NBA Power Rankings: LeBron James and the Seven Biggest Free Agent Signings

Collin BerglundCorrespondent IIIFebruary 25, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: LeBron James and the Seven Biggest Free Agent Signings

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  NBA players Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James arrive to the T-Mobile Magenta Carpet at the 2011 NBA All-Star Game on February 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
    Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

    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

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    DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 24:  Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics drives around Wilson Chandler #21 of the Denver Nuggets during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 24, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 22:  (L-R) Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots while being defended by Kobe Bryant #24 and Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half at Staples Center on February 22, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Th
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    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

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    CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 24: Carlos Boozer #5 of the Chicago Bulls is fouled while shooting by Eric Dampier #25 of the Miami Heat at the United Center on February 24, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Heat 93-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    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

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    CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 24: Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat puts up a shot under pressure from Taj Gibson #22 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 24, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    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

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    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 23: Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks looks on against the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or u
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    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

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    CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 24: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat walks off of the court after a loss to the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 24, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Heat 93-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowled
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    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

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    CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 24: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat passes the ball under pressure from Omer Asik #3 and Kyle Korver #26 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 24, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Heat 93-89. NOTE T
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    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.