9 2012 NBA Offseason Moves Guaranteed to Fail Miserably
We all make mistakes, and NBA franchises are no different.
Every offseason there are moves made that range from the slightly odd, to the unquestionably awful. The time has almost come for teams to beg David Stern for a mulligan. However, no second-chances will be granted and teams are stuck with the decisions they have made.
Everyone must live with their offseason choices this fall. Whether they overpaid for the wrong player, gave up on one too early or stunted the growth of young stars, these teams will be having some serious regrets in hindsight.
After all the hard work they put in over the summer, I only hope they aren't too devastated when their big move comes back to haunt them.
Houston Rockets Giving Omer Asik $25 Million
We'll start off with the obvious one here. As much has been made about the Houston Rockets decision to bring in backup center Omer Asik, it can never seem like enough.
This move is more-than slightly head-scratching. Yes, Houston is in need of a big man to matchup with the like of Tim Duncan, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, Chris Kaman and Anthony Davis. All of those players are now in-division for the Rockets.
However, as it stands right now, Asik will make $14.8 million in year three of his deal. That is on-par with the salary of Gasol and Randolph. His three-year, $25 million contract is worth just $5 million less than the three-year deal just signed by Duncan with the Spurs. The difference here is that Duncan has earned that money and respect, Asik is simply a big body.
He has no proven anything in his NBA career, posting averages of just three points and five rebounds per game last season. He played only 15 minutes per game last season, his second in the league. In Houston he will be asked to do a lot more, but has not proven an ability to take on that task.
Boston Celtics Tossing Jeff Green a Long-Term Deal
Last December, the Boston Celtics were still trying to make amends with fans for the Kendrick Perkins trade-fiasco. They needed to bring back Jeff Green for another look, so they inked him to a one-year deal for $9 million.
We all know what ensued; a week later, Green failed a physical and an aortic aneurism was discovered in his heart. He was forced to undergo surgery and miss the entire 2011-12 season. His contract was voided and he became a free agent this summer.
Now, without seeing anything additional from the player coming off a missed season due to heart surgery, the Celtics have offered him the same $9 million contract. But, with an additional stipulation. They gave him long-term security with a four-year, $36 million deal. Does that make sense?
Adding to this mystery is the fact that the deal took about a month to be finalized, after being reported in July. On August 23rd, the Celtics made it official.
Green may wind up being worth $9 million a season over the next four years, but what in his past performance with Boston, coupled with the major surgery, forced the Celtics to give him this contract? There was little report of other suitors, and Green had made it known from the get-go that he wanted to come back to Boston. It seems like some serious money could have been saved here.
Indiana Pacers Point Guard Decisions
A team that finishes with the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and gives Miami a great battle in the second round of the playoffs, decides to cut ties with their starting point guard?
Darren Collison started all but four games he played over two seasons in Indiana. In an odd move this summer, the Pacers shipped him to Dallas for Ian Mahinmi. In turn, they gave a sizable contract to George Hill to presumably be the new starter.
In the Pacers eyes, Hill was worth a five-year, $40 million contract. However, Hill was coming off a decidedly down-year for Indiana, his only year with the team, after some decent performances in San Antonio. He is an average combo-guard at best, and has proven this over four years in the league.
To make things more interesting, the Pacers then signed former Bobcats starting point guard, D.J. Augustin to a one-year deal for just $3.5 million. Augustin started 46 games at the point last season, and all 82 the year before. He has much more experience in the role than Hill, and is sure to create some sort of controversy at the spot.
The thing here is the Pacers didn't have to make these decisions. They could have very well had Collison for another two years for under $6 million total. Instead, next season they are paying two point guards a combined $11.5 million and may be a worse team.
Orlando Magic's "Haul" for Dwight Howard
Forgive me if I sound rhetorical, but how can an NBA team let one of the league's premier players go in a four-team trade, and not get the second or third best player involved in the deal, in return?
The Magic obviously had to part ways with Dwight Howard, but they did so in an act that did not grant the team Andrew Bynum or Andre Iguodala. Orlando, instead received a list of average to below-average players led by Aaron Afflalo and Al Harrington, coupled with a prospect in Maurice Harkless and some draft picks. Orlando also parted with Jason Richardson.
This season is shaping up to be an interesting on for the Magic, that is for sure. However, interesting will only put so many fans in the seats when a 15-win season could be on the horizon.
There were reported offers that appear more appealing than what Orlando wound up getting in return here. I just would have liked to see them get at least one sure-thing star in return, and then surrounded him with draft picks and projects.
Mike Dunlap Gets the Head Coaching Nod in Charlotte
Whoever took over for Paul Silas was going to be in for a bumpy ride. That man is Mike Dunlap. He will be responsible for guiding a team away from last year's seven-win season.
