Chicago Bulls sign PF Carlos Boozer to 5-year, reported $75-80 million deal
Chicago did not wait long to react to the Dwayne Wade/Chris Bosh decision and quickly inked Boozer to a monster deal in hopes that he might be able to provide incentive for LeBron to come to Chicago. Really? Carlos Boozer is going to sway LeBron James' choice in free agency?
Regardless of whether or not the King sets his throne in Chicago, Boozer adds a long desired scoring power forward to combine up front with the energetic Joakim Noah at center. The payday for Boozer is right on point with market value considering Amare Stoudemire got $95 million over five years from New York. And besides, what options did the Bulls have left but to throw a boatload of cash Boozer's way?
Assuming LeBron does not choose Chicago, the Bulls will still have plenty of cap space to pursue other free agents. They will need to go after a shooting guard with guys like Kyle Korver, Mike Miller and J.J. Redick being possible targets. They will also need to bring in a backup for Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, and likely a replacement for Brad Miller who was their backup center the past few seasons. Deng could also be used as a trade chip but will likely remain with the team.
The Boozer signing is certainly not LeBron or Wade or Bosh or Joe Johnson or Amare, but their Plan F is not terrible all things considered. Yes, they are likely getting somewhat screwed in the big picture of free agency, but the pieces and cap space are there for Chicago to become one of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference next season.
Boston Celtics re-sign SG Ray Allen to 2-year, $20 million deal
Allen followed in Paul Pierce's footsteps and chose to return to Boston for one last shot at winning a title rather than taking his coveted services to one of the teams with a ton of cap space. Allen will turn 35 years old later this month but proved this past season that his jump shot is still one of the best in the league. He is a veteran in every sense of the word, and as the Celtics proved this past postseason, when their entire team is healthy, they are capable of repeating their 2008 championship performance. A figure of $10 million a year for two more seasons is an extremely fair value for the Celtics who did not have the cap flexibility to allow Allen to leave.
Oklahoma City Thunder sign SF Kevin Durant to 5-year, $86 million extension
Is there a more likeable player in the NBA than Kevin Durant? Durant leads the NBA in scoring but still shows up at the NBA Draft; not because he was forced to be there, but because he was anxious to see which players his team would draft. Durant then flies to Orlando to watch Oklahoma City's summer league team take the floor and sits on the bench to help coach the young guys. Again, not because he HAS to, but because he loves the game and his team so much that he wants to be involved in all facets of their improvement.
Durant could have easily waited to become a free agent and had his own LeBron-like sweepstakes in 2012, but he instead chose to re-up now and not even wait to cross that bridge. He doesn't care about small markets, big markets, super markets or stock markets. Durant has put Oklahoma City on the basketball map and wants to see the process all the way through.
You cannot blame him. The Thunder have an extremely young, talented, rising team that won 50 games last season and gave the Lakers all they could handle in the first round of the playoffs. He received the max extension and will continue to do everything in his power to continue the growth of professional basketball in the Sooner State. How can you not admire what this guy brings to the league? He is worth every penny of that $86 million.