In Case You Missed It: Week 1 of NBA Free Agency

Well here we are, the first week of the NBA free agency is in the books and so far we have gotten some pretty good deals in the making. All-Star players have returned to their teams, and role players have decided to take their talents elsewhere to further extend their careers. Here are the deals that went down throughout this shortened week one of free agency:

NOTE: None of these deals are not 100% complete. They are all verbal agreements and will be officially completed on/after July 10th

July 1st:

  • Jodie Meeks agreed to a deal with the Detroit Pistons (3 years/$19+ million)

  • Cartier Martin agreed to a deal with the Detroit Pistons (1 year)

  • Shaun Livingston agreed to a deal with the Golden State Warriors (3 years/$16 million)

  • Marcin Gortat agreed to resign with the Washington Wizards (5 years/$60 million)

July 2nd:

  • Avery Bradley agreed to resign with the Boston Celtics (4 years/$32 million)

  • Ben Gordon agreed to sign with the Orlando Magic (2 years/$9 million)

  • Patty Mills agreed to resign with the San Antonio Spurs (3 years/$12 million)

  • Lionel Hollins agreed to become the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets (4 years)

  • C.J. Miles agreed to sign with the Indiana Pacers (4 years/$18 million)

  • Kyle Lowry agreed to resign with the Toronto Raptors (4 years/$48 million)

July 3rd:

  • Sebastian Telfair agreed to sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder (1 year)

  • Darren Collison agreed to sign with the Sacramento Kings (3 years/$16 million)

  • Thabo Sefolosha agreed to sign with the Atlanta Hawks (3 years/$12 million)

  • Chris Kamen agreed to sign with the Portland Trail Blazers (2 years/$10 million)

  • Dirk Nowitzki agreed to resign with the Dallas Mavericks (3 years)

July 4th

  • Steve Novak was traded from the Toronto Raptors to the Utah Jazz for Diante Garrett and a future 2nd round pick

  • Patrick Patterson agreed to resign with the Toronto Raptors (3 years/$18 million)

  • Spencer Hawes agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers (4 years/$23 million)

July 5th

  • Lavoy Allen agreed to sign with the Indiana Pacers

Biggest Winners:

  • Toronto Raptors: Toronto has had the best free agency performance thus far. They may have given Lowry a bit more money than deserved, but the important part is that they kept him and will have him leading this young rising team for the next four years. Resigning Patrick Patterson for three years also gives them a strong rebounder and defensive presence. On top of that, they also dumped Steve Novak which opened up even more money for them to spend in free agency.

  • Los Angeles Clippers: Signing Spencer Hawes may not seem like much, but bringing in another big man who has the ability to produce a double double gives some relief to Griffin and Jordan. He is a solid backup center that brings more stability to this front court.

Biggest Loser:

  • Washington Wizards: I really do like Marcin Gortat and he was an absolute beast last season in Washington, but at 30 years of age this is a risky contract. 5 years and $60 million dollars is right alongside the Lowry deal and I do not see those players on the same level mainly because of Lowry's youth. This deal helps Washington retain their solid big man, but it further prevents them from chasing stronger pieces to help this team get to the next level quicker.

Why Carmelo is NOT Worth A Long Term Max Deal

      As of  Thursday, the hunt for Carmelo Anthony got a little bit clearer when he received max offers from two teams. Those teams were the Los Angeles Lakers (4 years and 95 million) and the New York Knicks (5 years and 129 million). The hunt got even clearer when we found out Melo is expected to agree to the Knicks offer soon (but who knows). The Lakers dropped off a lot of contracts at the end of the 2014 year which granted them plenty of money to play with without losing Kobe Bryant. Phil Jackson and his Knicks dumped off Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler to really open up their cap space so that they could give Melo a pretty max deal offer. Both teams are in need of someone like Melo to get them back (or start to get them back) to an elite status like they once were. Melo is a gifted pure scorer and can even grab a decent number of rebounds every night depending on where you place him in the lineup. He is a consistent All-Star and deserves a large amount of respect for that, however this is a lot of money to throw his way. Call me crazy, but I do not think Carmelo Anthony is worth a four to five year max contract at this point in his career for any team in the NBA

