The NBA Free Agency period has been going on since July 1, when players & teams could begin actually talking. However, many people believe that it was when LeBron James made his decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers that free agency really began in earnest.
When players & teams knew where James was going to go, teams could really begin to allocate where their money was going to go & how much money they were going to truly use in the salary cap structure for 2014-15.
Of course, not every team is involved in the free agency boom as much as others. There are many big winners, but also a few losers in the entire process. Today, we will break down the winners & losers so far in the free agency period.
NBA Free Agency Winners
This is a no-brainer, here. The Cavs were going to do anything & everything in their power to make sure that the team had enough space to sign LeBron James, the man who has made the team the leading favorite according to Vegas, to win the NBA Championship.
The organization has grown in many ways since LeBron left for Miami in 2010. The team has drafted well in bringing in Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson & Anthony Wiggins, the incoming rookie who was the #1 overall pick by Cleveland from the Kansas Jayhawks program.
Having LeBron come in will be an instant boost to the franchise, its fans & the city as a whole, & James will have an instant impact on the work ethic of the players & will do everything in his power to bring a championship to the area where he grew up. Dan Gilbert & the organization should be prouder more than any organization can even imagine to be.
Many of you may say that the Heat are absolute losers because they lost LeBron James, but the team ended up winning in the long run. The team resigned Chris Bosh, a versatile player who will most likely get more of a chance to shine now that he won’t be the 3rd man in the puzzle behind James & Dwyane Wade. Yes, Bosh did receive $118 million, but in Miami, if the team is going to be competitive & not end up the way the Cavs did in 2010, they have to keep on as business as usual.
The team will be looking to keep Wade around, at a much lower cost, but because Wade is the face of the franchise & is probably the man who is most connected to the city of Miami & the Heat organization due to bringing a championship to South Beach long before the big 3 game together, he will most likely retire as a member of the Heat.
Before the James decision, the team signed some nice pieces in Josh McRoberts (formerly of the Charlotte Hornets) & Danny Granger, who was a star player less than 2 seasons ago with the Indiana Pacers. Granger will give the Heat some versatility on the floor, can get to the basket & shoot the 3-point shot very consistently.
McRoberts is a guy who can bang down low in the post & has truly developed his game into a good double-double type of player. His style of play won’t be as flashy as what Heat fans have become used to over the last few years, but the one thing fans will be able to count on will be consistent, hard working play every single night.
Plus, having McRoberts & resigning Udonis Haslem & Chris “Birdman” Andersen gives the Heat some size & toughness, two areas that I have thought the team has missed over the last few seasons during the “Big 3” era.
Ok, so this is a surprise team on the list for many people, but the Pistons have all of a sudden had a very productive offseason. The team signed Caron Butler & D.J. Augustin, two veterans that can help out Brandon Jennings & Josh Smith.
Butler is especially a big key in the deal because of the fact that the team has been openly trying to shop Smith around to teams, but many teams just aren’t buying what Smith is selling at this point in his career. It has seemed as though Smith has underachieved greatly, & the Pistons & new Head Coach/General Manager Stan Van Gundy understand the need for great veterans in the lineup & he is stocking up with those type of players that teams need to win championships & to develop a culture.
As noted earlier, Bosh re-signed with the Miami Heat for $118 million & he received that money simply for being loyal.
Bosh had an offer on the table from the Houston Rockers for 4 years & $96 million dollars, the max that a player can get for signing with another team. It was thought that Bosh would take the deal if LeBron didn’t resign with the Miami Heat. As we know, James went to Cleveland, but the Miami Heat showed their faith in Bosh by making sure that he was one of their cornerstones for years to come.
With Bosh being 30 years old, he got his last mega money deal in the NBA, he has two NBA Championship rings, his family is set & rooted into Florida now, no state tax on his income, so Chris Bosh is absolutely a big winner so far.
Gasol was able to get out of the sinking ship that is the Los Angeles Lakers franchise right now by signing with the Chicago Bulls last week.
Gasol, who is one of the most versatile power forwards in the league, goes to another major market, which he loves being in areas with the great culture & a variety of entertainment options all around the area, & will have the chance to play off of point guard Derrick Rose, if Rose can stay fully healthy for the upcoming season.
I truly believe that Gasol was truly getting tired of Kobe Bryant & his style of motivating players, particularly being hard on Gasol for the last few seasons as the team was starting to get out of whack. The Los Angeles Lakers barely have a roster, no head coach right now & no one knows if Kobe Bryant will be back to his normal self early on in the season.