NBA Free Agents 2012: Summer's Winners and Losers

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJuly 5, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts late in the fourth quarter while taking on the Denver Nuggets in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2012 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Dwight Howard hasn't been shipped from Orlando yet, but there's still been considerable movement throughout the NBA so far.

Some teams have seen their lofty expectations get shot down during free agency, while others have emerged from the depths.

Here's a look at how teams have fared so far in the wacky world of the National Basketball Association.



Los Angeles Lakers: A

There's no telling right now how Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant will mesh, but the point is, they got Steve Nash (ESPN).

Nash still isn't the defender at point guard the Lakers have been looking for, but he does pretty much everything else you could ask for from a floor general. He's one of the all-time greats—with his passing, court vision and shooting efficiency—and the Lakers would have been crazy not to go after him.

Landing Nash also opens up the doorway for Howard. That's not saying he'll ultimately sign with Los Angeles, but, c'mon, playing with Nash and Bryant with the potential to be called the next Shaquille O'Neal?

It doesn't sound like that hard of a decision to me.

The Lakers have already greatly impacted their odds to contend next season, regardless of where Howard ends up. 


New Jersey Nets: A

Somehow the Nets convinced Deron Williams to stay and not go to the Dallas Mavericks.

Well, they did offer him nearly $100 million, but, still, a team that went 22-44 last season somehow got one of the best point guards in the league to stay (ESPN).

Beyond that, the Nets re-signed forward Gerald Wallace, traded for All-Star Joe Johnson, kept MarShon Brooks, somehow signed Bosnian forward Mirza Teletovic to the taxpayer mid-level (saving them $6 million over three years) and, oh yeah, they still have a shot at Howard (CBS Sports).

The Nets haven't exactly been the most respectable organization throughout the years, but they appear to be turning the corner.



Dallas Mavericks: F 

How the tide turns. One day you're a gunslinger celebrating glory, the next you're getting shot down from your high horse.

After winning the title two seasons ago, things have steadily gotten worse for the Mavericks, and now we may be looking at a rebuilding team.

After losing J.J. Barea last offseason, it now looks like the Mavericks are going to lose Jason Terry to the Boston Celtics and Jason Kidd to the New York Knicks, and they lost the Deron Williams Sweepstakes (ESPN).

The worst part about it is, they don't have anyone to replace Terry and Kidd at the moment (unless they want to make Rodrigue Beaubois a starter and throw rookies Jared Cunningham and Darius Johnson-Odom into the fire). 


Houston Rockets: C- 

The Rockets sure have made a lot of transactions already, but that doesn't really mean anything if it doesn't move them forward.

OK, the Rockets could land Omer Asik, and they could land Jeremy Lin, but the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks have said keeping Asik and Lin respectively is a priority this offseason, so the Rockets could very well walk away with nothing (Sports Illustrated).

On top of that, they curiously traded away talented starting point guard Kyle Lowry and lost Goran Dragic to the Phoenix Suns (USA Today).

They also have a logjam of forwards, so basically, they have depth in the frontcourt and nothing at point guard.

Of course, if they land Howard miraculously, all of this will be forgotten, but, again, that's a big "if" at this point.


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