      Now before I go into further explanation let me say that when it comes to deserving players that should or could be offered a max long term deal, my list is very small and they have to satisfy all or at least a few of these requirements:
  • Considered in the top five players in the league at the current time

  • Have won or made it to the Finals as a leading member (cannot be the only satisfied requirement)

  • Won an MVP award (cannot be the only satisfied requirement)

  • Can visibly play both ends at an elite and efficient level

  • Member of an All-NBA First Team

  • Under the age of 28 (cannot be the only satisfied requirement)

     The players that satisfy at least two of those requirements in my mind are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook as my "right on the line candidate". In my mind those are the top six players in the league and all of them satisfy at least two of the above specifications. Many of you will give me hate because I listed Russell Westbrook over someone like Carmelo or Kobe, but he shows an immense amount of promise when his head is on straight and more importantly he is only 25 years old. Each of these guys can score at a high level, defend at an elite level (aside from Griffin to an extent), and they have shown consistency on both sides of the floor overall. I would talk about why Kobe isn't on this list, but in reality anyone that is questioning why he is not on the list is just not being completely honest to themselves about the Black Mamba actually being human and getting too old, but lets get back to Melo.

     Carmelo Anthony is a 7-time All-Star, an NBA scoring champion (2013), and has made the All-NBA Second Team twice (2010, 2013). He is a career 25 ppg scorer, and posted just over 27 ppg in 2014 along with 8.1 rebounds. Those are some really nice stats and accomplishments for any player, but he does not meet even one of the requirements above to be worthy of a max deal in my mind. He is a top ten player, hasn't ever made it to the NBA Finals, has never won an MVP, can't really play the defensive end of the floor very well, and is 30 years old. Set aside most of those facts and the most important part here is his age. You can say he has not had the right team, or he's been playing behind Kobe/LeBron/KD's shadows, or even that he just got unlucky a lot of the time, but regardless of all of those statements he is still entering his 12th NBA season and time is not going to go any slower. Melo played 38.7 minutes last season to reach those averages and even though that is what he had to do with the team around him, there is no way he can play at that same level for the next four years. He has a one sided approach to the game and even though scoring is the main focus of the game, he needs other options. At some point, he will not have the energy to put up numbers like that every night and once that happens people will start to see the important holes in his game.

     On the other hand if you give Carmelo a team that is worth playing with, he will not have to work so hard offensively and it probably will not wear on him as much. Put him on a team where he only needs to worry about his scoring and there will not be issues at all. Somewhere like Chicago would be great for him because there he can hide behind the Bulls' already elite defense or even Houston with Dwight Howard. However in LA and New York, Carmelo would be the leader (or co-leader) of that respective team which means he will still have to try and shoot the lights out every night and rely on that over a full well-rounded game. Is his scoring valuable? Of course. He is one of the best in the league at what he does, but to me that is not worth a long term max deal at his age. It is not a dreadful decision by either team to offer him this in their times of need, but in the long run I do not think they will get what they want out of it. I do honestly want Carmelo to win, and I think he could in Chicago or Houston rather than the Lakers or Knicks. However with the lack of cap space and willingness to pay him so much, Bulls and Rockets may miss out on this chance. Again we know that Anthony is expected to accept the Knicks offer and stay with Phil Jackson but we never truly know. Anthony said originally that he wants to to win now rather than take a load of cash and soon enough we will finally see if he can walk the walk and pick a team that can accomplish just that.


Why Entering Free Free Agency Was LeBron's Best Move Yet

Even people that live under a rock know that LeBron James recently opted out of his current contract with the Miami Heat to become a free agent. In doing so, the world of basketball (and sports in general) has grabbed a front seat to see where he possibly could end up playing, especially now that free agency has officially started as of today. Will he go back to South Beach with the Big Three and take another shot? Will he return to his hometown and the Cleveland Cavaliers? Could he end up in Houston alongside Dwight Howad? We have been hearing the same repetitive (and honestly obnoxious) questions flying around every single day and now we have finally gotten to the time frame in which an answer will surface soon enough. However this opinion piece is not about where he could end up, who he will bring with him, or even how will the fans react like most articles concerning this topic are about. This article is me explaining to all of you why I think this action by LeBron and his reasoning for it is the smartest impactful decision King James has ever made in his career thus far. Not only am I impressed by what he did and what chain reaction he caused from it, but this can be the reason he goes back and wins the Finals once again next June in the same place he decided to go to just four years ago. After the Spurs soundly destroyed the Miami Heat both emotionally and physically, it was clear to me as a Heat fan that they were exhausted and just did not have nearly the amount of drive that San Antonio did the entire series. 


