NBA Free Agency 2012: 7 Teams That Missed out on Golden Opportunities

Bradlee RossCorrespondent IIJuly 25, 2012

NBA Free Agency 2012: 7 Teams That Missed out on Golden Opportunities

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    NBA free agency affords teams an opportunity to get better and even change the complete dynamic of their roster and future. Unfortunately, many teams have missed out on those golden opportunities this offseason.

    The free agency game is dangerous, and while some teams hit the jackpot like the Miami Heat did a few years ago, many more fall flat on their faces as they miss out on getting the big-time players they have cleared so much cap room for.

    Whiffing on such players can have devastating effects on a franchise, potentially for years to come. Hopefully, these franchises will be able to rebound from their mistakes and bad luck and still have good seasons.

    Some are at fault, some just had bad luck and others made mistakes that could cost them that extra little thing they need to take the next step in their team’s development. Here are seven teams that missed huge, golden opportunities this offseason.

Dallas Mavericks

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    The Dallas Mavericks are clearly the most obvious choice for a team that missed out on some great opportunities this offseason. Few teams have cleared that much cap space only to completely whiff on their main targets.

    Deron Williams was the main prize that Mark Cuban was after, and it was a huge gamble to base a team’s entire offseason strategy on acquiring that one player. However, that is what happened, and it blew up in Dallas’s face when Williams chose to stay in Brooklyn. Combine that with the fact that Cuban’s other target, Dwight Howard, was not even available for Dallas, and you have a terrible result for the franchise.

    Cuban’s team has recovered somewhat, inking players like O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman and Elton Brand. They have built a decent supporting cast for Dirk Nowitzki for next season, but it is nothing compared to what they could have gotten.

New York Knicks

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    Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton are good players. Kidd is a Hall-of-Famer who brings unquestioned leadership and experience to the Knicks. Felton has had success in New York before, especially when playing with Amar’e Stoudemire.

    However, acquiring those two is nothing when the Knicks could have retained Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields. Both Felton and Kidd (especially Kidd) have seen better days before them as far as their on-the-court production is concerned. Each is a decent player, but neither has the upside or potential a team would like to build on for the future.

    Fields and Lin both had that type of potential, which is part of why they got so much money in restricted free agency. Fields has the chance to become a very good player for the Toronto Raptors, while Lin could become a superstar if he plays well for the Houston Rockets. The Knicks had the chance to retain both, but did not due to monetary reasons.

    If you have a hard time believing that, then good. The Knicks have just as much, if not more, money than any other NBA team. They could have kept both of these young players and still acquired Kidd or Felton to bolster themselves. Instead, they are left without two players that could have been huge cornerstones for the future.

Los Angeles Lakers

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    The Los Angeles Lakers were a big winner in the offseason, adding Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison, but that does not mean they did not miss good opportunities to make their team better.

    The biggest opportunity they missed out on was signing veteran wing Grant Hill. Hill is an old player by basketball terms, but he clearly played well in Phoenix with Nash. He can play defense, shoot the long range jumper and contribute positively to the locker room.

    The Lakers lost out on him to the crosstown Clippers, which is a shame because acquiring Hill might have pushed them over the edge. Hill would have made the Lakers so much better, giving them another good wing defender to help guard the Kevin Durants, James Hardens, Manu Ginobilis and even LeBron James of the world. He also could have contributed on offense and played well as a starter or off the bench.

    Unfortunately, he will be making these impacts for the Lakers’ rival. Hopefully, that does not come back to haunt them.

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    The Minnesota Timberwolves needed to add a few things this offseason in order to become a more complete team for next season and finally make the playaoffs again. Unfortunately, they have not done enough.

    This offseason, Minnesota added Chase Budinger and Greg Stiemsma. Sorry Minnesota fans, but that is simply not good enough to make the playoffs. This team made moves that were decent, but they were not good enough to affect any change as far as how good they are on the court.

    Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love are still there, so this team will have a shot at the playoffs again if both stay healthy. However, until they improve in the necessary areas of shooting guard and small forward, they will not be able to get into the playoffs very easily. So far, those problems are still unaddressed in this offseason.

Brooklyn Nets

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    It may seem odd that the Brooklyn Nets made this list. After all, they did re-sign All-Star point guard Deron Wiliams and added Joe Johnson. Their roster has gotten much better, but it could have rivaled the best in the league if they had been able to pull off the one move we all wanted them to.

    I am, of course, talking about a trade for Dwight Howard. Howard would have made the Nets a championship contender. Instead, they are a very good team, but probably not a threat to Miami or Boston. With Howard, those teams would have been shaking in their boots.

    It is not completely the Nets's fault that they did not get Howard, but it is a golden opportunity missed nonetheless. Now, they will not be able to trade for him until January, as that is the first time they can trade newly-signed center Brook Lopez.

Golden State Warriors

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    NBA free agency affords teams an opportunity to get better and even change the complete dynamic of their roster and future. Unfortunately, many teams have missed out on those golden opportunities this offseason.

    The free agency game is dangerous, and while some teams hit the jackpot like the Miami Heat did a few years ago, many more fall flat on their faces as they miss out on getting the big-time players they have cleared so much cap room for.

    Whiffing on such players can have devastating effects on a franchise, potentially for years to come. Hopefully, these franchises will be able to rebound from their mistakes and bad luck and still have good seasons.

    Some are at fault, some just had bad luck and others made mistakes that could cost them that extra little thing they need to take the next step in their team’s development. Here are seven teams that missed huge, golden opportunities this offseason.

Orlando Magic

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    You might be asking yourself what free agents the Orlando Magic could have gotten, especially considering how bogged down they are by Dwight Howard and all the other bad contracts they have on their pay roll.

    The truth is that I have no idea, and no one else does either because the Magic did not unload Howard like they should have. If they had made the trade with the Houston Rockets, giving them the cap space they wanted, who knows who they could have signed. Florida is an attractive place to live, and the Magic certainly could have lured someone there.

    Instead, they are stuck with all the bad contracts and Howard. It looks more and more unlikely that they will be able to unload them before the season. So now, instead of starting off fresh with a host of new players and money to spend, the Magic will probably have the same team and same ol’ problems they did before.

    I’d say they missed a golden opportunity to move on, wouldn’t you?