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NBA Free Agency 2010: Rounding Up the Calm Before the Storm

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NBA Free Agency 2010: Rounding Up the Calm Before the Storm
Elsa/Getty Images

 

Amazingly, the 2010 NBA free agency smorgasbord is less than 12 hours away from beginning.

The media coverage has been insane and over the top, but with new names and new destinations seemingly coming up every five minutes, there's plenty on which to speculate. 

To (try to) prepare you for the festivities beginning at 12:01 tonight, here's a round-up of what's been happening on several fronts:

 

LeBron James

Teams interested: Cavaliers, Bulls, Knicks, Nets, Heat, Clippers, Mavericks

James is clearly the key part to all of this, as his choice of destination will likely impact the future home for all of the other top-tier free agents.

James, despite strange reports of a wining/dining outing with Nets' minority owner Jay-Z sometime last week, is expected to have all of these teams meet with him at his home in Ohio.

Yesterday, the rumor was that he, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh had met and agreed to join forces in Miami.

Two days ago, it was reported that LeBron to the Bulls was a "done deal."

The point is: nobody has any clue where LeBron is going to land, and it even seems likely that he himself isn't sure of anything.

The Cavs are his home. The Bulls have a great young roster. The Knicks and Nets are in the New York area. The Heat can put together a "Dream Team." The Clippers play in Kobe's house. He can play in front of 100,000 people for playoff games with the Mavericks.

The Knicks appear to be putting a plan together to tempt LeBron by selling him on the idea of surrounding him with premiere players as well.

There are endless opportunities and possibilities here for LeBron, and his movement will be the most fascinating.

 

Dwyane Wade

Teams interested: Heat, Knicks, Nets, Bulls

News items have been few and far between with Wade, likely because most believe that he isn't going to be leaving Miami.

While James and Bosh have been reported as possibilities, the Heat have also been linked to guys like Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer.

Don't expect Dwyane Wade to be following anybody else anywhere else.

 

Chris Bosh

Teams interested: Heat, Knicks, Bulls, Nets, Rockets, Cavaliers

Bosh is the player most often paired with LeBron in proposed free agent signing pairings.

It's believed that the players would complement each other well, and Bosh appears to be the kind of guy willing to play second fiddle if it means he's going to be winning.

The Raptors already appear resigned to losing Bosh, and are reportedly weighing their sign-and-trade options should they go that route.

It's also been reported that the Bulls may attempt to sign Bosh before James in an attempt to use Bosh as part of their sales pitch to LeBron.

Toronto is interested in players like Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers from Miami, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson from Chicago, and David Lee from New York.

 

Carmelo Anthony

Anthony, the only major '03 draft veteran not involved in all of this, has become newsworthy Wednesday morning.

Apparently, if Melo were to reject their proposed three-year, $65 million contract extension, the Nuggets would be interested in trading the All-Star forward before they let him walk for nothing.

He can opt out of his current contract after the upcoming season, and the Nuggets may be worried that he's intrigued by all the attention drawn by James, Wade, and Bosh.

While it remains to be seen if this is a legitimate possibility, it's worth repeating nonetheless.

 

Paul Pierce

Teams interested: Celtics, unknown

Pierce unexpectedly tossed his hat into the ring Tuesday night, opting out of the final year of his contract, worth over $21 million.

While the 32-year-old still seems a likely candidate to remain in Celtics green, he'll reportedly be fielding offers from anywhere.

Should someone potentially lose out on the services of LeBron or Joe Johnson, Pierce could be a nice, playoff-tested consolation prize.

 

Dirk Nowitzki

Teams interested: Mavericks, unknown

As expected, Dirk officially notified the Mavericks of his decision to opt out Tuesday.

It's been said that the idea behind Dirk opting out is to sign a brand new, long-term extension with flexibility to allow the Mavericks to try and chase more quality talent to play alongside Nowitzki.

However, at 32, he's still among the best scorers in the game, and his size and versatility make him a very appealing player out on the open market.

He may be tempted to try his luck elsewhere, but in the end, he seems like a Maverick.

 

Yao Ming

Teams interested: N/A

Tuesday, Yao officially opted into the final year of his contract worth about $17.7 million.

Coming off of a major foot injury, it would have been interesting to see what kind of money the skilled 7'6" center would be able to command on the open market.

However, with his injury history, leaving that much money on the table would've been an extremely risky move.

Yao still doesn't turn 30 until September, so there's plenty of time left for him to reestablish himself as the most offensively-dominating center in the game.

 

Joe Johnson

Teams interested: Knicks, Hawks, Heat, Bulls, Nets, Mavericks?, Rockets?

Johnson's value to some took a hit with his flameout in the second round of the playoffs against Orlando, but there have been rumors of him still being able to secure a max contract somewhere.

The Knicks are apparently interested in pairing Johnson with Amare Stoudemire should their plan to land King James fall apart.

He is also a player that might fit fairly well with James, as he's capable of being a very deadly spot-up shooter who can capitalize on the double-teams commanded by LeBron.

A return to Atlanta shouldn't be ruled out, either.

 

Amare Stoudemire

Teams interested: Suns, Knicks, Nets, Heat, Bulls, Rockets

The '02 Rookie of the Year punished the league after the trade deadline, averaging 26 points and nine rebounds per game in helping the Suns all the way to the Western Conference Finals.

He was the hottest name being tossed around at the trade deadline, but ultimately stayed put.

While he's reportedly talking to the Suns about a new contract, the forward is still expected to hear pitches from several different teams.

The Heat and Knicks appear to be the teams most actively seeking his services, but this free agency thing hasn't even started and it's already becoming unpredictable.

His future is heavily weighted upon where LeBron ends up.

 

Carlos Boozer

Teams interested: Jazz, Heat, Bulls, Knicks, Nets

Boozer has flown under-the-radar, but he's yet another guy that could be paired with another big name somewhere.

He has been tied to the Heat for quite some time, and that still seems like a very logical destination for him.

He seems unlikely to return to Utah, especially with all the money they have committed to Paul Millsap.

Boozer isn't a guy that's going to be handed a max contract, but his earnings will still be quite substantial.

 

Ray Allen

Teams interested: Celtics, Bulls?, wherever LeBron goes?

Allen could probably go anywhere he wanted to for the right price.

He seems like an ideal piece to fit along with LeBron James, and could fit easily wherever he goes as a deadly spot-up shooter.

 

Rudy Gay

Teams interested: Grizzlies, Timberwolves, more?

Gay is a restricted free agent, but it's possible that a team could make an offer that Memphis wouldn't want to match.

He may be the No. 1 option for the Timberwolves, who obviously won't be in play for most of the other top-tier guys.

Gay would instantly provide a much-needed spark in wing scoring for Minnesota, and would likely be "the guy" up there, especially if they're able to unload Al Jefferson.

He's still very young and very athletic, and could be a nice steal for someone amidst the fray this summer.

For all breaking news and free agency coverage, check out NBA Water Cooler and NBA Soup.

 

 

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