NBA Free Agency Rumors: Wade, ‘Sheed, Boozer and more

SLAM says that Rasheed Wallace will retire if he doesn’t get at least $8 million to play next season. By my count, there are seven teams — Memphis, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, Toronto, Portland and Minnesota — other than the Pistons that could give him that kind of money. Who would be interested in ‘Sheed? I’m guessing only teams that are on the verge of competing for a title and have a need for a big man with championship experience. The only “contenders” on that list are Atlanta and Portland, and neither seems to be a good fit. Portland already has a slender sharp-shooting big man in LaMarcus Aldridge, and the Hawks will likely spend their cap space on re-signing Mike Bibby (though that isn’t necessarily the right thing to do). So if Portland and Atlanta pass on Wallace, someone will offer him a mid-level deal (~$5.8 M) and he’ll have to decide if it’s worth it. Any team in the league can sign him for that, so if he lowers his price, demand will rise.

Dwyane Wade reiterated that he will consider signing an extension once he’s eligible to on July 1st, but that he hasn’t given the idea much thought. The Heat would have a ton of cap space this summer had they held onto Shawn Marion and his expiring contract, but they instead traded for Jermaine O’Neal whom they thought would help their chances in the playoffs over the next two seasons. In the end, I doubt D-Wade will leave Miami. He’s a star there, the weather is great, and with Michael Beasley and a yet to be named big man (Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire) to be signed in the summer of 2010, the Heat have a good foundation for success. To me, the big question is whether or not Beasley can play small forward. If so, then the team should try to put together a starting lineup of Mario Chalmers, Wade, Beasley, Udonis Haslem and either Bosh or Amare.

– Speaking of Wade, the Bulls have put themselves in the position to offer him a max deal next summer if he decides not to sign an extension this summer. But that means that they have to let Ben Gordon go and would need to avoid spending more than $8-$10 million total on any other contracts for the 2010-11 season to have the cap room necessary to compete for Wade. Given his ties to the city, Chicago seems like the biggest threat to Miami for Wade’s services, and with a supporting cast that would feature Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, Wade might find the Bulls to be appealing alternative.

– The same article mentions that Kirk Hinrich may be a target of the Blazers, as they are looking for an upgrade at point guard. If I’m running the Bulls, I’m not letting Hinrich go. He’s a great defender and a good shooter, and if the choice is between Hinrich and Ben Gordon, and I have Luol Deng returning from injury, an emerging wing (John Salmons) and an up-and-coming point guard (Derrick Rose), then I’d rather have the versatile Hinirch than the gunner Gordon. From Portland’s POV, Hinrich would be a great addition. His contract continues to decrease over the next three seasons and is reasonable for a starter-caliber point. He’s not a playmaker like Chris Paul or Deron Williams, but with Brandon Roy playing in the same backcourt, he’d be a great complement.

– There’s a rumor floating around that the Jazz actually hope that Carlos Boozer opts out so that they can afford to re-sign Paul Millsap. If he does in fact opt out, there are six teams — Memphis, Atlanta, Detroit, Oklahoma City, Sacramento and Toronto — that could offer him a contract starting at $10 million per season. He’d be walking away from a guaranteed $12.3 million, so he may be expecting more. He’d actually be a pretty good fit on all those teams, so there may be some significant competition for his services. He’s only 27 and is in his prime, but he has been hampered by injuries throughout his career.

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