Thursday, July 8, 2010

NBA Free Agency Summit

It’s finally here… The Summer of 2010… NBA free agency. Teams have spent two years tanking and clearing salary cap space in hopes of signing them. That’s right, Randy Foye and Kyle Lowry are free agents for the first time in their young NBA careers, and they could be wearing new jerseys ( or new New Jersey jerseys) next year. What, you thought I was talking about someone else?

Randy Foye is coming off a tumultuous season with the Washington Wizards where he averaged 10.1 points and 3.3 assists per game (13 pts and 5 assists as a starter). There’s a good chance the former Wildcat will be playing for his third NBA team next fall, or fifth team if you count the draft-day trades in 2006. (Drafted 7th by Boston, rights traded to Portland, rights again traded to Minnesota for Brandon Roy, and last summer traded to Washington for Ricky Rubio). The Wizards still owe gunslinger Gilbert Arenas $80 million through 2014, and they just made a draft night trade to add point guard Kirk Hinrich. I’m sure they would love to shoot Arena’s contract off to another team, but if they are unable to, the Wizards are unlikely to match an offer made for Foye, who is a restricted free agent.

Dork Elvis, aka Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, apparently sees in Kyle Lowry what Nova fans saw in the two years the Broadstreet Bulldog roamed the courts up and down the Main Line. Morey’s recent tweet: “Rockets fans, please send a message to Luis (@LScola4) and Kyle (@Klow7) letting them know much we want them back!” Kyle excelled off the bench as Aaron Brooks’ back-up at the point, averaging 9.1 points and 4.5 assists, and I’m sure both sides would love to stay together. However, on a per 48 minute basis, Lowry averaged 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists. What if another team desperate for a point guard looked at those stats and offered Kyle a starting position? I think he’d have to take that opportunity.

So where could Kyle and Randy be heading if they leave their respective cities? Some teams with available cap space and vacancies at the point guard position are the New York Knicks and Miami Heat. The Indiana Pacers are looking for a new point guard, although they are already over the salary cap.

Scottie Reynolds is slated to play for the Phoenix Suns’ summer league team, but he isn’t guaranteed a spot on their big league roster next season. I hope things work out for him in the desert (Vegas, then Arizona) because there aren’t many better point guards to apprentice under than Steve Nash.

Tim Thomas could take a veterans’ minimum contract with a salary cap strapped team like the Miami Heat to chase a ring with Wade and Bosh (and LeBron?). If he doesn’t return to play for Mark Cuban in Dallas, Tim could be making his tenth team change in fourteen seasons, which has to be some kind of record. Personally, I’d like to see TT (that’s what I call him) join the Boston Celtics, just to see how Bill Simmons would react.

Malik Allen averaged 2 points and 2 rebounds in just under 9 minutes per game for the Denver Nuggets last season. At 32 years old, Allen can provide cheap veteran front court depth, something just about every team in the league can use.

As for Villanova's final representative in the NBA, Dante Cunningham is not a free agent and will be back in Portland for his second year. The Blazers liked what they saw from their second round draft pick and extended his contract through 2011.

Oh, yeah. Apparently there's another big free agent, although he did not attend Villanova. Some guy by the name of LeBron James. After tonight's primetime special, "The Decision", we'll finally know where the King will hold his court. As a Knicks fan, I'm hoping he comes to Madison Square Garden, erases the misfortunes of the Isiah Thomas era, and brings a title to New York. As a basketball fan, I would love to watch him team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, forming the most dynamic trio in NBA history and creating must-see TV for 82+ nights a year. (How much is NBA League Pass?) As an American sports fan, I want him to stay in Cleveland and prove that loyalty still exists in sports, and that hometown fans truly matter to these multi-millionaire superstars.


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