Opening Pitches

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Who knew Rudy Gay would be the first free agent to hear his phone ring at 12:01 this morning?

The Minnesota Timberwolves decided to storm the free agency party when the bell rang, chasing the Hang Time Grizzlies‘ coveted restricted free-agent forward.

So much for all that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh talk.

Seriously, plenty of phones rang at the start of free agency.

Wade got a call from Heat boss Pat Riley, who has his recruiting team in Los Angeles for rounds of meetings with other free agents. Joe Johnson met with Hawks officials in Los Angeles. Houston GM Daryl Morey spoke to Bosh (“Just finished meeting with @chrisbosh – great player & person. He is about winning so I focused on how w/Houston he can win a championship.”), who is expected to receive a maximum contract offer from the Toronto Raptors as they try to salvage their summer. And surely, someone reached out and touched James (at least by phone), just to make sure we kicked this free agency period off the right way. His meetings take place later and he has told everyone he plans to make a decision by Monday, which would allow us all to get some rest.

(The Clippers released a statement indicating they are just “honored” to be one of the teams making a presentation to the King. Clippers point guard Baron Davis took it a step further and penned a letter to all the free agents … check it out here.)

Yet, the Timberwolves managed to make news on opening night/morning.

That they’ve even entered the conversation reminds us all just how wonderfully twisted a time this is. The same team that acquired three new small forwards on Draft night makes it’s splash in free agency by reaching out to what else but another small forward in Gay.

In fact, the Timberwolves have the first confirmed free agent get of the season, reaching an agreement on three-year deal with 2008 second-round draft pick Nikola Pekovic, per ESPN.com’s Chad Ford.

It’s okay to yawn right now. No offense to Pekovic, who by all accounts is an accomplished player. But we didn’t stay up all day waiting for news on Pekovic.

Bosh didn’t spend an entire day Tweeting himself into the Twilight Zone just to hear about Pekovic’s rise up the ranks from international project to NBA prospect.

And, as my NBA.com colleague Art Garcia reminded me after the fact,  Richard Jefferson didn’t opt out of the final year of his contract ($15.2 million) just to make us all ask, “is he smarter than a 5th grader?”

We’re more than an hour into the greatest free agent frenzy anyone has ever seen and I’m still waiting to see the fireworks. Will Johnson spurn the maximum contract offer from the Hawks and go elsewhere? He met with the Knicks immediately after speaking with the Hawks. Could they lure him to New York to work as Robin to James wearing a Batman mask?

There are theories running rampant that Johnson is now the key to enticing James (and perhaps even Amar’e Stoudemire) to play in New York … it’s yet another of the seemingly logical but unsubstantiated reports about this frenzy that will leave us all wondering what’s really going on.

If you thought there would be some clarity to all these things just because the clock struck midnight on July 1, you were wrong. We’ve still got a week to go before anyone can sign anything.

Verbal agreements are sure to start rolling throughout the 4th of July weekend.

Who swings at that opening pitch remains the most pressing question as we continue digging deeper into Day 1.

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37 Comments

  1. gasollakerschamp says:

    FEARLESS PREDICTION

    Lebron will go to la for vujacic,brown
    Bosh will go to la for mbenga and morison
    Wade will go to la for farmar, walton

    So the all starting cast for la was

    wade pg
    kobe SG
    lebron SF
    bosh PF
    Gasol center

    reserved artest bynum odom fisher

    =) lol

  2. C's all the way says:

    Here’s my prediction

    LBJ to the bulls
    Bosh to the heat
    D Wade resigns with heat
    Joe to the Knicks with Stoudemire
    Boozer to the nets

  3. david says:

    IF LBJ LEAVES AN SIGN WITH ANOTHER TEAM HE WILL NEVER BE IN MY BOOK AS GOOD AS MJ. MJ STCK WITH HIS TEAM AN GOT THEM WRE THEY NEED BE

  4. Nate says:

    @ RICH,

    Are you kidding me? LA, not a talented team? They have Bryant (who is possibly the best player right now in the NBA), Gasol (Who is one of the top big guys right now), Artest (One of the toughest and best defenders), and Odom (One of the best Sixth man), and just throw in Fisher (A clutch veteran PG). And you say that LA doesn’t have a talented team? This team is basically an Allstar team! You can’t get much more talented than this.

