The Finals are over and the excitement has subsided, right? Not quite. The off-season is just as important as the regular season nowadays & the summer league oft displays who will become an elite level player in the upcoming year.
…but first, let’s look at some of the moves that have been made since the Heat were crowned the champs back in June. Free agency kicked off with a few big splashes but there have been some deals that although they have gone under the radar may prove to be key acquisitions for contenders as well as upstart clubs.
Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks started the off-season by re-signing Kyle Korver, losing Josh Smith to the Pistons and acquiring Paul Milsap from the Jazz. Reserve Devin Harris also bolted for Dallas & Jeff Teague still hasn’t had a contract discussion with management as of yet. Larry Drew, new head coach of the Bucks is very fond of the Teague and is looking to bring him to Milwaukee in a possible sign and trade for Monta Ellis. No deals have been presented at this time. Zaza Pachulia also left with Drew to experience that Wisconsin weather next season.
Elton Brand signs 2 year deal with the Hawks.
Hawks will match offer that the Bucks made to Jeff Teague for 4 years $32 million.
Brooklyn Nets – The Nets did the bulk of their heavy lifting on draft day by acquiring veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry. In the past few days they have also re-signed Andray Blatche to a one year deal & picked up Shaun Livingston to backup D-Will.
Boston Celtics – The Celtics basically blew their entire team up, leaving Rondo, Green, Bass, Bradley and Lee as the core guys on the team. Rookie Kelly Olynk looked great and efficient is his first summer league game but that is the only bright spot on this roster right now and with a new coach in Brad Stevens the Celtics are officially in rebuilding mode.
Charlotte Bobcats – Jordan and the Bobcats may actually be tired of mediocrity. By signing Al Jefferson to a 3 year $41 million deal Charlotte has solidified a post presence in Carolina and with Gordon opting into his contract and the club set on matching any offers for Henderson, the team is making a push to climb out of the bottom of the barrel. Kemba is improving and draft pick Cody Zeller could become a stretch 4 in the league. Still several players away from becoming a solid team but a definite step in the right direction for the Cats.
Chicago Bulls – Obviously the biggest acquisition for Chicago is the return of Derrick Rose to the starting lineup who still isn’t 100% but nonetheless is confident he will be ready for the season. Mike Dunleavy recently signed with the Bulls while Rip Hamilton was waived. However, it looks like Nate Robinson who is looking for a nice payday after his efforts in the postseason will not return to the team after a very low veteran offer was made to him late last week. Draft day brings Tony Snell and Erik Murphy to the team. Snell may be able to crack the rotation, especially if Luol Deng returns to the trading block. No extension has been discussed between the two sides as of yet.
Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs got word from Marreese Speights that he was declining his $4.5 million player option to become a free agent. Then signed Earl Clark to a 2 year deal, drafted Anthony Bennett with the number pick and acquired Jarrett Jack from the Warriors for the next 4 years. Wayne Ellington is expected to seek other options after his qualifying offer was declined but the Cavs have about $15-19 million left and hope to use it to entice Andrew Bynum to the team.
7/9/2013 – Cavs offer Bynum 2 year/$24 million deal.
Dallas Mavericks – The Mavs signed Jose Calderon and Devin Harris to deals this week to stock up on guards. Brand still hasn’t re-signed and is looking at the Knicks as a possibility. Bynum and Kaman have been getting calls from Cuban but neither has made a decision to join the club. With Shane Larkin on team the Mavs are log-jammed at the guard spot with 6 point guards and 5 shooting guards on the roster at the moment.
Devin Harris did not pass a physical due to a dislocated toe. He will not be signed by the Mavericks and will be out up to 3 months.
Monta Ellis has been signed on a 3 year deal worth up to $30 million.
Shane Larkin fractured his ankle in practice and will miss the next 3 months.
