Written by John Giffin Tuesday, 13 July 2010 18:04
Being the big man that I am, I will admit it: I bought into the NBA summertime free agency and found myself tuned into THE interview with LeBron James on ESPN radio on my way home from Lyons Thursday night.
I even texted my wife to DVR the one-hour ESPN program.
However strange a television event it turned out to be, no one can argue this has been a historic year for professional sports free agency.
For example, I don’t think I’ve ever seen teams completely gut their rosters to make cap space for the opportunity to land a James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire. The Heat had one active player on its roster (Mario Chalmers) when they acquired James and Bosh.
The Heat compensated the Cavaliers and Raptors with multiple future draft picks, depleting the well for young talent to accompany the big three in Miami in the near future.
Hoping to lure Wade or James to Chicago, the Bulls unloaded some big contracts while keeping a core group. Trading Tyrus Thomas in the regular season and Kirk Hinrich draft night, the Bulls kept Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Luo Deng, among others.
Even though they missed on the James/Wade lottery, Chicago Bulls basketball looks to be solid again next year. With the signing of Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver, the Bulls added experience to the front line with a perennial playoff veteran and gave the Bulls the three-point threat they lacked last season.
Neither the Knicks nor the Nets abandoned a roster full of players, but did well this summer.
The Knicks picked up Stoudemire via free agency, who will play for his former Suns coach Mike D’Antoni.
The Mikhail Prokhorov-owned Nets need to look no further than the 2010 draft to find young talent to build on.
Playing well in summer league, rookie Damian James is making some noise as a second-round pick. James is averaging 18.8 points 5.3 rebounds in four contests. Wednesday he scored 30.
James was a four-year player at Texas. Through his four years, James played all five positions and proved to be an energy guy that could knock down big shots and make big plays when necessary.
Teamed with Derek Favors and the newly signed Jordan Farmar, James and the Nets will be a team learning to win in 2011-12.
More important than all that, was King James.
James filled the headlines and airways with pure entertainment and hype, keeping America on the edge of its seat, curious to know where the 25-year-old would land his next job.
And we all tuned in.
Only to find out all this time he had been conspiring with his new compadres and Pat Riley on how to give the Heat multiple championships.
Not bad for a guy who never went to college.