  5. Mike says:

    Wade and Lebron to Utah (Utah signs and trades Boozer with Cleveland for Lebron, Utah sighs and trades Kirilenko with Miami for Wade)
    Joe and Bosh in New York
    Amare and Dirk to Chicago
    Rudy to New Jersey

  6. popolocroix says:

    fearless forecast:

    wade and bosh will team up in miami
    lebron will go to chicago
    cp3 might be in LA
    ray allen to jazz maybe
    amare to dallas

  7. Rob Mc - MN says:

    Kahn is making everybody nervous!! lol Okay…maybe just irritating the Griz. Go Timberwolves!

  8. Alex.G says:

    Lebron isn’t going anywhere
    Bosh to houston
    joe to new york
    amare stays with suns
    booozer to miami
    wade stays in miami
    rudy stays in memphis

  9. RICH says:

    THE LAKERS WON ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP WITH A TEAM TO ME WHO WAS ONCE AGGAIN NOT THE MOST TALENTED BUT AN ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO WINNING AND WINNING AND WINNING ONLY. SO ITS NOT ALL ABOT TALENT, LEBRON COULD HAVE A RING BY NOW IF HIS DRIVE WAS A LITTLE BIT HARDER COME PLAYOFF TIME.

  10. RICH says:

    CHRIS BOSH SAID IN AN INTERVIEW THAT HE WANTS TO PLAY SOMEWHERE “WHERE HE IS THE MAN” NOT GOING TO HAPPEN IF HE JOIN FORCES WITH LEBRON OR KING JAMES. CHICAGO SOUNDS MORE SUITABLE, JOE JOHNSON WOULD BE A GREAT ADDITION TO CHICAGO BECAUSE HE IS NOT NECESSARILY GREAT TO ME BUT GIVE YOU A PLAYER CAPABLE OF CREATING AND MAKING GREAT SHOTS. IM ROOTING FOR CHICAGO TO BECOME A POWERHOUSE IN BASKETBALL AGAIN. POST JORDAN ERA.

  11. RICH says:

    I WANT TO SEE THE EASTERN CONFERENCE MORE COMPETITIVE. WERE MAKING A BIG DEAL OUT OF WHO I GOING WHERE BUT THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS “WHO IS GOING TO STEP UP AND TAKE OVER TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP.”

  12. RICH says:

    THE YOUNG SUPERSTARS HAVE TO LEARN TO PLAY WITH WHO THEY GOT AND MAX OUT THEIR ABILITY TO WIN, STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT WHO YOU DONT HAVE ON YOUR TEAM OR WHO IS MAKING MORE MONEY. ITS A RECESSION, BE HAPPY AND PLAY EVERY GAME WITH HEART.

  13. RICH says:

    IT WOULD BE SMARTER FOR THE TOP FREE AGENTS, WADE AND LEBRON TO STAY PUT AND WAIT THE ARRIVAL OF A KEY PLAYER IN AMARE AND CHRIS BOSH. THE NBA NEEDS MORE TEAMS THAT ARE GETTING BETTER!! ALLOWING ALL THE STARS TO HOOK UP ON ONE TEAM IS LIKE PLAYING A VIDEO GAME.

  14. i want to see bosh in h-town..enough said.,that will give fear to teams in west.,hopefully bosh will realize a best opporutinty of winning is in houston.,

    • TN says:

      Bosh’s best opportunity of winning would be going to Miami with Wade or if him and LBJ sign in Chicago together. Houston is far from his best chance to win.

  15. RICH says:

    LAKERS NEED A POINT GUARD NOT ANOTHER FORWARD SO CHRIS BOSH WILL NOT BE IN L.A, LOOK FOR THE LAKERS TRYING TO DEAL FOR CHRIS PAUL, NOT A GURANTEE BUT IT SOUNDS INTERESTING.

  16. RICH says:

    LJ GOES TO BULLS ALONG WITH CHRIS, IMMEDIATE TITLE CONTENDERS

  17. King says:

    In my opinion it doesnt really matter what top free agent chicago gets . I think they will be a serious title contender next year.