Denver Nuggets – Denver hired Brian Shaw. Let Andre Iguodala go. Signed JJ Hickson to a multi-year deal and swapped Koufos for Darrell Arthur. With the departure of George Karl Denver will decide to trade Andre Miller. Corey Brewer may be headed to the Rockets as well but nothing has materialized thus far. Timofey Mozgov has been offered a 4 year deal by a Russian team and is undecided whether or not he will play next year in the NBA but has notified the Nuggets he will be playing for his Russian national team in the Euro-league in September.
Via the Iguodala trade Randy Foye has been shipped to Denver.
Detroit Pistons – The Big D drafted Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with the 8th pick. Signed free agent Josh Smith to a huge 4 year deal & pretty much stopped there. Stuckey will be back for another season but no other moves have happened as of yet. After losing Calderon the Pistons aren’t in great shape right now. Curious to see what Joe Dumars has up his sleeve but another season of mediocrity may spell his demise.
7/9/2013 – Will Bynum agrees to 2 year/$5.6 million deal to stay with Pistons
Chauncey Billups signs with the Pistons on a 2 year deal.
Golden State Warriors – GS lost Jarrett Jack to the Cavs and Carl Landry to the Kings. They did however sign Andre Iguodala to a 4 year deal. Iggy may be an upgrade to Jack but losing Landry may really hurt the Warriors in the post. Doesn’t look like this team is done making moves but if they don’t acquire another big that can maneuver in the paint they will be in trouble in the West. Mark Jackson is high on the stretch 4 system but in the Western Conference having a true power forward is a requirement for a playoff run.
7/8/2013: Warriors sign Marresse Speights to a 3 year deal. Terms of deal undisclosed as of yet.
Houston Rockets – Dwight Howard. Duh. You may have heard by now that Dwight chose the Rockets over returning to the Lakers. In other news, Houston has signed Omri Casspi from the Cavs to a 2 year deal. Re-signed Garcia and Parsons. In recent days Lin has been on the trading block in attempts to acquire another star player such as Josh Smith but with Smith in Detroit now Lin’s retaining is up in the air. Omer Asik has expressed extreme disdain for playing alongside Howard but Houston has made it known they do not plan to trade Asik at all. However, talks of Asik to the Pelicans for stretch 4 Ryan Anderson have surfaced but no discussions have formally taken place. Unlikely that Asik will remain in Houston but you can never have too many useful bigs in this league.
Indiana Pacers – Indy drafted Solomon Hill. Signed Knicks reserve Chris Copeland and backup CJ Watson to contracts. Will likely let Tyler Hansborough go but took care of business by re-upping with David West for multiple years. Also signed point guard Donald Sloan. Looks like Sam Young and Gerald Green will be waived or dealt before the season begins as well as losing DJ Augustin to free agency. With the resurgence of Larry Bird in the front office more deals are bound to happen and if Danny Granger can prove to be healthy this Pacer team may be able to return to the conference semi-finals at minimum.
Los Angeles Clippers – What can I say? Wow! The Clippers started the off-season by hiring Doc Rivers as Head coach and extending Chris Paul to a five year deal. Then they dealt Eric Bledose and Caron Butler to the Suns and got JJ Redick and Jared Dudley in return. Also signed Darren Collison at backup point who had his best season in New Orleans behind Paul. Re-signed Matt Barnes to a multi-year deal which is important to the structure of LA’s bench. Re-signed Ryan Hollins to a one year deal and are the likely suitor for Antawn Jamison who is expected to make a decision in the next few days on his future. Right now the Clippers appear to be one of the major winners of the off-season.
Los Angeles Lakers – In contrast to the team across the hall; the Lakers look horrible. Kobe is hurt. Nash is hobbled. Dwight is gone. Metta World Peace may be amnestied. Chris Kaman may possibly sign with the Lakers but they’re not first or second on his wishlist. Overall the Lakers are several moves away from competing, let alone the playoffs.
7/8/2013: Chris Kaman signs one year deal with Lakers as expected. Metta World Peace will be amnestied as reported.
