Five Thoughts on NBA Free Agency 2014

by Matthew Thompson

Much like my book review earlier this week, I am going to try to branch out with a sports blog here. I’d really like this blog to cover more interests in my life and while I was watching NBA free agents make their moves this past week, I thought it’d be a worth trying to make a blog out of it. So here are five thoughts on 2014’s NBA Free Agency period.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat

LeBron goes home: Like a lot of people I wasn’t the biggest Lebron James fan when went to Miami four years ago. I didn’t mind him leaving Cleveland to be honest. And while his televised decision event was silly, that wasn’t what irked me either. It was that the three biggest free agents decided to all go to the same team. Part of the reason I enjoy free agency is I like to see the league’s status quo shaken up a bit. I figured between James, Wade and Bosh they’d have helped to make at least two teams new contenders instead of one.

LeBron ultimately won me over with his play on the court. I questioned whether he’d even be the best player on that Heat team especially since it was Wade’s team to begin with, but by year two of the Big Three era LeBron was far and away the best player in Miami and was delivering when it counted most, something he hadn’t quite done up to that point.

Now I didn’t become a Heat fan by any means. Unless it is my team winning multiple championships  in a short time period (in the NBA’s case that is the Sixers, so not likely any time soon), I prefer the wealth to be spread around. So I’m glad LeBron left Miami and headed back to Cleveland. It will obviously be a shift in power in the East. I don’t see Cleveland as an instant title contender unless they land Love (and they should give up Wiggins to get him if they must assuming he will sign long-term with Cleveland). Even then, it will take some time to gel and the Western Conference still has plenty of teams that could easily deny them. But I do like the move for LeBron, not just because it is a nice story of him coming home. Or because he did it in a much more classy way this time. But I actually think the long-term championship chances might be better for the Cavs with some of the young talent there than in Miami with Dwyane Wade whose game seems to have aged more quickly than usual due to his style of play and Chris Bosh who it sounds like LeBron didn’t exactly mesh with all that well. Dan Gilbert is still an ass though and I kind of hate things going his way.

Chris Bosh

The New Look Heat: With LeBron gone, I figured Chris Bosh would be headed to Houston to once again be the third cog in a loaded team, but he surprised me by signing a long-term max deal with the Heat. One of my big questions for next season is if can Bosh can return to the kind of game and production he had in Toronto before he had to play third fiddle to two of the League’s biggest stars. He was one of a handful of 20-10 guys in the NBA five years ago and had a bigger impact in the post. It will be interesting to see what he’ll do as the number one (or two) guy on this Heat team. Similarly, I’m curious how Wade will hold up going forward. And with the talent more spread out, how high can the Heat remain in the Eastern Conference pecking order. I also thought Luol Deng was a solid pickup for this team in a post-LeBron world.

Houston, we have a problem: Things just didn’t seem to go the Houston Rockets way this past week. With a couple of big-time talents in Dwight Howard and James Harden and the cap room to land another, they seemed like a prime landing spot for one of this offseason’s big stars. And if they snagged Bosh (or Carmelo which never seemed very likely to me), they would have certainly moved up the ranks in the loaded Western Conference. Unfortunately, they got neither. Lin and Parsons are gone as well. And while Ariza could be a nice addition, I don’t feel like they have done anything to boost their team up with the top teams in the west.

Carmelo

Melo stays in the Big Apple: Ever since Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse to a National Championship, I have been a fan. He is an amazing scorer obviously, but I’d love to see him compete for a championship, the lack of which has been a knock on him throughout his career. That is why I was kind of hoping he went to the Bulls. They had a good team last year even without Derrick Rose. If you added Carmelo to the mix and Rose happened to stay healthy (a big if), they would have been my pick to win the East next season. That was not to be.

The Knicks are still a ways away from any kind of championship contention, so I guess I have to hope they can get another big free agent next offseason to pair with Anthony. Hopefully Phil Jackson can get things pointed in the right direction because I’d really like to see Anthony have some big post-season success.

Everyone loves Pau: Pau Gasol was a much more coveted free agent than I anticipated. He is getting a little older at this point, but looking at his production this year he has stayed consistent with recent years despite the Lakers disastrous season. He does seem like a great piece to add to a talented roster, one that might give a team the extra nudge they need to step up a rung on the NBA ladder. Oklahoma City seemed like a great fit to me, but the Bulls are a nice landing spot for him as well. He might be able to do even more damage out in the East where the competition, especially among big men, is a bit weaker.

Those are some of my thoughts on the big free agency moves so far this offseason. I’m not sure how many sports fans frequent my blog, but if there are any, let me know which signings caught your eye this past week. I hope to have more sports content once football season rolls around this Fall. Thanks for reading!

