2012 NBA Free Agency: How Process Has Changed the Top 10 Teams so Far
The first full NBA free agency period since the signing of the new CBA has been a rather eventful one, as we've seen some of last year's contenders maintain status quo, while others have made significant changes to their roster.
Here's a look at how free agency has affected some of the league's top teams so far.
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After being built into a team that is seemingly ready to contend, the Grizzlies look like they need to make a few more moves before they become legitimate contenders.
O.J. Mayo recently signed within the division, with the Dallas Mavericks.
The Grizzlies did plan for the loss of O.J. Mayo, but that didn't work out either, as Ray Allen ultimately chose the Heat.
They did manage to pick up Jerryd Bayless, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who will most likely fill the void left by Mayo's departure.
The Grizzlies look poised to compete in the West again, but it'll be tougher as other teams around them get a little better as well.
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The Bulls went into the offseason in rough shape.
With a huge injury to Derrick Rose that was ultimately responsible for the their playoff demise, the Bulls have a big decision to make about restricted free agent Omer Asik.
The Rockets made a big offer to Asik during the start of free agency, and the Bulls must decide whether to match, or let him walk.
Asik didn't get many minutes last season, but showed enough to convince a general manager like Daryl Morey that he projects well in a higher-minutes setting.
The Bulls have a big decision to make on Asik, as it could have major ramifications down the road.
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The Sixers have had a pretty busy offseason.
However, the Sixers lost a pretty good player in Louis Williams.
It seems as if the Sixers are looking for a temporary replacement for Williams with Young, and the recent Kwame Brown signing could be the contingency plan for the unloading of Brand's contract.
Though the moves don't make the Sixers much better than they were, they'll find themselves potentially fighting for a playoff spot in a much tougher East with the emergence of the Brooklyn Nets and the building efforts of the New York Knicks.
Los Angeles Clippers
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The Clippers went into the offseason knowing they were going to have quite a bit of turnover.
Perhaps the biggest move was the one that didn't net them any new pieces.
The extension they gave to their drafted star, Blake Griffin, ensures that the Clippers are committed to retaining the core they have as they go into the next offseason with Chris Paul's contract due.
Los Angeles Lakers
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After another mid-round exit in the playoffs, the Lakers decided to shake things up.
They brought in Steve Nash on a sign-and-trade that will immediately shore up the lack up of depth they had at point guard the last couple of years.
This move alone ensures that they'll be back in the title chase in the West and provide competition to the current Western Conference Champions, Oklahoma City.
Though it may seem like the Lakers look set for their run at a title, one can't help but feel they might have something else up their sleeve.
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The cloud that loomed over the Pacers' offseason is the one left by Roy Hibbert's status as a restricted free agent.
However, the Pacers were prepared to keep Roy Hibbert and bring back George Hill, who was also a big part of their success.
Though the East became stronger this season, the Pacers still look poised to grab a playoff spot and do some damage.
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After the tough loss of Ray Allen leaving to join the Heat, the Celtics resorted to Jason Terry. They've agreed to terms with him and were looking for a way to avoid having to use the midlevel exception.
However, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald said that they've run out of options on a sign-and-trade and will likely have to use the exception on Terry, putting them out of play for free agent Courtney Lee.
Still, along with a good draft and a pretty solid addition in Jason Terry, the Celtics are still a team to watch out for in the East.
San Antonio Spurs
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The Spurs made perhaps the quietest, yet one of the most important signings during this free agency period.
Though his effectiveness has decreased slightly, Duncan will no doubt be a solid contributor as the Spurs look to get younger and lean more on Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
While being counted out virtually every season because of their age, they've had a lot of success over the last several years (besides the first-round exit against Memphis in 2011).
Bringing back the cornerstone of their franchise should ensure that they stay in the race for the West.
Oklahoma City Thunder
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The Thunder haven't changed much, besides a few signings—the most notable being Hasheem Thabeet.
With a championship-contending core in place, taking a chance on Thabeet is a low-risk move.
Oklahoma City doesn't need to make many changes anyway. With another year of playoff success under their belt, the Thunder look ready to claim their place atop the West once again.
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The rich get richer.
Miami signed two former teammates and big-time veterans, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.
There's no question they'll out-produce the likes of Mike Miller and Shane Battier, making the Heat an even bigger threat from the perimeter than they were last year.
The Heat are really taking advantage of their window of opportunity and, as of now, are second to no one going into this season's title defense.