NBA Free Agency: 5 Championship-Caliber Teams That Need Improvement

Devin Noonan@@devinnoonanCorrespondent IIIJune 5, 2012

NBA Free Agency: 5 Championship-Caliber Teams That Need Improvement

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    The NBA Free Agent market is chock full of talent in 2012.

    With just a month left in the NBA Playoffs, most teams are already evaluating their roster needs and setting their sights on filling in the gaps.

    The NBA Draft will help some teams fill voids, but there are a few teams that are missing just a piece or two that could potentially win them a championship in 2012-13.

    Here's a look at some possible championship contenders with the right offseason acquisitions. 

Indiana Pacers

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    The Indiana Pacers gave the Miami Heat a run for their money in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Danny Granger, David West, and Paul George will all be back next year.

    The first order of business will be the signing of Roy Hibbert, who is developing phenomenally.

    The second is keeping George Hill in his hometown, considering he averaged nearly 10 points per game last season and played even better in the playoffs.

    The aforementioned, however, simply puts the Indiana Pacers right back where they were last year.

    What they need to do is add a big-time scorer from free agency to solidify their team. Look for them to pursue shooting guard Eric Gordon to fill this vacancy.

    Eric Gordon averaged over 20 points per game over the past two seasons. Despite being injured nearly all of 2012, the Pacers should be expected make a serious run at this 23-year-old hometown star.

Memphis Grizzlies

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    The Memphis Grizzlies should have made it out of the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs.

    Unfortunately they did not, likely due to the fact that they lack perimeter shooting.

    Zack Randolph, Rudy Gay, and Marc Gasol will remain the core to build around.

    Mike Conley is not a bad point guard and Tony Allen can be improved upon at shooting guard.

    The Grizzlies need to bring in a three-point threat in order to make a deep run in the playoffs next year. Players such as Ray Allen, Randy Foye, Steve Novak, or Ersan Ilyasova could fill the void.

    Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, or Steve Nash could provide perimeter support while also offering much needed assistance at the point guard position as well.

Atlanta Hawks

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    The Atlanta Hawks have been a consistent playoff squad for the past five years, yet they lack the extra push needed to bring home a ring.

    Josh Smith and Joe Johnson are ready to win, but they are in desperate need of some help.

    A healthy Al Horford should provide good presence down low with Josh Smith next season.

    Jeff Teague is only going to get better at the point guard slot, so they would be foolish not to keep him around.

    What the team really needs is a quality veteran scorer to come in and help produce off the bench.

    This is the position where a player like Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, or Mo Williams could come in handy. Heck, it wouldn't even hurt to bring in Steve Nash to work in conjunction with Jeff Teague and help the youngster develop for a year or two.

    If they can add a veteran role-player with scoring potential, their team will have championship potential.

Los Angeles Clippers

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    Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are quality athletes to build a team around.

    The Los Angeles Clippers made just their second playoff run in the past fifteen years in 2011-12. You can put money on them returning next year as well.

    The Clippers need to re-sign either Randy Foye or Nick Young to come back at shooting guard.

    Re-signing Kenyon Martin to help out Blake Griffin off the bench wouldn't be a bad option either, if he'll sign for the right price.

    Their one other major need is another big-man. DeAndre Jordan has played well, but they need someone off the bench with some size to help solidify this squad.

    Look for them to try and make a move for affordable big men such as Jared Jeffries, Joel Pryzbilla, or even the injury-prone Greg Oden.

New York Knicks

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    The New York Knicks have a few superstars in Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler.

    Now they need someone to distribute the ball.

    It is likely that we'll see Jeremy Lin back in blue-and-orange next year after the splash he made in New York this past season. Hopefully that solves the point guard problems.

    If the Knicks can also retain Steve Novak they'll benefit from having an excellent perimeter threat coming off the bench.

    The team will likely look toward the draft to find a big man to offer some support down low, and with a mid-second round pick they may want to consider Robert Sacre from Gonzaga or Henry Sims from Georgetown.