Brand, Maggette, Posey, and B-Diddy are opting out of their contracts. Artest and AI did not. Meanwhile the Wiz are reportedly signing Jamison to a 4 year $50 mil deal. Incidentally, FA Arenas said he wanted to re-sign with the Wiz, but only if they signed Jamison; now SI reports that the two are close to signing a 6-year $100 mil deal, although the Warriors have made a similar deal to him too. Across the country, the Lakers have made qualifying offers to both Vujacic and Turiaf, and have made re-signing the pair a priority; while Shaun Livingston, out two years with one of the worst knee injuries ever, was not tendered a qualifying offer, and is a free agent. In another country altogher, Calderon is indicating he has agreed in principle to remain a Raptor.
An interesting combination of events could help the Hornets. Their #1 target is Corey Maggette. If Brand is more interested in sticking around L.A., does he become a priority? Is BD their answer at PG? If the Clippers go that way it would be almost impossible, financially speaking, to bring back Maggette. Lots of rumors put Maggette on the bus back to Orlando, but the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that after the team’s big spending last summer, it may be shopping for bargains this year. Meanwhile, reports out of the Crescent City are that CP3 is a big attraction to free agents. No real suprise. The question is, then, who else has that kind of drawing power that we might be competing against? Lakers/Kobe. But they’re focused on keeping Turiaf and Vujacic, and probably look to get healthy more than make summer acquisitions, as they are already at a ridiculous $75 mil combined team salary. Cavaliers/Lebron. But like the Lakers, they’re already $25 some million over the salary cap of $55 mil, and according to the Plain Dealer, are unlikely to make much of a splash in free agency. Perhaps only Miami/Wade have the will and allure to draw free agents; although, with Marion’s $17 mil, Wade’s $14 mil, and Beasley’s rookie contract, they’re sitting at around $59 million, which is slightly worse than the Hornets, but might be looking more to actually build a completment of decent players around Wade and Beasley, rather take a gamble on one more big piece. This year is a buyer’s market, with most teams not having much cap space. About the only teams with money to spend aren’t well situated, i.e., Memphis, Charlotte, Seattle, and a lot of the best free agents out there are looking to be a final piece in someone’s puzzle. As Elton Brand said, everyone’s got the Celtics success in their hearts. Maybe, just maybe, that lets us land a big name in hopes of making some talented free agent a champion. I could live with that.
EDIT: while not strictly free agency related, it’s reported that Tyson will be traveling to China with the Olympic team as a back-up. Obviously this is linked to Dwight Howard’s stress fracture in his sternum, but should any other player get injured, TC will be on the spot to step in.