The lesson from the first 24 hours of free agency is that it's not just the superstars who are defining this market -- with too much cash chasing too little talent, teams are throwing themselves at whatever Hakim Warrick or Steve Blake they can get their mitts on, consequences be damned.
Which would leave about $120 million in cap space out on the market, chasing a bunch of players who aren't worth anywhere near that type of money.
What this means for Bobcats fans, of course, is that Tyrus Thomas and Raymond Felton, both being chased by multiple teams, will cost that much more. The likelihood of retaining both looks remote, and the chances of retaining either for just one year are near zero.
As I tweeted yesterday (follow me!), the Official Former Roommate of Rufus on Fire, a Nets fan, is salivating at the possibility one of his hated teams signs Felton for what he believes would be a ludicrous, but certainly possible, 4 years and $40 million total. The only way this doesn't happen is if teams simply sit on their money, which doesn't look like is happening. Taking price into account, I'd rather have Luke Ridnour, since he might be a better offensive player than Felton, or Shaun Livingston, who will be far cheaper. But if talent is a team's only concern, Felton is going to get more attention than Livingston, and his skill set will play better with some teams than Ridnour's. He's gonna get paid.
Given the choice, I don't know which one I'd want to keep at, say, 4 years $32 million, if I could only keep one. At a certain point -- and I'm going off the top of my head with what I suspect is true -- it's better for the team to pass on both, should they get that expensive. I'll lay it out there: I like TT more than Raymond. That said, if someone wants to pay him silly money for all the same reasons he was drafted fourth overall, well... that sucks for us. In a world in which Drew Gooden gets the full MLE, Tyrus Thomas probably thinks he's worth more than that, and he probably is worth more than Gooden, but that doesn't mean that Gooden's pay should determine Thomas's pay, or that Rudy Gay's pay should determine Felton's pay.
I guess what I'm getting at is that I'd like to invoke a variation of Michael Crabtree's logic: Just because other people are stupid and pay silly money for lesser players doesn't mean the market has been reset and Felton and Thomas are now worth Lamar Odom money. But that's what's going to happen. Cripes.