Looking at NBA off-season
MIAMI -- At this time four years ago NBA free agency was a circus. LeBron James was joining Twitter and Chris Bosh was offering regular updates on his free-agent wooing.
It’s a touch different this time around.
Teams are holding their cards very close in most cases, Miami’s "Big 3" of James, Bosh and Dwyane Wade are basically silent on their plans and the overwhelming majority of free agents don’t seem to be anywhere close to finding a team for next season.
Then again, no one signs until July 10. Here’s a primer on where things stand:
TOUR DE MELO: He’s in Chicago, he’s in Houston, he’s in Dallas and on Thursday, Carmelo Anthony visited Los Angeles. He was also going to meet with the Knicks while in LA, and there’s still the possibility that Anthony will end up right back where he started with New York. Whatever happens, the Melo Watch is the story of free agency so far. There have been some slipups along the way, most notably what the Rockets were thinking by plastering images of Anthony wearing Jeremy Lin’s number (Lin, who remains a Rocket for now, wasn’t impressed). Anthony-to-the-Lakers might be a long shot, but it would seem his wife, La La, has a name made for L.A.
LOWRY STAYING: The top free-agent point guard isn’t free anymore. Kyle Lowry agreed to a four-year, $48 million deal late Wednesday night, meaning he will be staying in Toronto and continuing to lead a young Raptors team that was a break or two away from getting to the second round of the playoffs this past season.
WHO’S LEFT? Besides the Miami trio of James, Bosh and Wade, there are still tons of quality players out there. Pau Gasol is getting interest from a number of teams, including Oklahoma City. Lance Stephenson is negotiating with Indiana, which probably still remains the frontrunner to retain the guard. Greg Monroe and Chandler Parsons are expected to get nice pay raises next season, regardless of where they are, and Luol Deng seems like he’d fit with a number of teams who actually have some money to spend.
‘BIG 3’ UPDATE: The first two days of free agency came and went without really a peep from the Heat or any of their players from the last four runs to the NBA Finals. The ‘Big 3’ are all tweeting, sure -- but it’s almost entirely limited to the World Cup or their kids. No hints on basketball moves, yet. And Pat Riley has remained quiet, like always. Clearly, teams aren’t waiting around for the Heat to make moves, but there’s still a sense that when the Miami dominoes start moving, things leaguewide will start happening in a hurry. As for James, he posted a vacation photo of himself smiling and standing among family Thursday afternoon at an undisclosed location. If he’s anxious, it’s not showing.
NAMES TO WATCH: Jason Kidd left Brooklyn in infamous fashion but many eyes are on player movement, and with good reason. It might seem odd in some circles that names like Paul Pierce, Josh McRoberts, Spencer Hawes, Shawn Marion, Jordan Hill and NBA Finals hero Boris Diaw aren’t getting more attention. Look for that to change, quickly.
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