Friday, June 25, 2010

The LeBron Sweepstakes

Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James stands on the court against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter in Game 6 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff basketball series in Boston, Massachusetts May 13, 2010. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
With the NBA Draft last night we saw a few teams leverage themselves to make a run at this big time free agent pool. And there are a few teams who have positioned themselves to make a push.

Miami Heat
The Heat currently only have two players under contract, one of them being former #2 pick Michael Beasley. But with that they have the most cap room of any team in the league with the ability to sign three maximum contracts. They will more than likely re-sign Dwyane Wade, who has expressed an interest in staying. They added some size in the draft with Texas center Dexter Pittman, West Virginia forward DaSean Butler and Mississippi forward Jarvis Varnado. So even with signing Wade they would have the room to add at least one other max contract and I believe at this point close to a third max contract. So consider they could add LeBron James to this mix and then a Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, or Joe Johnson. The downside? They would basically be surrounding these stars with minimum contract players. So outside of the three studs they would be weak at two other positions.

Chicago Bulls
The Bulls seemed to be the team making the most moves to try to position themselves to make a push. They opened up some cap space yesterday by agreeing to a deal with the Washington Wizards to send Kirk Hinrich to the Wizards for cash considerations. This would remove Hinrich's $9m contract and put the Bulls more than $30m under the cap. Which would give them the ability to sign two maximum contracts. But consider that Chicago has one of the best PG's in the league in Derek Rose you would have a nice combination with Rose, James, Deng, Noah, and another big free agent. Their move in the draft showed they are playing for free agency. They drafted Kevin Seraphin from France but traded his rights away to Washington.

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks have long been the team who were believed to be the front runner for James. But other teams have since come into the mix which seem to have pushed New York back in the race. They were conservative in the draft taking Syracuse guard Andy Rautins 38th overall and Stanford forward Landry Fields at No. 39. They are also trying to conserve cap space. The Knicks are $30m under which would give them the ability to sign two, but would that be enough with what they have there now? Their biggest star is Danilo Gallinari and have Wilson Chandler as a role player. They just picked up Tracy McGrady in a trade with Houston but other than that they would have to fill in with role players.

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