwards of $96 million over four seasons.
However, Pierce's decision should just be a move to get more money out of the Celtics. Pierce's legacy is affixed in Boston, where after his career is finished, he will be recognized as the leader of a new generation of winners in Boston.
Moving on to another team at 32 years old, which likely wouldn't be a contender, is the wrong move for Pierce at this stage of his career.
Boozer has always been somewhat of a mercenary and that will not change this offseason. Boozer is looking for a bigger and better deal out of town and that is the best move for his career. Staying in Utah under fewer dollars than he desires is the ultimate move of regret for Boozer.
Fisher, like Pierce, has a legacy in purple and gold. He moved on once before only to find his way back to Hollywood. Unless he were to surprisingly retire, it is difficult to see Fisher suiting up for anyone else next season especially when his best options certainly will be a drop off from the contending Lakers.
Shannon Brown has not officially opted out of his contract, but expectations are that the Lakers backup point guard will.
Brown, who is young and on the rise, will likely get more money and years from a team looking for point guard help now. Remaining on the Lakers roster to again come off the bench as he enters his prime years is not a decision many players should make - nor should Brown.
Camby is 36 years old and possibly looking at his last contract. Camby, who has become something of a journeyman in the last few years, now has a place in Portland with a young team that still needs big man help. Camby has playing and a team on the rise. He'll be tough pressed to find a better job out there.
Nowitzki is another legacy player who simply cannot be seen in another uniform. The dollars have not been discussed, but the full expectations are that Mark Cuban is not going to get his franchise player walk away. Nowitzki has been the face of the franchise for the last decade. Unless he's got a spot alongside Dwyane Wade or LeBron James, it's not worth the exit for Nowitzki.
Michael Redd's got a tough choice. The Bucks are an improving team with a point guard that looks like he'll be an All-Star for years to come. However, Redd is getting up in years and has watched his name get tossed around in numerous trades.
If the big free agents chips fall as rumored, Redd will find himself and his team in a tougher position to win in the Eastern Conference. Redd isn't a max contract player, but could be a tremendous complimentary player. The only way Redd regrets staying in Milwaukee is if the has a chance to play with one of the three biggest free agents and turns it down.
The Knicks are shooting for two max free agent contract players. David Lee is not one of those players. As one of the few bright spots for the Knicks the last few seasons, and one who averaged a double-double, Lee is down the list of the Knicks priorities and there likely won't be enough money to pay him what he deserves and/or expects this summer. Lee is better off finding a new home.
Yes, LeBron is better off in a new place with a new team. He has maxed out his time and the pressure bestowed upon him in Cleveland. The Cavaliers made their push last season and the team is not notably improving this summer.
Best bets are that LeBron will sign with another max contract player which cannot happen in Cleveland. Which way do you think is best for LeBron's chance to win?