Free agents around the league are finally free to sign contracts, but that doesn't mean that free agency hasn't been exciting up to this point. While some teams are still celebrating the decisions of the best players in the world, others have seen their title hopes go up in smoke.
The big fish of this year's class, Deron Williams, chose to return to the Brooklyn Nets rather than return home to the Dallas Mavericks. His decision to remain with the Nets has changed the future of the two organizations, and at the moment, the future of the Mavs looks bleak.
In today's world, communication is driven through social media and the smallest rumors are often exaggerated. The days of needing to wait to get information are over, although Mavericks owner Mark Cuban may have wanted to delay the news that Williams was going to sign with the Nets.
When the Dallas Mavericks won last year's NBA title, it came as a surprise. Sure, they had a good team, but the reason they won was because they got hot at the right time.
After the championship, Mavs owner Mark Cuban decided to let a number of key contributors leave via free agency in order to clear up cap space. The thinking was that with their cap room, they could lure Deron Williams and possibly Dwight Howard to Dallas.
As it turned out, Williams decided to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets and Howard waived his early termination option and isn't a free agent.
Howard is on the market and the Orlando Magic would have made a deal with the Mavs, but Cuban's club has very few promising assets.
The reality of the situation in Dallas is that prior to the draft, they were an old team that had little to no chance of making it out of the first round of the playoffs.
On draft night, the Mavs added Bernard James, Jae Crowder and Jarred Cunningham. They definitely need the young talent, but if they are expecting the rookies to strongly contribute right off the bat, they will be disappointed.
In the last year, the Mavs have seen Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea and Caron Butler join other teams in free agency.
Who have they brought in to replace those guys?
Vince Carter, and he isn't the same Carter that made the Toronto Raptors a must-watch team back in 2002.
Entering this year's offseason, there was a fair amount of optimism surrounding the Mavericks. After missing out on Williams, it appears that they will have to play through another season with a decent team that isn't even guaranteed to make the playoffs.
Oh, how quickly the mighty have fallen. But if they sign Howard next year in free agency, this year's offseason will quickly become a thing of the past.
In the last two drafts, the Rockets have made five selections in the first round, so they have a ton of young talent. Guys like Royce White, Jeremy Lamb and Patrick Patterson all have bright futures, but they are still learning the NBA game.
Earlier this offseason, the Rockets parted ways with Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic. In a matter of a few days, the Rockets saw their point guard situation change from a strength to a weakness.
With their current roster, the Rockets are not a playoff team, but they aren't one of the worst teams in the league, either. This puts them in an unfavorable situation, and one that needs to change if they hope to make their fans happy.
Houston remains linked to stories claiming they are still in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes because they have the young players that the Orlando Magic covet.
At this point, the Rockets either have to bottom out and trade the rest of their veterans or land a superstar.
If they don't, they will continue to barely miss the playoffs and will remain irrelevant. At least if they bottom out, they will be able to secure a top draft pick and should land a franchise-changing player.
In the NBA, superstars win titles, and the Rockets won't be a legitimate threat until they have one. They should get some credit for realizing this, but until they land a star, they will continue to be disappointing.
The Toronto Raptors are on the is list because they failed to lure Steve Nash back to Canada.
Nash would have made the Raptors relevant again—just look at what he was able to do with the Phoenix Suns last year. That roster had no business contending for a playoff spot, but Nash's play had them doing just that.
If GM Jerry Colangelo had signed Nash, they would have made the playoffs, but he didn't and they probably won't.
Don't get me wrong, Colangelo made a great move in trading a first-round pick for Kyle Lowry. Lowry played very well during the first half of last season before injuries derailed his second half. But he won't have the same impact that Nash would have.
Over the past seven seasons, Nash has averaged over 10 assists an amazing six times. Those are essentially video-game numbers. Numbers that will make the Los Angeles Lakers a better team next season.
Nash would have gotten the most out of Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan for the next couple of years.
Bringing in Nash would have been a win for all of Canada. The best Canadian player playing for the only Canadian team just makes sense, but it didn't happen.
In the draft, the Raptors were forced to reach on Washington product Terrance Ross with the eighth pick.
Will the Raptors make the playoffs next season?
They certainly have a chance, especially if they continue to improve on defense under Dwane Casey. But with Nash on the roster, that chance would've become a strong probability.
Nash would've given them more than a chance. He would've given them credibility.