SINGAPORE - The upcoming NBA free agency period, and the prospect of a new LeBron James-led team, is causing mixed feelings among rival players.
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer said Monday a team led by James, and including a few of his fellow all-star free agents, could dominate the NBA for years to come.
Along with two-time most valuable player James, all-stars Dwyane Wade of Miami Toronto's Chris Bosh and Atlanta's Joe Johnson become free agents Thursday, sparking speculation some of those players could join forces to create a new force in the NBA.
"If two or three of those guys go to the same team, it could be trouble for the rest of us," said Brewer, who is in Singapore as part of a delegation of NBA players and coaches conducting a basketball clinic. "It could go from the Lakers being up here to, uh oh, there's some competition."
James, 25, could stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which can offer him up to US$30 million more than any other team on a maximum-length contract and is the only team he's played for in his seven-year career.
But James has never won a championship, and the Cavs lost in the second round of last season's playoffs to the Boston Celtics, who eventually lost in the finals to the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Rumours have grown in recent days that James and Bosh may sign with the Chicago Bulls, teaming with young stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
"That would be an unbelievable team, that would be a really tough team to beat," Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza, also in Singapore, said. "If we spread the wealth instead of putting it all in one place, I think it would be better for the NBA."
Bulls forward Taj Gibson said he talked regularly with James during the season and would enjoy playing with him and Bosh.
"It would be a great thing to see," said Gibson, who just completed his rookie season. "We got a bunch of young talent. The sky's the limit."
This year's free agents are being heralded as the most talented in league history and teams have been preparing for years by lowering spending so they have enough money to offer James and others.
"We're never going to see a free agent class like this again," Sacramento Kings guard Francisco Garcia said. "I hope they don't all go together so we can win some more games."
All the players said they were trading rumours and speculation among each other about where the top players may sign, but like fans all over the world, they'll have to wait until at least Thursday to find out what happens.
"We talk about it all the time, but we don't know," said all-star centre Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks. "I really want to see what's going to happen with D-Wade, with Bosh, with all those guys.
"One way or another, it's going to change the league."