When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers via free agency to team up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, it sent ripple waves through the NBA landscape. Teams started trading their star players, who might be inclined to leave, to other franchises to get something in return before they walked away for nothing.
The Utah Jazz sent Deron Williams to the then New Jersey Nets. The Denver Nuggets sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks and the Orlando Magic sent Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers. But when one of these stars does make it to the free agent market the frenzy has become greater and greater every season.
LeBron James and Deron Williams saw their free agency courting remain relatively focused around basketball. If it weren’t for LeBron James “Decision” announcement, his free agency might have been looked at differently.
But Dwight Howard’s free agency has become a circus. Teams are bringing in Hall of Famers to help pitch their franchise to the players. Teams are hanging banners on their arena begging stars to “stay.” Restaurants are offering free food for life and rappers are duking it out on Twitter for their hometowns.
While Dwight Howard is certainly one of the best players in the league, I don’t know that he is even in the discussion of “best player in the league.” He has back issues and immaturity questions abound. Howard has been criticized for bogging down offenses and not being a leader.
But teams are doing everything to bring him into their club house.
LeBron James six year $109.8 million deal he signed with the Miami Heat goes through the 2015-16 season. However, the last two years are player options meaning LeBron James could opt out of his contract in the summer of 2014 and hit the free agency market for the second time in his career.
While that might appear to be a two horse race between Cleveland and Miami, other NBA teams with the financial flexibility will likely take a shot at signing the superstar. Especially if that NBA team doesn’t land Dwight Howard this year.
The Mavericks whiffed on Nets star and Dallas native Deron Williams last season, held onto their financial flexibility to pursue Howard this summer.
So if Dwight Howard has all these people, companies, cities throwing in all these ‘bonuses’ to sign with their city/team…
What will LeBron James command?