   The Spurs earned their rings in every single way this year and 90% of the credit goes to how they played. The other 10% goes to a beaten up, old, and unmotivated clump of players that just didn't show up in the one series you have to show up in. It was clear that if the Heat ever wanted to return to the Finals anytime soon, let alone win it, they would need to retool their entire roster and reevaluate their approach to the game. We all could see this, but nobody saw it better than LeBron James. James is 29 and although he still has plenty of basketball left in him, he knows his prime could be approaching its' peak after the next four years or so and that his legacy could be hit hard like before if he hit a stretch of not being on a team that is good enough to play on his shoulders and win a championship alongside of him. He knew what he had to do in order to keep his chances of going back to the Finals high and that was to opt out and become a free agent. It did not take long for us to find out why he opted out of his contract either. He wants the Heat to restock their roster with players that bring back more life and hunger that the current team does not have. Whether that means bringing in younger players, a stronger presence down low, or a better bench, James made it clear that if he is coming back to South Beach there better be a team that is worthy of playing at the highest level. 


     This simple act caused a chain reaction of a couple actions that have proven that what LeBron did really served to be a wake up call for Pat Riley and the Heat administration. They brought in Shabazz Napier, who was LeBron's favorite player in this year's NBA Draft, and more importantly Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and even Udonis Haslem opted out of their current contracts for the following year as well. A person who does not know much about the sport in terms of team cap space may look at this as an abandon ship act from everyone on the Heat, but in reality this was an incredibly smart move by everyone. 


     At this point, the Miami Heat now only have one person under contract this summer and that is Norris Cole who is also currently on trading block. With all of these players opting out on top of the already expired contracts that exist on the roster, the Heat have fifty five million dollars in cap space to use this offseason. That is a lot of money that this team gets to play with and they have now opened up themselves enough to where they can do just what LeBron wants them to do. In order to do this efficiently though, they will need to resign the Big Three, and who ever else they want to bring back with even bigger pay cuts that they had originally taken to place together in the first place. The catch here though is that LeBron James is demanding a max deal no matter where he ends up. 


     Now before you go all crazy and think he is such a selfish guy for demanding such a thing, understand that LeBron has NEVER been the highest paid player on ANY team he has ever been on. That may seem unbelievable but it is very true. As the best player in the world, he deserves a max deal to be quite honest. I am no huge Bron fan by any stretch, but he has definitely earned that type of deal. You may also think it is unfair because then both Wade and Bosh would have to take very big pay cuts compared to what they have made their entire careers in order to keep LeBron, but that is not to crazy to ask either. Both players, especially Dwyane Wade, have slowed down productivity wise and maybe do not deserve the top dollar they once had. Dwyane Wade is my favorite player and he always will be, but his knees are hitting him hard and it is time that he takes a smaller cut so younger talents can join the squad.


     Now from all we know, there is still a chance that he could go somewhere else because that is just how free agency works. There is no promise that the Heat can bring in an even stronger team with better pieces which may cause him to leave. I think it is unlikely with all that the Heat have been doing to prepare, but it is still possible. LeBron James will always be hated by people for leaving Cleveland the way he did and that is also a good reason to expect that he is favoring Miami to prevent more heat because he "abandoned" another team to go win. Aside from the max deal, this action by LeBron was both for his own hunger to win and for the Heat who know they have things to fix this offseason. It was a smart move and literally has no downside in terms of James' success. I do think he wants to stay in Miami but if he does not then he will still get a max deal and play on a contending team. He is giving Miami a strong chance though and if this all works out, it could raise his legacy onto another level in a couple of years and I cannot wait to see how it and NBA free agency as a whole plays out throughout this exciting NBA summer.

