While teams like the Nets, Hawks, Lakers, and Heat have made major personnel moves in the few days since the contract moratorium ended, there have been deals involving second- and third-tier players that could help turn middle-of-the-road teams into contenders or hurt them in the long run.
- Dallas signed forward Elton Brand (fresh off being amnestied by Philadelphia) and center Chris Kaman, while also trading for point guard Darren Collison, in the aftermath of losing both of their Jason’s – Kidd and Terry – and missing out on Deron Williams, the top free agent this offseason. While a Dirk Nowitzki/Brand/Kaman frontcourt isn’t exactly young, it’s definitely the most post-focused in the entire time that Nowitzki has been in Dallas. Collison, before his lackluster 2011 season, had career averages of 12.2 points, 5.4 assists, and 47% field goal shooting; he’ll easily become the starting point guard ahead of current Mavericks Dominique Jones and Rodrigue Beaubois.
- After being released by the Hornets following a trade from the Wizards, forward Rashard Lewis moved on to his third team of the offseason as he signed with the Heat. Along with the Ray Allen signing, Miami has increased their perimeter game and made the dribble-penetration of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade even harder to guard. If the 32-year old Lewis is able to play like he did in his final season in Seattle/first season in Orlando, the Heat could very well repeat as NBA champions next season. If he plays like he did last season, though, he could end up throwing away possessions; it’ll have to be a fine balancing act.
- While they gave every indication that they would match Houston’s $28 million offer sheet to overnight sensation Jeremy Lin, the Knicks recently traded Dan Gadzuric and Jared Jeffries for Kurt Thomas and Raymond Felton – a point guard. This would seemingly put the end to the very short-lived Lin experiment, not a very smart move when trying to keep fans interested and win games. Felton is a good player, but he’s also been on three teams in three years for a reason; he’s just an average guard. While no one is really sure of what Lin can be exactly, it doesn’t make sense to let him go and pick up a 39-year old Jason Kidd to go along with Felton in the backcourt. For a team that is seemingly all about keeping itself in the headlines, letting the media-attracting Lin go to the Rockets is a puzzling move.
- Despite his public comments that he loved the city of Phoenix and questioned New Orleans’ draft tactics, the Hornets matched the four-year, $58 million to star guard Eric Gordon. The former Clipper came to the team in December 2011 in the controversial Chris Paul trade and while he was able to play just nine games last season due to injury, his final season in LA saw him average 22.3 points and 4.4 assists, pretty good numbers in just his third season. Keeping him in New Orleans will give the team a very good, young core of Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Austin Rivers, Anthony Davis, and recently acquired Ryan Anderson. They aren’t likely a playoff team yet, but they should be much better than last year’s squad.
- In my opinion, the Sixers will likely take a step back this season after using their amnesty provision to rid themselves of the rest of forward Elton Brand’s contract. Letting him go isn’t necessarily the reason that I think they’ll regress; it’s what they’re doing with the new cap space. With Brand gone, they resigned resurgent forward Spencer Hawes (a key component in last year’s playoff run), but also gave contracts to a volume-shooting guard who shot just 43% (Nick Young) last year and a center who has been considered a bust since he was drafted #1 overall in 2001 (Kwame Brown). They also traded for Dorell Wright, a three-point shooting small forward; the same position that team cornerstones Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner play. Bit of a repetitive move for the team.
With the free agency period just getting started, there are likely to be more moves to be made this offseason. What do you think of the recent moves thus far?
Tags: Chris Kaman Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki Elton Brand Eric Gordon Jason Kidd Jeremy Lin Kwame Brown Lebron James Miami Heat New Orleans Hornets New York Knicks Nick Young Philadelphia 76ers Rashard Lewis Ray Allen Raymond Felton Spencer Hawes