This was the summer of more. What team would come away with more big name contracts, what team could finish this summer with more cap-space, and, for teams that didn't quite live up to expectations, what team would change up their roster the most; these were the questions that were going to define the good from the bad teams next season.
Then why, in this off season of more, did a team doing practically nothing find themselves in one of the best positions of the East?
This team that stood out from others this off season by being one of the few remaining quiet, even though they endured a first round exit, are the rookie led Milwakee Bucks.
Let's recap last season for the Bucks: Brandon Jennings was picked early and was meant to be the point guard for all-star caliber shooting guard Micheal Redd. Redd comes down with an injury bad enough that he faces the option of retirement.
Micheal Redd stays under contract, yet plays less than 15 games in the season, officially making this Brandon's team. Bucks start off good, with Bogut playing the best ball of his life, and Brandon looking like a steal.
Then, Jennings hits the self made "rookie wall", and the Bucks whole season slows down. That is, until they get John Salmons. Salmons provides the spark they need pushing them to the playoffs, and to the brink of the second round.
So, overall, not a bad season, yet nothing to be proud of. The type of season that would send the average team into the Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Boozer and Stoudemire frenzy if they hadn't all been signed. But the Bucks remained quiet, and did so little as talk with any free agent.
And it is because of this that they end up in one of the best winning positions in the East. Here is what, while doing nothing, they accomplished:
First, the Bucks were never one of those teams (see Knicks) that dropped half their roster in hopes of landing the "King", and then realizing that he would go else where. Thus, the Bucks still have a pretty solid roster.
Second, and this may be the most important to this point, is that many teams this summer wound up not getting any big name free-agents, but wanted to make a splash in the historic summer. This means team ended up paying mediocre players near 100 million--Darko Milicic.
The Bucks did not do this, leaving them with one of the highest cap space in the league, meaning that this year, or even next summer, if things don't work out as expected, a free agent signing would be easier for them than mostly any other team, especially considering their young and talented nucleus that the free-agent would be joining.
Now, this year, it would be considered a dissapointment in if the Bucks don't finish second in their division, almost guaranteeing a high playoff spot.
That leaves the division with two realistic playoff teams: the Bucks and the Bulls. And, though the Bulls got Boozer, the Bucks should be content with that; at first, it was near obvious that the Bulls would run away with James, Wade, or Bosh, if not two of them at the same time.
So, yes, at this point the Bulls are a favorite to win the division, but they're not coming into the season with the same force that they were expected to.
Give it two more years, two more years for the big three in Milwakee (Bogut, Jennings, Salmons) to develop their individual and team games, and the Bucks will be one of the real powerhouses of the league.
Jennings is already blessed with talent that's top 20 in the league, and Bogut is already mentioned as one of the top five big men.
Put a decent free agent signing in the mix, and all of a sudden you have a team that can really compete with Rose, Boozer, Deng, and Noah, and finding themselves on a 50 win team.
All because, in a summer of more, a team stood out by accomplishing less.