Steak or Just Sizzle? Taking a Closer Look at Recent NBA Transactions

Dimitri KontopidisCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2008

It has been a frenzied NBA offseason thus far, but as the dust settles on this first wave of transactions it's clear to see that none of these signings are going to dramatically change the complexion of either the Eastern or Western Conferences.

For starters, we have the move of Baron Davis to the Clippers for a reported $65 million.

Though this was a nice pickup for the Clippers, they failed to keep the pieces around Davis that could have potentially made the Clippers playoff contenders.

With Brand and Maggette now gone, I don't see the Clippers being more than a 40-win team.

The roster does not fit the run-and-gun style that made Davis successful in Golden State, and with a coach in Mike Dunleavy who loves structured offensive sets, it's uncertain how Davis' production will be affected now that he doesn’t have the complete freedom that he was given in the Bay.

And while we're mentioning the Clippers departures, let’s not overstate the impact that Maggette and Brand will have for the Warriors and Sixers respectively.

I expect Maggette to be a good fit for the Warriors system, especially because he has the ability to create his own offense on a team that now has a gaping hole at point-guard. But the Western Conference is so tough that, at best, the Warriors will barely make the playoffs as a low seed.

The Sixers will probably make the biggest jump record-wise with the addition of Brand, who throughout his career has been a double-double machine.

But there are questions with this signing as well.

Brand, who is now 29 years old, is coming off a serious Achilles injury that took him out for almost all of last season. He claims to be completely healthy now, but he's reached an age where such an injury may be cause for concern.

If he can return to his '06 form, when he was an MVP candidate, the Sixers should easily make the playoffs again.

The Eastern Conference is still a notch below the West, and Brand should open up the floor for young players like Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young with his presence inside. But in the world of sports, there are no guarantees—especially when it comes to injury.

So yes, while there has been plenty of big-name activity this offseason, none of the situations presents a one-hundred eighty-degree turn around, a la the Boston Celtics.

No doubt most of these teams mentioned will be improved—but all of them are at least one more big signing away from making the big jump from mediocrity to contention.