Well…I sure thought we’d know something by now. Didn’t you?
Okay, okay. We do know a few things. Like the fact that Joe Johnson signed a ridiculos six-year, $119 million deal with the Atlanta suckers Hawks. That — like Johnson — Paul Pierce (four years, $61 million)m Dirk Nowitzki (four years, $80 million), and Rudy Gay (five years, $80 million) re-signed with their respective teams.
We also know the Lakers locked up Steve Blake (four years, $16 million). Former Bulls John Salmons (five years, $39 million) and Drew Gooden (five years, $32 million) were snapped up by the Milwaukee Bucks, and former Bull/expiring contract Hakim Warrick (four years, $18 million) was nabbed by the Phoenix Suns. The Suns also secured the services of Channing Frye ($30 million) for the next five years.
Last, and most certainly least, the Toronto Raptors signed Amir Johnson (five years, $34 million) while the Minnesota Timberwolves bid against nobody but themselves for the rights to Darko “The Human Victory Cigar” Milicic (four years, $20 million).
But the Bulls weren’t waiting on any of those guys…were they?
The Great White Whale — or, in this case, The Three Great White Whales — are still swimming the murky ocean of NBA free agency: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. You’d figure that James at least would have made a decision after the way the Bulls triple dog dared him to live up to Michael Jordan’s legacy.
Unfortunately, reports indicate that LeBron won’t make his decision by today. In fact, nobody knows exactly when he’ll choose a team, although Brian Windhorst of the Plain Dealer tweeted on Sunday: “Sources say LeBron plans to wait until after 3-day Nike camp in Akron is over to announce decision. Ends Wed. nite.”
So we may know by Thursday? Maybe?
But…what if Chris Bosh makes a decision before that? Or D-Wade? After all, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford, Wade has strong family ties that could bind him to the Windy City.
Ford writes: “Wade also has multiple ties to Chicago — a home and family, including his mother, a pastor whose church in the city was purchased for her by her son. But far and way the most important consideration is his two children Zaire and Zion. Wade is recently divorced and the custody of his children is still up in the air. There are concerns that, given the frequent travel tied to being a NBA player, he won’t be able to spend quality time with his children during the season if he doesn’t stay in Chicago.”
And this is what Wade said in an interview with Channel 5 in Chicago on Saturday: “At the end of the day, your decision goes on what’s best for you and your family. The organizations I’ve been brought in to meet with are all good organizations and all can add something to my life, and not just basketball-wise. To me it’s about what makes 40 years of my life and not just about the next 10.”
That seemed to be an extension of what Wade told the Associated Press two weeks ago: “You go through a whole season, even the last two seasons, and feel incomplete in a way, no matter what kind of success you have, because you don’t have the most important thing to you with you. My boys. To be able to have this relationship with them as I have since this summer, it’s been probably the best feeling I’ve had since winning the championship. I don’t think people really understand that.”
So what if Wade decides today or tomorrow he wants to join the Bulls? Does management wait to see what LeBron decides or do they jump to sign Wade? And would Chris Bosh be willing to accept a few million dollars less per year to follow Wade to Chicago? Or could he force the Raptors into a sign-and-trade for Luol Deng?
Or will Bosh have to agree to terms with one of the teams with big cap space — the Bulls, Clippers, Knicks or Nets — before LeBron or Wade make a decision? That’s what Ford thinks: “All indications I’m receiving are that LeBron and Wade, respectively, each want to be paired with Bosh on whichever team they join, seeing the big man as an ideal complement on a contending team.”
Hey, remember, after Shaq left the Lakers, Kobe didn’t get a whiff at a title again until L.A. stole received Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies. It could be that LeBron and Wade would both like Bosh to be their Gasol.
Of course, these are all assumptions and guess work. For the moment, all we can do is put our lives on hold and wait for The Powers That Be to make up their minds. Whenever that will be.