With the NHL and NBA playoffs complete, it means that both sports are in the midst of their respective off season. Free Agency officially began in the NHL yesterday at noon and begins in the NBA on July 10th. NBA players are currently able to enter into verbal agreements with teams, but may not sign a contract until the 10th. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the big players in the NHL and NBA and where they are likely to wind up.
1. Gilbert Arenas
The former Washington Wizards guard is the premier player on the market this year and is going to bring in some big bucks. The Wizards are certainly looking to keep their All Star point guard as they have reportedly offered him a deal of 6 years for approximately $126 million. Also in the running are the Golden State Warriors, who now have some extra cash lying around after Baron Davis’s sudden departure. The Warriors are offering Arenas a 5 year deal worth 100 million dollars. Arenas seems to be content with the Wizards and the extra year that only the Wizards are able to offer (NBA rules) so I expect him to stay in Washington.
2. Baron Davis
Well I’m going to predict that Davis goes to the Los Angeles Clippers for 5 years and $65 million. So as everyone has heard, Davis verbally agreed to a 5 year, $65 million withtheClippers. Davis surprisingly opted out of his contract with the Golden State Warriors a couple of days ago after they refused to offer him a long-term deal. Averaging 22 points a game last season, Davis is a huge pick up for the other Los Angeles team who now can set their sights on resigning big man Elton Brand, who is up next on this NBA Free Agent list.
3. Elton Brand
Brand is by far the best big man on the market, but like Arenas, I don’t see him going anywhere fast. He made it clear to the Clippers that he wants to win and they responded swiftly by signing Baron Davis. Brand’s move to opt out of his contract was surprising, but as mentioned above, Brand wants to win and he may even be willing to sign for less money so the Clippers can bring in a guys like….hmm…. Baron Davis!. As mentioned in this ESPN article, Brand and Davis are good friends and both want to win. Brand likes Los Angeles and I expect him to stay there
Those are the top three NBA free agents for 2008 and I don’t expect any surprises to where they are heading. There are plenty of other talented players available this year as well. Below is my list for players ranked 4-10 and where I expect them to end up (this does not include restricted free agents).
4. Corey Maggette – Expected Team: Golden State Warriors
5. James Posey – Expected Team: Boston Celtics (I hope)
6. Kurt Thomas – Expected Team: San Antonio Spurs
7. Desagna Diop – Expected Team: Dallas Mavericks
8. Ricky Davis – Expected Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
9. Kwame Brown – Expected Team: Indiana Pacers
10. Damon Stoudamire – Expected Team: Portland Trail Blazers
1. Marian Hossa
The premier free agent on the market is off the market already as the Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings locked Hossa up witha one-year deal worth about 7.45 million dollars. The Red Wings were by far the best team in the NHL last year and now they just picked up the best free agent available this off season. The Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals this year and Hossa played for the Penguins. Well if you can’t beat them, join them. That’s exactly what Hossadid and with him, the Red Wings are big favorites to repeat next season.
2. Sean Avery
Possibly the best left-wing available this off season has also been locked up already as the Dallas Stars signed Avery to a four-year $15.5 million deal. Avery is known around the league as a cheap player who will yell at his teammates as much as his opponents. Having said that, Avery is a gritty, hard-nosed player who will make the Stars much better. Dallas may have to deal with his on and off the ice issues during the year, but in the end, the pick up will be nothing, but successful.
3. Mats Sundin
Finally a player who hasn’t signed a contrac yet. Sundin is still mulling his options as he decides whether to accept a two-year, $20 million deal from the Vancouver Canucks or agree to a less lucrative contract with the New York Rangers or Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers and Canadians offer a greater chance of winning, but the Canucks’ deal would make Sundin the highest paid player in professional hockey. Yet, I really believe that Sundin does not want to leave Toronto and that if he has to go, he’ll choose Montreal. Sundin and the Maple Leafs were a perfect fit for years, but it seems that time is coming to an end. Sundin realizes he will be losing a great fan base in Toronto, so he will want to go to another team which has equal or even better fans that Toronto. Montreal fits perfectly into that position and I see Sundin choosing to go there.
The NHL Off Season began witha lot of the big names signing with Sundin the only majoy player still making up his mind. Like the NBA section above, here are the list of players 4-10 who are the top of the NHL market this year and where they will be playing next year.
4. Brian Campbell – Expected Team: Chicago Blackhawks
5. Wade Redden – Expected Team: New York Rangers
6. Ryan Malone – Expected Team: Tampa Bay Lightning
7. Brooks Orpik – Expected Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
8. Markus Naslund – Expected Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
9. Brian Rolston – Expected Team: New Jersey Devils
10. Adam Foote – Expected Team: Colorado Avalanche
With the off season is up and rolling in both the NBA and NHL. If there is one thing I’ve noticed from these first couple days, it is that players sign fast and if you wait, then you are going to miss out on the cream of the crop. Of the ten players in each sport that I’ve listed, many have already signed with a new team, especially in the NHL. So to all those GMs out there, get going!