By Christian Binder, WSOE Sports
Well it’s that time again…free agency. A time when big contracts are dished out and there’s the all-too-familiar “new faces in new places” segment on SportsCenter. Nevertheless, it’s pretty interesting to listen to the rumors and see what plays out and what doesn’t. So here’s some of the things grinding around the rumor mill these days.
One of the most coveted targets this year is Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu (pictured right). He’s already said he is not coming back to Orlando, but in today’s economy, it’s not completely out of the question. The two teams that have been linked to Turkoglu are the Trail Blazers and the Raptors. They’re pretty much the only two teams that can give Turkoglu the kind of money he’s looking for (a base $9M salary before incentives) and he fits in pretty well in both situations. Portland is most likely to make a serious offer for him because they have a nucleus of young players that are ready to break out in a big way, so his veteran leadership (aside from his talent) would prove unbelievably useful for the team. Another big name forward, Charlie Villanueva, is looking for a new home. The main suitors for him are the Pistons and Cavaliers. The Cavs make sense because Anderson Varejao has become an unrestricted free agent. Of course, the Cavs would like to have Varejao back, but if he decides he can get a better offer somewhere else, he’ll go. Enter Villanueva.
The Pistons covet Turkoglu, but they can’t really afford him thanks to the addition of Allen Iverson over this past year and their need to resign Antonio McDyess and/or Rasheed Wallace (pictured left). Speaking of ‘Sheed, I read on ESPN today that Kevin Garnett has made a pitch to GM Danny Ainge to try to sign him. I’m fairly certain that if the Celtics make an appetizing offer, Wallace will accept it. Can you imagine that lineup? Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Wallace, and Garnett? They’d be like the Yankees of the NBA.
On to guards. Obviously the two biggest names out there are Jason Kidd and Ben Gordon. Gordon has been heavily linked to the Pistons as they are trying to get rid of Iverson. That’s a pretty likely scenario. The Bulls don’t have the money that Gordon is looking for and if the Pistons can manage to dump Iverson’s contract, he fits. Of course, everyone is still trying to figure out why the Pistons traded Chauncey Billups for Iverson in the first place.
Jason Kidd flew to New York to have a meeting with Knicks president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni. At this point, I’m not sure why anyone would want to play for the Knicks, but hey, it’s his prerogative. Kidd is getting up there in age and he really doesn’t want a one-year deal, but that may be the best he can get. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban flew to New York right behind Kidd in an effort to get him to resign, but Kidd will probably want to hear all the offers before making a decision.
So there’s a few big names out there…just wait til next year. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade will both be free agents. That is barring any possibility that they get resigned by their respective teams this offseason or during next season. During this past season, there were rumors flying around that the Knicks were trying to court King James. I can’t and don’t even want to imagine LeBron playing in Madison Square Garden. That’d just be sad. Plus, can anyone even see him in anything not a Cavaliers uniform? Same thing with Wade. He’s just right in a Heat uniform.