As anticipated, the NBA owners and the players union were unable to reach an agreement before the July 1 deadline and the lockout is now in full effect. While this is a bit of a blow for sports fans, since both the NFL and NBA are now in a lockout, I remain optimistic that no games will be missed in either sport. Maybe I’m the only one, but I’m not quite jumping off the ledge yet.
Still, the loss of the annual free agent bonanza is a tough pill to swallow for us hardcore NBA fans. After all, it’s not really much of a summer without Mark Cuban grossly overspending on an offensively challenged 7 footer. It’s these types of signings (Erick Dampier anybody?) that provide the endless amounts of entertainment and the years of cheap humor that make NBA free agency so fun. Ironically, it’s also these types of signings that have damaged the NBA’s economic system to the point of a lockout. For whatever reason, owners/GMs simply can’t help themselves when it comes to spending money on players. Despite the $300 million+ in losses reported for the 2009-2010 season, the owners somehow found the cash to sign the likes of Drew Gooden (5 year, $32 million), Travis Outlaw (5 year, $35 million), and Brendan Haywood (6 year, $55 million) to long term contracts. Because when you’re a small market team like Milwaukee and you’re leaking money left and right, the first thing you want to do is commit over $6 million annually for five years to a 29 year old reserve PF who averages a 12/8 for his career and is now on his ninth team in nine seasons.
Let’s throw out the grim reality of NBA free agency though. Let’s forget for a minute that the annual practice of handing out star money to mediocre talent like Charlie Villanueva has slowly eroded the league for the past decade. Just put that out of your mind for a few minutes…..because NBA free agency is so much fun! It’s fun to make fun of Joe Dumars for giving away Chauncey Billups in the name of cap space; only to turn around and use said cap space on Ben Gordon and Charlie V. It’s fun to see a team throw piles of cash at Darko because they’ve talked themselves into his “potential.” I need it! I miss it! COME BACK!
Luckily, we all have tons of time on our hands right now…you know, since sports has been nuked and all. And, since I’m definitely not interested in fawning over Jose Reyes’ breakout season (ironically, in a contract year) or Adam Dunn’s (insert profanity laced tirade from his fantasy owners here) season, I’ll use this time to speculate on what the 2011 NBA free agency bonanza would have looked like. Here’s how it would have gone (assuming the now expired CBA was still in effect, thus maximizing the league’s stupidity)…
Glen Davis signs a 4 year $29 million contract with the Indiana Pacers
Just kidding Pacers fans! Sadly, this actually happened on my NBA 2k11 franchise. Of course, considering Drew Gooden’s contract, maybe this isn’t too far off from reality…
Let’s just get these Celtics ones out of the way right now.
Brian Scalabrine signs a lifetime service contract starting at $1.5 million with the Boston Celtics
He’s clearly the missing piece! Besides, how can a tall redheaded white guy not be a member of the Boston Celtics? They were made for each other! It’s fate! After he’s done “playing,” he can always be an assistant coach. It’s not like half these guys coach anyways; he’ll just have a more official sounding title than “Official Celtics Bench Cheerleader.”
Jeff Green signs a 5 year $60 million contract with the Boston Celtics
I can see this one coming from a mile away. Honestly, the lockout is almost worth fending this trash heap of a contract off. It really would be a storybook ending to the Perkins trade though. Ainge decides he can’t afford Perkins so he trades him for a not as good but way more expensive player. (Side note: One unfortunate side effect of playing NBA 2k11 is that it has made me become attached to Jeff Green. He’s ridiculous on the game! I might actually win an MVP with him! DARN YOU VIDEO GAMES!)
Delonte West signs a (who cares what the contract is, I just want this to happen) with the Miami Heat
Delonte and Gloria! United again! No, really, all I care about is their happiness…it has nothing to do with Lebron…I swear…
Kwame Brown re-signs with the Charlotte Bobcats for 4 years $25 million
After Kwame’s big breakout year (7.9ppg 6.8rpg), it looks like Michael Jordan was right about him all along! Just imagine a frontcourt trio of Kwame Brown, Boris Diaw, and the newly drafted Bismack Biyombo…simply terrifying! You’ve done it again Michael!
Charlotte trades D.J. Augustin and a future 2nd round pick to Minnesota for Darko Milicic
Because why not have Kwame AND Darko?! Besides, I’m sure Minnesota could use another point guard.
Dallas re-signs Tyson Chandler for 5 years $70 million
After Sacramento’s offer of 5 years $62 million and the Maloofs remaining stake in The Palms, Mark Cuban decides to go for the throat. His rationale; if Brendan Haywood is worth nearly $10 million a year then what is Tyson Chandler worth? The correct answer; Brendan Haywood sucks.
Wilson Chandler signs a 4 year $50 million offer sheet with the LA Clippers
The Denver Nuggets laugh hysterically, then begin to cry, then shrug their shoulders and move on. Bill Simmons gets very angry and crashes Grantland.com with his vitriol.
Anthony Parker signs a 3 year $14 million contract with the New Orleans Hornets
Dan Gilbert does not write a letter.
