The 2010 NBA offseason is about halfway finished, so I have decided to construct a list of winners and losers, complete with in-depth analysis.
Miami Heat: What can I say? The Miami Heat are in the process of having one the best off-seasons in years in any sport. Pat Riley showcased his recruiting prowess when he lured all three top free agents—LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh—to Miami. If you combine that with acquiring a second-round gem during the NBA Draft in Mississippi State's leading shot blocker Jarvis Varnardo, then you have yourself an excellent offseason.
New York Knicks: New York did not hit the jackpot in the free agency period, but they did manage to sign Amar'e Stoudemire to a five-year, $100 million dollar contract. I am aware that the Knicks lost David Lee to the Golden State Warriors, but Stoudemire should definitely be considered an upgrade. Amar'e not only brings improved free throw shooting to New York, but he also has a reputation of being a stat sheet stuffer, as he has career averages of 21.4 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game. The Knicks still need one more piece in order to make the playoffs, but they definitely improved this offseason.
Chicago Bulls: The Chicago Bulls, despite having not landed any top free agents this offseason, made key improvements and should make a deep run in the NBA playoffs this coming season. They landed two good players at weak positions, as they acquired dependable power forward Carlos Boozer and a three-point sharpshooter in Kyle Korver. Boozer adds some much-needed experience to the Bulls, while Korver gives them the three-point shot they have been lacking since Ben Gordon left to go to the Detroit Pistons in 2009. In addition, Ronnie Brewer adds more depth to the Bulls bench, as he is a good defender but can also score about five to 10 points per game.
Minnesota Timberwolves: T'wolves GM David Kahn once again showed that he is unable to improve a team, as he signed one of the NBA's worst busts in Darko Milicic to a five-year, $20 million contract. This is a huge waste of critical cap space, as the 2003 No. 2 overall pick has career averages of 5.6 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game. You cannot do much worse than that, yet Kahn still signed him. That definitely is the worst decision by any team in this offseason.
New Jersey Nets: The New Jersey Nets are having one of the unluckiest off-seasons in recent memory, as they not only have failed to sign a top free agent but, despite being 12-70 last season, were only given the third overall pick that they later used on Georgia Tech center Derrick Favors. No disrespect to Favors, but they could have used that pick on shooting guard Wesley Johnson, as they need a decent shooting guard and Johnson would have fit that description. In addition to their lottery failure, the one free agent they have signed is Jordan Farmar, whom they inked to a three-year, $12 million dollar contract.
Now that may seem like a horrible offseason, but none is worse than the "grandaddy of them all" that will follow this sentence.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Nothing is worse than finding out you are losing your hometown superstar, and the heart and soul of your franchise, on ESPN during a one-hour special. But that is exactly what LeBron James did to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In addition, Cleveland has also lost Zydrunas Ilgauskas to the Miami Heat and could possibly lose Shaquille O'Neal to the Atlanta Hawks. All these moves should cripple the franchise, so Cleveland will go from NBA Finals contenders to 20-30 win seasons for the next five years.
That, my friends, is a horrible offseason.