The 2009 NBA offseason has been nothing short of magnificent thus far, ranging from Shaquille O'Neal joining LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to bad boy Ron Artest signing the mid-level exception with the defending champions, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Moves that analysts never predicted have turned into reality and fans worldwide are left with nothing but pure excitement heading into the 09'-10' NBA season.
Many questions remain unanswered regarding who will rise and who will fall next season, but one thing is for certain: this offseason has without a doubt improved the league's most powerful teams, elevating them to a completely new level.
The Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic are the top five contending teams in the NBA, and have each increased their organizations chances of winning the title significantly this offseason.
So which team has made the best offseason signing so far? Here is a summary of the major acquisitions made by the championship contenders thus far.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers signed Ron Artest to a five-year, $33 million deal ($6.6 million per year).
From a money standpoint, this is by far the best bang for your buck signing in the entire NBA.
Artest is a defensive machine with the superstar capabilities of taking over a game and bringing his team to victory. He is a serious offensive threat and has the physique, (standing 6'8", weighing 250+ pounds) to overpower any defender and have his way at any point during a game.
Artest will bring even more intensity to the already loaded Lakers lineup, and has the overall talent to improve this Los Angeles team.
The Celtics signed 14-year veteran Rasheed Wallace to the mid-level exception for two years.
Wallace will bring experience and dedication to quite possibly the most experienced team in the NBA today.
Teaming up with Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo, Wallace will fit in well with Boston's system, coming off of the bench as a sixth man.
Standing 6'11", 'Sheed has the versatility to play both the power-forward and center position. This could come in handy for Boston, especially if they become a prisoner to injuries once again this season. For the first time since the Big Three have joined forces, the Celtics have a serious threat off of the bench.
Wallace also bring extreme intensity to the court each and every night, and definitely upgrades this team to another level.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs signed veteran Antonio McDyess to a three-year deal that guarantees $15 million.
Although McDyess is 34, he has enough gas in the tank to post 20+ MPG and grab roughly 6-8 RPG, depending on the minutes averaged per game.
He will be a great backup to Tim Duncan, and certainly lifts this team's overall bench production.
Along with McDyess, the Spurs managed to trade up for swingman Richard Jefferson.
Jefferson will be placed into the starting lineup and improve this team's overall value instantly.
The Magic signed 24-year-old Brandon Bass to a four-year, $18 million deal.
Bass was a backup for the Dallas Mavericks during the last two seasons and will now get a rare opportunity to start for the Eastern Conference champions.
Alongside arguably the best center in the league in Dwight Howard, Bass will really get a chance to show his true potential and possibly emerge into a star.
Orlando also traded for superstar Vince Carter and two-year man Ryan Anderson.
In addition, the Magic also re-signed center Marcin Gortat to a five-year, $34 million dollar deal.
Bass, VC, Anderson, and Gortat will definitely do some serious damage for the up and coming NBA Finalists during the upcoming season.
The Cavaliers signed ex-Raptor Anthony Parker to a two-year, roughly $6 million contract and Jamario Moon to a contract offer sheet (the Miami Heat have seven days to match).
Parker is a terrific role player with a sweet stroke and the ability to attack the rim. He will get to team up with LeBron James and newly acquired Shaquille O'Neal from the Phoenix Suns.
If the Heat do not match Moon's offer, he will likely be a player off the bench for the Cavaliers. Moon is an excellent defender and can hit the three ball as well.