NBA about to be turned upside down

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Complete madness.

That’s what this NBA free agency period is. We’ve never seen anything like this before, and probably won’t again.

The face of the NBA is going to be completely reshaped for perhaps then next decade, and it’s all going to happen over the next month, maybe even the next week.

Whoever signs LeBron James likely goes from pretender to contender, but there is a lot more at stake than just the James sweepstakes.

Dwyane Wade. Amar’e Stoudamire. Joe Johnson. Chris Bosh. Carlos Boozer. Dirk Nowitski. All of these guys sans Bosh were the top offensive options for playoff teams this past season, and Bosh is considered one of the NBA’s best big men league wide despite being relatively hidden away in Toronto.

Already, some nutty ideas are being bandied about.

There are reports that Miami may have the inside track on resigning Wade and luring James and Bosh to play alongside him—in fact, that the trio talked about this very scenario in person over the past few days.

To me, that would be a surprise. James always struck me as a guy who, if he were to ever leave Cleveland, would opt for the bright lights of Chicago or New York. But if he goes to Miami to team up with Wade and Bosh, you can all but lock up the next NBA dynasty.

It might be more tempting a scenario than I thought … being the lynchpin of potentially one of the most dominant teams in league history is certainly appealing to any player.

The Knicks are trying to land a similar scenario supposedly, but in their case, the trio is James, Bosh and Joe Johnson. They’d also all likely need to take less money to make this happen—probably a deal killer, but there are ways to make up that lost revenue in New York.

Of course, Chicago has been touted as the favorite to land James, and they still boast the best mix of already rostered talent and market size.

Then there are the consolation prizes. Whoever doesn’t land the truly big guns — and especially if all three sign in one place — there’s going to be an absolute frenzy to sign guys like Johnson, Boozer and Stoudemire. Those guys are probably not max level players like a James or Kobe Bryant, but they’re going to get it nonetheless from a team who cleared room and is left at the alter in the LeBron sweepstakes.

The NBA tier of power has remained fairly steady. The good have remained good, and the bad have remained bad over the last few seasons.

The deck is about to be seriously reshuffled, though. This one time, the off-court drama may actually exceed the on-court play in terms of captivating an audience.