Why Spencer Dinwiddie is Detroit's Next Step Forward

When looking at how incredibly talented this 2014 draft class was overall, it is very disappointing as a Detroit fan to see them only have one pick in the second round. We all know they could and should have gotten a top ten pick but the odds turned completely against them. In most cases, having only the 38th pick is not a good thing because it means you are drafting strictly position players who fill one need. This pick though was different. You may not know the name Spencer Dinwiddie very well and only like the pick because he has a solid moustache game going on....but there is a lot more to him. Dinwiddie is not the answer to Detroit's many issues, but he is the next big step in the right direction and here is why.

1. Smart not stylish: High basketball IQ is an underrated skill in today's game. It's "boring" and doesn't show off much flash, but hey, look at the Spurs. They are hated for being boring, but they always win. That is what Detroit basketball has always been when at its' best, and Dinwiddie brings exactly that to the table. A guard with size who plays with his mind first and his athleticism second. He knows when to shoot, when to pass, and more importantly, where to be on defense. Detroit tended to look confused and unaware of their surrounding teammates when defending, especially in late situations. Bringing in a guard has proven that he is good in terms of just being in the right spot on both ends, will open up a fluidity that we haven't seen the Pistons have in quite some time. Also, he had the 3rd best assist-to-turnover ratio in the draft which shows he knows when to make the smart passes when they need to be made.

2. Versatile Scorer: At Colorado, Dinwiddie shot 41% from beyond the arc and whether college has more shooting than the pros or not, that is something worth value. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has not turned out to be what we have hoped so far, Dinwiddie however seems much more promising in terms of his shooting consistency. When watching scout videos and highlights, Dinwiddie has the ability to shoot off the dribble, off a pass, or off a screen at a solid level. He also knows how to use his large 6'6'' guard frame. At that height and with a weight of 200 lbs., Dinwiddie is a good finisher that can take most guards to the rim at a higher rate if he so chooses. This versatility opens him up greatly because smaller defenders will have to pick their poison when guarding him. They either have to close in and force him to drive or open up giving him the room to shoot, there's really no in between.

3. Physical Size and Condition: As I mentioned above, Spencer is 6'6'' and 200 lbs. which is on the larger side for a guard. Not only is he bigger, but he also moves quite smoothly for being that size. He is not insanely quick by any stretch, but he doesn't fall behind players when defending which is key. Now I have already talked about what he can do offensively from this however, the first thing I thought of when I saw his size was defense. With a larger frame than other guards, he can defend against post-ups, has a better chance to block/steal from the opposing player, and has a wider defensive range overall. This is all common sense when you look at it, but it is all true and it is all very useful. One reason Chauncey Billups has been a successful point guard is because he has size at the position. Another thing that this size gives him is the option to play both guard positions. He is not too big to play the point when needed and can just naturally fit into the shooting guard role in my mind.  

Now before I close everything out let me just make one thing clear. I am not in love with Dinwiddie in anyway. He is still recovering from the ACL tear that dropped him into the 2nd round and he has yet to prove anything at the NBA level. He will need to keep up his speed and defensive urgency and improve as well if he wants those skills to translate well. Spencer Dinwiddie is an unproven rookie with steps that have yet to be taken, but there is a lot of promise in this guy. As I said before he is not the answer to the issues in Detroit, but he is another step in the right direction and I would not be surprised if we forget he was a second rounder after a few years in the NBA.           

2014 1st Round NBA Mock Draft

Barring any pick trades, here are my predictions for tonight's NBA Draft:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins (SG/SF, Kansas)

2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker (SF, Duke)

3. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embid (C, Kansas)

4. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum (PG/SG, Australia)

5. Utah Jazz: Noah Vonleh (SF, Indiana)

6. Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart (PG/SG, Oklahoma State)

7. Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle (PF, Kentucky)

8. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Gordon (PF, Arizona)

9. Charlotte Hornets (via Detroit): Doug McDermott (PF, Creighton)

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Nik Stauskas (SG, Michigan)

11. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris (SG, Michigan State)

12. Orlando Magic: James Young (SF, Kentucky)

13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Adrian Payne (PF, Michigan State)

