After the second day of the most important free-agency period in history, and one of the wildest, who were the winners and losers?
New York Knicks: From worst to first in 24 hours, folks. Yesterday the Knicks were losers , having not made a dent in LeBron James and looking at the up close side of panic. But Friday, everything turned around for them. Their meeting with Dwyane Wade went well enough to get Wade to say he was "intrigued." And as close as these free agents are playing their cards to their vests? That's a huge win right there. Then, the Knicks advanced talks with Amar'e Stoudemire after the Suns basically let him walk, and came to a "broad agreement" with him , KB reported. Huge upswing for the Knicks Friday.
Chicago Bulls: Any time you get one of the top free agents in the field who isn't one of your guys to provide a second meeting, along with the third best player? That's a win. Huge win. The Bulls jumped hard into this pool and made an impact. If they can convince LeBron James today to buy-in with Wade, they'll have pulled off one of the biggest gambles in NBA history and be the impact team for the next decade.
Los Angeles Lakers: Signed Steve Blake to a 4-year, $16 million deal, which essentially means that combined with Derek Fisher's expected one year, $2.5 million contract, they'll have their starter and backup point guard positions improved and solidified for $6.5 million. It's good to be on top.
Miami Heat: Pat Riley made an impassioned plea to LeBron James based on sacrificing to win championships, and the Heat have met with every available free agent except Dwyane Wade. So far, there have been no reports that anyone is "leaning" towards Miami aside from a few Chris Bosh rumblings. Meanwhile, Wade was "intrigued" by New York, and took a second meeting with the Bulls. Not a great day for the Heat, but they didn't lose much ground, it seems like.
Los Angeles Clippers: In a stunning turn of events, absolutely no one is talking about the Clippers' meetings having any effect whatsoever on any of the top free agents. It's almost like a lifetime of misery and bad luck compounded by having the worst owner in the NBA has negatively impacted their chances at getting a top free agent in the most competitive class ever. Huh.
Phoenix Suns: I like Hakim Warrick. You'd probably like Hakim Warrick. He works hard. He's tall. He's talented. He's not Standing Tall and Talented. He's not Amar'e. The Suns watched as arguably their best player (considering Steve Nash's age) walked away from the table, likely headed to New York. Even though the Suns chose to go this route and were proactive in their approach, it's still a rough day for the Suns, who had an era end for them today.