Here’s where I stop ruminating about rumors and pose a few predictions about what will happen in the NBA over the next couple of weeks. Let’s start with a near-sure thing and work our way around the league.
1. Dwyane Wade will re-sign with the Heat.
He has said all along that Miami is where he wants to be, and even if he strikes out on getting LeBron and/or Chris Bosh to join him, he won’t have a tough time recruiting a couple of other high-priced free agents to join him. Whether it’s Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson or Rudy Gay, someone will want to play in sunny South Florida with a Top 5 player who has already proven he can take over an NBA Finals.
2. Chris Bosh will also sign with Miami.
I thought the Bulls might have inside track on Bosh, but if we’re to believe Dan LeBatard, a deal is already in place that would bring Bosh to Miami. Even if LeBron doesn’t join them, Bosh and Wade will make an excellent one-two punch.
3. LeBron and Carlos Boozer will sign with Chicago.
It’s the reunion that no one was expecting. I have no earthly idea what LeBron is going to do, but he says that winning is the most important thing, so if that’s true, he’ll either sign with the Bulls or join Wade and Bosh in Miami. With his ego, I think he’d rather play in Chicago in the shadow of Michael Jordan’s legacy than join ‘Wade’s team’ in South Florida. But who really knows? (Remember, I said these were sure-to-be-wrong predictions.) As for Boozer, if the Bulls strike out on Bosh, he’s the next-best fit at the four. The Bulls could take advantage of his strengths (low-post scoring, rebounding) while Joakim Noah could hide his weaknesses (post defense).
4. Joe Johnson will sign with the Clippers.
Think about it Knick fans — would you want to play under the NY microscope after the city missed out on the big-name free agents? Expectations are so high in the Big Apple and Johnson is a quiet guy that has proven in Atlanta that he doesn’t deal well with critical fans. He’s reportedly close with Clipper GM Neil Olshey and would be a nice fit there since he can play small forward alongside Eric Gordon on the wing.
5. Stoudemire will land in the Big Apple.
I almost wrote “land in New Jersey” but I didn’t want to send any Knick fans off the edge of the Brooklyn Bridge. If predictions #1-#4 come to fruition, the Knicks won’t be a very attractive place to play, but Stoudemire thrived under Mike D’Antoni in Phoenix and the Knicks will be sure to throw gobs of money to save face after pretty much striking out on the other top free agents. D’Antoni can run Stoudemire at the five and…
6. The Knicks will re-sign David Lee…
…to play the four. They’ll be defensively challenged, but that’s life. Then…
7. The Knicks will trade Eddy Curry for Gilbert Arenas…
…which will make them even more defensively challenged, but again, that’s life. At least the Knicks will be fun to watch.
8. The Grizzlies will match a max offer for Rudy Gay.
The Nets (and maybe the T-Wolves) will make a strong run at Rudy Gay, but the Grizzlies’ owner Michael Heisley has said all along that he’ll match any offer Gay gets in free agency.
9. Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce re-sign with the Mavs and C’s, respectively.
These guys aren’t going anywhere.
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