The summer of 2010 will change the NBA landscape, and four of the league’s biggest stars plan to meet this offseason to determine what that landscape will look like.
Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade told The Chicago Tribune recently that he expects to have a roundtable discussion with Cleveland superstar LeBron James as well as Atlanta's Joe Johnson and Toronto's Chris Bosh to discuss and plan their NBA futures.
“[Free agency] has been three years coming,” Wade told the Tribune. “We’ve discussed it prematurely, at different times. [But] you don't know what guys are thinking and where they’re going. I think we’ll all sit down, and before one of us makes a decision, all of us will have spoken to each other and [listened to the] thinking.”
“A lot of decisions [will be based on] what other players are willing to do and what other guys want to do,” Wade said. “So it’s not just a ‘me’ situation here. We all have to look and see what each other is thinking.”
It has been widely speculated that at least two of the four involved in the meeting will join one team together for a run at the title next year. A possible James-Bosh combination or James-Wade would immediately make for a championship-caliber squad wherever the free agents-to-be sign.
Other league talk suggests Wade, Bosh, and James could take a page out of the Boston Celtics book and partner up for a power-packed trio similar to the Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce combination that won the title in 2008. But paying such a trio would use up much of any team’s salary cap, and require each to take a significant pay cut compared to what they could earn by just partnering up as a duo.
Wade’s words were followed closely as this year's free agency talk has already landed several NBA associates in hot water. Tampering charges have been filed against several coaches and NBA executives for talking openly and suggestively about free agents and where they should play next season. The NBA said that it would not fine Wade for his comments about the meeting.
The NBA’s free agency period opens July 1.