14. Phoenix Suns: Zach LaVine (SG, UCLA)

15. Atlanta Hawks: Tyler Ennis (PG, Syracuse)

16. Chicago Bulls: Rodney Hood (SF, Duke)

17. Boston Celtics: Dario Saric (SF/PF, Croatia)

18. Phoenix Suns: T.J. Warren (SF, North Carolina State)

19. Chicago Bulls: Cleanthony Early (SF/PF, Wichita State)

20. Toronto Raptors: Shabazz Napier (PG, Connecticut)

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: P.J. Hairston (SG, Texas Legends)

22. Memphis Grizzlies: Jordan Adams (SG, UCLA)

23. Utah Jazz: C.J. Wilcox (SG, Washington)

24. Charlotte Hornets: Jordan Clarkston (PG/SG, Missouri

25. Houston Rockets: Mitch McGary (C, Michigan)

26. Miami Heat: Glenn Robinson III (SF, Michigan)

27. Phoenix Suns: Jerami Grant (SF, Syracuse)

28. Los Angeles Clippers: Patric Young (PF, Florida)

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jarnell Stokes (PF, Tennessee)

30. San Antonio Spurs: Clint Capela (PF/C, Switzerland)

I hope you enjoyed looking at my predictions for the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft. Comment to let me know what you think, what you agree or disagree with, or anything at all! I for one am extremely excited for this year's draft and cannot wait to see what happens. 

Top 5: Who Will the Pistons Draft in 2014?

   In this year's Draft Lottery, the Cleveland Cavaliers left with the leading story as they were lucky enough with their incredibly slim chances to grab the 1st overall pick once again. People were amazed at the fact that they were yet again going to have the top pick in another draft to add onto their already growing team. However, there was another team who had their fate decided upon a very slim chance. That team? The Detroit Pistons. With an 82.4% chance of keeping their top eight protected pick via the Charlotte trade involving Ben Gordon, Detroit ended up losing their pick by getting the 9th pick in this year's upcoming draft and sending that pick over to the Charlotte Hornets. Left with only the 38th pick this year, Detroit needs to really dig down into this year's prospects in order to make good of this unfortunate situation. Their needs mainly lie in the areas of shooters, which will spread the floor for Andre Drummond and the other big men, and an overall consistent scorer at either the small forward or shooting guard position. They did draft Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to fill the SG role, however he struggled (especially offensively) in his rookie year.  

   Assuming they do not trade into the first round, here are the top 5 NBA Prospects (in no particular order) that I believe Detroit could find major value in with their early-ish second round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft:

1. Joe Harris (SG, Virginia): Harris brings Detroit a skill that is desperately needed by this club, pure shooting. In his career at Virginia Joe Harris shot just over 40% from beyond the arc. Although he plays the same position as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Joe brings a high pure shooting ability that should not be overlooked and is a solid draft choice at 38 with a very low risk factor as well as somebody who could jump into the rotation right away. His 6'6'' size is a good height for the shooting guard position, he has the ability to shoot off the pass, has a decent shot creating ability, and could even play alongside Caldwell-Pope in a small-ball type situation. Harris would not only bring an increase to Detroit's offensive numbers, but he would definitely open up the floor a bit more for the big men that the team is built around. 

2. DeAndre Daniels (SF/PF, Connecticut): I like to look at Daniels as a middle class man's Adrian Payne. From a statistical standpoint, DeAndre Daniels looks like a very good NBA prospect. He is 6'8'', has over a 7' wingspan, shot 41.7% from beyond the arc in his junior season (46.9% overall), and even averaged a nice rebound total a 6 per game. His frame allows him to body up smaller wing players, gives him the ability to drive to the rim, and also grants him a positive defensive potential which is also very much needed. On top of that not only has his shooting ability increased over the past year, but his high release allows him to shoot over players and just opens him up to more shots overall. Detroit needs somebody jump into the rotation with Kyle Singler (or above him) at the small forward position to provide a reliable scoring option and open up the floor. They also need another option at the position to make sure that Josh Smith doesn't feel the need to shoot from distance anymore than he already does. At the 38th pick, DeAndre Daniels could not only fill these needs but could even be a slight steal in this year's stacked draft.

