The silly season of NBA free agency is upon us. However finally it appears that we are getting a bit more clarity on who is going where -- some of which are big surprises.
THE BIG GUNS
Elton Brand : perhaps the biggest attainable prize of this free agent period, he initially opted for free agency with the Clippers, citing a need to see the team improve in order to return. So the Clips went and put out a big offer to his buddy, Baron Davis. This looked like the move the Clippers were meant to make in order to improve the team and make it relevant in Los Angeles again -- the type of move that Brand (and his agent David Falk) had been asking for. Wrong.
First the Golden State Warriors made the tit-for-tat move of offering a big contract to Brand of their own. You take our player, we take yours. But then, the team with the most cap space to play with, steps onto the scene. The Philadelphia 76ers have attempted to lure the first significant free agent to Philly in recent memory, with a 5-year $82m deal, which according to reports he will accept. "Show me the money..."
Baron Davis : as mentioned above, the big story that kicked off the free agency period was the B-Diddy to LA story. It sounded perfect, Baron and Elton could bring some razzle-dazzle to Clipperville and they could talk about producing movies together. But then Brand went and ruined it all. I was sure as recent as yesterday that this speculation was wrong and that they would indeed play together in LA, but it seems like B-Diddy has entered the sinking ship that is the Clippers, all alone (well, along with these guys). According to reports, Brand going to Philly will not affect Baron's decision to sign with the Clippers.
Corey Maggette : the latest chain-reaction in the game of 'Who Has Got Cap Space Left?' is Maggette agreeing to a 5-year $50m deal with the Golden State Warriors. After flirting with mid-level exceptions from the Celtics and other contenders, it seems Maggette also decided that the money was more important than winning. Well, at least he has his priorities straight I guess. I don't think he would have fitted in with a team like the Celtics anyway -- he needs the ball to be effective. Running and gunning in the Bay Area should suit him much better.
Gilbert Arenas : many people viewed this guy as the most selfish of all of the above, but he did perhaps the most amicable and sensible thing in leaving money on the table (about $16m in fact) to re-sign with his Washington Wizards for $111m over 6 years, after key piece Antawn Jamison also returned. Apparently both parties are sorting out key details of the contract, however he has agreed in principle. The Warriors also reportedly threw money at him in an attempt to get him to return to where he started his career, but that failed.
James Jones : the Miami Heat are the most likely candidate to secure the Portland free agent swingman's services, after offering him a deal that will bring him back to where he went to College. Jones fitted perfectly into the Portland offense and locker room in his one year stay, however with the continued emergence of Brandon Roy, Martell Webster and Travis Outlaw and the arrival of Rudy Fernandez and Nicholas Batum, there was no room for the steady shooter. He should fit well with the Heat.
Carlos Delfino : the Detroit Pistons are looking at bringing him back, after looking at Jones as well.
James Posey : one of the most hottly discussed free agents after the Finals and his team's victorious raisinig of the championship trophy, Posey is still looking around. Considered by many teams as a bargain-valued defensive stopper and three-point shooter in the mould of Bruce Bowen, many including the Celtics, seem to be offering him less than he would like to secure (both in dollars and years). The Cleveland Cavs, Nawlins Hornets and the Celtics are among many trying to sign the two-time champion. Paul Pierce has tried sweet talking him into returning. Wherever he goes, he will be a valuable piece -- it will be interesting.