The 2014 NBA Free Agency period began at the start of July and to fans delight, has now reached the point where teams can actually sign players to contracts rather than just discussing possible deals. There are two different types of free agents in the NBA, unrestricted and restricted free agents. Unrestricted free agents can choose to sign with any team they choose. Restricted free agents are players with four years or less of experience and adhere to specific conditions. This year has also seen the salary cap in the NBA rise to a new level, meaning several salaries will seem inflated as teams have the money to overpay a bit.
There are many players looking for new teams this offseason but no free agent was more coveted than LeBron James after opting out of his contract with the Miami Heat. On July 11th, he made the decision to return to the team where his career began, the Cleveland Cavaliers. His contract details have not been released but he announced his decision in an article with Sports Illustrated. The next highest profiled star is Carmelo Anthony, who has narrowed his options down to two teams, the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls. Like LeBron, Carmelo’s decision could help other teams and players make their decisions and the signings should start coming at a rather quick pace.
Even with LeBron signing, Chris Bosh re-signing with Miami, and Dirk Nowitzki returning to the Dallas Mavericks, there are still plenty of other notable players still seeking contracts in this year’s free agent class. Luol Deng is in talks with Miami, LA Clippers, Atlanta, Washington and others. Like Deng, Pau Gasol is being pursued by most teams in the league. Gordon Hayward’s services are being sought by the Charlotte Hornets but being a restricted free agent, he could still stay with the Utah Jazz. Dwyane Wade opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat, just like his fellow two members of the big three. He could still return to the team on a new deal though. One last name to keep an eye on is Paul Pierce who is being linked to a possible reunion with former coach, Doc Rivers.
This free agent class may lack a large number of high impact players, but there are still plenty of moves left to be made in what looks to be an intriguing off season.