Oh hey! That was quite the sabbatical on my part. Right through the playoffs, the Finals and the NBA draft. Essentially it’s the only portion of the NBA season that the general public actually gives a shit about. No worries, though. I generally don’t like writing prediction columns because A) They’re pretty much interchangeable and you can find about 1,000 of them online at any given moment for any given game. And B) They’re usually rendered inconsequential withing 48 hours of even conjuring up the idea for the column, much less its completion. Unless it’s gambling advice, it doesn’t have any real substance to it.
With all that past, the NBA’s prime free agency period has mostly come and gone as well. There are a couple notable names still floating around but for the most part, everyone has started looking ahead to the NFL and college football seasons. I usually avoid writing about non-LeBron free agency because this time of year tends to bring out the worst in everyone (and depending on the player, especially the player). Still, there were some surprisingly good and ubiquitously terrible signings, but it was unusually eventful. If this is what the new CBA has wrought, then I’m all for it. Anyhow, I thought we’d peruse through them here because I’m trying to save some money this week.
Dwight Howard to Houston
Of course we start with Howard, because I’m part of the problem. I’ll admit it’s exciting because Houston has been busting there ass to get an assimilation of stars for close to half a decade now, and because the mid-90’s Rockets were awesome, and personally I’d like to see them return to glory. Plus, Houston’s style of play is so much more conducive to Howard’s that it’ll seem absurd that the Lakers ever thought he’d mesh with Mike D’Antoni. But it’s still Dwight Howard. I have to imagine even Rockets fans are conflicted about rooting for him. He basically has the mental stability of Andrew Bynum at this point, but with less flamboyance and more narcissism.
Andrew Bynum to Cleveland
While Howard leaving the Lakers is interesting because no one of that stature ever leaves the Lakers, Bynum going to Cleveland is also intriguing as the complete antitheses, because no one ever opts to play in Cleveland. It’s a short list of players who actually have. Last week on PTI, Tony Kornheiser said Bernie Kosar was the last “star” free agent who ever volunteered his services in Cleveland. And he’s almost right, but he clearly forgot about Shawn Kemp signing a $120 million extension after growing disgruntled in Seattle because they gave Jim Mclvaine more money than him. But still, even bringing this point up kind of proves the point that NO ONE EVER GOES TO CLEVELAND.
As a result, I’d be a tad concerned that, given Bynum’s flakiness, he might try to run roughshod over the Cavs team and front office. The good news is that the contract he signed is incentive laden, and the Cavs are only on the hook for $6 million guaranteed. Between this signing, the first overall pick and the growing nucleus the Cavs are putting together, they’ve suddenly become one of the more interesting teams in the league, as opposed to one of the most depressing (they still might be one of the most depressing. Between Bynum, Varejao and Irving, that’s a lot of injury prone talent).
Monta Ellis to Dallas
Dallas needs scoring, but more importantly, Dallas needs bodies. Substituting Mayo for Ellis is, in my opinion, an upgrade. And they didn’t sacrifice too much cap room on him. Since Marc Cuban said he would never trade Nowitzki, the Mavs seem content to tread water until Nowitzki either retires or leaves. In short, I like this signing for Dallas, and I’m not entirely sure who else I’d like to see him signed with.
Chris Paul stays with the Clippers
I can’t wait for him to demand a trade either for him or Griffin next season when it doesn’t work out, and he doesn’t want to push for Rivers’ ouster because he worked so tirelessly to get him there in the first place. He would never do this in the middle of the season, this is why people call him a “leader”, I think. Such statesmanship.
Al Jefferson to Charlotte
You have to do something, I guess? It isn’t that I don’t like Al Jefferson, but Charlotte has to overpay for any free agent they could potentially acquire and they did just that here. To be honest, just in terms of raw talent, Jefferson is the absolute best Charlotte could do and I’m surprised they could even get him. But they have to start somewhere, Al Jefferson isn’t James Harden, not by a long stretch. But does anyone think the Rockets land Howard if they don’t already have the OKC transplant? Basically, making fun of Charlotte for spending too much money on Jefferson is like making fun of a toddler for getting excited about a lollipop, there expectations are low because they haven’t experienced all that much Disparaging? Yes. Accurate? Regrettably so.
Tyreke Evans to New Orleans
This is the type of move that everyone gets excited about because Evans has tons of potential, can score at will and has been stuck in a hopeless situation with the disorganized Kings for entirely too long. The concern here is, obviously, just how much Evans was contributing to that hopelessness. The Pelicans now have one of the more interesting starting fives in the league, between Davis, Holiday, Evans, Anderson and Gordon, they’re unlike any of their contemporaries. It’ll make for an exciting year in New Orleans, if not necessarily a successful one. For the time being, excitement is sorely needed with this franchise.