Yao Ming signs a 2 year $20 million contract with the Houston Rockets
Regardless of the CBA in place, this will be a difficult situation for Houston. The likelihood is that Yao will never play a significant amount of games ever again. Even if he does come back, we have no idea how effective he will be or how many minutes his body will allow him to play. That having been said, Yao is a premier center in a league that severely lacks premier centers. He’s also been the face of the franchise for nearly a decade. Under the old CBA, he would definitely get paid (maybe not $10 million a year, but still). However, if a hard cap is put in place, it would be a wise business decision to move on without him.
Marc Gasol re-signs with the Memphis Grizzlies for 5 years $55 million
This years winner of the honorary Jerome James Award for outlandish contract in response to a good playoff performance is…MARC GASOL! OK, so Marc Gasol is actually good, unlike Jerome James. Still, you and I both know Chris Wallace would have no problem shelling out way too much money based on 13 playoff games. The fact is, his regular season numbers (11.7ppg 7.0rpg) took a sharp decline from his second season and he’s probably only worth 60-65% of what he would have received.
DeAndre Jordan signs a 4 year $26 million offer sheet with the Sacramento Kings
After striking out on Tyson Chandler and Marc Gasol, Sacramento goes into full panic mode, desperate to overpay somebody to play the center position. They soon settle on noted head case DeAndre Jordan, paying him twice what he’s worth and adding to an already impressive collection of head cases. He and DeMarcus Cousins team to form the most exciting and volatile frontcourt since Rasheed Wallace and “whoever else was playing with him at that given moment.”
Rasheed Wallace is hired as an assistant coach by the Sacramento Kings
It just sounded fun when I pictured Rasheed as a “mentor” to DeMarcus and DeAndre.
The Sacramento Kings sign and trade Marcus Thornton (3 years $18 million) to the LA Lakers for Metta World Peace (Ron Artest)
Don’t lie; you thought the same thing after you thought about Rasheed/DeMarcus/DeAndre! I would seriously buy season tickets to watch this team…and I live in Columbus, Ohio.
The Sacramento Kings reach a deal with HBO to film a “Hard Knocks” series for the duration of the Rasheed/DeMarcus/DeAndre/Metta World Peace quartet
David Stern suffers a massive stroke.
Hamed Haddadi signs his $2 million qualifying offer
Has anybody figured out why Memphis made him a qualifying offer? Anyone? Is 2 points and 2 rebounds a game really worth $2 million?
Mario Chalmers signs a 4 year $20 million offer sheet with the Toronto Raptors
Here’s the real winner of the Jerome James Award! This guy had a 10.3 PER during the regular season, but all of a sudden he’s an up and coming young point guard because he knocked down a couple half court shots and didn’t’ suck quite as much as he usually does? This seems like an excellent time to point out how stupid the NBA is. I really hope Miami wastes whatever financial flexibility they have remaining on him.
Memphis trades Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, and Ishmael Smith to Golden State for Monta Ellis and Dorell Wright
Wait, this trade actually makes sense. Hold on, let me adjust it to make it more realistic…
Golden State trades Monta Ellis to Indiana for Danny Granger
Shoot! This one makes sense too! Give me one second; I’ll get it right this time…
Golden State trades Monta Ellis to Houston for Kevin Martin and Jordan Hill
There we go! A complete disaster for Golden State! For whatever reason, Golden State is pinning all its woes on Monta Ellis. Never mind that fact that Monta is one of the best pure scorers in the league. Yes, I know all about his lack of efficiency and the plus/minus statistics saying Golden State is better without him…I simply don’t care. Golden State has much bigger problems than Monta Ellis, and giving him away for 75 cents on the dollar would be a major setback for that franchise.
David West signs a 4 year $48 million contract with the New Jersey Nets
I wouldn’t be shocked if this contract has already been written up! Coming off a major knee injury, and going on age 31, West represents an excellent candidate to receive a huge contract based on previous performance.
Nene Hilario signs a 4 year $44 million contract with the Indiana Pacers
Indiana’s worked hard to build up this cap space, and that usually turns into a desperate urge to blow it. Nene represents exactly the type of player that’s killed the NBA over the past decade. There’s no doubt he’s a good player, as his 14.5ppg 7.6rpg would suggest. However, he isn’t a great player. These types of good but not quite great players always seem to land big contracts and kill cap space. In the recent past, Indiana’s roster has been flooded by them (Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, Jeff Foster), and they aren’t alone. Above all, the CBA needs to set a correct market value for the Nene’s of the world. $6-$8 million per year seems about right for a player of his caliber, but $11 million is completely outrageous. Sadly, Pacers fans probably know this type of contract would have been inevitable…maybe the lockout is good for you too!
Greg Oden signs a 3 year $30 million contract with the Detroit Pistons
This would be perfect! Joe Dumars is just the man for this! You laugh, but it easily could have happened…
Ladies and gentlemen, Exhibit A for why a lockout is necessary! Stare in amazement as the crippled, 78 year old Oden receives $10 million annually to sit at home and text pictures of himself!
(And you wonder why the league lost $300 million…)
Please, feel free to share any other crappy signings/trades you felt were inevitable!