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Sunday, 28 July 2019 14:40

Is Boston Back? Buzzards Make Free Agency Splash

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October 21, 2025 – Boston, MA: General Manager Jason Warnke and the rest of the Boston Brass have been vocal about playing the waiting game when it came time to their rebuild that they started in the 2022 season. Having a roster that was previously loaded with the large salary commitments to Michael Loftin and Patrick Jackson, the Buzzards had been patiently waiting to pounce during this year’s free agency period when over $36 million in cap space could be deployed on roster upgrades.

Some pundits around the league wondered if Warnke was simply playing lip service about all of the free agents that he would be targeting. Obviously, it is usually best to remain tight-lipped so that a franchise can strike mid-way through free agency to entice their target to defect from their former team and join yours. After seeing the offer sheets that Boston had issued, it was clear that GM Warnke was actually telling the truth about the team’s intentions:

“Usually we would not be so vocal about our moves,” commented Warnke. “This offseason was not an ordinary one, however. We had over $36 million of cap space, and we also wanted to bring back all three of our own free agents, who had enough Larry Bird Rights to take us back well over the cap. Our goal in loudly communicating our intentions was to put every team with top tier talent free agents on notice; We would be making significant offers to their stars – in order to keep these teams honest and have them lock up their own cap space so that it would reduce the amount of eyes on Drumm, Sims, and Herb.”

Of course such a strategy is a delicate balance of attracting the right talent to fill the gaping goals the Buzzards had in the post and not overpaying for Tier II talent – because should the strategy backfire not only do you overpay players but you may strike out on both Plan A [Sign Star(s)] and Plan B [bring back your own free agents].

The strategy nearly worked in its entirety, as Warnke was able to ink deals with both superstar center Darin Deans and the young phenom forward, Frank Gifford, fairly early into the free agency period to begin making bids on their own free agents. While several teams had been offering 35 year old swing forward Joseph Drumm between $4-7 million for 2-3 seasons, Boston was able to retain their veteran glue guy by offering a two-year, $10 million per season contract. The second year of the deal will be a team option, providing the Buzzards with the flexibility to opt-out should they need the cap space to retain Sheldon Perkins and Jesse Yoshida, two extremely important pieces to the Buzzard’s long-term plan.

Boston also had the opportunity to bring back both starting guard and defensive stopper John Sims as well as the very versatile power forward, Daniel Herb. Unfortunately, Sims defected to the Portland Lumberjacks and Herb to the roster depleted Las Vegas Blackjacks. Warnke commented:

“Our plan worked to a degree. After signing both Darin and Frank, however, we were not willing to commit more than about $9-10 million on Danny – who would have likely come off the bench again. We thought our negotiations with Daniel’s agent were going to be fruitful. At the last moment, Mr. Tessier from Vegas swooped in and provided Herb with a contract that he could not refuse – nor would we be willing to match. As for John Sims goes, that was a player we really would have enjoyed having back. While we may be deep at the 2 this year, John is a great clubhouse guy, a proven leader, and is among the best defenders at the guard position in the league. We probably should have worked harder to keep him in Beantown. I think we will be just fine with Yoshida & Hayward filling the void – but it would have been extra sweet to bring Sims back as well.”


                                        KEY ROSTER ADDITIONS



2024: 11.3ppg | 8.5rpg | 4.3bpg in 28.9mpg


There is no doubt that the Buzzards will be better in 2026. The addition of 30 year old Darin Deans alone is a massive upgrade that will plug the cavity in the paint that has existed in Boston since the Louis Lynse trade with Indiana. Some folks in the media have indicated that they believe Deans may have an opportunity to be First Team All-League Center this year. Only time will tell, but Deans’ 3.5+ blocks per night and solid post presence will be a welcome addition that will ‘stitch the ditch’ in downlow.


Warnke commented: "Deans and Jean Larry [London] were our two main targets. We knew that Tampa Bay was on the fence with regard to how much they were willing to offer Deans, and we knew Larry would likely return to London after being offered a super max from the GM Jian Lian of the Knights. So when we spoke with Darin's agent and confirmed he wanted to come to Boston we were stoked - he was exactly the missing piece we needed to plug the paint. Since we inked a deal so early in the free agency period, we were able to relax a bit and really think about what our next moves as a franchise should be.


New Contract: 5-year, $108,955,186 (5th year team option)



2024: 9.2ppg | 3.4rpg | 0.8apg in 14.2mpg


Once some of the big names such as Jean Larry and Gary Williams had signed elsewhere, the Buzzards turned their attention to the 24y/o prospect, Frank Gifford. Gifford, who helped the Kentucky Stallions reach the OBWL Finals last season, has yet to see more than 19 minutes per game in his still young career. However, Warnke and the Buzzards have reason to believe that Gifford will be ready to explode if given the chance to start every night. The agile young forward can score from anywhere on the court, rebounds well, and rarely fouls – all hallmarks that Warnke loves. The only question is whether or not he has the lungs to run up and down the court for 30 minutes a night. Gifford does appear slightly overweight despite the athleticism that he displays at times, and the trainers in Boston are hoping to get him down a few pounds prior to the season opener.


“More than likely, Frank will see some time starting at both the small and power forward slots,” Head Coach Allan Santos remarked. “We have had some closed-door practices and I have a feeling this kid is going to make a huge leap this season and surprise a lot of folks. I think Kentucky might regret losing this one.”


What is interesting is how many players the Stallions have lost over the years. One could essentially call them an “all-star incubator,” as players who are now household names such as Lenny Davis, Richard Burke II, and several others have defected to other teams due to either budgetary stresses or calculated team decisions. It really is remarkable that Kentucky continues to produce such studs – not to mention a Championship appearance last season to boot. The fans in Boston hope that Gifford may be that next household name. The franchise has certainly committed enough dollars toward him to turn heads.


New Contract: 5-year, $90,795,989 (5th year team option)



2024: 5.8ppg | 3.9rpg | 0.9bpg in 17.6 minutes


Boston inked their third and final free agent that will make the 2024 roster for the league minimum of $882,913. GM Warnke was surprised that the 26y/o Chris Spitz was getting literally no attention from other teams around the league and decided to extend an offer to try-out for the team. Spitz, since becoming the Detroit Muscle’s 9th overall selection in the 2021 Rookie Draft has quietly seen his playing time dwindle after starting all 80 games in his first season in the Motor City. Chris is another player that can score from any position on the court, including from beyond the three-point line. However, the Buzzards offered Spitz a contract for his solid post defense and ability to play in the post without fouling opponents. This signing could play out to be even more beneficial from a cost-benefit analysis since Gifford, who will be asked to play some power forward, has difficulty defending in the paint.


“We are thrilled that we have Chris on our team,” stated Warnke. “Our goal, should our suspicions prove correct, would be to use what small amount of cap space we have next season and extend Chris’ contract a few more seasons. I think he is a hidden gem that will pay huge dividends for us this season.


New Contract: League Minimum, 1 season


Overall, much of the Buzzards roster will look familiar as years past. The younger players such as Sheldon Perkins and Jesse Yoshida will be asked to take on a larger role in both the locker room and the offense. However, the additions of Deans, Gifford, and Spitz will provide a new look and feel to the team on both ends of the court. Rumors have already been swirling that Drumm’s days could be numbered, as the team may look to make a major trade to acquire an all-star caliber power forward to play beside Darin Deans. Fans are ecstatic that the season is just around the corner and the Buzzards may be back – as hope springs eternal this Fall that Boston may become one of the elite franchises in the National Conference once again.


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