|Posted on August 10, 2010 at 3:02 PM|
This summer has been crazy in terms of the number of trades and signings. I felt the need to brake it down for you into three sections - the teams who made a lot of good changes, the teams who made a lot of changes, but not necessarily good, and the teams who sat there and did nothing in a time of need.
The Miami Heat were very busy this summer, as you probably know, adding Lebron James and Chris Bosh to their roster while retaining Dwyane Wade to make possibly the greatest trio in sports history. They cleared up over 40-million dollars in cap room in order to make this unthinkable deal a reality. After using up almost all of their money managing to get these three stars (who had to accept limited pay-cuts) they only had four players under contract, Wade, Bosh, James, and Mario Chalmers. However, since practically every player in the NBA would want to play alongside this Big 3, they were able to sign shooter Mike Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Eddie House, and Udonis Haslem all to small amounts of money. The Heat have pulled off the impossible and have made themselves the clear frontrunners for NBA champions entering the season.
Lebron James clearly just wants to win championships, even if it involves piggy-backing on Dwyane Wade, making an event with the popularity of the Superbowl out of his decision, leaving the entire city of Cleveland in despair, and making every basketball fan in America besides Miami enraged at him. I personally think it is fine for players to do everything in their ability to win a title, Lebron just has to think before promising that he’ll bring a championship to Cleveland. Something that seems a little odd about this whole situation is that Wade, Bosh, and James were all drafted in 2003, and they all signed equal length contracts. I’m just putting out an idea that they may have been planning this all along.
The Miami Heat have completed the basketball equivalent of a royal flush and have gone from one superstar with a bunch of scrubs to three superstars with a bunch of solid role players. Thinking about three players playing together who, combined, averaged 81 points per game last season is scary. I don’t want to frighten you, so I’ll switch the topic.
The Bulls only lost two players, Hakim Warrick and Brad Miller, and managed to add former all-star Carlos Boozer and developing role players Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver. These acquisitions give rising star Derrick Rose the opportunity to have the ball in his hands knowing he has a presence inside in Boozer and shooters on the wings in Brewer and Korver. I like the Bulls to really make a push in the standings this season and thrive in the playoffs.
Los Angeles Lakers:
The NBA champions have gotten even better. They did loose Jordan Farmar, but were able to replace his energy off the bench by adding Matt Barnes from Orlando, and Steve Blake. Kobe Bryant has a way of getting his enemies to come to Hollywood. Two years ago, Kobe and Ron Artest got into a fight in the playoffs. Bryant then convinced the Lakers’ staff to sign Artest during the offseason, and Ron went on to be key in the Finals for Los Angeles. This past year, Matt Barnes got in multiple confrontations with Kobe during the season, and similar to Artest, Kobe convinced the Lakers’ management to sign Barnes. So basically, if you can’t beat Kobe (which few people can) then join him. In other words, since you can’t beat him, let him win you a ring. Anyway, Matt Barnes will improve their depth and hopefully help them three-peat.
The Celtics did everything they hoped to do. After loosing in game 7 of the NBA Finals with an old team, including many future free-agents, it seemed as if the Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett era was over. However, those skeptics were wrong. Boston managed to resign both 8-time all stars Pierce and Allen while adding even more veterans in centers Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal. These new acquisitions are great for the Celtics. The Celtics were second-to-last in the NBA in rebounding last season, so adding two seven-footers should help in that department.
Now Shaq will need a new nickname, so here are some possibilities; Bigger Papi, Shaqachusetts, The Jolly Green Giant, The Green Monster, The Big Leprechaun, and The Four Ring Clover.
Boston also retained their beloved head coach Doc Rivers for another season. They also resigned energetic bench player Nate Robinson who, along with Big Baby Glen Davis, was crucial throughout the playoffs. We shouldn’t count out the Celtics as contenders for next season. Wade, Bosh, and Lebron of the Heat are still young, and have never played together. But the Celtics (Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal, and Michael Finley) are an exact replica of the 2000 and 2002 All Star Game rosters (except for 2010 all-star Rajon Rondo). I’m willing to say that there’s a 30% chance that the Celtics will go farther in the postseason than the Heat this season.
I see the Jazz as not so much as making a serious improvement in their roster, it’s just that they’ve had the same players the past five or so years and always do well, but can’t make it to the conference finals. They decided to change things up a little this year by adding big man Al Jefferson as a replacement for big man Carlos Boozer, shooter Raja Bell as a replacement for shooter Kyle Korver, and rookie Gordon Hayward as a replacement for sophomore Wesley Matthews. I happen to like Al Jefferson a lot as a player, but I’m not sure how well he’ll work with star point guard Deron Williams since he is not as good at the pick-and-roll as Boozer. Al’s more of a post player. I love rookie Gordon Hayward. In the College basketball tournament, he showed leadership and courage by leading 5th seeded Butler out of their bracket and into the championship game. I think the Jazz could make this work with stellar play from point guard Deron Williams, and a breakout year from Hayward.
