NBA Free Agents 2012: Teams That Will Pay for Conservative Start to Free Agency

Ron PasceriCorrespondent IIJuly 11, 2012

NBA Free Agents 2012: Teams That Will Pay for Conservative Start to Free Agency

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    With a frenzy of free-agent activity before deals are even allowed to be made, there is no excuse for not being a player. With teams like Miami and Oklahoma City threatening to take over the NBA, some teams are failing to keep up.

    In the NBA, unless you have a legitimate chance to win a ring, you don't really matter. In any given season there will be only a handful of teams among the elite, but there are always ways you can improve.

    Some teams obviously have big plans in the works precluding them from making other moves. With that being said, there is no guarantee that these moves will ever come to fruition.

    The main cog holding some teams up is Dwight Howard. How can you trust that you're the team that will get him?  

    With the way the Howard debacle has unfolded over the last year, it seems like most teams involved in this mess will come up losers in the end.

    With the big trade story out of the way, here are the teams whose start to free agency will cost them.

Orlando Magic

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    Orlando is the team most affected by the Dwight Howard situation. The Magic were lucky enough to have one of the few marquee players in the league, but he will do anything to get out of town.

    In his final year under contract and with the knowledge that Orlando must trade him, it won't get great value.

    Outside of that is the fact that the Magic traded away their second-best player in Ryan Anderson, who proved to be an incredibly valuable offensive player.

    The only thing the Magic have been able to do is re-sign aging point guard Jameer Nelson.

    No matter what happens in the inevitable Dwight Howard trade, Orlando will be stuck in a bad situation with either ugly contracts or middling extra draft picks.

    They are in an impossible situation, but this offseason will cost the Magic for years to come.

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Unless the Sixers are planning something big in the coming days, the offseason in Philadelphia has been strange.

    In a sideways move, they re-signed center Spencer Hawes for two seasons. Their big moves to this point were a one-year deal for swingman Nick Young and a trade for another swingman in Dorell Wright.

    Yes, they are decent shooters and scorers, but consider that the Sixers already had Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and newly-drafted Maurice Harkless.

    That makes six players that roughly play the same position.

    The Sixers needed to get bigger and tougher up front and acquire someone who could help steady the offense. They haven't come close to addressing those needs after amnestying Elton Brand. 

    For a team that is stuck as a No. 8 seed in the playoffs, it doesn't look like they know how to rise in the standings.

Houston Rockets

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    The Rockets are yet another team held up by the Dwight Howard situation, as reported last night by Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

    Should they net an impact player in that potential trade, it would change the shape of their offseason, but to this point, it doesn't look good.

    There has been a virtual exodus of talent in the meantime. Kyle Lowry, Chase Budinger, Goran Dragic, Sam Dalembert and Marcus Camby are all gone.

    They made a play for Jeremy Lin that will be denied by the Knicks, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. They also went after Chicago's Omer Asik with an offer that could be blocked by a match as well.

    The Rockets entered the offseason with a lot of assets to shake things up, but it all seems to have been shaken up for the worse.

    After being unable to make a deal on draft day and failing on all fronts in free agency, GM Daryl Morey has to be feeling defeated.

Dallas Mavericks

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    Dallas owner Mark Cuban is viewed as innovative and a winner. However, he has lost this offseason, and there is no other way to paint that picture.

    There were hopes from Mavs fans that the team would find a way to create their own big three by adding Dwight Howard and Deron Williams to Dirk Nowitzki.

    Obviously, that didn't turn out to be the case, as Williams stayed with the Nets and Howard may join him there.

    Not only did Dallas fail to add two All-Stars, it also lost Jason Terry and Jason Kidd, two of the keys to their championship run in 2011.

    Dirk Nowitzki is on his own, and Dallas fans are left to wonder what could have been. A team with Dirk and head coach Rick Carlisle at the helm should still be good, but all championship aspirations are out the window.

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    The Minnesota Timberwolves have one of the league's best scorers and rebounders in Kevin Love. To this point, they have failed in adding pieces around him, and he is extremely unhappy about it.

    So far this offseason, they've signed Brandon Roy and Nicolas Batum. Roy would have been a big signing four years ago, but alas, it is 2012.

    Any good feelings about Batum are tempered by the fact that Portland can match the offer and likely will.

    Ricky Rubio will be an exciting partner for Love when he comes back, but he alone is not enough. Minnesota needs some offensive talent around these two.

    Whenever you have an angry star, it never turns out well—just ask Toronto about Vince Carter. It doesn't have a happy ending.