NBA Free Agents 2010: Reviewing the Summer of Signings and Trades So Far

John Friel@@JohnFtheheatgodAnalyst IJuly 15, 2010

MIAMI - JULY 09:  Dwyane Wade #3 (C) of the Miami Heat talks during a press conference after a welcome party at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

We knew what we were getting ourselves into when July 1st rolled around. We were aware that some of the NBA's biggest superstars would be for the taking at the right price and if you were ready to overhaul your team, now was the time to do it.

It's a shame for the other 29 teams that missed out on the top three free agents in Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh, but there has been plenty of talent to go around to help out a team in some aspects.

There have been shockers, stunners, and downright what-were-they-thinking deals and it's only been two weeks since these players have been on the market. Some teams got it all and others will continue to wallow in the filth that is the NBA's basement thanks to the deals made.

There is always something notable about any free-agent signing, but for now, we will find the deals that have stood out and caught our attention since the July 8th judgement day.

Best Signing: (Tie)Dwyane Wade signs for six years, $107 million with the Miami Heat. LeBron James signs for six years, $110 million with the Miami Heat. Chris Bosh signs for six years, $110 million with the Miami Heat.

It will go down as the biggest signing's in NBA history. As Miami Herald writer Dan Lebetard said, "Everybody wanted one, we got all three...discounted."

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After a few days of questioning if Wade would even return to the Heat, he managed to convince Chris Bosh to join him in Miami, which was then followed up by James' decision to follow.

The Heat was the only team that can pull off a move like this and not only did they sign them all, they left nearly $50 million on the table by taking paycuts. Pat Riley showed off his brilliance with these deals and is now filling up the roster with veterans and young, but talented players.

Truly the work of a genius.

Worst Signing: Joe Johnson signs for six years, $119 million with the Atlanta Hawks.

Do you think Joe's under pressure now that he will be making more money than LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade? The Atlanta Hawks pulled off the largest signing of the summer with their deal to keep Joe Johnson, but saw all their spending money given away to a player who shot under 30 percent in last year's postseason.

Johnson is a talented player, but this Hawks team that he will be leading next fall will be no better than a fourth seed and Johnson isn't exactly the type to carry a team to the promised land.

Honorable mentions go out to the Dallas Mavericks blunder of signing Brendon Haywood to a six-year, $55 million deal and the Houston Rockets keeping backup point guard Kyle Lowry for another four years to the tune of $24 million.

Biggest Bargain: Anthony Morrow signs for three years, $12 million with the New Jersey Nets.

This is a very underrated signing; the Nets lost out on the LeBron James sweepstakes, but were able to secure one of the NBA's sharpshooters in Anthony Morrow. In two years at Golden State, Morrow averaged a combined 12 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the field and a staggering 46 percent from beyond the three-point line.

The Nets might have pulled off one of the wisest investments by trading for the talented, 24-year-old stud. He can play guard or forward and has range for miles. He's getting $4 million a year, but the Nets might need to at least double that when Morrow becomes a free agent three years from now.

Player Who Got the Best Break: Hedo Turkoglu traded to the Phoenix Suns.

There is no doubt that just about every star that goes to Toronto wants to be moved as far away as they can from there. It's been a sad summer when it comes to basketball for Canada, as they saw the loss of their coveted superstar in Chris Bosh and now Hedo Turkoglu, who only spent one season with the Raptors.

The Raptors were going to go downhill with the loss of Bosh, and Turkoglu managed to get traded to a Western Conference contender in the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix's offensive system will work perfectly for Hedo, who is known for shooting three-pointers.

He had a down season last season, only averaging 11 points per game, but is three seasons removed from averaging a career-high 20 points with the Orlando Magic, who feature a more conservative style of Suns basketball.

Most Overrated Signing: Amar'e Stoudemire signs for five years, $100 million with the New York Knicks.

Don't take it the wrong way Knicks fans; this was a good deal. You got one of the players you were aiming for in Stoudemire, but what else?

