It was a brilliant bit of strategy by LeBron James last time he was a free agent — with a six-year deal offered, he negotiated it down to just three years (about $60 million over the three years).
It was brilliant because kept his options open. It kept pressure on the Cavaliers organization to build a winner around him (they tried and brought in a number of quality players but never won). Dwyane Wade liked the idea so much he did the same thing in Miami.
Could it happen again? Could LeBron — wherever he lands — and Wade take three-year deals one more time?
Don’t bet on it.
While nobody has said anything officially, there is one key difference this time around — a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is being negotiated. (Or being talked about being negotiated, as the case may be.) While nobody knows exactly what the new CBA will entail, it likely will have a reduction in the amount of a maximum salary and the length of that contract. All deals may also not be fully guaranteed.
LeBron, Wade, Chris Bosh and other free agents would be foolish to leave money on the table, and taking a three year deal rather than the five a new team can offer (or six from the current team to stay or in a sign-and-trade) would be just that. These guys are smart, they will not leave money behind.
Everyone will be looking for a max deal for the full length, even non-max guys will be looking to get deals to last them into the new CBA.
That doesn’t mean LeBron and Wade couldn’t negotiate an opt-out after three years. That would give them some leverage and put pressure on the teams to build and maintain a winner. But if a player did opt out, he would have to negotiate under whatever the rules are in place from a new CBA. That means they would be costing themselves money to get out of town. Things would have to be pretty bad for that to happen.
Simply put, it will be different for LeBron and Wade this time because it’s always all about the money.
TORONTO (AP) — With rumors swirling about the Knicks chasing Raptors president Masai Ujiri, the Raptors have promoted Bobby Webster to general manager.
Webster, 32 years old assistant the youngest GM in the NBA, replaces Jeff Weltman, who left Toronto in May to become president of the Orlando Magic.
A former staffer at the NBA league office in New York, Webster joined the Raptors in 2013 and was named assistant GM in 2016.
He’ll help decide what to offer All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who opted out of the final year of his contract last month after Cleveland swept Toronto in the second round of the playoffs.
Forwards Serge Ibaka, P.J. Tucker and Patrick Patterson are all unrestricted free agents.
Also Wednesday, Toronto promoted Dan Tolzman to assistant general manager.
The Raptors have posted consecutive 50-win seasons and made four straight playoff appearances.
NEW YORK (AP) — Former NBA point guard Jason Williams will miss six to eight months after suffering a knee injury in the opening game of the Big3.
Corey Maggette, also injured in the opening week of Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league of former NBA players, had surgery for a leg injury. There is no timetable for his return.
The injuries were announced Wednesday during a conference call with Cube and Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz, who also detailed a couple rules changes starting with this weekend’s game in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Games will be played to 50 points, instead of 60, with halftime coming when the first team reaches 25 points. Cube said that would help the four games per day move more quickly.
Phil Jackson’s exit is already opening doors for the Knicks.
No position differs more in the triangle from modern spread NBA offenses than point guard. But without Jackson demanding his point guard fit such a narrow profile, New York can pursue greater talents – like Jeff Teague.
Ian Begley of ESPN:
With Phil Jackson out and the triangle de-emphasized, the Knicks, under general manager Steve Mills, have interest in free agent point guard Jeff Teague, league sources told ESPN. League sources say the interest in Teague is mutual.
The Knicks aren’t as desperate at point guard after drafting Frank Ntilikina, but Ntilikina probably isn’t ready to run an offense full-time yet. Teague could be a stopgap – which might be necessary considering New York can’t easily pivot into rebuilding with Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee locked up.
Teague’s future with the Pacers appears uncertain with Paul George on the trade block. A key part of Larry Bird’s retooling last summer, Teague and Indiana might be headed in different directions now.
The Knicks make as much sense as anywhere for Teague – now that Jackson is gone.
The Rockets and Clippers both turned aggressive with today’s Chris Paul trade.
Houston is making a bold attempt to overtake the Warriors (a plan that could include other big moves). The Clippers are launching into rebuilding.
Kurt Helin breaks down what it means for both teams.