We’re six days into the Free Agent period, and most of the big names have yet to choose their destination for the upcoming season. However, a few guys have made their choices, and here I’ll break down what it means for the teams/players involved….
Amare Stoudamire to the Knicks for 5 years, $100 million: Stoudemire is the biggest name so far to land with a new team. No doubt it shores up the middle for the Knicks, and gives them a new star player, but what will it mean on the court? If they fail to re-sign David Lee, then it’s a wash. Not that Amare isn’t an upgrade over Lee, but his addition alone won’t get the Knicks over the .500 mark, or relevant for that matter.
Joe Johnson Re-Signs with the Hawks for 6 years, $119 million: No one really expected JJ to jump ship, although I predicted he’d be lured away by the bright lights of NYC. But Johnson’s staying put keeps Atlanta’s nucleus intact for years to come. They still need to add some inside presence, but the Hawks won’t need to transition into all out rebuilding mode. With the Celtics getting nothing but older, Atlanta can now dedicate itself to competing for the Eastern Conference title for the duration of Johnson’s contract.
Paul Pierce Re-Signs with the Celtics for 4 years, $61 million: Pierce didn’t command top dollars, but nor should he have. What it does is maintain a core of Pierce, Garnett, and Rondo for the foreseeable future. This move probably secures Ray Allen’s departure, but finding a replacement for him is much easier than Pierce.
Rudy Gay Re-Signs with the Grizzlies for 5 years, $82 million: The Grizzlies could pay more than any other team, and that’s enough for Gay to stay put. It remains to be seen what happens with Zach Randolph, but the Grizz can now count on Gay, Mayo, and Gasol for the upcoming season.
John Salmons Re-Signs with the Bucks for 5 years, $40 million: Salmons isn’t a marquee free agent, but he’s a serviceable veteran, and Milwaukee knows that. They’ve added a few players this offseason, namely Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts, which many saw as an indicator that Salmons would be gone. But they brought him back, and along with Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut, the Bucks should have no reason to believe they can’t improve upon last year’s success.
Steve Blake to the Lakers for 4 years, $16 million: The Lakers have lacked depth at the PG position, but it clearly hasn’t mattered much. Derek Fisher appears to be an old man on the court, but he’s essentially the same age as Kobe Bryant. Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic have proven to be capable backups, but Blake gives them a legitimate, true point guard to spell Fisher, or possibly succeed him.
Chris Duhon to the Magic for 4 years, $15 million: Orlando doesn’t really need to add weapons, with Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, and Jameer Nelson in tow, so adding depth will be their focus. There were better players out there than Duhon though, and it’ll be interesting to see where he fits on the team’s depth chart. Perhaps this signals the end of Jason Williams’ career.