I envision that the Knicks' front office thought that when they signed Amar'e, that he would be able to attract other free agents, but with only Raymond Felton to show for it, the Knicks might be looking at another decade of irrelevance.

$20 million for Amar'e to play alongside Danillo Gallinari and Eddy Curry? Yikes.

Not to mention, the Knicks have been pining for LeBron and overhauling their entire team for the past three seasons just to sign the guy and so far only have Amar'e and Raymond in this free-agent class.

New York might sneak into the postseason as a seven or eight seed, but if they want to be a top-five seed in the future, try waiting some more for Chris Paul and/or Carmelo Anthony.

Most Underrated Signing: John Salmons signs for five years, $40 million with the Milwaukee Bucks.

John Salmons was the reason why the Milwaukee Bucks were as good as they were last season when he joined mid-season. He averaged a career-high 20 points per game as he led the Bucks to a 46-win season that earned them a fifth seed. If not for injuries to key components of the Bucks, they could've seen a deeper postseason and not a first-round exit.

Milwaukee needed Salmons to re-sign to keep up with the new Eastern Conference powers in Miami and Chicago and did so at a discounted price at only $8 million per year.

Three Biggest Free Agency Winners:

1. Miami Heat: For obvious reasons, the Heat win. They got LeBron, they got Chris Bosh, they re-signed Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, and are currently signing Mike Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Juwan Howard. They not only signed the three biggest free agents, but they have the room to have a roster full of quality role players.

The trifecta of Wade, Bosh, and James has attracted players from all sides of the NBA world to take bargains and the Heat have already become the favorites to win next season's championship.

Not bad for two weeks of work.

2. Chicago Bulls: They lost out on Wade, Bosh, and James, but they have made plenty of quality signings to put out a team that could give the Heat a run for their money next season in the East. They lured Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver from Utah and are on the verge of signing sharpshooter J.J. Redick.

With a starting lineup of Derrick Rose, Kyle Korver, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah, and plenty of more cap room, the Bulls could find themselves in unfamiliar territory as a potential top-five seed.

3. Boston Celtics: They have only gained one player in the summer of 2010, but they maintained themselves as a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. After seeing Kendrick Perkins go down with an injury in Game Seven of the NBA Finals and having Rasheed Wallace retire, the C's knew they were in dire need of a center and got one in Jermaine O'Neal.

Jermaine was solid as a member of the Heat for two seasons and will fare well as a backup in Boston as he makes one more quest for a championship that he covets so much. They also got another big man in Luke Harangody who has put out quality work in the summer league so far.

Not only did Boston get O'Neal, but they also brought back two of their favorite players in Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, which keeps the big three intact for at least two more years, when Allen's contract expires.

Three Biggest Free Agency Losers:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: It's truly a summer to forget for the good people of Cleveland. They didn't deserve this, but after seven years and no rings to show for it, LeBron bolted for sunny South Beach for a better chance to feel championship glory. Not only are they losing out on LeBron, but they are losing out on millions of dollars, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and relevancy.

The Cavs won't have a winning season for the next five years and the Eastern Conference is going to be turned on its side.

2. New Jersey Nets: The Nets were believed to be front runners in the LeBron James sweepstakes, but faltered in the last moments and now have nothing to show for it. They had the room to sign a max-free agent and have only signed Johan Petro, Travis Outlaw, Morrow, and Jordan Farmar.

A year after winning 12 games, the Nets will improve drastically, but don't expect anything worth noting from New Jersey/Brooklyn for a while. At least until LeBron can opt out in 2014.

3. Toronto Raptors: As I stated before, the Toronto Raptors don't deserve this treatment. They were shafted by Vince Carter six years ago and now have their newest public enemy in Chris Bosh, who was ready to bolt from the team the day free agency began. I envision it's tough for Raptors fans to keep seeing their heroes get up and leave the first chance they get.

We still have plenty of free agents on the market, with big names that include Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson, and Brad Miller still searching for a place to call home. No signing now could truly turn a team's season around, but this summer has been one to remember for NBA fans everywhere.

Not bad for two weeks.