The Bobcats have a lot of nice young pieces in place right now, but Dunlap won't be around to see the fruits of his labor. The way it goes for coaches in the world of sports is that the man who steers to boat in the right direction is replaced before everything comes to fruition.
However,with Dunlap we can't even be sure he is the right man to start this ship going in the right direction. Dunlap's head coaching experience doesn't really rise above NCAA Division II, where he won championships with Metro State. He was most recently an assistant and interim-head coach at Saint John's.
Dunlap's NBA experience comes from two seasons as an assistant in Denver, but that was four years ago. This is the man who must mold the personalities and games of Michael Kidd-Gilchrest, Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo. He has to make sure these young players grow, while also working in some new veteran additions.
I have little reason to believe that his fate will be any different than that of Silas.
Raymond Felton in a No-Win Situation with Knicks
Few players are going to be in a tougher spot to succeed than Raymond Felton next season.
The Knicks let Jeremy Lin walk, and have brought in Felton to replace him in the starting lineup. Felton is coming off a poor season trying to lead Portland, and has caught a lot of flak for it. There is a popular opinion that he is simply washed up at this point. This has led New York fans to view him in a bad light.
His current reputation, coupled with the replacement of one of the more popular Knicks in decades, will lead to a tough situation at Madison Square Garden this season. Lin sold the second-most jerseys in the NBA last season. Now all those Knicks fans have $70 No. 17 jerseys collecting dust in their closet, while Felton is trying to run an offense.
It is tough enough for a point guard to mesh with players like Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, especially when they are taking the court together for the first time ever, but with all this added pressure, it is tough to see things going well for Felton in the Big Apple.
Houston Rockets Passing Up Two Solid PGs for Jeremy Lin
The Houston Rockets certainly put a lot of eggs in a few baskets this summer. They have invested a large chunk of change in both Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin for the next three seasons.
The issue here isn't necessarily with Lin as a legitimate player, but with who the Rockets parted with that eventually led to the signing. Houston watched two point guards walk out the door this summer, both of which will be starting for their new teams come the fall. Goran Dragic is a hot commodity and will be managing things in Phoenix, while Kyle Lowry was sent north of the border to play for Toronto.
Since both players were more proven than Lin, this move is highly questionable. There was talk that Lowry wanted out, but with Dragic leaving in free agency, one would figure a more amiable solution was there to be had. Lowry is still under contract for two more seasons at a very reasonable $12 million total. That is only $2 million more than Lin, and without that incredible $14.8 million bite on the horizon.
The Rockets have gambled fairly big on Lin over Dragic and/or Lowry. But when you gamble big, the chance is there that you lose big as well.
Charlotte Bobcats Signing Three "Minutes Thieves"
I like the term "Minutes Thieves," and it seems to fit pretty well in Charlotte. As we just detailed, their new head coach Mike Dunlap has his work cut out for him molding his young talent. Unfortunately on top of that he now has a new crop of veterans to worry about as well.
This offseason, the Bobcats made moves to acquire Ramon Sessions, Ben Gordon and Brendan Haywood. The trio will be paid nearly $20 million total this coming season, and all are clogging up the works of talented youngsters.
Sessions is the leading candidate to replace D.J. Augustin as starting point guard, even though the Bobcats spent a top-ten pick on Kemba Walker a little over a year ago. Similarly, Haywood will now be earning minutes at the center spot, where it is just a waiting game for 2011 seventh-overall pick Bismack Biyombo to take over.
Finally, we have Gordon who came over in the most bland trade ever for Corey Maggette. Gordon will be stealing minutes all season from Gerald Henderson, who showed a lot of promise last season for Charlotte. However, Henderson may be in a make-it or break-it season, his fourth in the league, and having Gordon there isn't going to help.
This is an odd mixture for a team that was a disaster last season. It seems they are attempting to regain relevancy, but doing so at the expense of a bright future.
Brooklyn Nets Moving Beyond Relevancy
The Brooklyn Nets have become instantly relevant, and no one can take that away from them. The moves to re-sign Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace, coupled with the Joe Johnson trade have made them an instant playoff team.
However, with their current set-up, are they able to move beyond that into legitimate contenders?
The big move of their summer came in the form of a trade for Johnson, once one of the elite scorers in the NBA. However, of late Johnson has fallen off and averaged under 20 points per game the past two seasons. Unfortunately for Brooklyn, Johnson is and has always been the definition of above-average. All of his Hawks teams have been good, but it has never been enough. That is why he has never lasted longer than 12 games in the postseason.
With the Johnson trade, and the massive money commitment that comes with it, I'm fearful the Nets have slipped into NBA purgatory. A land most recently populated by Johnson's Hawks and Steve Nash's Suns teams.
This move was a great idea with the team moving to a new location and drumming up interest in the franchise. They will be exciting to watch in the regular season, but if Johnson's history has proven anything, that is all they will be.