    • RICH says:

      I THINK IT REALLY DOES MATTER, CHICAGO NEEDS ANOTHER PLAYER WHO REQUIRES A DOUBLE TEAM AND HE MUST BE THE BEST SCORER ON THE TEAM. YOUR POINT GUARD SHOULD NEVER BE YOUR LEADING SCORER! BOSH OR WADE WOULD MAKE THAT TEAM ALOT BETTER BUT I WANT TO SEE MORE INTERSTING SITUATIONS, SO L.J STAY IN CLEVELAND AND BRING IN A KEY PLAYER IN JOE JOHNSON OR STOUDEMIRE. RUDY GAY STAY PUT YOUR GRIZZLIES ARE ALMOST THERE. DAVID LEE YOU NEED ALOT OF HELP IN N.Y AND YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET IT, THESE FREE AGENTS ARE ALL LOOKING FOR MAX CONTRACTS SO THEY WILL SPREAD AROUND THE LEAGUE TO SUB PAR TEAMS!

  18. Master Jim says:

    The Houston Rockets could really use bosh and the KIng may stay in cleaveland along with another all star pal like amar’e or boozer in my opinion..

  19. Lunik says:

    It is all about business and money….let these guys get their big pay checks and leave people alone. WHO CARES WHERE THESE MORON PLAY…..

    • TN says:

      Why are you even posting here? Everyone else here who is a basketball fan cares where they go because it will reshape the entire NBA.

  20. gidon says:

    I just heared from a top executive source in L.A that the king said there’s 99% is going to sign with the clippers!!!

  21. Beber says:

    The Miami Heat really could become a nice team if they could sign a player like Chris Bosh or David Lee… Try to deal a veteran like Kirch Henrich at PG an try to find a center with a great potential like Serge IBAKA (nice rookie season) or Dj MBenga (who did a really nice job when Gasol and Bynum were sidelined) Don’t forget Kevin Love who had a great season with the Wolves !. Keep Richardson and Haslem, add some other bench player like Kenyon Dooling (why not ?) and I think the Heat could have a nice season

  22. Pastor says:

    I wonder what the Celtics are going to become with two of their big 3 gone! It seems to me it isn’t a Alpha-Male-friendly team because of Rondo who embraces his play-maker role!

  23. Adnan says:

    Gay would be crazy if he goes to Minnesota, because Memphis have a team to go to the playoffs, and fans love him there. I hope Knicks will finaly make a team to do something big!

  24. john hansen says:

    I’m just looking for new post

  25. VYtauc says:

    bird in the hand is better than a moose in the forest.

  26. MARK LUCHE(PHILIPPINES) says:

    if james will not sign with the bulls, dirk will be the great replacement.. big three dirk, rose and noah.. the bulls will be a serious title contender …

  27. davidkahnisamoron says:

    david kahn is an idiot. he just drafted pretty much all small forward/wing guys and also has corey brewer… only logical destination for rudy is la clippers who have $ and a gaping SF hole.

  28. Kris says:

    I don’t understand why a GM would “twitter” about his business. Keep it to yourself, it seems so unprofessional. Unless of course it is a strategy that would help him to reach his goal, but I really don’t see that. Leave the twittering to the I-either-send-some-more-nonsense-on-twitter-or-I’ll-play-the-128th-Liddell-Rampage-rematch-on-UFC-undisputed-2010 players or the reporters who obviously gain from spreading gossip on a regular basis.
    Anyways, Johnson is another Larry Hughes or Mo Williams type player that was obviously not enough for James in the past. I still don’t get why people would think 2 or 3 players can make a team. Good to great role players are vital and I don’t see teams like Miami and New York assembling that. The Nets with Lopez-Harris-Favors have a couple, the Bulls have some in Rose-Noah-Deng-Gibson, the Clippers have some with Davis-Kaman-Gordon-maybe Aminu. Yes of course the easy thing to say is to sign veterans to minimum contracts but that is very short-term thinking. 3 all-stars + about 7 veterans of te likes of Kurt Thomas, Ray Allen, Shaquille O’Neal, etc. will be very very bad long term planning.

  29. tom says:

    lebron will go to chicago

  30. zzanzabar says:

    Both the Grizzlies and the Timberwolves seem to approach the NBA as a commodities market rather than the NBA, stocking up players by position rather than completing a viable team. Brain Davis’ open letter was both a passionate plea for help and a statement of commitment for excellence (and common sense) to the free agents. As teams go, the Clippers and the Bulls seem to have enough quality slots filled that one or two free agents could put them into the big time.

  31. MrCED says:

    Hey Joe! the best team to be with is Miami, with D-Wade!!

  32. CAM THE MAN says:

    man… can’t believe this is started,,, i wonder how this will play and who the lakers will pick up and if bosh really does go to H-town..