Wednesday, July 7, 2010

LeBron, NBA Free Agent Frenzy & The NFL Franchise Tag

With as much drama as a Bachelor Reunion show featuring Jake and Vienna, this NBA offseason as been like no other in history.

Since free agent season kicked off, we have been playing a game called “Where will LeBron Go”. It doesn’t cost anything to play, but is very time consuming and a lot confusing. Would he sign with Cavs, Heat, Bulls, Knicks or Nets? Will he join Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in Miami? Does the signing of Amare Stoudemire give the Knicks a chance to sign LeBron? Can Pat Riley influence LeBron’s choice? If LeBron joins the Heat, will he wear his hair like Riley? Will LeBron replace Simon Cowell as the fourth judge on American Idol? Even President Obama has made his preference clear, saying he hopes LeBron signs with the Bulls.

Now we have word that LeBron will announce the team he is signing with on a 1 hour show airing on ESPN this Thursday at 9pm. This is unprecedented.

Add in the Bosh tweets and speculation as to where Ray Allen, Carlos Boozer and David Lee will end up, among others, and this has been more entertaining than a possible reboot of the Blossom franchise.

The NFL is watching this and is probably grateful for its franchise tag as it helps avoid this type of frenzy. Each team in the NFL can label one player as their franchise player. This is usually going to be a highly skilled member of the team. This player must be offered a salary that is at least the average of the top five players in the league at his position. By doing this, the player cannot be signed by any other team and must sign with his current team or not play that season.

A lot of players don’t like the franchise tag. While they may get a financial windfall in that one year they are tagged, they feel they may be missing out on a far more lucrative long term deal by hitting the free agent market. There is of course the risk of injury that could end their careers or seriously diminish their value.

The franchise tag rule will get some serious attention when the NFL negotiates the next CBA. While the players may not want the franchise tag as part of a new deal, the NFL may well push for it (perhaps with some tweaks). Stay tuned.

What do you think about the franchise tag? What do you think about the NBA free agent season so far? We want to know what you think. Click on "comments" below and leave us a note.


Anonymous said...

It's terrible to see how Chris Bosh has made a mockery of the free agent process by tweeting and being coy with Toronto fans. I can't fault him for looking for a better opportunity but the manner in which he left leaves Raptor fans with a bad taste.

Docket Rocket said...

Chris Bosh is the Kimmie Gibbler of the NBA.

Anonymous said...

One of the most interesting aspects of this process to me was that players were openly soliciting other players to join a team together. I can't decide whether I like it or not. I can't decide whether it is cool to see players (rather than owners or coaches or managers) build a team or whether it seems offside.

And the ESPSN special is ridiculous.

Andy said...

Eric: interesting blog. Had there ever been a legal challenge the the franchise player tag? It seems to me that this could be considered a restraint on a person's ability to earn a living if he is required to stay with a team he does not want to be a part of.

Anonymous said...

It has been a circus. Inside word is LeBron wants to sign with the Heat but they're stuck over his demand for a lifetime supply of Spider Man sippy-cups. Can't stand LeBron or Bosh but at least LeBron's talent is undeniable. Iverson's was as well but the same ego issues kept him from being a champion.
As for the tag, I'm against it. After all we'd never have been treated to the uberpathetic Cleveland "We Are the World" LeBron love song if the tag was in force in the Association.
Eric, great blog but don't tease me with the prospect of the return of Blossom.

Paul said...

Can't believe Bosh said in his ESPN interview "... well Toronto has kind of been my second home for the last 7 years"... WTF? 2nd home? worse: "kind of 2nd home"? what a jackass! Raptor fans probably feel like old Expos fan... sad as they watch their superstars leave for "greener pastures".

Daniel Gilbeau said...

Seriously, Toronto Raptor fans are pissed off at Chris Bosh? What has he ever done bad to Toronto? Ok, so he left after giving it his all for 7 seasons even though the pathetic management refused to add any kind of talent to support him. I have nothing against Bosh. He never held out or refused to play asking for a new contract or add some talent. He went out night after night and gave it all he had.
Good luck to him, Lebron and D Wade in Miami.