…otherwise known as “Thing that have happened in the NBA in the wake of LeBron signing with Cleveland.” Because let’s be real, it became pretty apparent that nothing of any real consequence was happening until King James made his decision and once he did, the other dominoes started to fall.
- Outside of LeBron James, the biggest name on the open market this offseason has been Carmelo Anthony. Melo is no longer available, as reports surfaced Saturday that he would rejoin the Knicks on a five-year deal that would pay him more than $120 million. Mr. Anthony brought us confirmation on his website Sunday morning, saying in part,
“In the end, I am a New York Knick at heart. I am looking forward to continue my career in Orange & Blue and to work with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams. Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball and I am surrounded by the greatest fans in the world.”
In choosing to return to New York, Carmelo spurned advances from both the Lakers and the Bulls, both of which would have seen him paired with superstars but paid less money. The new blood in the Knicks organization – President Phil Jackson and head coach Derek Fisher – have already been active in reshaping the roster by ditching Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler while adding Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, and Cleanthony Early among others.
- Another man who had generated much speculation was Pau Gasol, with some of that speculation involving him and Carmelo being paired in either Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York. Gasol did not choose to follow Anthony to MSG, however, reportedly agreeing to a deal with the Chicago Bulls. Details are not yet known, but Brian Windhorst of ESPN has noted that the acquisition of Gasol will not occur via a sign-and-trade. Gasol joins Joakim Noah in the Chicago frontcourt which means that if the proverbial question is answered yes (that question being “Can Derrick Rose stay healthy?”), then the Bulls will be one of the best teams in a still weak Eastern Conference.
- One of the aforementioned dominoes most directly linked to LeBron’s decision was Chris Bosh and with LeBron returning to Cleveland, Bosh chose not to follow him to Northeast Ohio, choosing instead to return to South Beach. Bosh will receive a max contract from the Heat, totalling nearly $119 million over the life of the contract and lasting a year longer than the maximum of four years the Houston Rockets were able to offer him. It is widely presumed Bosh will be reunited with Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem in Miami for at least the next two seasons as Pat Riley has given every indication he is not ready to break up the championship success the organization has seen and rebuild.
- Luol Deng is now the hottest commodity on the market, as the 6’8″ 220 pound Sudanese man has received interest from the Heat, Hawks, Suns, and Mavericks. The 29-year old, who was an all-star in 2011-12 and 2012-13, is a prime target of Pat Riley’s at the moment. But with the return of the incumbent wing in Houston still in question – there is an offer sheet pending with Dallas – Deng’s status is very much up in the air at the moment.
- UPDATE: Word has come just before Noon PT (listen, NBA people, the World Cup Final is about to start so let’s chill with all this) that Luol Deng will agree to a to a two-year deal worth $20 million with the Miami Heat. A team that features Bosh, Deng, Wade, Norris Cole, Shabazz Napier, and Udonis Haslem would probably be one of the best in the Eastern Conference. But again, it’s the Eastern Conference.
- Chandler Parsons is that incumbent wing in Houston, and last season the 25-year old forward averaged 16.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, and 4.0 apg, while shooting 37% from beyond the arc. Parsons has signed an offer sheet with the Mavericks on a 3-year, $46 million deal, with the third year being a player option. Houston has until midnight ET Sunday to match the Mavericks’ offer and retain the services of Parsons going forward. This is a scenario that would certainly make sense considering the Rockets lost out on Chris Bosh. If and when Parsons remains in Houston, Dallas will be left with very few options at small forward and will likely be forced to go hard after Deng or Lance Stephenson.
- UPDATE: As the runners-up Argentina are receiving their medals at the Maracana in Rio, word is breaking that the Houston Rockets will not match the Mavericks’ offer for Chandler Parsons, who will now join Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler.
- Vince Carter, who had been with the Mavericks the last three seasons, agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal with the Memphis Grizzlies to play alongside Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol. An eight-time All-Star with the Raptors and Nets, Carter averaged 12.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, and shot 39% from 3-point range in 25.1 mpg over his three seasons in Dallas.
