NBA Free Agents 2012: Dissecting Fact and Fiction Regarding Top Rumors

Ross Bentley@@imrossbentleySenior Analyst IJuly 10, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic reacts to a missed free-throw during the game against the Miami Heat at Amway Center on March 13, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  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 Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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In many ways, the NBA offseason can be even more dramatic than the NBA season.

Ever since the Heat were crowned champions, there have been non-stop rumors, trades, signings and all the rest of the fun that comes from the offseason.

Already we've seen Deron Williams stay and Joe Johnson get traded to Brooklyn, Steve Nash get moved to the Lakers and the Dwight Howard saga get more and more messy every day. 

But what will stick for next year? Who is really improving their roster and what additions will turn out to be busts? 

Here is my take on what's fact and what's fiction from the NBA free agency period so far.

FACT: Dwight Howard will be traded to the Nets

Despite the Hawks and other teams trying to make last minute efforts in trading for Orlando's All-Star center Dwight Howard, it is clear that in the end he has handcuffed the Magic enough to get his way and be traded to the Brooklyn Nets.

Howard has shown tremendous immaturity in this situation and is quickly becoming one of the least popular superstars in the league. 

Howard signed his extension with the Magic but now wants to be traded to the Nets. Also, he originally had a list of only five teams he would accept being traded to, which put the Magic in a tough situation to begin with, and now he says he only wants to play for Brooklyn.

The fact is there are enough pieces involved for the Magic and Nets to complete this move, and soon. 

A third, and probably fourth team will be needed to iron out the details, but in the end the Nets will get Howard, the Magic will get first-round picks and Brook Lopez, and Kris Humphries and Marshon Brooks will be playing elsewhere.

Expect this deal to be done within the next 48 hours so that the Magic can finally end the disaster that has been the Dwight Howard saga and move on with their franchise without Howard dictating every move.

FICTION: The Knicks have drastically improved their roster this offseason

Sorry Knicks fans, but at the end of the day, New York is not in that much different of a position than it was when it was knocked out of the playoffs by the Heat last season.

The ESPN-reported additions of Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby would make all the difference if this was the 2002-2003 season and not the 2012-2013 year, but the truth is both of those players are in the twilight of their careers. 

Will they contribute? Sure. But they won't be the difference in getting this team to the next level.

That will be on the hands of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, as well as head coach Mike Woodson.

The Knicks will likely decide to bring back Jeremy Lin by matching the Rockets qualifying offer on him, but I'm not sure that's best for Lin's career or the Knicks. 

Lin will not be able to get many shots with Anthony and Stoudemire, and will be forced to play the role of a facilitator, something he isn't great at yet in his career. 

The Knicks still have a lot to offer and on paper they seem like a top-four team in the East. However, one playoff win in two seasons is not much to show for Anthony and the Knicks, and the offseason moves will not put them over the top.

Instead if the Knicks are going to improve they will need to stay healthy and for Anthony and Stoudemire to finally get on the same page.

FACT: Ray Allen to the Heat makes them surefire title favorites next season

Say what you will about Ray Allen opting to join the Miami Heat next season, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, but one thing you cannot deny is how much it improves the Heat overall for next year.

Already with Shane Battier and Mike Miller on board, this gives the Heat possibly the best three-point shooting bench in the NBA. 

Allen transforms a once questionable Miami bench into one of the East's best, which along with the Big Three makes Miami the huge favorite next year.

If Allen had resigned with Boston, an argument could have been made that they are the team to beat.

After all they took the Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals and have done nothing but improve with Jeff Green and Avery Bradley coming back,  plus Jason Terry coming on board as well as their draft picks to go along with a returning Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo.

Gun to my head, I probably still would have taken the Heat. But it would have been close. 

However, with Allen instead in Miami,  it will be extremely tough for any team in the East, or the NBA for that matter, to best them in a seven-game series. 

FICTION: Brandon Roy will return to All-Star form in Minnesota

As great of a story as it is, and as much as I will be rooting for him to succeed, I just can't fathom Brandon Roy being anywhere close to the player we remember him as when he returns to the NBA this season.

Roy has agreed to a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Roy was forced to retire after the 2010-2011 season due to a lack of cartilage in his knees, but now after the famous Kobe Bryant approved surgery, Roy says he is back to an elite level and ready to go for Minnesota.

If that's true, the Timberwolves could be on the precipice of a playoff birth. With Ricky Rubio back in the lineup and Kevin Love turning into one of the league's top players, the T-Wolves would be a solid team with an All-Star like Roy.

However, I just can't see that happening.

Roy fell off the map in the 2010-2011 season when his injuries really started to kick in, and it doesn't seem at all reasonable that he was incapable of playing just a year ago but now he would be back to being the Brandon Roy of old.

The surgery may have been a success to an extent, but Brandon Roy hasn't been an elite player in four years. It would be foolish for Timbewolves fans to expect Roy to return to that level. If he does, and proves everyone wrong, it will be a great accomplishment and an even better story. 

However, more likely than not, Roy will get injured again or not be productive, and realize it is finally time for him to give up his NBA career for good. 


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