Pros and Cons of 15 Biggest NBA Offseason Acquisitions

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2012

Pros and Cons of 15 Biggest NBA Offseason Acquisitions

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    You take the good, you take the bad, Dwight Howard's a Laker, now what do you have?

    NBA offseason madness.

    The Association has been a hotbed for player movement this summer, with plenty of teams placing themselves within the thick of the action.

    Though some franchises have succeeded in their attempt to secure a promising present and/or future, other organizations will look back on this offseason wishing they could change the past. And while every acquisition of the summer can be justified—and even embraced—to a certain extent, none of them are free from criticism.

    When the most detrimental cons begin outweigh the most noteworthy pros, though, that's when teams are in trouble.

    So, should the Lakers be worried about Howard? Will Joe Johnson render the Nets contenders? Is there a method to the madness that is Jason Terry's latest batch of ink?

    Even in the offseason, basketball never stops, so we're not going to either.

     

    *Note: Acquisitions will refer to the most noteworthy players that switched teams via trade or free agency; players who re-signed with current teams will not be considered.

Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Pros

    Crawford is a seasoned vet who can put up points in a hurry, a weapon Chris Paul and the Clippers definitely were lacking in their arsenal last season.

    The combo guard can also be entrusted with point guard duties should Los Angeles ever opt to sit both Chauncey Billups and Paul at the same time.

    Crawford's penchant for hitting clutch jump shots will also prove valuable down the stretch, as outside of Paul, the Clippers lack the type of scoring presences who can create for themselves.

     

    Cons

    There's actually not much to love about Crawford's acquisition.

    Sure, he provides instant offense and is the source of a versatile attack, but he's an inconsistent shooter—38.4 percent from the field last season—who hardly commits to playing efficient defense.

    Combine that with the fact that Crawford is 32 and that Los Angeles essentially had a younger, more complete version of him in Mo Williams, and you begin to wonder if the Clippers are better off at all.

    In the grand scheme of things, Chauncey Billups' return stands to make much more of a positive impact than Crawford's.

Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

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    Pros

    Kyle Lowry is currently under one of the most reasonable contracts in the NBA; he truly earns his keep and then some.

    The oft-troubled floor general gives the Raptors a distributor with superstar potential and a knack for breaking down opposing defenses.

    Though Jose Calderon is a fundamentally sound point guard, Toronto knows exactly what it has in him. Lowry presents an air of uncertainty—but in a good way. He is finally a star-caliber talent the Raptors can assemble a team around, because clearly Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan aren't cornerstones.

    Youthful exuberance, a willingness to defend, exceptional court vision and an aptitude for knocking down shots—Lowry has it all. And unlike many athletes before him, Toronto may be the best place for him to take his game to the next level.

     

    Cons

    While Lowry provides the Raptors with a budding point guard who has yet to hit his ceiling, injuries and consistency can be issues.

    Lowry is under one of the most reasonable contracts in the league, but that's because no team felt he was worth much more. 

    His potential is also hindered by the presence of Calderon, who may not take too kindly to being relegated to a backup role. If an unnecessary feud develops there, it would spell bad news for the entire Toronto team.

    Still, Lowry didn't cost much, doesn't make much and is a solid consolation prize for a team that was spurned by Steve Nash.

O.J. Mayo, Dallas Mavericks

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    Pros

    When you pick up a player like O.J. Mayo for just over half of what he was slated to make in the first place next season, that's called "winning."

    Mayo gives the Mavericks a second prolific option on the offensive end behind Dirk Nowitzki. He also brings the ball-handling skills necessary to man the point guard duties in a pinch.

    On defense, though, is where Mayo will make the biggest impact. Dallas is used to boasting a combo guard who can score—don't worry, we'll get to you, Jason Terry—but a strong defensive presence on the perimeter hasn't been a consistent luxury for Mark Cuban's masterpiece.

     

    Cons

    Mayo can be a bit of a wild card.

    Though the shooting guard has maintained a career average of over 15 points per game, his last two seasons were far less productive than his rookie and sophomore campaigns.

    Mayo is also a known hothead, and while he has toned down his actions quite a bit, if unforeseen circumstances prod the bull, the Maverick will be exposed to more than just horns.

