Midterm Grades: The 10 Best Investments of the NBA Offseason
The NBA offseason of 2010 will always be remembered for "The Decision." While LeBron James dominated the headlines in basketball, his move was not the only one that drew attention.
There were several teams that made moves that have had a significant impact on their teams. Instead of taking a step back with these moves, each team has propelled forward and positioned themselves for a playoff run.
I have compiled a list of 10 investments that have paid off for the respective teams.
New Orleans Hornets Hire Monty Williams as Head Coach
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Even as a player, Monty Williams was seen as a future head coach. He had all the qualification to succeed. Currently he is the youngest head coach in the NBA and his New Orleans Hornets are 32-19 in the Western Conference.
Williams was just named Western Conference coach of the month as his Hornets posted a record of 12-4.
The Hornets took a chance on the first time head coach and he has not disappointed.
Utah Jazz Trade For Al Jefferson
When Carlos Boozer left for Chicago, it looked if the Utah Jazz's hopes of going deep into the playoffs went with him. But the GM of the Jazz did not miss a beat when he signed Al Jefferson of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Jefferson averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds while he was a member of the T-Wolves.
While his numbers so far this season are down, he is averaging 16 points and nine rebounds in his first season with the Jazz. The Jazz got younger with this signing, and Jefferson shoud thrive under Jerry Sloan's system.
Dallas Mavericks Trade for Tyson Chandler
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Tyson Chandler is in the last year of his contract, and has something to prove.
The Dallas Mavericks are looking to get back to the NBA finals, and maybe Chandler is just the guy to help get them there.
Chandler gives the Mavericks a big man that can score, defend and block shots and be another high energy guy in their lineup.
Chicago Bulls Sign Carlos Boozer
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The Chicago Bulls ignored the injury-prone career of Boozer and signed him to a five-year deal anyway.
Boozer is a legitimate 20-10 guy in this league and his size and rebounding will give the Bulls the inside presence that they need. He is a good pick-and-roll partner for all-star point guard Derrick Rose.
The Bulls currently are first in the Central Division with a 34-14 record. They are definitely a threat in the Eastern Conference.
New York Knicks Sign Amar'e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton
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The New York Knicks didn't land LeBron, but they managed to sign two players that have been key players to their season.
Amar'e Stoudemire signed a $100 million contract, but has proven that he is worth every penny. He is doing it all for the Knicks, scoring, blocking shots, rebounding and providing leadership to a Knicks team that was previously in disarray.
Raymond Felton was the steal of this deal, signing a two-year contract. Although he and Stoudemire started slow, they have finally executed the pick-and-roll.
Stoudemire is averaging 26 points and 8 rebounds this season, while Felton is averaging 17 points and 8 assists. Their current record of 25-24 is no reflection on the impact Felton and Stoudemire have had on this team.
The co-captains have managed to bring much needed life back to Madison Square Garden.
San Antonio Spurs Re-Sign Richard Jefferson
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Richard Jefferson chose to opt out of his contract. That could have spelled bad news for the San Antonio Spurs, but interestingly enough, the Spurs decided to re-sign him.
To many, that was a foolish decision, especially seeing how much Jefferson struggled and appeared clueless in his first season with the Spurs. The deal was worked out perfectly as Jefferson has shown much improvement from last year and has settled into his role as the Spurs' fourth option.
Kevin Durant Signs Extension With Oklahoma City Thunder
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Kevin Durant didn't need an hour-long special to let the Oklahoma City Thunder know he was keeping his talents in Oklahoma City.
Durant signed a five-year deal with Oklahoma rather than testing the free agent waters; he decided to stay in a small city market instead.
The Thunder have been one of the surprise teams in the NBA. They took the world champion Los Angeles Lakers to seven games last year in the first round of the playoffs. With a nucleus of Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green, look for the Thunder to be a force for years in the West.
San Antonio Spurs Re-Sign Tony Parker
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A lot of rumors floated around all summer that Tony Parker wanted out of San Antonio. It was said that he would like to play in New York along side Stoudemire. The Spurs decided to re-sign Parker rather than allow him to become a free agent.
The Spurs were overlooked this offseason, as all the talk was about LeBron and the big three in Miami. Everyone seemed to forget about the Spurs, who are surprisingly the best team in the NBA with a record of 41-8.
They have kept THEIR big three of Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili together and have their sights set on another NBA championship.
Miami Heat Sign LeBron James and Chris Bosh
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Does anything need to be said about the offseason moves that landed both Chris Bosh and LeBron in South Beach that haven't already been said?
Pat Riley, the mastermind behind the big three, should be named NBA President of the Year for pulling this off. Not only did he sign James and Bosh to team up with Dwyane Wade, but he added enough role players to make them serious contenders in the east.
Although the Heat started slow, they have all seemed to jell and are proving to be almost unbeatable.
Boston Celtics Re-Sign Ray Allen
Ray Allen still has game! The 35-year-old shooting guard has the sweetest jumper in the NBA. It's no wonder the Boston Celtics decided to re-sign him.
Allen will no doubt retire as the leader in three point field goals, surpassing Reggie Miller.
By re-signing Allen, the Celtics have kept their own big three intact and will go for another shot at an NBA championship.