The Sacramento Kings have been planning and maneuvering for a couple of years to be active in the 2010 summer free-agency game.
Now, the beginning of the game is four days away and the options appear to be more hype than substance.
To which of these high-profile free agents - LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudamire, Dirk Nowitzky, Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer and even David Lee - would you give up every dollar of the created salary cap to join the Kings?
Wade and Nowitzky are the two ultimately expected to re-sign with their respective teams, Miami and Dallas.
The others, led by James, are expected to look for the biggest bucks along with what comprises the best situation for them.
Teams may begin negotiating with players on July 1, but cannot sign a player until July 8.
Kings President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie has said his team will explore all options. However, the team will try to use its money as intelligently as possible. That could mean keeping the money in the pocket.
That intelligence might just mean the Kings will hold onto its cap room through the summer and see if using it in a trade during the season might be more productive. When the Kings made moves to bring Vlade Divac into the mix, it was following the end of the last lockout in 1999.
There is expected to be another lockout following the 2010-11 season.
Here's the quick free-agent handicap with considerations of age, talent, leadership, health and heart:
Empty the Bank: James and Wade. Currently, the Kings have approximately $15 million in the coffers. That likely won't be enough to sign either on the basis of money alone.
However, if Cousins developed as the Kings hoped, the inclusion of either one of these stars plus good health would make Sacramento a contender for the next six or seven years.
No D, no Max: Amare Stoudamire is an amazing offensive performer, but his defensive commitment does not warrant getting all the money in the bank.
Moreover, Stoudamire will give up $17.7 million next season to become a free-agent. He's also going to leave point guard Steve Nash, who only gives him five to seven dunks/layups per game.
That just makes me wonder about his thinking.
No Post, no Max: Chris Bosh is a monster talent capable of providing production from many different areas. However, offensively, Bosh seems to do most of his damage with a jumper. Nor does he seem to want to be the man. His words point towards him looking to be the man playing next to The Man. That's not all bad, but at these prices, it's not good enough.
Too Old, no Max: Dirk Nowitzky just turned 32. His talents merit the big bucks, but his age says no. It makes sense for the Mavs to re-do his deal, but not the Kings.
Too Shaky, no Max: Joe Johnson had the opportunities to prove his worth as The Man during these past playoffs, but failed miserably. He's an excellent player, but not worth all the loot that's fit to print at this stage.
Close, but no Max: Carlos Boozer will be 29 in November and has shown the ability to be an able sidekick. Put him on a team with a capable center and strong lead guard and Boozer will be worth big bucks. Not the max, but he'll be able to get by on what he gets paid.
No Way, no Max: David Lee is a solid performer and likely would fit nicely on a number of different squads. Lee is a strong rebounder, runs the floor and can play the game well enough to earn close to double-digit millions annually in the right situation.
The Kings have enough money to be active through a sign and trade deal, but after waiting for a couple of years to get into this position, they will have to feel absolutely positive about making a move this summer.