Tag Archives: free agency

10 storylines heading into NBA Free Agency

It seems as if the 2015 free agency period has the potential to flip the league on its axis. Some teams with restricted players will have to dish out some serious cash to keep a key player. While some playoff teams will no longer be playoff teams after major subtractions.

  1. What will happen in Cleveland? Coach LeBron James is now using the “wait-and –see” approach as if he doesn’t know what he will do. James will stay with the team and he will put his general manager cap. He obviously wants David Blatt gone and more depth added to the team. It doesn’t look like James wants to team up with Kevin Love anymore as the experiment did not work. (Sidebar: Love is capable of getting 20 points and 20 boards each night. He cannot do that by playing on the wing. Just because he can shoot from the perimeter, inaccurately, does mean you should put him there.) James has gone on the record saying that he wants to see Tristan Thompson come back and be a Cavalier for live. For the record, LeBron has not been a Cavalier for life. It is Cleveland after all. That city can screw up a 911 call dialing 119. BTW we will be previewing all 32 NFL teams in 31 days. The first team up is the Cleveland Browns. There are so many great things to not say about this franchise.
  1. Jimmy Butler has singlehandedly carried the Chicago Bulls in the absence of Derrick Rose. Butler is developing into a superstar shooting guard who will have the ability to make another team an instant threat if he were to leave the Windy City. Most likely he will be offered a max salary that Chicago should match. The Bulls would be placed in a tough position if he were to leave. They already are in need of shooters. This team could go from a championship contender to a middle of the pack team. It is the East where a .500 record can get you in the playoffs.
  2. In the past two seasons Portland has had its best record since the Nate McMillan days. The Blazers will lose at least one star. LaMarcus Aldridge has already put his home up for sale and informed the team he won’t be returning. He will become a max player early in free agency. Wesley Matthews is also an unrestricted free agent who happens to be recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. If he is 100% healthy he can make a team better over night. The only notable player that may be left in Portland is Damien Lillard who happens to be going into his final year of his contract.
  3. The Los Angeles Lakers will be spending George Steinbrenner money this offseason. Rumor has it that they will be making a serious push for Kevin Love, Jimmy Butler, LaMarcus Aldridge, amongst others. Can they become ShowTime again? Who knows? Expect Kobe to still put 40 shots a night.
  4. My favorite NBA owner, Mark Cuban, will also be looking to spend some dineros this offseason as he is still trying to win another championship for Dirk Nowitzki. It is rumored that they also want Aldridge, C DeAndre Jordan and PG Goran Dragic. It is safe to say the Rajon Rondo will not be returning to the team as he was a bud Rick Carlisle was happy to nip (People thought the Rondo addition would guarantee them a title. Silly rabbit). The team will most likely not get Monta Ellis back.
  5. Then there are the New York Knickabockers. I, like everyone else, have no clue as to what this team/Phil Jackson is attempting to do. It’s clear Carmelo Anthony does not care about winning. He proved that last year when he decided to resign. It was no surprise to see the team perform to horrifically. It appears as if Greg Monroe is going to join the team and continue to be a part of a below .500 team. It’s a shame to see a team with such a good fan base be so irresponsible.
  6. The Spurs will be resigning Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan and hoping that they have enough left over to go after Aldridge. Remember Kawhi Leonard is a restricted free agent. It’s not often San Antonio has to make salary and personnel decisions during the offseason.
  7. Boston is going to look to get bigger. Last season they tried unsuccessfully to get Kevin Love. Expect them to land a big name person to go in the post. Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge have done a great job thus far of putting this team together. They came a long way in such a short period of time.
  8. I want to see the Charlotte Hornets pick up someone. Anyone. This team was the biggest disappointment last season. There is a lot of talent, but they can’t put it together. When Michael Jordan, THE GREATEST NBA PLAYER OF ALL-TIME, at age 52 says that he can beat every player on his team there is a serious problem.
  9. Will Dwayne Wade stay in Miami? It would be hard to see him a different jersey next season. Would it matter if he left though? Yes, if Chris Bosh would have been healthy at the end of the season the Heat would have been a playoff team. However, Wade will be one year older this season and if healthy he can give a team a maximum 50-60 games? D-Wade should leave to try to win another title. He should join a team where he would need to play about 30 minutes a night.

Bonus: The Philadelphia 76ers will be looking to add Slava Medvedenko, Nick Young, Mark Madson, Brad Miller, and Kwame Brown. You can never have to many centers and other worthless players, right?

Other bloggers talking about free agency:

Instant Sports Net 

Off My Podium

Pistons Nation

The Athletes Hub

Hoops of America

Blues of Nine

Smirfitts Speech

Photo: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

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Who Dat Nation…Relax!

For the second year in a row, the New Orleans Saints face financial hardships and they are making the most of the situation.
It began with the release of players like running back Pierre Thomas and linebacker Curtis Lofton.

It did not stop there.

On Tuesday afternoon, rumors circulated that the Saints were actively shopping Drew Brees’ go-to-guy, tight end Jimmy Graham.

Literally five minutes later, the Seahawks popped up as a potential suitor for Graham. Within 15 minutes from the news initially breaking, Graham was set to take his talents to Seattle.

