The NBA free agency period began on July 1 and after only a few days of action, there have been a handful of significant moves. Note that no contracts can be officially signed until Wednesday, July 11.
The Celtics, who received word from Kevin Garnett on June 30 that he would be returning to Boston on what is expected to be a 3-year/$34-million deal, added an important piece to their bench when they agreed with former Mavericks guard Jason Terry on a 3-year/$15-million contract. One glaring need for the Celtics last season was scoring off the bench and the 2009 6th Man of the Year should be the solution to that problem. If the Celtics can also bring back free agent Ray Allen, they will have one of the deepest guard rotations in the NBA with Rajon Rondo, Allen, Terry, and Avery Bradley.
The team making the most noise so far is the Nets, one of the Celtics rivals in the Atlantic Division. They traded for swingman Joe Johnson, agreed to a new contract with Deron Williams, re-signed swingman Gerald Wallace, agreed to sign EuroLeague forward Mirza Teletovic, and have stated they will match any offer to restricted free agent center Brook Lopez. The Nets hope to use Lopez in an attempt to pull off a trade for Dwight Howard. Even if they fail to get Howard, their rotation of Williams, Johnson, Wallace, and Lopez will make them contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Out West, the Lakers last night pulled off a sign-and-trade with Phoenix to acquire Steve Nash for four future draft picks and cash. Nash will team with Kobe Bryant to create a potentially dynamic back court for the Lakers, who still reportedly are involved in trade talks for Dwight Howard. If they fail to land Howard, they will still be serious contenders in the West with the Nash-Bryant guard tandem and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum as their big men.
After dealing Nash, the Suns agreed to terms with free agent point guard Goran Dragic of the Rockets, who used to backup Nash in Phoenix, and free agent forward Michael Beasley of the Timberwolves. The Suns also agreed to sign restricted free agent guard Eric Gordon to a 4-year/$58-million contract but the Hornets are expected to match that offer. The Pacers are expected to make the same decision on Roy Hibbert after the restricted free agent center agreed to the same 4-year/$58-million offer with the Trail Blazers.
There are many moves still to be made, headlined by Dwight Howard's future. The Magic center has stated his request to be traded with the Nets and Lakers as the favorites. Ray Allen will likely choose between returning to the Celtics or moving on to the Heat, Clippers, or Grizzlies. Forwards Brandon Bass, Carl Landry, Jeff Green, and Ersan Ilyasova remain on the market, as does guard Jeremy Lin. Lin might be leaving the Knicks for Houston, who also agreed to a deal with Bulls free agent center Omer Asik. Another option for teams at center is Marcus Camby.