    All in all, though, Mayo is a well-rounded athlete with star potential. He has helped salvage what could have otherwise been a horrid offseason for Dallas.

Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Hornets

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    Pros

    Somehow, someway, the Hornets have managed to land on their feet after losing Chris Paul less than a year ago, and Ryan Anderson is a huge part of that.

    New Orleans was 22nd in the league in three-point shooting last season, and Anderson—who knocked down over 39 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc—is one of the best long-range shooters in the league.

    Anderson also provides a strong rebounding presence, and his size, coupled with his unlimited range, will help stretch defenses wafer thin and provide Anthony Davis with some easy inside buckets.

     

    Cons

    Though Anderson's range is a blessing, it ensures that Davis will spending a majority of his time at center.

    While he's more than athletic enough to handle such a burden, he's quite lanky and could find himself overmatched on an almost daily basis, especially on the glass.

    Anderson's defense is also nothing to write home about, as he's not built to defend any of the league's conventional power forwards who set up camp down low.

    That said, Anderson brings offensive flair to a promising young team and is evidence New Orleans is committed to winning, making it difficult to dispute his acquisition.

Raymond Felton, New York Knicks

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    Pros

    Raymond Felton isn't all bad, as long as you choose to overlook his horrid 2011-12 campaign.

    While Jeremy Lin captivated fans with his uncertain potential, the Knicks have already witnessed Felton's ability to play strong basketball for an extended period of time.

    The veteran point guard is great at executing within pick-and-roll sets, and his ability to attack the rim or hit the open man are admirable in the right system.

    Despite a lackluster display last season, Felton simply provides more stability than Lin ultimately would have.

     

    Cons

    Sometimes, stability isn't everything.

    Lin presented New York with a point guard whose ceiling was anything but certain, yet incredibly high all the same. 

    We already know Felton isn't a superstar, and in a league where superstars have become the standard, his presence will never be touted as highly as Lin's could have.

    And then there's also question of Felton's ability to operate outside of Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun system. He struggled immensely with Portland's tendency to implement half-court sets last season.

    Only time will tell for sure how well he fits in, as New York must approach his re-integration with cautious optimism. 

Jeremy Lin, Houston Rockets

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    Pros

    Jeremy Lin remains a global icon, and the Rockets have the opportunity to capitalize off that both on and off the court.

    Lin is a proven financial goldmine, but he's also shown some potential on the court as well. He's great at attacking the rim and thrives in drive-and-kick scenarios. He's also proven he can knock down the outside shot on a consistent basis as well.

    Houston is no stranger to housing players with the type of twofold potential that Lin has, and that could ultimately make the young point guard's transition into the post-Linsanity era that much easier.

     

    Cons

    Lin is slated to make nearly $15 million in 2014-15. If you're keeping score at home, that's more than Rajon Rondo will earn.

    Crazy, right?

    As promising a talent has Lin has become, it's hard to justify putting that much money on the line for a player who could be a half-season wonder.

    Lin is also wrought with turnover issues. He must protect the ball much better if he wishes to adjust to the varying defensive schemes he will undoubtedly bear witness to next season.

    So, while Lin's arrival in Houston is intriguing, the Rockets overpaid, rendering this a risk barely worth taking. 

Lou Williams, Atlanta Hawks

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    Pros

    As overpaid as Joe Johnson was—and still is—his departure created a huge scoring void that the Hawks absolutely needed to fill.

    Enter Lou Williams.

    Williams is one of the most versatile scorers in the NBA. He, like Jamal Crawford, has the ability to put points on the board in a hurry. Unlike Crawford, he has the self-restraint necessary to effectively man the point as well.

    Williams—for much less than Atlanta was paying Johnson—will at the very least come close to replacing the scoring output that was seized in the blockbuster trade with the Nets.

     

    Cons

    While Williams is a more efficient shooter than Crawford, he can become erratic at times. His defense is also suspect, as he's often overmatched when asked to defend truer shooting guards.

    The potential for Williams to have already reached his ceiling is there as well. He's a prolific scorer, but has yet to develop into a bona fide star.

