Sit This One Out?
By mikebarrett Posted in: Blazers
I'm not suggesting the Trail Blazers should completely forget the idea of landing a free agent. It's fine to browse, create relationships, and gauge interest. But, am I the only one who wouldn't mind seeing the team take a pass on all of this nonsense and steer around this seller's market?
That's not very fun, I realize. A lot of you have talked for months about how excited you were for the free-agency period to being in the NBA. It's fun to talk about the prospect of landing some top-tier name riding into town, like we just saw when Amare Stoudemire agreed to a 100-million-dollar deal with the Knicks.
But, seriously, how many of you would hammer the Blazers if they gave Drew Gooden $32 million? Gooden? Really? The guy who is now on his 9th team in 8 years? And, Darko Milicic nets $20 million?
Were we already headed for a wacky time, or did these two early signings set this market? Because the last time I checked, we were talking about the fact that things were getting ridiculous, and that the contracts were already too big. Joe Johnson then got $119 million from Atlanta, and Rudy Gay got $82 million from Memphis. I love Channing Frye, but $30 million? Amir Johnson gets $34 million to stay with Toronto?
Do you still think the Blazers overpaid LaMarcus Aldridge last summer? How in the world would he not have been a max guy in this market? That signing looks better with each passing day this summer.
The scary part of all of this is that's it's only getting worse. The guys who jumped early, and agreed to those contracts above, thought they were hitting this market at exactly the right time. That may be true. But, it's only raised the value of the free agents who remain. Guys like Mike Miller are seeing their worth increase as the teams with money to spend scramble to avoid coming up empty. Demand is clearly outweighing supply.
I've heard some people criticizing the Blazers for not jumping into the pool, especially in the early going. And, as much as I want to see them add an impact player, I keep thinking the best thing to do would be just to wait. There are no bargains out there right now, clearly. It got worse when Memphis and Atlanta held on to Gay and Johnson, who actually increased this madness by staying with their current teams. That simply took two more potential open-market guys out of the mix for the teams that have money to spend, and raised the value of everyone else.
Was it fear or opportunity that motivated the Grizzlies and Hawks? You've got to sell something to your fans, and those teams losing their stars wouldn't have gone over well with those two teams who already struggle mightily to sell tickets. But, will it be worth it?
We knew the landscape would possibly change this summer in the NBA, but when saying that, most people were talking about LeBron, Bosh, and Wade. They haven't even made decisions yet, and the market is already on its ear.
No one wants to be left without a chair when the music stops, I get that. But, this doesn't appear to be the time to be shopping if you have huge needs. I certainly don't put Portland in that category.
This will be, and has already been, a free-agent period for the record books. I just can't see how it's healthy for NBA teams. For now at least, the shrewd and tactful appear to be the winners. It's not always easy to sell that, but in the long run, those teams will be the victors in this market.