Welcome, officially, to NBA free agency. Where is everybody? While Thursday was the first day players could sign with teams, nearly all the best players on the market have already been locked up. That includes the top free agent available, who wasn't really available, and the most prominent player ever to change his mind during the league's moratorium period. There have been plenty of other signings over the past two days. Let's take a look at what they mean.
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers (re-signed)
Contract: Two years, $47 million
What it means: LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. At minimum, based strictly on on-court value he's worth nearly double his maximum $23 million salary for next season. (My estimates peg his fair salary at about $44 million.) He was never leaving Cleveland this summer, and signing a one-year deal with a player option for 2016-17 allows him to hit the market again and make nearly $30 million.
What's next: The two remaining free agents from my top 35 projections at the start of free agency are both Cavaliers: J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson. Adding Mo Williams and having Brendan Haywood's non-guaranteed contract to use in a trade gives Cleveland some alternatives should Smith's contract demands become unreasonable. It's unlikely anyone else will sign Thompson to an offer sheet at this point, meaning the threat of signing the qualifying offer and becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer is his only real leverage.