View Full Version : Should The League Tell Free Agents Where The Can Sign?

02-27-2010, 12:23 AM
There has recently been some discussion regarding trades, buyouts and free-agent signings (in relation to Big Z). Some people feel it is unfair for a talented player who is bought out by a team to re-sign with his old team. I'm not a big fan of things like that myself, but the bottom line is, once a guy is bought out he is a free agent and should be able to play where ever he wants to regardless. The Cavs are a talented team who made a money-based trade (as many teams have this year), and who were lucky enough to see a talented big-man get bought out and agree to sign with them. Yes, the big man is the big man they traded so they are essentially only giving up a first round draft pick to get an all-star, but this has happened a number of times in the past. The Suns trade Marion. The Suns trade Shaq. The Suns give Seatle/Oklahoma two frist round draft picks to take on Kurt Thomas's contract and get one second round pick in return. The trade has nothing to do with the free agent signing. Teams have been making money based trades for years.

Each season players take pay cuts to play for good teams so that they might have a chance to win. P.J. Brown for example waited out half the season to sign with the team that had the best record in the league. Artest, Karl Malone and Gary Payton all took huge pay-cuts to play for contenders. If the league is going to let stacked teams circumvent the salary cap rules by signing all-stars at the vet-min, why make some arbitrary rule like "if you were traded from a team you aren't allowed to play for them if you are bought out." The problem isn't so much that teams are signing back their own players, the problem is that great teams get more stacked by signing all-stars at bargain rates and the league isn't as deep as a result. There are usually four dominant teams and no other real contenders, where as back in the 90's the league was deep becaue the talent was spread around.

If the league is going to start making rules about where unrestricted free agents can sign, doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of them being "unrestricted" free agents? If one team is looking to dump a contract and the buys out the contract it is taking on to save money, why should one team be forbidden from picking up a quality player that wants to play for them? I see no difference betwee Big Z re-signing with the Cavs, and guys like Karl Malone signing for next to nothing to play on a team that already one a championship.

The whole point of being an "unrestricted" free agent is that you are UNRESTRICTED. To put restrictions on these free agents undermines their freedom to choose where they go. I may not like it personallly, but at the same time that is a players right to choose, and just because I may not happen to be a gan of the team he wants to sign with, doesn't mean he shouldn't be allowed to go where he wants.