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9 comments on “Five Thoughts on NBA Free Agency 2014

  1. I agree with most everything you said except, as a long-time and long-suffering Knicks fan, I kind of wish Carmelo had left. I know a choker when I see one (Patrick Ewing) but maybe The Zen Master could work his magic on Melo if the ball hog would just read a few of Phil’s book recommendations. I’m a huge sports fan. baseball, football, basketball, tennis, I even like racing but I couldn’t name any drivers past the Nascar top ten and the Indy legends. A sports post is a good idea. I might steal it.

    • Yeah I can see where you are coming from. Carmelo has never been able to elevate his team like most superstars of his talent, so you have to question how good he can be for you guys. I still think having a player of his caliber makes you guys a more attractive Free Agency location next offseason which is your best hope I think. Maybe someone like LaMarcus Aldridge could land there. If Carmelo could be the number two option or even like a 1-b, I think he’d be worth having there. Who knows though.

      Good to know I have a sports fan reader! Good to know posts aren’t a total waste 🙂 Hope to see you make a sports post in the future as well.

      • Ha. Carmelo could never be a 1-b. And absolutely wouldn’t be a number two. I love him when he scores and he’s a scoring machine. He just holds the ball too long. Everything stops when he gets the ball. Either he has to bring the ball up (kind of play point) or he has to get it late in the clock. because otherwise everyone else stops moving without the ball because it’s a waste of energy because he is not giving it up. I like team basketball. Superstar based teams don’t do it for me. He reminds me of Iverson. Sure he’s gonna score fifty but the team is going to lose. He needs to score until he draws the double (or the triple) and then he needs to PASS. Not still try to throw up a shot like he’s the only guy in a Knicks uniform. I am almost sure we’ll never be a great team until he leaves.

        • Well I didn’t mean number two scoring option (I worded that badly). Just have another player of his caliber to go along with him. I think he honestly could be even with another player and be very successful, so I just wholly disagree with you there. There just isn’t much precedent for it in his career. Are you suggesting he ever played with a player in the NBA who was his equal? He really hasn’t, so you are just making an assumption with how he would handle it. Which is fine, but no more valid than any assumption I make. I just think you need the right kind of player to pair with him personally (like for instance Iverson in Denver was not that guy!).

          You say you like team basketball, but how would you build that team with the Knicks? And how successful would that be? You guys don’t even have any first round picks coming up which is how successful non-star oriented teams have built them over the last decade. Your best hope to me seems like free agency. If Carmelo was gone you’d have all kinds of cap space, but would still need to attract multiple free agents. A rather large task. With Carmelo and Phil there, you seem like a more attractive landing spot. To me anyway.

          • You know I don’t hold Carmelo in as high esteem as you do. I like defense. I like assists. I don’t like Carmelo. I think these last two years the Knicks were just missing a good point guard. But Melo had a hard time playing with Jeremy Lin (when Melo went down was when the Linsanity run began) and he’s had a hard time playing with Stat. But yeah they aren’t at his level but the Knicks will be screwed for awhile thanks to mismanagement. I would rather watch Hardaway jr. grow as a player. I’d rather see the young guys than the Carmelo Anthony show. And yes I will be praising his name when he hits the next buzzer beater but his style of play has never been my cup of tea. I call them knuckleheads. He’s one of the knuckleheads. Where it’s all ego. It’s all about them. Bulls Pacers those are team teams. The Knicks have become the Melo show and he just ain’t… and he just can’t carry a team. But I guess we’re stuck with him. I hope Derek Fisher can get him to play defense and to share the ball this season. That’s my wish.

  2. I’m happy about the Gasol acquisition for the Bulls. I’m just hoping Rose can stay healthy, and if he can, this is going to be an even more dangerous team than it was before.

    • A Bulls fan? I really like their chances in the East next season. I really hope to see Rose stay healthy as well. I love watching him play. The League has missed him these past couple years.

  3. I’m not much of a fan of basketball, but I like to follow what happens with James. I’ve argued with a friend before but I’d pick James over Jordan if I was building a team. Is Jordan more proven? Yup. However as you know my sport of choice is soccer, and it’s a team sport. James is more than just a scorer, he’s a distributer too. He makes players around him better, and even though Jordan was perfect in every NBA finals it definitely wasn’t James fault they lost this year as he was by far the best player and the only player that looked like he wanted it. I think it’s good he’s moving on, not sure how much more he could have gotten out of that tired and unenthused Heat team.

    • It is a tough one because they are certainly different styles of players. I don’t agree with the idea that Jordan didn’t make the players around him better. There is more to making your teammates better than assist totals. Jordan was an amazing leader and didn’t let people get away with stuff. Jordan was also much better in the clutch and a way better defender than James. I’d certainly take Jordan myself, but it is an argument worth having.

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