The National Basketball Association or NBA has grown to become the leading professional basketball league. The NBA has multitude of fans all over the world and millions of dollars revolve around this sport from endorsements, television broadcasts and basketball apparel. The primary commodity of the NBA is its players, especially its superstars. Thus, NBA teams devote a boatload of money to secure the services of various players.
After each NBA season when an NBA team wins a championship, contracts expire. An NBA player who has no contract becomes a free agent and the period of free agency usually starts in July. Players can start negotiating with teams and reaching verbal agreements starting on the first day of July. For this 2012, contracts can now be signed starting July 11.
Deron Williams: Brooklyn Nets over Dallas Mavericks
Deron Williams is an All-Star point guard who has been playing for the New Jersey Nets. He was non-committal to return to the Nets even if they will be transferring to a new city stadium in Brooklyn. The buzz was strong that Deron was considering the 2011 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks because Dallas is his hometown.
Deron has made it clear that he wanted to choose quickly after hearing the negotiation pitches of both the Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn has the monetary advantage because it can pay Deron with a maximum five-year contract worth $98 million while Dallas can only offer him a four-year deal worth $75. NBA rules always favor the team who previously employed a player.
In a suspenseful move, Deron announced his decision via Twitter by tweeting that he “made a very tough decision today” while posting a picture of the new team logo of the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets will debut the new Barclays Center at the start of the 2012 to 2013 NBA season.
A huge factor in Deron’s decision was the fresh trade of the Brooklyn Nets to acquire All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks. Rumors are strong that the Nets can also pry All-Star center Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic.
Steve Nash: Failed Reunion with Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas
When the Dallas Mavericks failed on their bid to land the superstar point guard Deron Williams, they tried to secure the old running mate of Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki. He’s none other than 2-time NBA MVP Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns.
But this nostalgic pairing ended in smoke again because Steve Nash chose the Los Angeles Lakers so that he can team up with superstar shooting guard Kobe Bryant. Nash has been considering retirement because he is 38 years old but he described the situation in Los Angeles as a family decision. His kids are near the area and he can visit them anytime.
To acquire Nash, the Lakers gave two first round draft picks, two second round draft picks and $3.1 million to the Phoenix Suns.
Jason Kidd: Spurning the Mavericks
Now that Deron Williams and Steve Nash are out of their hands, the Dallas Mavericks were at least confident that they can resign their own point guard Jason Kidd to a three year deal worth $9 million. This is quite a lot of money because Kidd is already 39 years old!
Kidd indicated that he was returning to the Mavericks but he eventually chose the New York Knicks who featured a more intriguing lineup with stars Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Jeremy Lin. The contract with the Knicks was also the same length and money as the Dallas contract offer.
Kevin Garnett: Green Loyalty
Steve Nash is 38 while Jason Kidd is 39 and yet they have new contracts. Kevin Garnett, another NBA veteran star has secured a new contract – without the heartaches of changing NBA teams.
Kevin Garnett has been mulling retirement after his contract with the Boston Celtics expired. His previous contract year netted him $21 million and he was thinking about hanging up his sneakers to rest for good. But the Boston Celtics offered him a $34 million contract for three years to extend his playing career.
Ray Allen: Not All About the Money
Ray Allen forms the triumvirate of stars of the Boston Celtics alongside Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. He is also a free agent this 2012 but he has chosen not to sign again with the Boston Celtics, even though the team gave him a two-year $12 million contract. Instead he chose the lesser three-year $9.7 million contract from bitter rival Miami Heat.
Ray Allen, the NBA leader in 3-point field goals made, indicated that his decision was not dependent on money. His rift with teammate Rajon Rondo and the reported lack of loyalty of the Celtics in trying to trade him hurt his chances of returning to Boston.
Eric Gordon: Restricted Free Agent
Eric Gordon is the budding star shooting guard of the New Orleans Hornets that they acquired as compensation for the Chris Paul trade. He only played nine games last season due to injuries but he has enough promise and talent to remain in the plans of the Hornets. As a four-year young player, Gordon can entertain offer sheets from other teams but the Hornets have the right to match all of these offers.
The Phoenix Suns who have just lost Steve Nash tendered a maximum four-year $58 million to Eric Gordon and the feeling seems to be mutual because Gordon wants to play for the Suns. However, the Hornets are adamant that they will match any offer for Gordon. So even if Gordon prefers the Phoenix Suns, he may not have
Gordon can’t officially sign the offer sheet until July 11. Because Gordon is a restricted free agent, the Hornets will have three days to match.
Elton Brand: Amnesty Victim
Sometimes NBA teams regret the contracts they give to free agents. For example, the Philadelphia 76ers will remove the contract of erstwhile star power forward Elton Brand to get tax relief from his $18 million contract. Brand signed a five-year $80 million contract with the 76ers but he never played the part of a superstar.