Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cavs Making Moves: NBA Free Agent Freeze Ready To Thaw?

Will LeBron James come back to Cleveland, or will
he break Cavs fans hearts again.
Eventually rumors can become facts.

The NBA's free agency period (a moratorium right now until July 10th) has been not much more than rumors.  The fact that Josh McRoberts signing with the Heat is getting a lot of attention tells you just how little anything concrete is happening.  No, it has been more about guessing where LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are going to go and following various owners' private jets to this point.

But now it may be happening.

Today is Wednesday, and LeBron James has a meeting set up with Pat Riley and various Miami Heat bigwigs.  Many feel that either Riley will lock in LeBron by the end of the day ... or that LeBron won't hear what he wants and will indeed move on.  Now the Cleveland Cavaliers have made a three way trade that dumps Jarrett Jack and Tyler Zeller off their books for a 2nd round draft pick -- obviously a salary cap move in order to sign LeBron.  Word is that they've also been chatting with Ray Allen, who has said he'd follow LeBron to his next destination, and Mike Miller.

To many, that destination is either Cleveland or Miami for LeBron.  While that would seem like a no-brainer to most, it really isn't.  Cleveland, essentially LeBron's home, offers a wealth of young talent right now.  They have Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins, Anderson Varejao and some other young guys.  Miami, right now, has nothing.  Sure, Miami could bring the band back together but what is that?  LeBron, a guy in Chris Bosh who may not have that killer instinct to take the second in command role, a clearly fading Dwyane Wade and the same roster problems of filling the rest of the team with aging vets willing to play for the minimum or youn pups that aren't ready for prime time.  That still may be good enough to get back to the NBA Finals or even win another championship.  But LeBron didn't seem to have as much fun last year playing his rear end off while fellow star Wade rested and Bosh seemed content in his subservient role.

Granted, Cleveland won't have the same star power.  Maybe.  Irving is a rising star but he doesn't have Wade's or Bosh's status in the League or with LeBron.  However, the Cavs could turn a few of their young stars ... namely the current No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins ... and turn him into Kevin Love.  Love wants out of Minnesota and the Wolves might listen if the Cavs offered Wiggins in a package.  LeBron, Love and Irving?  In the very weak Eastern Conference?  That would be better than a LeBron-Wade-Bosh trio in South Beach.

LeBron knows those scenarios and will make a very informed decision.  No one else can until LeBron decides.

The freeze.

Once LeBron's domino falls, Carmelo Anthony will get a great look at the landscape.  Does he go back to New York?  Will he team up in Los Angeles with Kobe Bryant?  Will he try to go to Chicago and attempt to make a title run with the Bulls with a shift in Eastern Conference superiority?  If LeBron leaves Miami, would Carmelo decide to go there and team up with Wade and Bosh?

Bosh.  If LeBron leaves, does he go to Houston or the Lakers or somewhere else?  If he stays in Miami, where do those teams go?  Guys like Luol Deng, Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol and Lance Stephenson will now get serious attention from teams who finish out of the LeBron-Melo-Bosh race.  Then guys like Shawn Marion, Paul Pierce and Emeka Okafor will fall into place.  Plus there will be the trade market of Love or Amare Stoudamire.

Unrestricted free agents like Eric Bledsoe, Greg Monroe, Chandler Parsons and Isaiah Thomas will finally receive their audiences.

Once the LeBron cork pops, the freeze is over and we will finally see the rapid movement of free agency.

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