    That said, the Hawks are experts in the art of extracting the most talent possible out of their roster—sans Marvin Williams' tenure—and their newest addition should ultimately prove to be the best replacement possible for Johnson. 

Ray Allen, Miami Heat

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    Pros

    Ray Allen is the NBA's greatest three-point shooter of all time. Need I say more?

    No, but I will.

    Allen has one of the quickest releases in the league and is absolutely deadly when trailing in transition and coming over screens. His long-range prowess will stretch Miami's counterparts paper thin and create more scoring opportunities for everyone on the floor.

    Even LeBron James.

     

    Cons

    As lethal a shooter as Allen is, he is a defensive liability.

    Though the shooting guard has never been a deft defender, his ability to make the sharp lateral movements necessary to survive on the perimeter has been hindered by his aging body.

    Allen's ability to achieve any sort of continuity on the offensive end is also an issue. While James and Dwyane Wade will have no qualms about kicking it out to him, he's bound to take less shots, which could make it more difficult to develop any sort of offensive rhythm.

    So, while this seems like the perfect pairing, it is not without the risk of failure.

Jason Terry, Boston Celtics

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    Pros

    Despite a steady decline in production over the past few seasons, Jason Terry remains one of the best shooters in the game, especially in transition.

    Terry's presence ensures the Celtics will miss Ray Allen as little as possible, and as suspect a defender as he may be, he is at least an upgrade over the deteriorating body of Allen.

    Boston's newest combo guard is no stranger to coming off the bench either, as he's been considered a sixth man for most of his career.

    Breaking up the Big Three was hard to do and not at all what the Celtics intended, but Terry's acquisition softened the blow considerably.

     

    Cons

    Terry's production has suffered only slightly until now, but at 34, one has to wonder when he will begin the full-fledged free fall that many role players appear to meet.

    Though he's never been prone to injury, he's not getting any younger, and Allen proved only last season that not even the athletes who avoid excessive contact are immune from a forced shelving.

    Boston is certainly a title contender with Terry to provide a spark off the bench, but if he goes down or his numbers slip more than slightly, the Celtics' championship outlook becomes significantly bleaker.

Antawn Jamison, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Pros

    Get ready to see a lot purple and gold.

    Antawn Jamison is capable of scoring 20 or more points whenever he pleases, and the Lakers managed to snag him at the veteran's minimum.

    The power forward stretches the floor with his deadly shooting and has yet to lose his superior aggression on the boards.

    Los Angeles' bench was a sight that rendered sore eyes blind last season, but Jamison gives it new life and further legitimizes the Lakers' immediate championship push.

     

    Cons

    Jamison is used to taking plenty of shots, and now, like Ray Allen, he must become used to the idea of coming off the bench as less of a featured scorer and more of a situational shooter.

    And with situational shooting comes the task of establishing a rhythm without the luxury of actually having ample time to establish it.

    That said, an experienced scorer such as Jamison should find it fairly easy to adapt to his new role, especially when given the opportunity to play alongside Steve Nash.

Andre Iguodala, Denver Nuggets

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    Pros

    Say what you will with Denver now having an abundance of wings, but the Nuggets made out like bandits in the Dwight Howard trade.

    Andre Iguodala is one of the most versatile players in the league. He gets to the rim, can run the point, has seen success as a spot-up shooter and wreaks havoc on the defensive end.

    Though Iguodala is more of an understated superstar, he's a heralded veteran presence nonetheless, and that will prove invaluable in a young, up-and-coming Denver locker room.

    Iguodala's addition has the potential to make the Nuggets legitimate title contenders next season.

     

    Cons

    There's plenty of reasons that the Sixers attempted move Iguodala for the past three or so years.

    While Denver's contractual obligations to him aren't a problem, his inconsistent perimeter shooting is. Iguodala prefers to attack the basket and finish at the rim; he has shown he can hit the long ball, but he's out of his comfort zone when taking jump shots.

    The point forward has also developed a penchant for staying under the radar almost too much. There's a case to be made for him as a superstar and a leader, but his declining production and failure to render Philadelphia a title threat is cause for concern.

