6 Teams That Are Tanking the 2012 NBA Offseason
The NBA offseason is a chance for every team to improve, but while some teams are trying to get better immediately, others have their sights set further down the road.
Tanking, in this sense, is reserved for the teams that are planning for the future at the possible expense of their success next season.
More times than not, a team tanking the offseason isn’t having a bad summer—they’re simply putting the longevity of the organization ahead of short-term fixes.
Every team is trying to improve, but there are a handful of squads putting immediate success on the back burner as they prepare for the 2012-13 season.
The Chicago Bulls are likely going to be without Derrick Rose for most of next season, and their summer acquisitions aren’t going to make up for such a significant loss.
Marco Belinelli and Kirk Hinrich will soften the blow, but neither player will help challenge the Miami Heat for Eastern Conference supremacy.
According to ESPNChicago.com, the Bulls have also opted to let Omer Asik walk rather than pay him $25.1 million over the next three years.
It’s unfortunate that the team won’t get to develop such a young seven-footer, but it’s the decision that had to be made when taking into account the luxury tax down the road.
The Bulls are playing out the summer cheaply, as there’s no need to go crazy spending when your title hopes are extremely unlikely next season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t gotten worse this summer, but they have opted to save their max-contract money for flexibility at the trade deadline and next year’s free-agent class.
The team’s biggest acquisition outside of Dion Waiters is Kelenna Azubuike, and in not locking up long-term cap space, the team is doing exactly what they need to do while planning for the future.
The only curve ball that could change this mentality is if they’re able to trade for Andrew Bynum at some point this summer.
Bynum would be a huge addition to the current roster, and they would be back in the playoff mix as early as next season.
The Atlanta Hawks were able to shed the contracts of Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams this summer, and in doing so, they have begun looking toward the future beyond next season.
The moves brought in players such as Devin Harris, Anthony Morrow and DeShawn Stevenson, but what they really did was give them substantial flexibility moving forward.
New general manager Danny Ferry has acquired expiring contracts, cleared cap space and even found a solid pickup in Lou Williams.
The team isn’t necessarily going to be better next season, but they have begun setting themselves to be big-time players in next year’s free-agent market.
New York Knicks
When the New York Knicks brought in Marcus Camby and Jason Kidd, it appeared as if they were ready to make the moves necessary to win big next season.
Since then, we’ve seen the team let Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields Walk, all while paying Steve Novak $15 million and signing Raymond Felton, who is coming off one of the worst seasons of his seven-year career.
The moves the Knicks have made this summer have been confusing, but when it comes down to it, Lin and Fields were too expensive, Felton is going to be cheap and Camby and Kidd won't be around long-term.
The team is still going to compete next year with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, but with the money they’re attempting to save this summer, they'd better have a road map set for the next few seasons.
The Detroit Pistons are more than a few pieces away from competing next season, so they have focused on development and cap space as their main goals this summer.
Nobody is going to claim that the team is tanking with their selection of Andre Drummond in the draft, but he is a raw prospect who may not have much of an impact for a few years.
The team also added Corey Maggette to their roster, but the deal was made for his expiring contract, not his services.
The Pistons have allowed themselves to compete in the free-agent market next summer, and with a young roster and money to spend, their improvements could begin to show following the 2012-13 season.
It’s tough to say that the Phoenix Suns are truly in tank mode, as they tried their hardest to bring in Eric Gordon with a max contract. That being said, they are in a full-blown rebuilding mode.
Having finally said goodbye to Steve Nash this summer, the team is doing whatever they can to bring in talent to win games and keep fans interested.
Nash, Grant Hill and Josh Childress are out; Goran Dragic, Luis Scola and Michael Beasley are in.
This team is going to look drastically different than they did last season, but when we look back to this summer a few years from now, getting rid of Nash should be looked at as the move that had to be made to finally help this team improve.