The 2014 free agency signing period will be the biggest NBA swap meet since the last time league MVP LeBron James took his talents and left Cleveland. There are 19 notables getting their freedom papers next summer for which teams should consider putting themselves in position to sign.
The now-relevant Los Angeles Clippers have given their roster a Hollywood-like makeover this offseason. But whenever there is a free-agent class this deep, a little greed is good. No one would blame the organization if they did a little window shopping, albeit on a budget, in a market of max-deal talent and a $107 million debit cashed in by their point guard, Chris Paul.
But, what’s an offseason without a little dreaming.
Miami Heat‘s Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and James have the option to walk away from their contracts and take their talents elsewhere next summer. The league’s “Super Team” took considerably less money to win titles together in Miami, therefore the two-time world champions won’t be giving any discounts next July.
As long as the Heat have James, they are in title contention and a prime destination for talented ring seekers around the league. But if James decides to return to Ohio as the missing piece to the young lottery-lucky Cleveland Cavaliers, then they could be in a lot of trouble. Bosh will look reestablish himself as the franchise in another city. Wade would have to attempt to recruit as close to equal talent as possible to South Beach, or let his number hang in the rafters and look to continue his legacy on foreign hardwood.
Such a scenario would drastically drop market value of Wade. Miami owes it to Wade to pay him far more than his bad knees and declining production are worth. He hoisted a trophy before the arrival of James and Bosh and is credited for their recruitment. But he was often a liability on the floor leaving James to play a similar role that he served with the Cavaliers throughout the season and playoffs.
However, Wade is a winner. There’s no way he would play for an eighth-seed wannabe and pride won’t allow him to be a mere role player for a team with a young star shooting guard with less miles and equal talent. This leaves an opportunity for the Clippers to be creative.
First, they would have to trade center DeAndre Jordan and the $11 million owed to him in the 2014-15 season, the last year of his deal.
Second, the team would also have to part ways with shooting guard Jamal Crawford. At 34, Crawford won’t be worth the $5.4 million due to him after next season. He is a talented player that lacks the consistency to be much more than an instant ankle breaker off the bench that often dribbles the team into 24-second violation issues.
These two moves could open enough cap space heading into next offseason, and the opportunity to court Wade.
The Clippers are in need of a premier shooting guard. Someone with championship experience and All-Star talent. Wade is not the player he once was, but he’s a leader still in the conversation as one of NBA’s elite. Playing alongside a true point guard would a be his first for Wade. Paul is a prototype floor general who makes the game easier for any player. But for Wade, it would mean longevity.
Christopher Brown is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Followhim on Twitter @whatrockschris. Follow him on Facebook.