It's finally here!! The 2010 free agency period that teams have been preparing for for years now is upon us. General managers around the league have been dumping long term contracts and dreaming of writing big checks on this golden day since the first time someone noticed that King James, Bosh, Wade and company would all be hitting the market at the same time. The expectation was that since LeBron was the best player available he would likely be the first to sign, and shortly after the rejected suitors would all scramble for the sloppy seconds. Interestingly enough as day one winds down the big winners are Rudy Gay ($81.6 million over 5 years) and John Salmons ($39 million over 5 years). Hmm...
"You wanna pay me how much?"
So what is the strategy here? Are these smaller market teams really worried about the teams with tons of cap space swooping in and signing their players? When you consider that the Hawks have already offered Joe Johnson a five year max deal (presumably saving the sixth year as a bargaining chip) it sure seems like this relatively young free agent period is off to a strange start. I mean, who ever decided that Joe Johnson was worth a max deal in the first place? I think the whole idea started when someone asked what the disappointed teams might do with all their unused cap space. So when exactly did NBA free agency 2010 get turned upside-down?
Well with these bloated contracts being handed out and the shadow of a possible 2011 lockout looming it is making for a very strange financial landscape around the league. What exactly if fair market value for an NBA player? Right now, I have no idea. Get back to me when the dust settles.
It kind of makes you glad that our beloved franchise is a ship without a captain at the moment. Hopefully the new owner and the management team he assembles is able to make sense of all this next year. I certainly wouldn't trust our current crew with an open checkbook right now. We might end up extending Anthony Morrow for a max deal or signing Jeremy Lin with the MLE.