Eric Freeman

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Eric Freeman is a contributor to Ball Don't Lie. As a lifetime fan of the Golden State Warriors, he has learned not to set high expectations for his favorite teams. Eric is also a co-founder of The Classical. He lives in San Francisco.

  • Warriors introduce Kevin Durant with little drama, no pyrotechnics

    Kevin Durant jokes around with his new bosses. (AP Photo/Beck Diefenbach)

     

    Kevin Durant’s move to the Golden State Warriors ranks as the biggest NBA free agency decision since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach. However, the Warriors’ introduction of their new superstar was nothing like the Miami Heat’s pyrotechnic-filled party in 2010. If anything, Thursday’s afternoon event at the team’s training facility seemed calculated to normalize Durant’s league-altering change of scenery, to present it as the logical move for a player who could be a perfect fit in the Bay Area for years to come.

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    It’s telling that Warriors TV play-by-play announcer Bob Fitzgerald opened the press conference by directing his first two questions to general manager Bob Myers and head coach Steve Kerr, not to the star of the show. Myers and Kerr discussed the promise of Durant in terms of the organizational structure already in

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  • Dwyane Wade signals Bulls' new path — the dollar-store superteam

    Dwyane Wade

    If nothing else, Dwyane Wade’s move from the Miami Heat to the Chicago Bulls proves that a shocking free-agent decision doesn’t necessarily upend the state of the NBA. The 34-year-old’s decision to leave the only franchise he’s ever known and join his hometown team figures to provide only minor changes to the playoff picture in the East. Neither the Heat nor the Bulls were going to be a championship contender next season (although Miami at least could have at least entertained the idea of winning the conference if the Cleveland Cavaliers had experienced a string of bad luck). This free-agent move matters because of Wade’s status as a Heat icon, his connection to his roots on the South Side, and the teams’ shared histories as rivals in the postseason and otherwise.

    Although the emotion of it all seems paramount, it would be wrong to discount what Wade’s change of scenery could mean for both teams on the court next season. We’ve already discussed how the Heat can try to save face with

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  • Dwyane Wade's move from Heat to Bulls is summer's biggest shocker

    Dwyane Wade drives into his new future. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

     

    Kevin Durant’s move from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Golden State Warriors has shaken up the NBA, but its reign as the most shocking deal of the league’s 2016 free agency period lasted for not even three full days. While Durant’s decision is clearly the biggest event of the league’s offseason, Dwyane Wade’s choice to leave the Miami Heat after 13 seasons and join his hometown Chicago Bulls is easily the least expected news involving one of the best players of his generation. As reported by The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday night, Wade will sign with the Bulls on a two-year deal for $47.5 million. The contract includes a player option on the second year, so Wade could become a free agent all over again next summer, when the salary cap is expected to rise to roughly $110 million.

    The importance of Wade’s move has more to do with his connection to Miami than the impact his decision will have on both

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  • Ayesha Curry regrets saying the NBA Finals was 'rigged'

    The Curry family celebrates the Warriors’ 2015 championship. (Stephen Lam/Getty Images)

    It’s hard to remember now that they’re the unmitigated victors of the NBA offseason, but the Golden State Warriors ended their season in shame and disappointment. Winning a league record 88 games over the regular season and playoffs did not keep the Warriors from dropping the NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers, blowing a 3-1 lead with two losses at Oracle Arena. NBA fans and analysts quickly questioned the resolve of the group, and it’s fair to say that many participants’ reputations have been diminished even if Golden State returns to championship form with Kevin Durant in uniform next season.

    The bad vibes extended beyond those who took part on the court, as well. Ayesha Curry, wife of Warriors superstar and back-to-back NBA MVP Stephen Curry, got serious attention when, at the end of the Game 6 loss in Cleveland, tweeted that the whole thing was “rigged for money.” Curry’s words came across as

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  • Rondo joins Bulls for another attempt to regain his relevance

    Rajon Rondo will attempt to become relevant again in Chicago. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

     

    Did you know that Rajon Rondo led the NBA in assists this season? Don’t be ashamed if you didn’t. Toiling for an unimpressive, uninspiring Sacramento Kings that was only intermittently interesting as a trainwreck, Rondo put up 11.7 assists per game while running an offense that finished 14th in offensive efficiency. It was an impressive bounce-back campaign for the 30-year-old after a disastrous half-season with the Dallas Mavericks, but there’s a reason Rondo’s 2015-16 will be remembered far more for his suspension for a homophobic slur directed at referee Bill Kennedy than for his play on the court.

