NBA Power Rankings: LeBron James and the Seven Biggest Free Agent Signings
The 2010 offseason saw LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire switch teams as free agents. Now halfway through the 2010-2011 regular season, fans are in a better position to evaluate how effective their signings have been.
Sometimes it takes players time to adjust to a new environment, other times players immediately fit in and help their teams improve. 2010 had its free agents fall into both groups.
7. Ray Allen
There was talk during the offseason of breaking up the Big Three in Boston. Allen was going into free agency and fans were unsure whether he would return.
Turns out, the guard who is aging at a position where aging is a daunting proposition is back, and playing important minutes for the Celtics. He is averaging 17.2 points per game, consistent with his stats since joining the Celtics.
6. Joe Johnson
Johnson had an opportunity to go to a big-money team last season and play second banana on a championship contender.
Instead, he decided to stay on the Hawks, a very good team in the East that is unlikely to make the Finals. Johnson is still putting up numbers, averaging about 20 points and five assists per game, but he could have received more media attention in another market.
5. Carlos Boozer
The first player on the list to actually switch uniforms, Boozer has put up nearly identical numbers in Chicago with Derrick Rose as he did in Utah with Deron Williams.
Boozer has made the Bulls one of the favorites to take the East this year.
4. Chris Bosh
Bosh, the third wheel of Miami's "Big Three," has been impressive early in the season.
Although his scoring has dropped below 20 points per game for the first time since his second year in the league, and all of his statistical categories are down from what they were, Bosh has done many little things necessary to win games this year.
3. Amar'e Stoudemire
Stoudemire was great early in the season for the Knicks. So great, in fact, his coach had to play him at all times.
He has been less effective lately, but with the addition of Carmelo Anthony, could be rejuvenated for a playoff run.
2. LeBron James
LeBron is a beast and one of the most talented players in the league. But Miami wasn't his decision, we'll get to that guy in a second.
James has been nothing short of incredible with the Heat, but many fans don't think he can win the big one. Michael Jordan didn't win a championship until Magic Johnson and Larry Bird stopped running the league, and LeBron is waiting his turn as well.
He will try to prove his critics wrong with two of the best players in the NBA by his side.
1. Dwyane Wade
Why is Wade number one instead of LeBron? Because Wade's signing opened the door for the idea of the "Big Three." Without Wade's return, Miami would not have obtained Bosh or James.
By returning to Miami, Wade altered the course of the NBA from a league of stars to a league of stars playing together. Wade and James have both played outrageously all season, but they have struggled, at times, to determine who the man is. Early in the season, both sometimes played too passively, trying to defer to each other. They have come around recently, taking turns to go on runs.
The Heat figure to be successful for some time, but it is not because of what happened the night of "The Decision." The real decision was Wade's return to Miami.