Obviously, the Who Dat Nation is taking the news hard. First it was the beloved running back Thomas, a crucial piece in the Super Bowl winning team of 2009.

Then it was Lofton, a tackling machine for the Saints defense.

Now, Graham, arguably the best player who has the most upside on the black and gold roster.

I am here to tell the Who Dat Nation to have no fear because once again, General Manager Mickey Loomis and Head Coach Sean Payton are doing what is best for business.

There is one word that I want folks to keep in mind, VALUE.

As stated before, the Saints are tight on salary cap space and they have loosened the bind by trimming down the roster.

I love good ole PT Cruiser (Thomas) just as much as the next Who Dat. He has without doubt been one of the best players in Saints history, a true team guy taking pay cuts when asked and always putting his best foot forward no matter what was asked of him. From the bottom of my heart as a fan, I say thank you to Thomas.

However, put the emotion aside and realize the Saints saved a hair shy of $2 million in cap space for 2015. Is it worth it to keep Thomas?

He was used primarily for screens, where he simply isn’t as much of a threat as he used to be.

Sorry my fellow fans, but the answer is no.

Lofton was another player who came at a hefty price and his production simply wasn’t worth it. Cutting the 28-year-old linebacker saved the Saints $7.25 million. I realize Lofton racked up close to 400 tackles in three seasons with New Orleans, but he is also notorious for missing tackles. While I like Lofton, I don’t like a middle linebacker making $7.25 million, unless your name is Luke Kuechly.

As stated earlier, I believe Graham was the best player on the Saints roster with tremendous upside. Normally, I would not want a team I like to trade their best player, but in this case, sell.

New Orleans shipped Graham along with a 4th round draft choice for pro bowl center Max Unger and a 1st Round draft pick.
The Saints offensive line was horrendous last year, especially in the interior line. Often times last year, the pocket would collapse not allowing Brees to step up and fire the ball downfield as we have seen in years past.

Before the offseason began, there were rumors that either guard Ben Grubbs or Jahri Evans would be cut while the other would renegotiate their contracts. Both are among the five highest paid players for the black and gold.

It seems like forever and a day ago that both Grubbs and Evans were near the top of the league as guards. Unger will be a key part in the Saints offensive line success moving forward as he could potentially help milk whatever is left in the tank of the two guards until their replacements are found.

With center being one of the biggest needs after losing Brian De La Puente to the Bears last offseason, the Saints have found a fantastic replacement.

What we are seeing with New Orleans offense is not a rebuild, but simply a restructure.
Shipping Graham, focusing on the interior line and re-siging Mark Ingram to a 4-year deal could mean the Saints are going to focus attention on a power run game.

As far as tight end is concerned, have no fear because the Saints still have a young pass catcher in Josh Hill and an excellent blocker and reliable target in Ben Watson who both fit the mold of a true tight end.

While everyone can complain about losing tangible playmakers that you see on every snap, the most important positions begin up front.

The two teams (Patriots and Seahawks) that competed in the Super Bowl last year made it because of one common trait. Both teams control the line of scrimmage.

The Dallas Cowboys are another team that sticks out because they have been slowly building up the offensive line, which led them to a 12-4 season and a solid playoff run last year.

DeMarco Murray had the best season for a running back in Cowboys history and an aging Tony Romo had the best season of his career as well all thanks to a stellar offensive line, period.

Do I think the Saints will win the Super Bowl next year? No. That belongs to Seattle because that roster is still loaded and they have a solid back up at center named Patrick Lewis who hails from Metairie, Louisiana.

Adding Jimmy Graham gives them a go-to-guy that Russell Wilson has been missing desperately.

As for the Saints, this move will help them in the long term. Hopefully they will make some wise choices with the additional draft pick.

In the meantime, fingers crossed that the Saints can land either Tramon Williams or Brandon Browner in free agency.

From one Saints to another, relax. This is a business.

For a regime (Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis) who has a reputation of winning, 7-9 will not sit well with them.

Photo: Crystal LoGiudice — USA Today Sports

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Bush and Hawk cut

Wednesday was a tough day for veterans in the NFL as A.J. Hawk, Jacoby Jones, and Reggie Bush were both released by their high profiled teams.

Linebacker, A.J. Hawk, is the leading tackler in Green Bay history with 1,118 in nine seasons. After the season was over he had surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle.

“A.J. is a consummate Packer and we are grateful for all that he has given and how he represented the organization over the past nine seasons,” “He was a durable and consistent contributor to our success, but more importantly, he is a great person and teammate. The Packers are grateful for all that he has done on the field and in the community. We wish A.J., his wife Laura, and the rest of their family all the best.” Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson said.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported via Twitter reported that Reggie Bush, Lions running back, was shown the door after two seasons. This will save the team over $3 million in 2015. In the 2014-2015 season he only played in eleven games. Detroit has two stud backs, however. Joique Bell and Theo Riddick have the capabilities of being a great combo back duo.

I would think that both players will be highly sought after as second tier players who are still capable of being great.

Photo by: Joe Robbins / Getty Images North America

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