NBA Free Agency: The 10 Teams That Will Change The Most This Offseason
The summer of 2010 was predicted to be the craziest free-agent market in history.
And between all of the rumors, the millions of dollars being thrown around, and Chris Bosh's continuous Twitter updates, let's just say it hasn't disappointed us yet.
LeBron James has turned the city of Cleveland into a Trade Show, requiring potential suitors to come to his city to persuade him to leave.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have been taking turns snapping photos of each other while they take visits to Chicago, New York, New Jersey, and Miami together.
With July 8th marking the official first day that players can sign with their teams, the next two days will probably be the craziest in terms of rumors and news that we have seen since free agency officially began.
With that said, there are 10 teams that have the potential to change more than any team in the NBA.
Some have the money, some have the trade assets, while others are just hoping to cling onto their stars.
The next couple days of free agency have the potential to shake-up the power structure in the NBA for the next six to seven seasons, so let's take a look at my top 10 teams who will change the most this offseason.
As usual, sit back, relax, and don't forget to comment!
10. The Los Angeles Clippers
Sometimes I wonder if David Stern tells a rookie to pray they get traded when they are drafted by the Clippers.
The Clippers have probably drafted more first round busts than any other team in NBA history, and Al Farouq-Aminu is probably hoping he isn't the next on that list.
But, anyways, we aren't here to talk about the Clippers poor drafting habits of the past 10 years.
This offseason has the potential for the Clippers to return to NBA relevancy.
They have the money to spend, the young supporting cast to lure a big name in, yet it seems that nobody wants to come to play for the Clippers.
Maybe that has something to do with their ownership, or maybe it has something to do with sharing the Los Angeles limelight with Kobe Bryant and the two-time defending NBA Champion Lakers.
Regardless of which reason it is, the Clippers have a big problem on their hands.
However, they do have around $18 million to bring in some type of free-agent additions to their team.
The Clippers are returning last season's No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin who claims to be 100%, they just drafted a solid small forward in Al Farouq-Aminu, and acquired the rights to Kentucky's other point guard, Eric Bledsoe.
They do have a huge void at power forward after Drew Gooden left for Milwaukee, which means they could use that cap space to lure in a power forward.
David Lee or Carlos Boozer anyone?
The Clippers may have to overpay to bring one of those two to their team, but if they could pull off that move, their team would have a much different look than last season.
9. The Utah Jazz
Let me start this off by saying that I think the Jazz are going to be alright if Boozer leaves their team.
Everyone is worried that they will have a lack of production from the power forward position if Boozer leaves, but I think it just opens the door for Paul Millsap to show everyone what he can really do.
With that said, the Jazz's team will change a lot this offseason.
They have already added Butler star Gordon Hayward through the draft (a big reach in my opinion), and will return two of their biggest pieces that were lost in the playoffs: Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko.
The loss of Boozer is enough to change a team in a big way, but it may open the door for some of the younger Jazz players to step up in a more athletic, Deron Williams sort of way.
If they cannot convince Boozer to stay, look for them to try and use their mid-level exception on some sort of power forward depth.
8. The New Jersey Nets
The New Jersey Nets are this far down on the list for one reason.
I don't think they will end up with anyone big in this free agency class.
But, with that said, their team has still changed greatly.
They dealt away Yi Jianlian and Chris Douglas-Roberts, drafted Derrick Favors, got a new billionaire owner, and brought in Avery Johnson to coach their team.
Not too bad for a team that finished last season dead last in the rankings.
The Nets still have a chance to add a big name free agent from this class to their young core of Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Derrick Favors, and Brook Lopez, but may have to end up adding a few minor pieces to the puzzle.
Obviously if they acquired LeBron, Bosh, or D-Wade, they would vault to the top of this list, but for now, let's just keep them right here.
7. The Washington Wizards
Remember when the Wizards had a core of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson, and Antawn Jamison?
Oh yeah, that was at the beginning of the 2009-2010 season.
What a difference one year can make in the NBA.
The Wizards went into last season as a playoff contender and found themselves trading off everyone that wasn't suspended out of that core.
Now the team is facing a new direction after landing the No. 1 pick and potential rookie sensation John Wall.
To go with their addition of Wall, they will officially acquire Kirk Hinrich from Chicago on Thursday, they have already added Yi Jianlian from the New Jersey Nets, and they have around 10-12 million in cap room to work with.
These aren't your Wizards of old, ladies and gentlemen.
The new look Wizards seem to be moving in the "character" player direction and away from the whole gun incident of last season.
If they can add a decent free agent or two out of this class, it would boost their chances of climbing this list, but as of now, they come in at No. 7.
6. The Phoenix Suns
When Amar'e Stoudemire signs with the New York Knicks on Thursday, it will officially mark the end of an era in Phoenix.
The era of Steve Nash and Amar'e will officially come to an end, and the Phoenix Suns will begin their search for a powerful big man on the inside to replace him.
They already went out and got Hakim Warrick from the Chicago Bulls for four years and $18 million, but I don't even consider him a replacement for Amar'e.
The only reason Phoenix will survive Amar'e's departure is because they have been expecting it for the last three seasons, and he isn't a max contract player.
