NBA Teams Making Major Offseason Moves
As the month of July opens up, the temperature isn't the only thing blistering hot. The offseason moves being made around the NBA are following suit. The draft is over, free-agent hunting season has begun, and teams around the Association are out to fix their glaring needs.
It is still early, but the game of free-agent musical chairs has already begun. Some teams, like the Lakers and Mavericks are plush with possibilities but have yet to make any moves. Others have quickly revamped their entire roster.
Here is a look at the teams who have made the most drastic changes thus far, and will likely be contenders in the upcoming season.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors' offseason began back in March, long before the season was over.
They dumped leading scorer Monta Ellis for seven-footer Andrew Bogut, adding much-needed size to an exceedingly small lineup. Bogut will be a presence down low, something the Warriors have lacked since Nate Thurmond. He is athletic, can shoot from the elbow and will feed off David Lee’s high post play and strong passing abilities.
Klay Thompson, the team's 2011 first-round pick, will play in the frontcourt with a healthy Stephen Curry. Restricted free agent Brandon Rush will add support behind Thompson if GM Bob Myers can keep him under contract, and NBA.com reports Golden State has been flirting with Brandon Roy to further solidify the 2-guard spot.
As far as the free agency goes, the Warriors will likely remain relatively quiet, according to beat writer Matt Steinmetz.
However, Golden State made a splash in the 2012 NBA draft, garnering them top marks from USA Today. The Dubs picked up stud small forward Harrison Barnes (who could start on opening night), big man Festus Ezeli (a potential top backup to Bogut and Lee), and forward Draymond Green (a proven leader who will be an effective rotation player).
For a long time, the Warriors have been a sorry excuse for a basketball team. But with their new additions, look for them to bring a 2006-type electricity.
When Boston fell to the Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the postgame atmosphere felt more like a high school graduation than a playoff game. Everyone was proud of what they accomplished and prepared for final send offs. As Gethin Coolbaugh, the regional editor for SB Nation Boston, recalled:
"Was this the last time we'd be seeing the Big Three together? It certainly looked, tasted and smelled like a goodbye. Rivers emotionally embracing Garnett, then choked up at his postgame press conference and patted Rondo on the back. Allen was very somber, definitely choked up, in his presser. Garnett didn't even stick around to talk to the media."
But it finally became apparent that the band isn't breaking up—it's just getting a new drummer. The Associated Press reports Ray Allen may be headed elsewhere (per Boston.com), but Kevin Garnett wasted no time in re-signing for three years and $34 million (per ESPN). They also added veteran Jason Terry to the mix for the next three years as reported by Yahoo! Sports.
As for the draft, the Celtics took two high-profile, but high-risk, picks in big men Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo. Even if they don't end up being stars in the league, they will be big bodies and effective defenders, similar to what Kendrick Perkins added to the lineup before departing for OKC.
Los Angeles Clippers
The prodigal son has returned.
Lamar Odom recently got traded to the Clippers, and will add support to Caron Butler and Blake Griffin defensively, as well as bring a needed three-point range. He could also be used as a facilitator and allow Chris Paul to work off the ball and set up for jumpers.
Despite Odom's reappearance, the real son of LA's rising franchise is the gravity-less Blake Griffin, who they locked down for five years and $95 million. He will remain the face of the franchise, hopefully alongside Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups, as they've both been contacted by the Clipper front office in regards to staying in LA (according to the LA Times).
The juiciest possible signing is still hot off of the rumor wire. According to NBA writer Alex Kennedy, the Clippers are aggressively pursuing Jamal Crawford, who recently opted out of his Portland contract. The team remains in advanced talks and will fly him out to California for a face-to-face.
They are having the type of offseason that the Lakers so desperately need, and will likely have the playoff potential that the Lakers so desperately want. There might be a new favorite basketball team in Los Angeles.
To go along with their new stadium and their new city is a whole new look to their lineup.
As reported by ESPN, the biggest news so far was their re-signing of this year's free-agent class belle Deron Williams who, although was still a restricted free agent, was being eyed by Mark Cuban and the Mavs. He will play in Brooklyn for $98 million and another five years. His decision came on the heels of the announcement that a Joe Johnson trade was being finalized (per Yahoo! Sports), and the All-Star would head to Brooklyn for virtually nothing but some role players and their expiring contracts.
And if these three moves weren't exciting enough, Orlando's big man is still a possibility to head to the Big Apple in a sign-and-trade deal for Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries (per ESPN). But the Dwight Howard talk is anything but set in stone.