The dominoes are all lined up. One by one they sit closely to one another just waiting for one sudden movement to send them all tumbling. Twitter has produced a number of magnitude two earthquakes but none have been quite enough to send the group plummeting down. These minor ground shakes have been caused by false twitter accounts (such as @WojoYahooNBA so make sure you are following the correct Adrian Wojnarowski), conflicting rumors by credible sources and Chris Broussard using the term “the wind blowing” as supposed reporting.
Amidst all the confusion, here is the reality of the free agency situation as we stand:
- Chris Sheridan has laid his reputation on the line by reporting LeBron James to Cleveland is a done deal. Pictures have been posted to Twitter by LeBron’s neighbors showing multiple moving trucks presumably in the process of relocating his belongings to a new location. LeBron removed “Miami Heat Forward” from his Twitter profile. Now plenty of other reliable sources are disputing the report that a decision has been made. However, all the signs are pointing towards LeBron going back to the Cavs for round two. Can you blame him? A declining Dwyane Wade and mutated mid-range specialist Chris Bosh are no longer LeBron’s best chance to win. Rumors are swirling that Cleveland would look to make a deal to land Kevin Love if and when they land LeBron. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are a better duo at this moment in time than Wade and Bosh. Period. The fat lady has not begun singing yet but she is about to walk on stage and perform. In terms of Fantasy value, LeBron will be LeBron no matter where he lands. This change in situation, if it occurs, should not affect your opinion of where to draft him.
- The next domino to fall would then be Chris Bosh. Bosh will either return to the Heat to play with LeBron, if LeBron chooses Miami, or he will receive and sign a max deal with the Houston Rockets. Houston could not be a better fit for Bosh who would relish the opportunity to play next to a true center in Dwight Howard. Bosh would no longer be relied upon to defend opposing centers nor play in the post on offense. Opposing defenses must respect Dwight in the post and James Harden on the wing, therefore Bosh could space the floor and play his game. A max deal will be hard to turn down no matter where LeBron decides to play but passing on this fit complicates it even further. If Bosh joins the Rockets, they will play a faster pace than Miami has. Bosh’s scoring will likely increase a point or two per game with a declined shooting percentage due to longer range shooting. The sneaky change he may endure is adding to his blocks total because Dwight will be protecting the paint. Matched up against smaller defenders and being able to slide over as the help defender should help Bosh inch closer to the 1.5 BLK he produced just two seasons ago.
- Carmelo Anthony appears to be leaning towards returning the Knicks and taking five years, $129 million. The weird part is Anthony reportedly still may request a trade one or two years into the deal. Only the Knicks have the ability to offer the $129 million so Carmelo will take all the money he can get and then flea at a later date. Clearly he doesn’t care what the Knicks fans think of him if these are his true intentions. Melo values money over winning or else he would be leaning towards the Chicago Bulls situation. However, Phil Jackson’s plan has convinced Melo enough to take all this money and stay for a season, or at least according to reports. If there is going to be a surprise twist to this story, Carmelo had ruled out every other team aside from the Lakers. No matter where he lands, he will warrant a top 20 overall Fantasy pick.
- If LeBron chooses Cleveland, Bosh chooses Houston and Carmelo stays, the Kevin Love deal will more than likely happen. That means 2014 first overall pick Andrew Wiggins would be on the move to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Of all the moves reportedly on the horizon, this would affect Fantasy value the most. Wiggins would go from playing with a scoring point guard on 2013’s 22nd scoring offense to playing withRicky Rubio on a team that scored 106.9 points per game last year (3rd in the NBA). Kevin Love certainly helped account for the barrage of points but don’t sleep on Rick Adelman’s offensive system. By design, Adelman convinced the Timberwolves to acquire Kevin Martin who fits his system perfectly by finding his openings on the wing. Rubio loves running fast breaks and Nikola Pekovic’s post game allows the Timberwolves offense to continue to be potent in half court sets. Wiggins will only help add to the scoring equation, and will get a boost in value, but Jabari Parker is still my preference of the two in year number one.
- The Dallas Mavericks have reached an agreement on a three year, $45 million offer sheet with Chandler Parsons. Daryl Morey and the Rockets have their fingers crossed now that the big names will make a decision within the next three days (which is how long the Rockets have to decide on whether or not they match the offer). Their payroll will not support both a Parsons deal of this size along with Chris Bosh without going over the salary cap. Timing is everything. As soon as the offer sheet is signed, the Rockets have 72 hours to match. So the Rockets, who have offered Bosh a four-year max deal, have three days to close the deal. If they do not and end up matching the Parsons offer, they then lose the space under the salary cap to sign Bosh. If they sign Bosh first, they can re-sign their own player above the salary cap max, putting them in the luxury tax. It is a complex situation but one the Rockets hope sorts itself out rather quickly.
- Gordon Hayward has signed a maximum offer sheet (four years, $63 million) with the Charlotte Hornets. All along the Utah Jazz have remained adamant they will match any offer he receives. Will any offer include the absolute most he could have received? That will be determined in the next 48 hours or so but all signs point to him remaining in Utah. Hayward is one of the best all-around players in Fantasy basketball and the addition of Dante Exum is no reason to get pessimistic on him now. In fact, Hayward should only be getting better considering next year he will only be 24-years-old.
- A three-team deal was completed today that sent yet another first round pick (Cavaliers’ 2016 protected top 10 pick through 2018 or unprotected if unused until 2019) to the Boston Celtics along with Marcus Thornton and Tyler Zeller. In the deal, the Nets acquired Jarrett Jack (presumably to open up cap space for LeBron) and Sergey Karasev. The Boston Celtics took on Thornton’s contract for this year but now possess up to eight first-round picks over the next four years. Thornton could warrant low-end Fantasy consideration if he cracks the rotation behind Avery Bradley but Zeller will not. Jack will be worthy of late round consideration playing behind injury prone Deron Williams with Shaun Livingston now in Golden State. Expect 10+ starts and around the usual 28-30 minutes from Jack in 2014-15.
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