Six Players Who Could Mean More to Their New Teams Than LeBron James
The Miami Heat and the new “Big Three” sucker-punched the NBA, but a few teams around the NBA have done their best to counter Miami and the "conspirators’" moves.
The balance of power around the league has definitely shifted as advertised, leaving us to anticipate one of the biggest seasons in NBA history.
The shifting going on in the league didn’t just take place one way, but in multiple ways. For some teams, it was done through the use of sign-and-trade.
Other teams took advantage of a deep draft pool and selected one of the league’s newest stars. Finally, some teams used the classic and ever resourceful free-agent signing.
This is my favorite way: the time old honored sports tradition of luring the player away from his former team with more money and promises of both a higher amount of personal and team successes.
The NBA offseason is not over and there should be more to come but, for the moment, there are just a few teams that have made moves which are significant enough to, maybe not match, but at least rival what is being put together down in South Beach.
The Golden State Warriors added one of the most underrated big men in the game today. The Phoenix Suns lost a key player, but they bounced back by keeping a couple of their key players and bringing in an excellent hybrid forward.
The Sacramento Kings may have slipped down in the draft, but luckily, a terrific player was there in waiting. While that was going on out West, the East was also busy shaking things up.
The Washington Wizards hit it big with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, the Chicago Bulls lured away three guys from Salt Lake City, and the Boston Celtics lost a veteran only to pick up a another one.
Here are seven teams that have been busy in the front office this offseason, in order from minor, yet important moves, to big time blockbuster moves.
Golden State Warriors: David Lee
The Golden State Warriors had a pretty good offseason by adding forward Dorell Wright through free agency and a solid power forward through the draft in Ekpe Udoh.
Unfortunately, Udoh has suffered a wrist injury, but Warriors fans don’t have to hold their breath just yet. The pick up of David Lee from the New York Knicks is what helps give the Warriors to make it back to the playoffs. Not an easy task out West, but with Lee, they are moving in the right direction.
Golden State finished the season at 26-56, good for 13th place in the Western Conference last year. Now, they have to make up 24 wins to match the 8th place Oklahoma City Thunder; a pretty tall order.
But, Lee can bring a lot to the table. He finished fourth in the league with 55 double-doubles and led all centers in points and assists. He trailed only Dwight Howard in rebounds per game.
Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins
I have to call myself out and say that I was definitely a DeMarcus Cousins hater. I did not think he would be named T-Mobile Rookie of the Month so quickly.
Cousins proved during the Summer League that he can a double-double guy every night in the NBA. He and the Kings have a long way to go.
The Kings had 25 wins last year, but with the additions of DeMarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside through the draft, and a trade that brought over Samuel Dalembert to go with Omri Casspi, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Beno Udrih, and Tyreke Evans (reigning Rookie of the Year), the Kings can start thinking about 40 wins.
Boston Celtics: Jermaine O’Neal
Another offseason for the Boston Celtics and the addition of more age, this time it was Jermaine O’Neal’s turn to be the newest veteran to join the Celtics’ veteran-bandwagon.
However, I like the addition and think it will pay off just like the previous moves. I only wish that it didn’t have to include the retiring of Rasheed Wallace. I am definitely going to miss that guy.
I am getting a little off-track here, but how weird is it that Wallace retiring and Anfernee Hardaway is attempting a comeback. BRING BACK RASHEED!
O’Neal doesn’t have the range that Wallace has, but he is a veteran and will be an extra body for at Boston’s disposal come playoff time.
Washington Wizards: John Wall
Basketball will be relevant in Washington again in 2010-2011 and it will actually have to do with basketball.
There is no guarantee that John Wall and Gilbert Arenas show will work in Washington, but there is a guarantee that their will be people in the seats.
The Wizards had a tumultuous season with weapons, suspensions, and then the dismantling of their team.
However, Washington rebounded with the No. 1 overall in this year’s draft, and so far, Wall has been living up to the hype with a strong Summer League. He led all players in scoring with 23.5 points and assists with 7.8 per game.
Phoenix Suns: Hedo Turkoglu
The loss of Amar’e Stoudemire certainly stings in Phoenix. He and Steve Nash continued to look better every season and it’s hard to replace his presence on the defensive.
However, the Suns were able to keep Channing Frye and Grant Hill, and brought in Hakim Warrick. They also had a solid draft with the selection of Georgia Tech’s Gani Lawal.
The pickup of Hedo Turkoglu, though, is one of the top offseason moves by any team. He did not exactly have a year to remember last year in Toronto, but you cannot deny what he could bring to the table for the Suns.
He and Nash running the offense together, wow. If Stoudemire can run a pick-and-roll, Turkoglu will make heads turn. He also gives the Suns another shooter.
Chicago Bulls: Carlos Boozer
The Bulls didn’t just add one player from the Utah Jazz; they took three in all from Salt Lake City.
After taking Boozer away from Utah, the Bulls continued with the trend with the signing of Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer.
Korver and Brewer are good entrees; Boozer is definitely the main course. Forget about the Miami Heat and some guys named James and Bosh.
The Bulls have a chance to be one of the top five teams in the Eastern Conference.
With Boozer joining up with Derrick Rose, Loul Deng, Taj Gibson, and Joakim Noah, Chicago might get 50-plus wins for the first time since the 1997-1998 season, Michael Jordan’s final one with the Bulls.