Can Danny: Finally.
The Summer of 2010 officially kicked off with the Wolves signing Nikola Pekovic. Not a huge signing and the more I've been hearing, the more that I feel like all of this hype might be for naught. I think that LeBron should and probably will leave Cleveland but I could see a number of other guys staying home. I believe that the Hawks have peaked but if they are really offering Joe Johnson a full max deal, I'm not sure how he can turn that down.
I have no idea what LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and friends are going to do this offseason and judging by the laughable reporting on ESPN and other sports "journalism" sites, nobody else does either. All I can offer is what I think players and teams should do.
LeBron: Most people have LeBron going to the Bulls but I'm not in love with the Derrick Rose/LeBron tandem. Having Derrick Rose and forcing him to play off the ball seems like a waste. Also, the Bulls have to figure out a way to dump Luol Deng which won't be easy. The Bulls could shake things up with a three team deal with NO and Indy which could land them Chris Paul and Emeka Okafor for Rose, Deng, and Jo Noah but I doubt they could afford to pay everyone so they'll probably stick with Rose which means LeBron would be best off going to New Jersey. Not that Devin Harris is much better off-ball but he's played that role before and he's easier to move than Deng (especially if packaged with Derrick Favors).
Bosh: Bosh could go just about anywhere, from Houston to Chicago to New Jersey to the Lakers but right now I think that he just goes wherever LeBron or Wade goes. New Jersey is a good fit because they have a true center in Brook Lopez who can keep Bosh at his natural PF spot and also save CB4 from having to guard Dwight Howard in the playoffs.
New Jersey Nets: Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Brook Lopez
Wade: I think the Wade and Rose tandem has similar problems to the LeBron and Rose duo but at least Wade doesn't play the same position as Deng. Also, I'd just much rather have Wade than Joe Johnson or Ray Allen (especially since Atlanta is reportedly offering Johnson a ridiculous amount of money.) Now what probably WILL happen is that Wade stays in Miami but I'm just not loving that option. Yes, they can sign people but I'm not sure if the talent is really there. The ideal move for Wade IMO is to sign in his hometown of Chicago and then try to recruit the best available PF.
Dirk: Odds are that Dirk is going to stay but if he wants to win, teaming up with Wade in Chicago might be his best shot. There's also the chance that if Amar'e leaves Phoenix and the Suns can find someone to take on Jason Richardson's expiring deal (which I could see the Knicks or Heat doing if they can't sign any of the elite free agents) that they'd be able to reteam Dirk and Steve Nash but I still think that Chicago makes the most sense.
Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Dirk Nowitzki, Joakim Noah
Amar'e Stoudemire: Stoudemire is a tough guy to peg. NY would seem like a nice fit except Mike D'Antoni's already said that he couldn't get Amar'e to play to his optimum level. Miami and Chicago have defensive minded coaches so I'm not sure they'd want STAT. New Jersey's probably the best option but, in this case, they've already signed Bosh. He could go back to Phoenix but I think he's already gone as far as he's going to go with them. Enter Orlando. If Philadelphia is desperate to dump Andre Iguodala's contract then a three way deal of Vince Carter to Philly, Iggy to Phoenix, and Amar'e to Orlando could work. And it might be the best place for him. He could play either the PF spot alongside Dwight or center with Rashard Lewis playing the stretch four.
And with Brandon Bass and Marcin Gortat, the Magic should be able to make some sort of trade for a swingman to replace Vince (not that replacing him would be tough since he was basically non-existent in the playoffs.) The current rumor is Gilbert Arenas, not something that I would recommend (in fact, I think that Joe Johnson and Ray Allen should consider forcing deal to Orlando if they get Amar'e) but for the sake of argument, let's say they go with Agent Zero.
Orlando Magic: Jameer Nelson, Gilbert Arenas, Rashard Lewis, Amar'e Stoudemire, Dwight Howard
Now here's where things get interesting. Joe Johnson is still out there but is he really interested in joining the hapless Knicks, the basically bare cupboard in Miami, or the always disappointing Clippers? These same teams might get desperate and offer Ray Allen and Paul Pierce big money but do those two really want to end their careers on teams that will struggle to even make the playoffs, let alone win a couple of games in them? So what might happen?
I think the team that wins the Joe Johnson/Carlos Boozer sweepstakes is the one that lands the best players in a deal. For instance, is New Orleans so desperate to dump salary that they'd give up Collison in order to cut Emeka Okafor and James Posey? If so, the Heat could deal them for Chalmers and Beasley. That would open up the door for Boozer and Johnson. Or does it? The Collison, Johnson, Posey, Boozer, Okafor roster isn't necessarily better than what the Jazz or Hawks have? Might the better decision be to take the money and not run
Once we get to this level of player, I think the sign-and-trade becomes more of a legit option and that means that there's a whole new level of possibilities. (A level which I don't want to waste time writing about right now.)
As for the Celtics players, I think it all depends on Ray Allen. Paul Pierce opting out is getting the focus now however if Allen leaves to play with LeBron in New Jersey or Dwight/Amar'e in Orlando, then I could see the Celtics saying, "Screw it" and not wanting to commit to a long term deal with Pierce. Right now, my guess is that the Celtics retain Pierce and Allen (I think Allen might want to stay close to Boston since his son is sick and they seem happy with the care he's getting in Mass.) and even though I'd love to reload on the fly, I think it might be the best move for the Celtics since I'm just not sure that the deals are out there. Yes, with a little imagination the Celtics could make some moves to add talent right away, but I'm not sure they are that realistic.