Memphis Grizzlies – Memphis got a steal by drafting jack of all trades Jamaal Franklin late in the draft. They re-signed Tony Allen whose defense is top-notch on the wing. Traded Arthur for Koufos to backup Gasol and signed Jon Leuer. Bayless opted to return to the Grizzlies as well. Austin Daye was not extended a qualifying offer. Memphis still must acquire some shooters. Anthony Morrow is a possibility at the moment as he looks for a team and situation conducive for him but a few other teams are higher up on his list of possible targets.
Miami Heat – The Heat did close to nothing. Their lone pick in the draft was James Ennis who showed he has some game in his first summer league appearance but the Heat roster appears to be in tact for the upcoming season. Ennis will be lucky if he even gets to meet the Big 3. NBDL likely his next stop.
Minnesota Timberwolves – I personally like what the Wolves are putting together in Minnesota. Signing Kevin Martin to a multi-year deal, drafting Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng and Lorenzo Brown as well as re-signing Chase Budinger are all great moves for this team that will get a healthy Rubio and Kevin Love back for camp. With Barea and Shved still in the mix and Pekovic being offered a solid deal which he’ll likely accept the Wolves are close to being where they need to be. Kirilenko probably won’t be back next season but this team needs to focus on acquiring another shooter for it’s bench. Overall, Minnesota should be an exciting young team to watch next season.
Milwaukee Bucks – Bucks got rid of Redick. Acquired OJ Mayo and Zaza Pachulia and will likely lose Monta Ellis to free agency. Brandon Jennings is still uncertain whether or not he will return but it won’t be because the Bucks aren’t trying. Bucks front office is looking to get rid of Gooden’s massive contract so he may be amnestied and re-signing Dalembert or completing a sign and trade should take place at some point. Ilyasova is emerging as a great player but Bucks can still upgrade at the 3. Mbah a Moute is an average player but Larry Drew may want a more potent scorer at that position. Maybe Luol Deng. Who knows?
New Orleans Pelicans – The Pelicans changed their name and their backcourt all in a few weeks. After drafting Nerlens Noel and trading him on draft night to acquire All-Star guard Jrue Holiday to pair alongside Eric Gordon they shipped Greivis Vasquez to Sacramento for Tyreke Evans. Draft pick Jason Withey will likely crack the rotation due to NO’s lack of size in the paint. Aminu has agreed to a one year deal as well. Evans has stressed that he does not want to play any version of the small forward position but with Jrue and Gordon at the 1 & 2 he’ll either log minutes at the 3 or concede to Aminu and spell Holiday and Gordon when they need a rest as sixth man. After signing for $44 million I can’t see Tyreke being used as a bench player in any capacity. We shall see.
New York Knicks – Knicks traded Marcus Camby and sniper Steve Novak to the Raptors………yeah, the Raptors for Andrea Bargnani. New York is bent on acquiring a stretch 4 and although 7 foot, Bargnani is a shooter and not a banger. Knicks also re-signed JR Smith to a 4 year $24.7 million deal and Prigioni to a 3 year $6 million deal. Carmelo has been reportedly planning to train with Olajuwon this summer as more and more players are deciding to work on their post moves now. Knicks are in talks to acquire Elton Brand who hasn’t made a decision yet but Knicks are far from done making moves if they want to be a serious contender come next June. With their lone draft pick this season they selected Tim Hardaway Jr with the 24th pick and he may be able to be an instant contributor. Well, the Knicks are banking on it. Spike was very happy with this pick on draft night so let’s see what happens.
Metta World Peace was amnestied by the Lakers and signed by the Knicks on a 2 year $4 million deal.
Oklahoma City Thunder – At this point, OKc has done nothing but lose Kevin Martin to free agency and discuss bringing back Derek Fisher. Draft picks Grant Jerrett and Steven Adams both played in the first summer league game. Jarrett was solid. Adams had two points. The only positive was Dwight Buycks aggressive play at the point with 12 points and 13 assists but he likely won’t make the Thunder’s team. Jeremy Lamb who will most likely attempt to fill Martin’s role shot 5-16 for 15 points in 31 minutes but showed a lot of confidence and looked comfortable. Not sold on his ability to contribute on a consistent basis just yet.
