Carlos Boozer becomes the first domino, electing to take the one-year money and stay in Utah. This makes life a little more difficult for the Jazz, as Paul Milsap is expected to get a sizable offer from OKC, and they also have to deal with Okur. But what prompted Boozer's decision (he doesn't want to make less money), and what does it mean for the other free agents who are a few hours away from turning the ignition key?
In LA, a good test for the basketball knowledge of Laker fans is their awareness of the free agent situation and luxury tax consequences on Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom. As bitter Clipper fans, we probably have 10 times the financial awareness of the average denizen of Lakerdom. Of course Laker fan, enjoying champion status for the 15th time, has every reason to be optimistic and to believe that things will work out. It's the Lakers! And so we see statements about how the Lakers made $6 million by selling draft picks, which will certainly help them sign their free agents. That 6 million, of course, should pay for 20-30 games of one season from Lamar Odom, at a very hopeful discount rate of 10m/yr, doubled by the luxury tax. It's one thing to pay Zbo 18 million when you don't need him, but can you imagine contemplating a 60 or 70 million dollar deal for Odom that will cost you twice that amount--and that's after you sign Ariza. Does Boozer's decision mean that Detroit, OKC, or Memphis is more likely to make a generous offer to LO or Ariza?
What a difference a year makes. Oy. I can't even think about last summer, and how it turned into last year. If the pain is going to come this year, at least it will be a new version.