The winds haven’t changed quite yet. What can fans expect imminently as NBA free agency rolls on?
Carmelo Anthony will return to the New York Knicks
There is no question outside of LeBron James that Carmelo Anthony was the biggest name in NBA free agency and per his right he took his time to examine the market before deciding on his future. Several teams took their turns pitching from Chicago to Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles. Unfortunately for them, the Anthony “Decision” will end up proving anti-climactic. Expect the All-Star forward to eat up the Phil Jackson promises (and $129 million) and return to the New York Knicks for the next five years.
Heat will only manage to retain Dwyane Wade
After what happened in 2010, it seems like everybody expected the Miami Heat and the Big Three to have some sort of master plan for rearranging the roster for another series of title runs. As the past few weeks have unfolded, that looks more and more like a fantasy. LeBron James is sending out feelers to teams, seeking a max contract while Chris Bosh has found a surprisingly strong market for himself as well. Only the aging Dwyane Wade seems like an obvious return to Miami, where he will likely end what has been a Hall of Fame career. It would be a fitting epilogue to the dissolving the trio and expect that to happen with James and Bosh signing elsewhere.
Dallas whiffs on top free agents despite Dirk Nowitzki bargain
Dirk Nowitzki did his Dallas Mavericks a huge favor by signing for a generous three-year, $30 million deal. The hope was that it would retain enough cap space for the team to seek a top free agent to pair with the aging star for one more run at a championship. Already things look bleak. They are not even considered a realistic option for Carmelo Anthony and they are even secondary pursuers with second tier names like Pau Gasol and Chandler Parsons. While they are sure to land at least one or two quality players in NBA free agency, the sour truth is Nowitzki’s generosity won’t be enough.
Lance Stephenson will sign for less than Pacers offers
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises over the past few days was young, athletic guard Lance Stephenson deciding to turn down a $44 million deal from the Indiana Pacers. He is convinced he’s worth more than that and is determined to prove it on the open market. That confidence may actually turn out to be delusion. Physically it may be true but Stephenson has proven a bit of a headache both to the opposition and his own teams. One need only look at his antics during the Eastern Conference Finals. Not only will he not get more money than what the Pacers offered, he will end up signing for less than that first offer.