Best and Worst Moves of the 2012 NBA Offseason
That was not the only news to make waves, though, as numerous notable players changed teams, some beefing up title contenders and others joining ball clubs on the cusp of contention.
That said, as always, there were some good moves and some bad moves made this summer.
Let's examine the best and worst decisions of the 2012 NBA offseason.
NOTE: This article only includes players who changed teams; not players who re-signed. So, don't fret when you don't see Deron Williams listed here.
5th Best Move: Nets Trade for Joe Johnson
Let me make this clear: in a vacuum, this was actually a rather poor deal for the Brooklyn Nets, as Johnson has four years and about $90 million left on his monstrous contract, and I think we all know that there is absolutely no way he can live up to that deal based on his performance.
However, this deal did get the aforementioned Williams to stay, so, for the Nets as a whole, this was a franchise-saving move, as who knows whether Williams would have re-signed in Brooklyn had the Nets not made this trade with the Atlanta Hawks.
Although the 31-year-old Johnson isn't worth his contract, he is still a solid player, as he averaged just under 19 points per game this past season and shot a respectable 45.4 percent from the field. He also shot 38.8 percent from downtown, providing a great floor-spacer for Brook Lopez and company.
Are the Nets a title contender? No, but acquiring Johnson got them out of the cellar of the Atlantic Division for what probably would have been a couple of more years and into the playoffs.
4th Best Move: Celtics Sign Jason Terry
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The Boston Celtics did an incredible job replacing the departed Ray Allen this offseason, acquiring Courtney Lee in a sign-and-trade deal (a move that just missed making this list) and landing Jason Terry with their mid-level exception.
The former Sixth Man of the Year is one of the most clutch performers in the game, and he will represent one vital part of what will be a loaded Celtics bench this coming season.
The C's are absolutely stacked at the guard positions, as no other team in the league can boast a rotation as good as Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Terry, Lee and Keyon Dooling. All of that depth will likely pay huge dividends come playoff time.
Not only does Terry bring some great scoring punch off the pine for Boston, but he brings a winning attitude and championship pedigree. He should fit right into the whole "Ubuntu" concept that the C's have adopted and observed since the Big Three era began in 2007.
3rd Best Move: Lakers Trade for Steve Nash
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After being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Oklahoma City Thunder, it looked like the sun had finally set for good on the Lakers' empire. Kobe Bryant wasn't getting any younger, Pau Gasol was beginning to trend downward and the overall lack of depth was just demoralizing.
Then, Los Angeles struck two big blows this offseason to vault itself right back into title contention. The first of those two blows? Landing Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns.
While Nash is not the same point guard he was a few years ago, he will undoubtedly be a big help to this team, as now, for the first time in his career, Bryant will be sharing the backcourt with a legitimate floor general. No disrespect to Derek Fisher, but Nash is an entirely different animal.
Nash is going to have a ridiculous amount of options at his disposal, including Bryant, Gasol, the recently-signed Antawn Jamison and a pretty well-known big man that the Lakers also traded for (I'm sure I don't have to tell you who that is).
It should be a fun year in Lakerland.
2nd Best Move: 76ers Trade for Andrew Bynum
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In the four-team mega-deal that saw Howard get dealt to the Lakers, the Philadelphia 76ers were able to pick up the next best center in the league: Bynum.
This is a bit of a risk for the 76ers, as it is not known whether he will re-sign when he comes up for free agency in the offseason, not to mention that he is an injury risk (he is actually having a "non-invasive" procedure performed on his knee in Germany), but it is a risk they had to take.
Philadelphia has been lacking a low-post game for ages, and Bynum will instantly rectify that problem. He is probably the best pure offensive center in the game (although DeMarcus Cousins may completely close that gap sooner rather than later), and that should mean nothing but good things for the Sixers' young guards Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner.
Adding Bynum doesn't make the 76ers a title contender by any means, but it took them from probably missing the postseason altogether to having the chance to earn a mid-level seed (probably somewhere around No. 6 or so) come playoff time.
Best Move: Lakers Trade for Dwight Howard
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If only it weren't so obvious.
Once again, the Lakers got what they wanted, acquiring Howard in the aforementioned four-team trade that sent Bynum to the 76ers.
Bynum's vast offensive potential aside, Howard is the most dominant center in the league, as he can significantly alter a game on both ends of the floor. The 6'11", 265-pound behemoth has an incredible supporting cast at his disposal, and the inside-out game he should form with Bryant should prove to be absolutely deadly.