3. Spencer Dinwiddie (PG/SG, Colorado): As most draft articles involving Spencer have reported, the guard from Colorado was expected to be a first round pick in this year's draft if it wasn't for his ACL tear that cut his college career short. Dinwiddie was a 40+% three point shooter and has a slightly above average guard size at 6'6''. His offensive versatility alongside his pure shooting ability would fill the shooting/scoring void that the Pistons desire, and his size provides a defensive potential at the guard position that is also completely missing from the Detroit roster. Rodney Stuckey had filled that defensive guard position as of late but with the probability of him leaving being high, Dinwiddie would be a great replacement. It is not often that you get the chance to take a player who is worthy of first round talent with the 38th pick, so I would not be surprised at all if Detroit picked up Spencer to add an instant offensive talent to their young guard rotation. 

4. Thanansis Antetokounmpo (SF, Delaware 87ers): As a member of the cleverly named D-League team, the Delaware 87ers last season, Thanansis put together a solid season averaging 11.3 points per game and shot 55% from inside the arc. His three point shooting was at a rather disappointing 27%, but in general Detroit would not be drafting this guy for his shooting anyway. The guy is a 6'8'' small forward, has a 7' wingspan, and uses that physical stature to attack the rim and find ways to the basket in ways other smaller forwards cannot. His size and length also attributes to his great potential on the defensive end. With a body that long, it will be easier to disrupt shots and he brings incredible energy that will cause turnovers to ignite the fast break. Detroit does not really have many people on the team with this ability at that size besides Josh Smith. Would Thanansis be right off the bench? Not sure, but he would serve as a solid backup, matches up nicely with today's athletic forwards, and could be a nice piece to have for the future if he does prove to be worth his raw talent and physical tools. 

5. (WILD CARD) Travis Bader (SG, Oakland University): Alright, here me out. Although I am a current student at Oakland University and would love to see someone from our school get drafted, Bader once again brings a skill that is very much needed in Detroit. Not only is he a shooter, but he broke the D-1 all-time three point record previously held by J.J. Reddick. Yes he was at a smaller school in a lower league, but so was Stephen Curry. He is a decent shooting guard size at 6'5''and is a career 40.4% shooter from beyond the arc. I see him as becoming somebody like Jason Kapono or a poor man's Kyle Korver in the long run, which is not amazing but it would be extremely helpful for a team like the Pistons. At worst he would space the floor for Andre and Greg Monroe and would serve as a constant threat from the three point line. People argue that he played at a smaller school, but breaking the all-time three point record is not something that should be taken lightly. With the more well-rounded talent surrounding him I do not expect this pick over most, but I would not be shocked at all if Detroit decided to give this in-state talent a shot at the big time. 

Breaking: LeBron James to Opt-Out of His Final Year in Miami

   Well it happened, as of this morning (reported by ESPN first), LeBron James will test free agency this summer and opt-out of the final year in his contract with the Miami Heat. 

   For those of you who have spent the past year living under a rock, James and the Miami Heat just recently lost the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs in a rather disappointing series. Not only did the Spurs outright play better in every facet of the game, but the Heat looked incredibly slow, unmotivated, and overall ready to be done with their attempt at three straight rings. Four straight appearances with an aging team can be exhausting and it looked as if they just did not have it in them to try hard enough. That past series alone is more than likely the reason that LeBron has decided to opt-out. 

   NBA Insider for Yahoo Sports Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out that James is "determined to impose pressure on Miami to improve roster and spend", which is honestly a good move on James' part. The Heat have been relying on veterans who were willing to take pay cuts in order to win rings. It worked for a while clearly, but now age has caught up with them and whether LeBron signs back with Miami or not the Heat need to step it up and start reforming that roster for the future rather than right now. That conversation however will be discussed at another time.

 Overall, this decision will cause cries of joy from many NBA fans outside of Miami as the King may be leaving South Beach, but keep in mind all this will do is give us one more summer of LeBron free agency craziness that we dealt with when he left Cleveland. "The Decision 2.0", as some people will call it, will be one of the biggest looming questions the entire summer (as it should be). 

  Will he return to South Beach? Will he go home to Cleveland and play alongside Kyrie Irving? Will he take his talents to the Western Conference in either L.A (Clippers) or Houston? The possibilities seem almost endless at this point and to be quite honest I am very interested to see which teams make a full attempt at signing him. James becoming a free agent this summer just adds onto the excitement that this NBA off season holds for us and I cannot wait to see how it all folds out. 

