NBA Free Agents 2012: Teams Whose 2012 NBA Offseason Will Haunt Them for Years

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2012

Will Dirk and the Mavericks fade from the playoffs after this summer?
Will Dirk and the Mavericks fade from the playoffs after this summer?Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

This summer has already proven to be a productive one for more than a few teams.

The Brooklyn Nets acquired All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks and appear to be on the verge of landing the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard. The Los Angeles Lakers instantly turned their point guard spot from a liability into a strength in a sign-and-trade deal for Steve Nash.

And the Miami Heat proved they weren't content with just one title by reaching an agreement with free agent veteran Ray Allen.

Meanwhile, clubs like the New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers made the most of a deep draft by adding multiple first-round picks to rosters in need of a reboot.

The Atlanta Hawks added by subtraction with the Johnson trade and cleared enough cap room to surround Josh Smith, Al Horford and Jeff Teague with similar young impact players.

Unfortunately, this hasn't been an ideal offseason for every general manager. Here are a few organizations that might regret their decisions for some time to come.


Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland passed up the best-available talent in June's draft in order to fill a position of need. Had the Cavs taken Kansas' Thomas Robinson with the fourth pick, it may have created a log-jam with second-year power forward Tristan Thompson—a problem easily solved by a trade that would have returned equal value.

Instead, the rebuilding club elected to take Syracuse's Dion Waiters in order to solve a desperate need at the shooting guard position. Waiters may turn out to be special, but he isn't nearly as sure of a thing as Robinson.

If Waiters doesn't fulfill his potential, this could be an offseason to forget.


Dallas Mavericks

Mark Cuban rolled the dice in the hope that he could persuade free agent Deron Williams to return to his native Texas.

So much for that.

Now the Mavericks are flush with some cap space and little worth spending it on. The rest of Dallas' roster appears to be a borderline playoff team at best. As a successful businessman, Cuban understands as well as anyone that gambles don't always pay off. He may understand that even better now.

Of course Dallas could turn things around next summer when there may be an even more promising free-agent class that includes the likes of Chris Paul. Another swing-and-miss could subject Mavericks fans to one of the most painful post-title rebuilding scenarios in recent memory.


Houston Rockets

As productive as the Rockets have been, it's hard to ignore a couple of decisions that have been more than a little counterproductive.

The Rockets lost much-improved point guard Goran Dragic to the Suns, traded the highly valuable Kyle Lowry to the Toronto Raptors and appear to have whiffed on their attempt to land restricted free agent Jeremy Lin.

Houston may fill its point guard needs with former Rocket Aaron Brooks, and that wouldn't be a disaster. But, it's not the most reassuring consolation prize given who's departed the roster.

The franchise may find itself in good shape over time thanks to retaining some cap flexibility, but it could very well have its share of regrets instead.


Memphis Grizzlies

This team should have been handling O.J. Mayo's situation differently for a while now, but letting him walk as a free agent is easily the worst move of all. 

The 24-year-old showed a world of upside in his first two seasons before being relegated to sixth-man duty in his third and fourth seasons. By all indications, Mayo handled the situation professionally even though his performance on the court began to suffer.

Memphis may have had difficulty holding on to the entirety of its core, but it's hard to argue that Zach Randolph is a better long-term investment than Mayo.