The NBA’s free agent sweepstakes have begun, and we already have proof why, no matter what restrictions and penalties it puts in place, the league will never be able to complete protect owners from themselves:
Minnesota has – the same Batum who averaged 13.9 points per game last season for the Trail Blazers and has never showed signs of being more than a good role player – a four-year deal that would roughly quintuple his annual salary north of $10 million.
And so it went on opening day, with teams wasting little time in rushing to spend – or, some cases, squander – their hard-earned cap space.
As it was with the draft, it would appear to be a relatively uneventful period for the Spurs.
Franchise legend Tim Duncan is a formality to re-sign, role players Daniel Green and Patty Mills are both restricted, and Boris Diaw has lost enough battles with croissants over the years to make any team leery about throwing major dollars his way despite his solid contributions to the Spurs after his late-season addition.
Any additions will likely be of the nickel-and-dime variety, as has been the Spurs’ penchant over the years. Various reports have identified past-their-primers like Utah small forward Josh Howard and Toronto point guard Jose Calderon as potential targets.
With the perimeter seemingly in solid shape, reserve bigs like Greg Stiemsma (Boston, restricted), Marcus Camby (Houston, unrestricted) or Reggie Evans (L.A. Clippers, unrestricted) could be economical pickups worth exploring.
A handy list of all the available players can be found .
Elsewhere around the league:
* Indiana All-Star center and restricted free agent Roy Hibbert has reportedly (4 years, $58 million) from Portland and at least one other team.
* Toronto will reportedly at longtime Phoenix cornerstone Steve Nash in an attempt to lure him back home to Canada.
* With for multiple years, Boston will try to for the services of aging sharp shooter Ray Allen.
* Los Angeles Clipper forward Blake Griffin is , while teammate Chris Paul turned one down in the hopes of landing a richer deal next year.
* to deal the grossly overpaid Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets, where he could join Dwight Howard, who – predictably – has renewed his trade demands.