    That said, headed to a team that has reinvented itself around a starless dynamic, the latter shouldn't prove to be too much of an issue.

Andrew Bynum, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Pros

    Andrew Bynum is a defensive beast, and he gives the Sixers a bona fide star to build around in ways they never could with Andre Iguodala.

    Bynum is a phenomenal shot-blocker, unstoppable rebounder and has great hands that allow him to force key turnovers in the low post.

    The seven-foot behemoth is also a polished interior presence on the offensive end. He has a great touch around the basket and even added a baby jumper to his arsenal last season. His prowess on the offensive glass is not to be overlooked either.

    Bynum may not want to stick around in Philadelphia past next season, but with the dominant skill set he brings to the table, the Sixers will surely hope he does.

     

    Cons

    Philadelphia now has three centers, none of which are exceptionally athletic, including Bynum.

    Though Bynum is the clear choice to start, he—along with Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown—hinders the Sixers' run-first offense significantly.

    Bynum navigates the floor very well for a player of his size, but he's already put a lot of miles on those knees, and transitional basketball has never been his forte.

    While Philadelphia's newest big man has the potential to help the team build a winning culture, he also has the potential to disrupt its offensive flow as well.

Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets

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    Pros

    Joe Johnson essentially secured Deron Williams' future with the Nets.

    The swingman gives Brooklyn another All-Star to add to their attack and ensures that Williams has a prolific scorer worthy of kicking it out to.

    Johnson also provides the Nets with another deadly three-point shooter who will help break down defenses and encourage Williams to attack the rim.

    Though re-signing Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace was necessary, Johnson's presence is what truly pushes Brooklyn into title contention.

     

    Cons

    Johnson is owed a lot of money—almost $90 million over the next four years, in fact.

    While Mikhail Prokhorov is anything but shy when it comes to opening his wallet, Johnson is on the wrong side of 30 and has shown no signs of discontinuing his penchant for one-dimensional basketball. 

    So, while Williams may believe that he has found the established sidekick he's been looking for, age and durability are certainly a factor moving forward.

    And in this case, they're a potential hazard as well.

Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Pros

    With Steve Nash at the helm, everything just seems to click.

    The 38-year-old point guard is truly a master of his craft, with impeccable court vision and the ability to seamlessly navigate in and out of any defensive sets thrown his way.

    Nash gives the Lakers what they arguably haven't had since the Kobe Bryant era officially began—a premier floor general with a proven track record of elevating the play of his teammates.

    Every single one of them.

     

    Cons

    Nash has staved off the unflattering rigors of age for years now, and while the ageless wonder appears invincible, Father Time is bound to catch up with him at some point.

    Will that point be next season? Who knows, but his presence—like the aging ones of Pau Gasol and Kobe—put a deadline on Los Angeles' pursuit of a title.

    Also, while it seems like a near formality that Bryant and Nash will be able to co-exist, the risk for this to blow up in the Lakers face is still there. Their chemistry all depends on Bryant's willingness to play off the ball more.

    Pairings of this magnitude are never easy, but still, we're talking about Nash, so our capacity to worry is severely limited. 

Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Pros

    If Andrew Bynum is a defensive beast, Dwight Howard is a monster.

    As similar as the two actually are, Howard is simply more athletic, mobile and consistent—with the exception of his free-throw shooting—than Bynum has ever proven to be.

    Howard gives the Lakers a workhorse who crashes the glass on both ends of the floor and has even developed a strong post game. His defensive tendencies are nearly faultless, and his offensive development is now in the capable hands of Steve Nash.

    That seems like an easy win.

     

    Cons

    Howard's back issues have become somewhat of a mystery, and the Lakers essentially took a gamble on his health, however small it may be.

    More unsettling than that, though, is Howard's ability to leave via free agency after next season. Los Angeles does provide the big market the center has craved all along, but the Lakers core is aging, and there is a possibility Howard doesn't want to be a part of it moving forward.

    And yet, it's hard to imagine him walking away from the weather, the chance to re-invent his tarnished reputation and the opportunity to contend for a title for the next three years because he's too concerned with five years down the road.

     

    This acquisition was not without risks, but don't expect to see it blow up in Los Angeles' face anytime soon.