NBA executives have never faced a group of restricted free agents like this before. Unrestricted, sure, while bracing for next July and the unrestricteds who will prompt the mother of all spending sprees, nay, the octomom of all spending sprees. But for the restricteds, who mostly negotiate aware that the original team will match any reasonable offer sheet, this is the unique moment.
The original club almost always flexes the right of first refusal. It's why a lot of front offices don't even bother negotiating with prime restricted free agents -- the execs are hammering out a deal that will be matched away from them in about 17 seconds. It's a fool's errand. And the chances of two or three valuable restricteds moving the same offseason, forget it.
Except for this summer.
The planets have aligned in a strange way. The Knicks are banking money for 2010, when just maybe they will have a passing interest in
These unusual developments could lead to the most unusual development yet: highly regarded restricted free agents changing teams. Here are four possibilities, in alphabetical order:
But Childress can get out of that contract this summer and return to the NBA (he must decide by July 15), and that presumably has been his hope all along, to be an important player here instead of Greece. Not only that, interest is relatively high as teams consider the circumstances that create the possibility the Hawks will not match: They have fellow small forward
But this is not any other time. The Knicks have spent years getting away from long-term deals to build a war chest for the summer of 2010, and a Lee contract would cut into that. Same thing with
The Knicks could soon face a major decision, with the options being to sign Lee, or wait to see if he accepts an offer sheet and match it rather than lose a commodity for nothing, or wait to see if he gets an offer sheet and don't match to keep all the 2010 money safe, or do a sign-and-trade that would still keep them away from large contracts. There's also the logical two-step plan: sign or match because it would be foolish to let him go for free and know Lee's salary can always be cleared in trade before next summer.
The Jazz did not want to go into the luxury tax, but keeping Millsap, on their own or by matching an offer sheet, will push them far over the line and require a trade at some point to dump salary. (Any takers for
It will take a big number to scare the Bucks away from matching, and that kind of money may not be in play in this economic climate. They would rather sort through trade possibilities for Sessions or
No matter how close the Suns and Warriors seemed on the
Stoudemire can miss the playoffs without leaving Phoenix, an organization and a city he likes. Though not against a trade, he is not going to commit to another team beyond 2009-10 if the destination has little chance at a championship within a season or two, people close to the situation report. In another important consideration, Stoudemire wants to remain at power forward, his natural position. The Warriors flunk both categories -- they're definitely not in contention and would need him to play center since
Stoudemire has the hammer because he can become an unrestricted free agent after one season. If Golden State trades for him and Stoudemire bolts in the summer of 2010, it suffers a massive setback, out at least the three players it took to do the deal and then Stoudemire as well. The front office in Oakland, understandably, will need some positive feedback from Stoudemire before jumping and that isn't coming.
An extension would remove the risk. Stoudemire does not want to be a Warrior, though, and feels he can get the same megacontract in a year while also picking his destination. In the meantime, he is eligible for a new contract at any time, according to an NBA official familiar with his contract, rather than having to wait until August as previously reported.
There were no talks between the Warriors and Stoudemire or agent
Whether it was a major miscommunication or a classic bait-and-switch, the Warriors declared that Curry was off the table. Whatever momentum the deal had came to a halt. Golden State says it won't move
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