NBA Teams Who Helped Themselves the Most in Free Agency so Far
It's still early in NBA free agency, but a number of teams have gone ahead and made some nice moves to help build their roster.
Whether it's re-signing a key player, adding a major piece or even making a quiet, under-the-radar addition, these six teams have made a great start to free agency.
There's still plenty of time for other sides to join this list, but for now fans of these franchises have to be happy with the move their respective front offices have made, with a lot to look forward to in the coming season.
Key Signing: Al Jefferson
Many wanted the Bobcats to tank in the hopes of getting the top pick in next year's much-awaited draft, but instead they've made a good choice in deciding to build around Al Jefferson.
For a while now, Jefferson has been one of the league's most underrated big men, and that's been pretty clear in the Summer of Dwight Howard.
Jefferson is a great scorer and rebounder in the post, and his presence will also help Cody Zeller's development in the NBA.
Charlotte now has the makings of a very solid team with Jefferson, Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and it won't be long before they're a playoff contender in the East.
For now, though, they are a couple of pieces away and should still be able to land a decent pick in the 2014 draft.
At the very least, the franchise and its fans actually have a decent team to watch ahead of their transition to the Hornets.
Key Signings: David West, C.J. Watson
Indiana made huge strides last season in making it to the Eastern Conference Finals, and their primary objective this offseason was to keep the same team intact and add to the bench.
So far, the front office has done a great job at that, bringing back David West and signing C.J. Watson to take over from D.J. Augustin as the backup point guard.
Augustin was a disaster for the Pacers, but Watson is someone capable of running the second unit, especially if he's joined by Danny Granger or Lance Stephenson. It's an under-the-radar move, but it could end up paying off big time.
West got a great deal on a personal level at three years, $36 million, but he absolutely earned it. He's highly productive and efficient, and it cannot be ignored just how important he is as a leader.
At the end of his deal, West will be almost 36, but that might not be too much to worry about considering his skill level and style of play.
By virtue of Roy Hibbert and Paul George's development, it's inevitable that with West back, Indiana will be better next season. With that said, adding to the second unit is a must, and they've already made a good start on that front.
Los Angeles Clippers
Key Signings: Chris Paul, J.J. Redick
Keeping a hold of arguably the best point guard in the NBA is always going to be a positive move, and combining that with cashing in on his backup made this a great start to free agency for the Clippers.
With Eric Bledsoe off to the Phoenix Suns, the Clippers acquired J.J. Redick via sign-and-trade, while also bringing in Jared Dudley to replace the outgoing Caron Butler.
The Clippers now have a deep set of wing players to surround CP3, with Redick, Dudley, Jamal Crawford and Reggie Bullock all ready to make big contributions to the team.
Surrounding an elite passer with shooters makes a lot of sense for Los Angeles, and it could well have the league's best offense next season if everyone stays healthy.
They could still use a new backup point guard in free agency, but the good thing about picking up Redick in exchange for Bledsoe is that he's not just a shooter, He's also a perfectly capable ball-handler and passer.
Key Signings: Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger
After the Brandon Roy experiment failed last season, the Timberwolves still had a big hole to fill at shooting guard, and they've found a capable option in Kevin Martin.
Playing off the bench for the Oklahoma City Thunder and struggling to try and replace James Harden, it was easy to dismiss Martin, but let's not forget he was one of the league's best scorers at the position not long ago.
With the chance to play alongside Ricky Rubio, we should see an increase in Martin's scoring numbers, especially from beyond the arc.
Chase Budinger is also back, and should continue to contribute off the bench when he returns from injury. At three years, $16 million, the deal is slightly questionable, but considering his upside, and the fact he has spent his entire career with coach Rick Adelman, it makes sense.
New Orleans Pelicans
Key Signing: Tyreke Evans
The Pelicans made a huge move in picking up Jrue Holiday on draft day, and since then we've been wondering what they would do with Greivis Vasquez.
New Orleans made a great decision in using him to pick up free agent Tyreke Evans, who could be part of an elite backcourt teaming up with Holiday.
Considering Eric Gordon's injury trouble, New Orleans has made sure it has enough firepower to potentially get by without him, and to be even more dangerous with him.
Gordon could well be on the trading block in the near future, and a player as talented as him could bring back a decent small forward, or at least a package of quality role players.
Evans' versatility to play at either guard position, however, means this could work as a three-guard rotation, where everyone gets to play at least 30 minutes per game.
Key Acquisition: Greivis Vasquez
It's rare that a team can help themselves by letting go of one of their best players, but after drafting Ben McLemore it made sense for the Kings not to sign Tyreke Evans to a big contract.
What made even more sense is that the Kings actually got a pretty nice piece in return for Evans, rather than just losing him for nothing. Greivis Vasquez is an underrated player, and is a wonderful fit in Sacramento.
Even with Evans gone, the backcourt is still pretty crowded, but in Vasquez they have a pure passer who can help the talent on this team gel. McLemore's transition to the NBA will be much easier playing alongside Vasquez, while Isaiah Thomas should flourish as a third guard off the bench.
More intriguing, however, will be the partnership between Vasquez and DeMarcus Cousins, who should continue his development into one of the league's most dominant centers with Vasquez running the show.