BREAKING: Lamar Odom Reported Missing For The Last 72 Hours

   According to TMZ, a report has been released saying that NBA free agent Lamar Odom has been reported missing for the last 72 hours. During these three days nobody has been able to get in contact with him and people are starting to get very worried. What are they worried about? They are worried he is hiding from everyone to continue with his cocaine drug addiction. 

   We earlier that the reason Odom went into rehab before the previous NBA season was because of his drug addiction to cocaine. Everything was clean for Odom when the year started and was still clean throughout the entire season. However once the season ended, apparently his addiction started up again. It even got the point where Lamar was kicked out of his home by his wife, Khloe Kardashian, for rejected an intervention that was setup for him. Only four days after that has happened and now we find that Odom is completely missing. Hiding away to do drugs is definitely a concern and is very dangerous

   Odom is one of the top free agents going into this year's season. However with this occurring, if everything turns out okay for him then his next problem will be playing in the NBA. Teams are willing to give players chances to redeem themselves from things like this, but Odom will have to work for it and I do not know if that is going to happen right away. Priority wise, Odom has a lot of things to fix right now. He has a drug addiction which needs to go away immediately, he is having marriage issues because of it, and finally he is an unemployed basketball player who needs to find a job. 

   The bottom line though is that I hope they find Odom and everything turns out fine. His safety and health are the top concerns right now and hopefully they can find him before anything bad happens. 

Top 5 NBA Free Agents Still Available for 2013-14

   This summer there have been a lot of moves big and small throughout the NBA. Whether a team has signed their next franchise centerpiece or just filled their final roster spots, it looks like they are starting to finish up with free agent signing for the summer and focus on the roster they have for the upcoming season. However, their are still quite a few players that surprisingly still do not have a home in the NBA this season. Here are the top 5 NBA free agents that are running out of time to find a team before the 2013 NBA season begins. 

5. Tyrus Thomas: In what would be his 8th season in the league, Thomas finds himself still looking for a place to land after Charlotte which is surprising. There usually are always teams that look for explosive young power forwards to fill a spot on their roster. In 27 games last season, Thomas put up 4.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. It is not terrible for only playing about 14 minutes a game, but it is not anything amazing either. If Thomas is signed, it will be to simply come off the bench to play solid minutes while the starters take a rest. He is not 6th man material anymore, but he has enough talent and experience to come in the game and keep things from getting out of hand when the starters are on the bench. With his age and skill set, Thomas will find a home this season. It just may not be before the season begins. 

4. Leandro Barbosa: After tearing his ACL and being unable to play because of it, we find Barbosa without a team. Leandro has always been a very good off the bench guard that could provide production every time he played. The biggest reason that I think he is a free agent though, is because he is getting older. Barbosa is 30 years old and would be entering his 11th season in the league. In most cases being 30 is not really that big of a deal. However when you add in his injury last season and the fact that his game relies on his quickness, it becomes a bigger situation. Barbosa has always been known for his quickness and ability to be crafty because of it. With his quickness in question, teams may be hesitant to sign him. I think Barbosa will find a team this season though and it will be either in the next couple weeks or when a team needs a good backup as they plan to move into the postseason. 

3. Lamar Odom: Odom will be 34 this season and is entering his 15th year in the NBA. Throughout the past few years Odom has played the role of a solid bench rotation player pretty well. Last season as a part of the Los Angeles Clippers, he averaged 4 points per game and about 6 rebounds as well. He not the offensive threat that he once was, but his ability to rebound and handle the ball is always something that can impact a team in a positive manner. There is no doubt in my mind that Odom will get signed before the year starts, but I am still kind of shocked that he is still available. The rumor is that he will sign with either L.A. teams and that is something I can really believe. Most of his career has been spent as a member of the Lakers or the Clippers so returning to either would not surprise me. The Clippers are clearly moving on to contention and do not seem to have a reason to sign him so I expect Odom to once again become a Laker before the 2013 season begins. 

