If you think this summer has been a free agent free-for-all, just wait until next year. Or maybe not.
In the past week alone, we have seen big names (Ron Artest, Rasheed Wallace, Hedo Turkoglu) make big moves to big markets (Los Angeles, Boston, Toronto), and run-of-the-mill guys (Trevor Ariza) take big money somewhere else (Houston) in an attempt to fill some big shoes (Artest and Yao Ming).
And there's still plenty to come. Allen Iverson is still out there. So are Grant Hill and Shawn Marion, to name a couple. And with apologies to Mo Williams, Cleveland continues to look for a third wheel to fit alongside LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal.
Toronto tabbed Turkoglu, but is far from a finished product. Portland is planning to add an important piece after getting the ol' heave-ho from Hedo. New York, New Orleans and Philadelphia are desperately seeking support. And a summer just wouldn't be the same if Phoenix GM Steve Kerr and owner Robert Sarver ever decided to, you know, just sit tight.
Of course, let's not forget Miami. The Heat haven't signed a soul, and may not make a single move before the start of next season. But somehow, president Pat Riley has managed to get under the skin of star Dwyane Wade -- who's implied that if the team wants him around at this time next year, Riley needs to try to do something, anything to give the NBA's one-man wonder at least a modest amount of help.
And remember, this is only 2009.
This is a summer that's expected to pale in comparison to next year's Free Agent Class of All Classes, with the likes of Wade, James and about 997 other stars coming off the books. Not really, but it sometimes seems that way.
So what's the point?
Well, there isn't one. Other than perhaps this summer will turn out to be even more important than next, as seemingly every team with a major player is doing everything it can to make a meaningful move toward a title. OK, maybe not the Heat. But if anything, the Heaters are a prime example of what happens if you just hang out and watch and don‘t get overly involved. Doing nothing just might tick off your superstar.
And no one wants that. Not when 2010 is right around the corner.
Interestingly, all the movement of this year is likely to result in a few hurtful truths. Namely, five or six teams have a shot at being really, really good next season. Another three or four should be pretty good. And everyone else is gonna stink.
Don't get me wrong. The NBA will always be where amazing happens. It's just that anymore, it'll likely only happen in five or six cities.
But there's always next summer for pro basketball's riffraff. That's when the real fun starts all over again.
* A source familiar with the situation has told PBN that the Cavaliers will not offer forward Anderson Varejao anything more than mid-level money. Varejao became an unrestricted free agent after opting out of his contract, and could be left holding the (empty) bag by the time training camp starts. Worse for Varejao, no one appears poised to offer him the type of cash he and always-scheming agent Dan Fegan are reportedly looking for (about $7-8 million a year).
* By the way, I'm tired of listening to several Cleveland media-types act shocked about how Ariza chose the Rockets over the Cavaliers -- despite the fact the Cavs were reportedly "set to offer Ariza the same amount of money." But with no state tax in Texas, Houston's supposed offer of $33 million for five years goes a lot further than it would with Cleveland. That same offer would cost Ariza somewhere in the vicinity $9 million in taxes had he moved to Ohio. So it's not anywhere near "the same amount of money."
* As for Wallace joining the Celtics, former NBA coach and current PBN contributor Eric Musselman likes the move "because of the length Wallace offers defensively," Musselman said. "Especially when you pair up he and (Kevin) Garnett on defense. And both guys are kind of mirror images when it comes to being big men who are great passers and who can make perimeter shots. I think it's a great signing."
* Goodness knows I've been wrong about this subject before, but is it just me or does Dallas' reported offer of three years at more than $25 million for a past-his-prime Jason Kidd seem a little steep? I love the Mavericks and I have always admired Kidd. But let's not, ahem, kid ourselves. This isn't the same Kidd of eight years ago. Today, he's 36-years old and seems more suited for a backup role. But again, I wrote something similar once about John Stockton -- and after a few years of struggling in his mid-to-late 30s, he bounced back to finish his career strong at the age of 43.
* Finally, keep up on all the movement as it happens on our Headlines page, which automatically updates news around the clock from more than 100 NBA sources.
Sam Amico is the editor of Pro Basketball News and a regular contributor to Sportstime Ohio and TheClevelandFan.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.