    Rondo therefore entered free agency this offseason as an interesting commodity, a player capable of putting up very good numbers of no clear benefit to his team. He left the market Sunday with a deal befitting such a player.

    As reported by Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated via a message from Rondo

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  • Manu Ginobili will play at least one more season with the Spurs

    Manu Ginobili will continue to thrill NBA fans for at least another year. (AFP Photo/Frederick Breedon)

    The San Antonio Spurs ended their season earlier than expected in a fashion that inspired many questions about the team’s future. For all the on-court issues surrounding their postseason exit, though, the long view of their Western Conference Semifinals Game 6 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder was that it could possibly serve as the final game for franchise legends and future Hall of Famers Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. The loss ended the greatest regular season in franchise history, but it also had the potential to close the books on a truly fantastic era of Spurs basketball.

    Duncan has yet to make an official decision on his status, but Ginobili looks set to come back to San Antonio for at least one more season. Manu, who turns 39 later this month, wrote Sunday that he intends to keep playing in the NBA. The post to his personal blog is in Spanish, but here’s the gist — Ginobili

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  • Can Dwight Howard reclaim his good name with the Atlanta Hawks?

    Dwight Howard will look to save his reputation in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    One of the most curious players on the 2016 free agent market came off the board Friday afternoon when the Atlanta Hawks agreed to terms with eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. As reported by The Vertical’s Shams Charania, Howard will make $70.5 million over three years, or just a tad more per-year than the $23.3 player option that Howard turned down to leave the Houston Rockets and become an unrestricted free agent. The 30-year-old center will return to his hometown of Atlanta in the hope of reclaiming the form that made him such a force with the Orlando Magic and a very popular free agent three summers ago.

    It must be said that Howard’s chances of making that happen look pretty negative. Howard receives more criticism than he deserves thanks to his disastrous season with Kobe Bryant and the general impression that he likes jokes and candy more than

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  • Mike Conley and Grizzlies agree to the biggest NBA contract ever

    MEMPHIS, TN – MARCH 6: Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies handles the ball during the game against the Phoenix Suns on March 6, 2016 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

    Before Friday, only two players in NBA history had made $30 million per year — Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. The first day of 2016 free agency brought a third … and he’s never made an All-Star team.

    As first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to terms with point guard Mike Conley on a five-year, $153-million deal that ranks as the richest in NBA history by total value. Conley’s deal is also the first contract over $100 million with an annual salary average of at least $30 million. Kevin Durant can match Conley’s deal this summer if he returns to the Oklahoma City Thunder on a five-year deal, but these terms will hold the record until next offseason barring a shocking move for a 10-year veteran.

    Conley’s new contract is yet another

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  • New cap inspires free agency sticker shock, no matter the logic

    Boston Celtics’ Evan Turner celebrates his future. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

    NBA fans have prepared for July 1, 2016 for more than 15 months, but the reality of the first day of free agency has brought shock and awe nonetheless. This one-time, unprecedented raising of the salary cap from $70 million to $94 million has opened up major money for every team for a relatively weak free-agent class. Apparently fearing getting left behind, many teams have acted quickly to tie up potential rotation players at dollar amounts and multi-year commitments that would typically have gone to essential starters in past offseasons.

    Plenty of deals have inspired near-instantaneous shock on social media. Take you pick from any of this group — Timofey Mozgov to the Los Angeles Lakers for $64 million over four years, Evan Turner to the Portland Trail Blazers for $70 million over four years, Joakim Noah to the New York Knicks for roughly the same as Turner, Solomon Hill to the New

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  • Huge DeRozan deal solidifies Raptors' return to relevance

    Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, left, controls the ball as Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James defends during the first half of Game 6 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Friday, May 27, 2016, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

     

    The Toronto Raptors had the franchise’s best-ever season in 2015-16, winning a record 56 games and reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time. They began a critical 2016 free agency period by locking up a homegrown All-Star for the long term, though perhaps at the expense of their long-term flexibility.

    As reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical, shooting guard DeMar DeRozan quickly agreed to terms to remain with the Raptors for five years and approximately $139 million. That dollar amount has not yet been finalized due to other offseason factors for Toronto, but DeRozan will certainly be under contract at a very high salary through his age-31 season in 2020-21.

    It is unquestionably good news for the

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