When the clock strikes 12:01 a.m. tonight general managers across the country can officially open negotiations with free agents. After the jump I'll lay out my plan for the first NBA front office all-nighter of the Summer.
I've got my list of players all set, now it's time to rate exactly how much attention each one deserves, and when.
Marcin Gortat: The Polish Hammer doesn't get a phone call at 12:01, instead his doorbell rings. Tony DiLeo and I arrive with a cheesecake, a contract and a pen. We sit down with the Hammer, tell him about the great Polish community in Philly, we promise him starter's minutes and we offer him the full MLE for 3 or 4 years with a player option for another. He knows he's our #1 option in free agency, he knows we'll offer him as much as we possibly can, he knows what role (a big one) he's going to play on our team. He's my top priority.
Jason Kidd: I sneak into the bathroom at Gortat's Orlando estate to make a quick phone call to Kidd. "Jason, Ed Stefanski here. Listen, we realize you're going to have a couple of different offers out there, but I just want you to know we want you. We can offer a two-year deal, full MLE, with a team option for a third. You'll be the starting point and a coach on the floor for a playoff team in the East. Athletes all around you. Get a feel for your options, but keep us in mind. We'd love to have you."
Rasheed Wallace: At 12:10 I send Rasheed a video message, it plays the Rocky Theme when he opens it, and the Sixers announcer says, "Starting at Center, from North Carolina, #30, Ra-Sheed-Waaaaaaaaaaallll-ace!" Then a personal message from me saying, "Sheed, we'd love to have you come home to Philly to finish out your career. Keep us in mind, you'd be our starting center, a hometown hero!"
Mehmet Okur: At 12:15, Eddie Jordan picks up the phone from Philadelphia and calls Mehmet Okur. He spends the next 45 minutes explaining how Memo will have free reign to stick Js from all over the floor in the Princeton Offense. He'll tell Memo the P.O. was made for a skilled big like him. He'll get Memo buttered up for the harsh reality that there may not be more than an MLE offer out there for him, and our MLE is just as good as anyone else's. Okur did not opt out. Cross him off your list.
Andre Miller: At 12:20 one of the IT guys at PCOM is secretly posting an encrypted message on a top-secret message board. This is the only way to communicate with Miller in the offseason. Hopefully he'll get the message within a couple of days from his hibernation spot in an undisclosed beach location somewhere far away from Philadelphia. The message reads: "2 years, $16M."
Mike Bibby: Bibby gets a simple text message some time in the wee hours. "Mike, your dad doesn't work here anymore. The coast is clear. Give us a call if you're in the MLE ballpark in a couple of weeks."
Kevin Pritchard: After an exhausting evening, I give Pritchard a call from the plane on the way back to Philly. "Blake and who for Miller?"
Daryl Morey: Finally back at PCOM, it's time to talk geek with the Rockets' GM. I sit down with DiLeo on one side and Harvey Pollack on the other. Morey answers and I turn the floor over to Harvey, "Mr. Morey, did you know that teams who won the opening tip won 62% of games this season? Did you also know that Samuel Dalembert won 70% of opening tips?" At this point, I take over. "So, Daryl, tough break with Yao, huh? I hear you're looking to move McGrady..."
That would be my night if I was Ed Stefanski, how would you kick off free agency?