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NBA Free Agency Begins Today

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Maybe more correctly it should be called ‘fee’ agency.

Someone pays. Someone receives. Very little free about it.

Whatever it is, Independence Day for around 100 players comes a few days early.

Players like Antonio McDyess and Grant Hill may feel like they are playing for free after playing for big bucks for most of their careers. Both took pittances (a few million) to play last season, and one hopes that either or both would wear Celtic Green this season under that same thinking – with a chance to win an NBA Championship.

Word around the internet is that teams will be stingy with many not even using the MLE ($5.8 approx).

Here are some semi-random thoughts including Celtic options:

Even minus Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur, (both re-signed with Utah) there will be a number of talented bigs available. San Antonio sent three role players (Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto and Kurt Thomas) packing for small forward Richard Jefferson because obtaining his kind of talent at his position would be more difficult.

Jeff McDonald, Express News from Gregg Popovich….

“If you look at the free-agent list, there’s nobody this summer who is going to be in the same ballpark as Richard Jefferson,” Popovich said. “This is kind of like a bonus, to do it with a trade, and we still have our (mid-level exception) to go after a four-man. There are more names we like at four than there are at the three, as far as free agents go.”

With what many call a solid draft for the Spurs, even without getting into the first round (DeJuan Blair, Jack McClinton), then picking up Richard Jefferson, they will be a desirable destination for a talented power forward. They will be in title contention again if they land one.

Orlando is expected to be interested in power forwards/centers as Hedo Turkoglu and Marcin Gortat are not expected to return. If the Lakers lose Lamar Odom (though he plays 3 or 4), you can add them to the list of power forward seekers.

Some rumors and opinions have Rasheed Wallace possibly coming to Boston due to ’Sheed’s friendship with Kevin Garnett. But he, like Antonio McDyess, will have lots of suitors.

As stated previously, my preference is for team first, always hustling McDyess. I like Rasheed, but could you see the refs when Rasheed and Kevin Garnett walk onto the floor? They are trash talkers supreme and that could affect late game calls, not to mention technicals, along with Kendrick Perkins. E-gads. They will make the All-Offensive Team without taking a shot.

The first players signed will most likely be the best players, ergo they will get the most money. Only a few teams can offer more than the MLE.  It remains to be seen if they do. Being over the cap, the Celtics can only offer the MLE and the LLE to a free agent.

In a tough, but good move, Piston leader Joe Dumars fired head coach Michael Curry yesterday. A seasoned coach will be better for this team I believe. Detroit most certainly will be in the hunt for up to two big time players as they try to rebuild quickly.  

They originally targeted Carlos Boozer. There are still a number of solid big men coming on the market, though not quite at the level of Boozer. Charlie Villanueva is on their list, I’ve read. Ben Gordon is also said to be a main target for Detroit, which is a little confusing because they already have Rip Hamilton at that spot. An all UConn backcourt? While Gordon can dish effectively, he’s not a point guard. He would be too expensive to obtain for a back up role anyway.

The Houston Rockets could be in meltdown mode with Yao’s career up in the air. McGrady is on the books for a cool $23 mil. this season.  Why bring back Artest if they don’t have a chance? With Mutombo gone they don’t have a true center. Luis Scola, a fine player, will be hard pressed to fill those shoes for 82 games. I’d imagine they will try to get a big even if they go into total rebuild mode.

breaking news…..Twitter Report from Houston’s Daryl Morey: they are going hard after Marcin Gortat.

On the Point Guard Front

Stephon Marbury is making noises that he wants back with Boston, even at bargain dollars. The question is, what does he call bargain dollars? If it’s 2 million or so, he may be a viable option. 

If they re-sign Marbury, Doc must find about 25 minutes a game for him to be effective. Like Tony Allen, Stephon isn’t very good in short, sporadic minutes. He needs time to get into the rhythm of the game to be productive.  That would mean he and Rondo would be on the floor together for a portion of every game. It could be doable, but I hope that the Celtics look at other options first.

The problem is that there aren’t a lot of point guards available who are ‘affordable and good’ this off season. The Buck’s Ramon Sessions should get a solid offer out of the Celtic’s price range.

Andre Miller, Mike Bibby, Raymond Felton, and Jason Kidd all are quite talented… and overpriced for the Celtics. Tyronn Lue and dependable Kevin Ollie are veteran back-up options for short money. I have an in depth Kevin Ollie  interview I’ll put up soon.

In review….

Lots of reasonably talented big man free agents. A few good small forwards and guards. Danny Ainge has his work cut out for him and is expected to sign a big, a small forward and a point guard somewhere along the line this summer.

I’ll keep you posted.

Thomas Halzack

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