The Bucks were very active this summer in adding role players to surround the future of their franchise, Brandon Jennings. They got Drew (“I always find weird ways to change my beard”) Gooden, Corey (“You probably don’t know this, but I averaged 20 points per game last season”) Maggette, and Chris Douglas Roberts. These players will hopefully take the load off 20-year-old Brandon Jennings.
New York Knicks:
The Knicks took a similar path that the Utah Jazz took this summer. They had a solid core of players, but things just weren’t working, so they had to make some trades. They acquired Amare (“defense, what’s that?”) Stoudemire from the Suns which will finally give them a major scorer that will require a double-team, allowing shooters like Danilo Gallinari to rain three pointers. They got Raymond Felton, a legitimate point guard as opposed to Chris (“I dump more balls into the lane than a bowler”) Duhon. This all seems nice until you hear what they did next. They resigned rising star David Lee, but then decided to trade him for Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike, and Ronny Turiaf, all just okay players. Why sign-and-trade. Just sign! The David Lee project was going so well. The Knicks had finally made an all-star out of this guy, and then just decided to give him away. With that being said, I think the Knicks made some nice improvements this year but still have their eye on Carmelo Anthony, who will be a free-agent next summer.
The Somewhat Improved
The Mavs got their superstar Dirk Nowitzki back, which, to say the least, will help. They also traded their center Eric Dampier for Tyson Chandler, a slight improvement if you ask me. I think sophomore Rodrigue Beaubois from Guadeloupe will really improve like he did in last year’s playoffs and make a big impact.
Without Amare, the Suns are clearly no longer an elite team. However, they did manage to make it up somewhat by getting Hakim Warrick, Josh Childress, and Hedo Turkoglu. Robin Lopez, who I love because he hustles, will take over for Stoudemire at center. The Suns aren’t still rising, but they haven’t set yet. Likely what will become of the Suns is that Steve Nash will stay for a little longer to develop these young talents, and then move on to his rightful place in the world of basketball – the Hall of Fame.
Washington will have improved a lot by next season. Not to a playoff team, but still a lot. #1 draft pick John Wall will immediately become the leader of the team and will hopefully shine as he did in Summer League. The Wizards also acquired veteran Kirk Hinrich, and retained former all-star Josh Howard, who was injured most of last year.
Golden State Warriors:
Yeah, the Warriors lost five role players, but they got David Lee. He scored 20+ points per game with Chris Duhon, perhaps the worst starting point guard in the league. Imagine what he’ll do will young guns Steph Curry and Monte Ellis as the guards. Golden State also drafted another strong inside presence, Epke Udoh. I like them to possibly make the playoffs this year.
The Sacramento Kings added two major big guys. #5 overall pick Demarcus Cousins, and veteran Samuel Dalembert. This should be a nice opportunity for outstanding sophomore Tyreke Evans to work with good centers.
The Biggest Losers
Uh oh, they lost Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu and got nobody but 6th man Leandro Barbosa in return. Not much else to say. They’ve got a L O N G way to go with Demar Derozan as their leader.
They did nothing. Literally, they got no knew players besides rookies. Does that team still think they’re the team that made the Eastern Conference Finals five years in a row, because they’re not. They’re a team that came in last in their division and has a lot of low-potential players being tampered by injuries. They had to do at least something to rebuild and they flopped.
New Orleans Hornets:
It seems like it was just yesterday that Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler set the record for most alley-oops by a duo in one season, but that all ended when the Hornets traded away Chandler for who knows why. The Hornets dropped from an elite team to out of the playoffs. Chris Paul is a free-agent next year and will almost certainly leave, they have Emeka Okafor’s monstrous contract their hands, and they did absolutely nothing to help themselves.
They, of course, lost Lebron James. They also lost Delonte West, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Shaq. But, they lost something bigger. Cleveland is a city that has a basketball, baseball, and football team, and hasn’t ever won an NBA title or Superbowl, and hasn’t won a World Series in 62 years. This city had the best chance a city could ever have with Lebron James, and he quit on them. This city lost all hope. They already have a joke of a baseball team and a joke of a football team, and now, a joke of a basketball team. Great job, Lebron. You’ve enraged this entire city, and their anger is justified. You promised to win them a title. Then you stink it up, and leave just so you can win. The Cavs may very well be the worst team in the NBA next year, and had possibly the chance of a century at their first title wasted.
What do you think of my analysis? Do you have any predictions of your own? Please comment below.