It also helps Howard that he will be playing alongside Gasol up front, as, unlike in Orlando, he will not have to shoulder all of the load down low offensively.
Just when you thought Los Angeles was reeling, it rebounds and lands two of the biggest prizes of the 2012 NBA offseason.
5th Worst Move: Timberwolves Sign Andrei Kirilenko
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As a player, Kirilenko is solid. He is a good defender and shoots a nice percentage from the floor offensively (he is a career 47 percent shooter). However, he is not worth the two-year, $20 million deal the Minnesota Timberwolves gave him.
Kirilenko, who played the 2012 season in Russia, has averaged 12.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game over the course of his 10-year NBA career. Decent numbers? Yes. $10 million per year numbers? Absolutely not.
Kirilenko will likely make the Timberwolves a bit better, but some of that $20 million could have been used to shore up other areas.
Sorry, Minnesota fans, but I'm just not a fan of awarding a player of Kirilenko's caliber with this kind of deal.
4th Worst Move: Clippers Sign Jamal Crawford
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Crawford is certainly a player who can help any team he goes to given his propensity to score in bunches off the bench. However, he is not worth the four-year, $25 million contract that the Los Angeles Clippers awarded him.
The 32-year-old Crawford has been steadily declining over the past three seasons, his field-goal percentage dipping from 44.9 percent during the 2009-10 campaign to a paltry 38.4 percent in 2012.
His three-point percentage has also dropped drastically, going from 38.8 percent in 2009-10 to 30.4 percent this past year. Actually, perhaps his 2012 numbers are more indicative of the player he really is, as he is a career 40.8 percent shooter (34.8 percent from downtown).
Those ominous statistics are not the mark of a player who should be getting a somewhat lucrative long-term deal. They are the mark of a volume shooter who can sometimes shoot his team out of games. Yes, Crawford will win you some games when he gets hot, but that's not worth $25 million over four years. It just carries too much risk.
The Clippers would have been better-served bringing back Nick Young, as he is essentially the same player as Crawford except he is much younger and much cheaper.
3rd Worst Move: Hornets Trade for Ryan Anderson
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Okay, so Anderson won the Most Improved Player of the Year award this past season, but is he capable of living up to the four-year, $36 million deal for the New Orleans Hornets after being acquired from the Magic in a sign-and-trade?
In a word, no.
Yes, Anderson averaged 16.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game during the regular season in 2012, but without the help of Dwight in the postseason (if you recall, Howard sat out the playoffs with back problems), Anderson's numbers dwindled to 9.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, and he shot an abysmal 34.1 percent from the floor.
Orlando was a well-known haven for three-point shooters during the Howard days, as the big man commanded so much attention down low that it would open up long-range shooters for clean looks. Anderson will not be getting those consistent looks in New Orleans, and given the fact that he has trouble creating his own shot, it's not absurd to assume that his performance might suffer gravely down in Louisiana.
This was just not a very smart move by the Hornets.
2nd Worst Move: Rockets Signing Omer Asik
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Asik is not a bad player by any means, but I really want to know what was going through GM Daryl Morey's mind when he inked the former Chicago Bulls center to a three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet, an offer that the Bulls didn't match (surprise, surprise).
Asik is a very good defender, but he put up 3.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in 2012. Also, in two years in the NBA, he has never even averaged 15 minutes a night. You're going to give that kind of money to that kind of player?
The best (or, actually, the funniest) part of this contract? Asik will be making $15 million in the third and final year of his deal. In what world will Asik ever be worth $15 million in a single season?
Look, as a role player, Asik is fine. His interior defense should certainly help improve the Rockets. But $25.1 million over three years? That's just awful.
Worst Move: What the Magic Got in Return for Dwight Howard
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So after all of that, after all of the rumors and speculation and drama, you mean to tell me that the best player the Magic are getting back in the Dwight deal is Arron Afflalo? Seriously?
Afflalo is a fine player, probably one of the game's best perimeter defenders, but he is a complementary piece. He absolutely cannot be the key piece in a deal for a player of Howard's stature.
The rest of Orlando's haul? Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga, Moe Harkless, three first-round draft picks (all of which are protected) and two second-round draft picks. Harkless may very well end up being the best thing the Magic got in return, as the rookie's ceiling is very high, but shouldn't you have gotten some proven talent for the game's most dominant center?
What I really don't understand is that Orlando turned down an offer from the Nets that would have brought in Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and four unprotected first-round picks. Apparently, animosity between the two sides killed any chance of a deal.
Nice job, Magic.