The New York Knicks feel he is, but only Nash and the Phoenix Suns know Amar'e for who he really is.
That person is a defensive liability, and a player that needs a great floor general in order for him to succeed.
He won't have to worry about the defense part in New York because they don't play any, and he might just get Tony Parker there soon.
But back to the Suns.
They come in at No. 6 because they are losing a proven all-star, a game-changer, and one of the biggest parts of their team.
That alone says a team will change a lot in the offseason.
5. The Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors are about to lose their star player, again.
It started with Vince Carter, then it was Tracy McGrady, now it will be Chris Bosh.
I guess NBA All-Stars just don't like playing basketball in Canada for some reason.
The Toronto Raptors weren't a playoff team last year, so the loss of Bosh doesn't affect their playoff contender status, but it affects their roster status.
They went out and got Ed Davis from North Carolina with a lot of upside, and then re-signed Amir Johnson to a boatload of money for a guy of his caliber, but other than that, Bosh will define their offseason.
If he leaves straight up, the only thing they have to look forward to is less salary.
If they can sign and trade him, they might end up with a couple of nice pieces in return for him.
But no matter what happens, the Raptors roster will change for the worse this offseason when they lose an All-Star, leader, and Olympic gold medalist in Chris Bosh.
4. The Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers come in at No. 4 with or without the return of LeBron James.
If LeBron James stays, then that is a BIG change for the Cavaliers because 75 percent of the world thought he was gone after that playoffs performance.
If he goes, the Cavaliers instantly enter rebuild mode after losing one of the greatest players in the game today.
Tough spot for the organization, the fans, and the city of Cleveland.
The Cavaliers could easily jump up to No. 2 on this list if today's rumors of a sign and trade with Toronto for Chris Bosh are true, but we have to wait on the word of Bosh and LeBron if that is going to happen.
A trade of that magnitude would greatly change the landscape of the Cavaliers roster, as they would probably have to give up J.J. Hickson, Delonte West, Anthony Parker, and Anderson Varejao plus future draft picks to make the salaries match.
I am not sure why the Raptors would want to take back Varejao's lengthy contract in the deal, which is why I have speculated all along that it would be Jamison in the deal instead of Parker and Varejao.
Either way, if the Cavaliers can pull off a deal for Bosh after securing LeBron's signature on a contract, the city of Cleveland may have a celebration party down Euclid Avenue.
3. The Chicago Bulls
Change is coming in Chicago.
It started with saying good-bye to Vinny Del Negro and saying hello to new coach Tom Thibodeau.
It continued by waving good-bye to Hinrich and Warrick.
And it will probably cap off by saying "The Glory Days Have Returned" after signing LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Boozer, or David Lee.
One way or another, the Chicago Bulls will be a force to be reckoned with and a changed team after this offseason.
I cannot imagine ANY scenario in which the Bulls do not end up with one of the top free agents, as they have Derrick Rose to offer as a future running mate.
I was just talking to a buddy from Chicago, and we came to the conclusion that the Bulls would be better off snagging Wade and Boozer to put with Noah, Deng, and Rose in their starting five.
While it may not have the name power of LeBron and Bosh, it may be the right recipe for a championship.
No matter what happens in Chicago, their roster is sure to have a brand new look from the team that got knocked out of the first round of the playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers this season.
2. The New York Knicks
Welcome to New York, Amar'e.
Here you will find a roster, or lack thereof, that looks nothing like it did last season.
There are currently five players under contract, one of them being Eddy Curry, who never plays.
The Knicks starting point guard just left to be a back-up in Orlando, and the next best player on the team is Danilo Gallinari.
Man, I give Amar'e credit for being the first guy to jump on the crazy train that I like to the call the Knicks' front office.
Hopefully, for basketball's sake and the fan's sake, the Knicks can lure somebody to play in New York with Amar'e next season.
Or else this could end up being another huge let down for fans.
I know the back up plan is to acquire Tony Parker and make a run at Carmelo Anthony NEXT season if they cannot get Wade or LeBron in New York, but I can't imagine the fans would be too happy being pitched the whole "wait until next year" all over again.
The Knicks' team has changed already this off-season and will continue to change more than any other team on this list (except for No. 1).
Let's hope the Knicks can pull something big off in the next couple days.
1. The Miami Heat
Let me start this off by saying that Dwyane Wade is the most patient man in all of basketball.
He won a championship for the organization, has taken the bumps and bruises every year, and hasn't said a word.
And what has Miami done for him?
Since the Heat won a championship, they have not acquired anyone to really give Wade an incentive to stay.
And now that he is a free agent and they have basically gotten rid of everyone not named Chalmers and Beasley on their roster, they magically expect him to stay?
The Miami Heat will go through the biggest change in the NBA of any team.
They will either keep Wade, pair him with any of the following: Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, David Lee, Ray Allen, etc.
Or they will lose the face of their franchise and have to craft something out of the available second tier free agents in this draft class.
Either way, the Miami Heat are in a position to change the most this offseason.
They may retain Udonis Haslem, but with the exception of that, none of their other free agents are expected to return next season.
We will see which way the ball rolls come July 8th, but I have a feeling that the Miami Heat organization and fans may not like what's about to happen with their team.