Who says the offseason is boring? Tomorrow marks the biggest day in the NBA season thus far (screw the Lakers). Tomorrow, July 1st is the start of the free agency period. You know what that means, all LeBron, all the time. Some of those other guys, some of the time. This free agent class is talent packed but this is also an important for some players and their future money bags.
At the end of next season, the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement will expire. Given the state of the economy, most believe that the owners will take the opportunity to tighten up on spending as it relates to player contracts. It’s not a bad idea but it could also lead to a lockout for the season after next which might be why we see players like Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki opting out of their contracts and entering an already stacked class of free agents. Chances are, Paul Pierce will remain a member of the Boston Celtics. But opting out of his contract now will allow him to renegotiate with the Celtics meaning that if there is a lockout, he will be under contract. He could also assure a longer term contract for himself by opting to renegotiate now as opposed to renegotiating under the new collective bargaining agreement which may call for shorter veteran contracts.
NBA owners struggled through the recession and not many have started to rebound. The sheer abundance of free agents out there gives the owners a bit of an edge because there are only a few with the money and salary cap space to go after the big names. It’s likely that the big names will go quickly and then there is no money left for the Richard Jeffersons of the world (after the season he just had, I don’t think he deserves much money…).
There’s no way of knowing how this will work out but I know one thing: if LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh end up on the same team, I’m divorcing the NBA. Actually, I know two things: if Joe Johnson gets a max contract, I want to work for THAT team because the owner clearly has money to blow.