Let the free agent frenzy start another summer
Oh the drama.
It’s that time again: Free Agent Frenzy. Free Playerpalooza.
That’s the fun NBA and NHL fans experience at the end of June/beginning of July. Players in both leagues whose contracts are up July 1 and haven’t been re-signed by their teams are free to go and a few of them are in demand.
Locally, that includes Merrimack’s Tim Schaller, for the second straight year. The fourth line forward who had a career year (12 goals, 12 assists) with the Boston Bruins is hoping to re-sign with Boston but you never know. Last year he came fairly cheap (about $650,000). He may be able to cash in with a bigger contract this time, likely seven figures. Will the Bruins go that high? We’ll see.
But a lot of the Bruins’ focus – and that of their fans – is what potential New York Islanders free agent forward John Tavares will do. He’s this season’s plumb NHL free guy – fact they’re called “free” agents certainly could be called a play on words. Tavares did the Kevin Durant thing, meeting with prospective teams in California, and will decide between a handful of teams, including his Islander club and your Boston Bruins, reportedly by Saturday. Heck, you may know by the time you read this. Let us all bow down in worship, right?
Meanwhile, once again we await The Decision. Of course, meaning LeBron James. After opting out early Friday, he is free again, and according to all the tweets, texts and social media posts, appears to be back channeling his way toward trying to find a super threesome again. That’s most likely with he and Paul George joining the Lakers and hoping L.A.can acquire the pouting Kawhi Leonard from San Antonio. If that all happens, it certainly would revive the Celtics-Lakers rivalry.
Now, why the Spurs would want to help this take place certainly has to be questioned. So now the Celtics are said to have a shot at Leonard. More drama. More intrigue.
But it’s just that time. Drama time. Football has its high stakes period, a lot of lead-in talks surprise you as much as the big contracts and when the date hits, suddenly players are inked right and left.
Baseball has changed. Players are free for over a month before the December Winter Meetings take place and everyone waits for that one guy to sign before the dominoes fall and everyone else does.
But these next few days? Drama to the umpteenth degree. Although a guy like Schaller may take awhile, but even a Tavares-Bruin deal perhaps would have impacted him.
“I would love to stay,” he told the media during the May breakup day, his thoughts appearing on nbcsports.com several weeks ago “Being from just an hour up the road, obviously it’s a dream come true to play here, but at the end of the day, it’s a business, and whatever they want to do, it’s up to them. We’ll find out in a month or so.
“At the end of the day, I’ve got to look out for myself. I think, playing here a long time is obviously a dream. I don’t know if it’s realistic or not. Like I said, we’ll find out, but if an opportunity arises somewhere else, then, like I said, we’ll go from there.”
Yes we will, because it’s Playerpalooza time.
Tom King can be reached at 594-1251, or@Telegraph_TomK.firstname.lastname@example.org