- Speaking of wings in Texas, Trevor Ariza agreed to a four-year deal with the Houston Rockets, spurning the Marcin Gortat, John Wall, Bradley Beal, and the Washington Wizards. The Rockets will pay the 29-year old Ariza approximately $32 million over the life of the contract as Ariza may be looked upon to fill the shoes of Chandler Parsons.
UPDATE: This breaking around 3 PM PT on Sunday:
- Here’s something most people – including myself – didn’t see coming: Paul Pierce has agreed to a two-year deal worth approximately $11 million with the Washington Wizards. The Wiz needed to replace Trevor Ariza after his deal with Houston, and Pierce was interested in playing alongside the young and talented backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
- The Lakers, who had been connected to a whole host of big name free agents this offseason while still having not hired a head coach, have officially acquired Jeremy Lin in a trade with the Houston Rockets. The Lakers also acquired the Rockets’ 2015 first round pick and the 2015 second round pick the Rockets had previously acquired from the Clippers. The acquisition of Lin is not the only move made by Mitch Kupchak and Co. in recent days, as the Lakers have brought back power forward Jordan Hill on a two-year deal worth $8 million. The 26-year old Hill has been with the Lakers for the last two and a half years and posted a line of 9.7 ppg/7.4 rpg/54.9% field goal pct in 20.8 minutes/game last season. Current speculation surrounding the Lakers involves signing players to one or two-year deals with an eye on the 2016 free agent class, expected to include Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah, and Al Horford along with possibly Chandler Parsons and Mike Conley. Not to mention, Kobe Bryant’s contract will be up at that point. For more on the ramifications of the summer of 2016, check out Tom Haberstroh’s piece for ESPN Insider.
- One name that some may be surprised to hear got a huge contract is Gordon Hayward, the 24-year old forward out of Butler University. Hayward averaged 16.2 ppg/5.2 apg/5.1 rpg in 36.4 mpg last season for the Utah Jazz, and was able to parlay that performance into a four-year contract worth approximately $63 million. Hayward had originally received the offer from the Charlotte Horncats, who had hoped to create a triumvirate of Kemba Walker/Al Jefferson/Hayward, but the young man from Indianapolis will return to Utah as part of the Jazz’s young core with Dante Exum and Trey Burke.
- With Gordon Hayward not joining their squad, Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets would settle for another 2013-14 Utah Jazz player in Bremerton, Washington native Marvin Williams. Now 29 years old, the 6’9″ Williams averaged 9.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, and 35.9% from deep in 25.4 mpg last season in Utah, and will compete with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for time on the wing in Charlotte.
- Y’all remember Kevin Love? Yeah, he still hasn’t been traded, and I imagine Flip Saunders is fairly content with that. Considering a deal hasn’t been executed yet, I’d wager to say Saunders is only dealing Love for a package of players that he truly likes. However, with Love reportedly expressing interest in joining LeBron in Cleveland, the media rumor mill has cranked out tons of possible trade scenarios that could see Love in Ohio, many centered around the No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins heading west.
- Finally, two former University of Washington Huskies have signed on to play with the Clippers this next season. Spencer Hawes agreed to a four-year, $23 million deal with LA, while C.J. Wilcox signed his rookie deal with the Clippers. Wilcox will fight for playing time with other shooters like Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick, and Jared Dudley. The Clippers also added Jordan Farmar, further cementing his status as an LA-lifer, who comes over from the Lakers and who played his college ball at UCLA. Farmar and the Clippers agreed to a two-year contract worth just over $4 million.
What to watch for in the coming hours and days? Do the Kevin Love rumors heat up again,
what happens with Chandler Parsons (hey look that got settled), which team in need of more talent starts angling for Lance Stephenson, and will Ray Allen, Mike Miller or both of them agree to join LeBron James in Cleveland as they pursue another title? Only time will tell…