2. Antawn Jamison: Jamison is 37 and should be aiming to close out his career soon. In 76 games last season for the Lakers, Jamison was able to put up a decent 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Those are definitely solid bench numbers for Jamison, but the biggest factor in his signing is going to be his age. When a player reaches this age it is hard to rely on him because things like an injury occurring are more likely for him than a younger guy. Now there is no way Jamison is done with basketball. He was still able to play 76 games last year and showed that there is still plenty of gas in the tank for a few more seasons. Jamison may not get signed this offseason, but he will be in an NBA uniform and will be playing as a rotation player for a team who really needs in during the 2013 season.

1. Richard Hamilton: If there was one thing that really confused me during last year's playoffs, it was the fact that I did not see Hamilton play once in the Miami series. He may have be bearing a minor injury, but his spot up shooting ability is something that could have made things a lot easier for the Bulls. They would not have won in the end still, but that fact that Rip never made an appearance was shocking to me. Almost as shocking to me as the fact that he is still unsigned. After being waived from the Bulls, Hamilton still finds himself without a home. Now he is 35, but with the shape that Hamilton keeps himself in that should not be an issue. His off-ball movement and spot up ability is something that he will always have as a big part of his game. He can provide solid minutes off the bench for a team and provide good offensive production during those. This season I do expect to see Rip get signed and I expect to see him on a young team where he can provide veteran minutes off the bench while also providing experience that will help the young players grow throughout the 2013 NBA season.  

Does Detroit Have Another "Bad Boys" Team on Their Hands?

   This past Thursday, the Detroit Lions put a beat down on the New England Patriots by a score of 40-9. Everything was working for the Lions and everything was falling through for the Pats. New England turned over the ball four times and Detroit's defense had a lot to do with it. Now yes the Patriots were 80% responsible for their fumbles/interception, but Detroit capitalized on every mistake and showed that if they are focused they can be a very strong group. Another thing I noticed however, is the fact that some of our defensive players have a hard time keeping their emotions under control after plays end. Last Thursday the Lions defense racked up multiple personal fouls and none of them had any true reasoning behind them. Now yes having an aggressive and passionate defense is something this team needs in order to succeed, but being stupid does not have to come packaged with aggressive play. However, maybe this is not such a terrible thing for Detroit.

   From the late 80's to the early 90's the Detroit Pistons possessed the nickname "The Bad Boys". This team won back-to-back Championships during this time and a big reason for their success was their aggressive play. Back then, the NBA was not anywhere near as soft as it today. The Pistons played the bully role in the NBA and completely embraced it. Whether it was the constant trash talking or blatant hard fouls, the Bad Boys always left their opponents defeated both physically and mentally. There was no worrying about fouls or getting fined. Their mentality was that they were going to leave every game being the tougher and more physical team whether they won or lost. This mentality brought championships to Detroit and proved that the good guys do not always win in the end. This type of mentality is something I am starting to see in the Lions as we approach the 2013 season. 

   Now before this year we knew that Ndamukong Suh is a person that really does not care when it comes to aggression. He is looked at as one of the dirtiest players in the entire league. This is something people have frowned upon, but those people also need to remember that he is also a dominant force on the field. Aside from Suh's physical size and speed, it is his attacking mentality that separates him from the rest and now we are starting to see that from others on the Detroit defense side. Willie Young and Nick Fairley among others are beginning to play with that fierce mentality. The personal fouls that arrive as a result from this type of play are stupid mistakes by players, but maybe this type of play is exactly what the Lions need. The personal fouls still need to be lowered a bit, but I would not be totally against seeing a defensive really attack an opponent while picking up a few personals on the way. 

   Playing like this definitely bring a lot of possible consequences along with it. The Lions cannot afford to lose key defensive players because of stupid decisions. However if Coach Schwartz can get these guys to play just below a level that will cause them disciplinary issues, I say do it. Sometimes if you want to win you have to play a little dirty and I have no problem with them doing so. Football is a physical game and because it is you can get away with being over the line at times. Whether it was preseason or not New England was only able to put up 9 points in Detroit which is something worth noting. Now I am not saying that the Lions' defense should just play without any amount of self-control. What I am saying is that if this is the kind of defensive production we will see this season if Detroit decides to play with a big chip on their shoulder, there should be no questions about doing it.