Wake Me Next Summer: NBA Free Agent Period a Flop to This Point

Jeff NewtonContributor IJuly 4, 2010

PHOENIX - MAY 25:  Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the Phoenix Suns sits on the bench in the first quarter of Game Four of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on May 25, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Amar'e Stoudemire worked the phones, and the text message wire, like a seasoned pro on Saturday night. 

According to several sources, Stoudemire pitched the idea of a talented trifecta to All-Star regulars Carmelo Anthony and Tony Parker. Both Parker and Anthony will become free agents in 2011.

Stoudemire, who has already met with Knicks management and plans to do so again on Monday, hopes to orchestrate an Anthony-Parker-Amar'e trio if he indeed signs with New York.

Wrap your mind around that starting lineup for a minute. 

Anthony's a prime candidate to drop 40 on any given evening. Parker, with his deadly first step, gets to the hoop better than most point guards in the league.

And Stoudemire brings one of the NBA's most athletic low-post games. Coach Mike D'Antoni would thank the basketball heavens for placing so many great scorers in his "chaos" offense.

Throw in a few hungry, seasoned role players to run the floor, take charges, protect the glass, and hit open jumpers and you've got yourself a nice team.

Barring a Parker trade from San Antonio to New York, assuming Stoudemire even signs with NYC in the first place, we're at least 362 days from realizing any of Amare's behind-the-scenes work.

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Yet the story is bigger news than anything that's developed regarding this year's free agent class over the last 72 hours.

Kind of depressing, isn't it?

The NBA slapped us with some hard truths, like how turning down max contract money is hard to do.

Can't fault Joe Johnson, though. $120 million and a happy situation in Atlanta sound delightful. He'd be crazy not to stick around.

Dream teams are great and all, but Johnson seems more than comfortable with where he is at. Why play the waiting game, and throw away some serious dough at the same time, with other big names when the individual offer's so great?

Same goes for Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce. They stayed where everything already felt right. That's great for them, but it's painful for us.

The wild hurricane of wheelings and dealings we so eagerly expected passed through without even saying hello. The Summer of LeBron still has its headliner, and the second and third lead, although the lackluster start has NBA fans slumping their shoulders.

We'll take anything at this point, a nibble from New Jersey or an 11th hour, everything including the sink move from someone.

If Dwyane Wade and LeBron James both re-up with their old squads, then this really was much ado about nothing. The upbeat approach forces us to believe in the unexpected or the entertaining.

All is not lost. A Chris Bosh, James, and Wade union instantly makes this summer a success. Any combination involving two of the three does the same.

We hoped for a major NBA power shift for at least one team this offseason and we get it in either of these two outcomes.

Miami, Chicago, or Cleveland, if they keep James, will come out ahead of the pack some time over the next week. But the initial proceedings led us to believe in so much more.

Bosh matters more than any player, even James and Wade, right now. He's our sure thing, our slam dunk.

Bosh will wear a new jersey next year in any situation, whether through a sign-and-trade or free agency, which gives us a guaranteed stake in the events still at hand.

He's our X factor, either with his buddies or on his own. If Wade and James both stay put, however, Chris is all we've got.

It's surreal how such a wide-open event turned so dire before we could even get adjusted. From the outset, our big prospects collapse more and more as the days go by, and another superstar cozies up to familiar faces in a plush office.

Through all the free agent summits, informal discussions, and quiet meetings, this summer's key names allowed us to entertain some spectacular possibilities.

In the end, despite how good their intentions may be, players must put their personal interests above all else. We'd do the same thing if put in their shoes.

The day might still be ours, as Bosh, James, and Wade know some things we obviously don't. They have the power to make us shout with joy, but it's not their absolute responsibility to do so.

Our free agent watch needs a jump between now and July 8, when players can officially ink their deals. Otherwise, this was the summer of missed opportunities and broken dreams.   

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