Orlando Magic – Magic drafted Victor Oladipo. That’s what matters. In his first summer league game he wow’d the press by tallying 18 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. He looked NBA ready and logged a lot of minutes at point guard. His team won and he was pesky on defense. Moe Harkless also looked noticeably bigger in terms of weight and strength and had an impressive outing. Other than that, nothing else has taken place in Orlando. Aaron Afflalo may be out the door. Hopefully the Magic can get something for him.
Philadelphia 76ers – The Sixers made headlines on draft night by trading away a proven All-Star in Jrue Holiday for injured freshman Nerlens Noel with the 6th pick. Then they drafted Michael Carter-Williams and the move didn’t seem as bad. In MCW’s debut summer league game he scorer 26 points on 8-23 shooting and 10-11 from the line. He had 9 turnovers (6 in first hakf) but settled down in the second half. He showed knack for getting to the bucket and drawing fouls as well as making the right passes. At times he threw lackadaisical passes that were intercepted, deflected or plain ole bad but his upside is comforting. Still no word on when Noel will step foot on the floor but for now all eyes are on MCW. Temple guard Khalif Wyatt also played in the game as well and shot 5-10 from the field for 10 points. He looked very comfortable handling the ball and did okay guarding faster players. Got called for several fouls but for a first game he and MCW were all the fire power the Sixers team possessed.
Phoenix Suns – Suns drafted Alex Len. Then acquired Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler for Jared Dudley. Gortat still has not committed to the Suns yet and Jermaine O’Neal may not return if the Warriors or Mavericks come knocking at his door. Phoenix is clearly in rebuilding mode but with Dragic and Bledsoe in the backcourt they’re set for the future for now.
Portland Trail Blazers – Blazers drafted CJ McCollum & Allen Crabbe then signed Dorell Wright away from Philadelphia. Earl Watson recently agree to terms with the Blazers also but Portland lost JJ Hickson to the Nuggets and look very light at the 4-5 spot. Thomas Robinson is on the roster but you don’t know what you’ll get from the second player at all. This team has a lot of work to do and last year their bench was atrocious so that needs to be addressed immediately if they want to contend on any level this season.
San Antonio Spurs – Tiago re-signed. Manu got 2 more years. Marco Belinelli came over from Chicago and it looks like Gary Neal will seek a payday wit another team in lieu of his postseason shooting display in the Finals. Diaw also re-signed and the Spurs picked up Jeff Pendergraph at the 4 spot. Somehow Pop will make this team work.
Sacramento Kings – Evans is gone. Greivis Vasquez will take over at point. Ben McLemore will get acclimated at the SG and Carl Landry drove over from Golden State’s locker room to join the party. I think Sacramento has some good tools with Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton able to score. Salmons at the 3 and Cousins patrolling the paint. If this team can defend they will definitely put the points to keep games competitive. Stay tuned.
Toronto Raptors – The Raptors hired Ujiri and got rid of Colangelo. Traded Bargnani for Steve Novak and Marcus Camby. They can’t get rid of Amir Johnson’s contract and Rudy’s may be too high to force on another team so this team is stuck for the moment trying to figure things out.
Utah Jazz – This team lost it’s two best players to free agency. Paul Milsap and Al Jefferson. They still have Derrick Favors and Ener Kanter though. Mo Williams may stay while Trey Burke learns the NBA game but this team has some work to do. The Jazz acquired Brandon Rush, Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins via trades but it’s uncertain if they will have roles on this team. Good luck to Ty Corbin. He’s gonna need it.
Washington Wizards – I’m actually optimistic about this team. They drafted Otto Porter Jr. with the third pick keeping him in DC where he is comfortable since he went to Georgetown. They re-signed Webster to a lofty deal and added Eric Maynor to the mix. Picked up Glen Rice Jr. as well as a kept Barbosa on the roster. If this team can play some defense in the East they probably still won’t make the playoffs but they have all the pieces to make a splash in the league. Coaching is important for this team and John Wall better start doing some heavy lifting because Washington will be on his shoulders all 82.
Keep coming back for updates and trades as they happen.