NBA Free Agency 2011: The Early Winners and Losers
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The free-agent bonanza is truly in full swing, and many big names are changing uniforms and representing their new cities with the hope of new success on their new teams. Christmas is coming just in time for NBA fans with a plethora of movement surely to continue for weeks to come.
With all the risks management will be taking in the near future, one has to decide is the risk worth the reward. Let's look into what teams have done in the first week of free agency and see who the early winners and losers are in the first week.
LA Clippers...Will They Rule Staples Center This Year?
Clippers will be soaring to new heights
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CP3 is in the building, and Staples center will be rocking as this deals processes. The Clippers have brought in the most efficient point guard in the game today. The NBA blessed its fans by allowing a trade that brings both teams great quality.
Fans will be anxious to see how the combination of Paul and budding star Blake Griffin co-exist. This will be the new and improved version of the great Stockton-and-Malone duo that terrorized opponents with their play.
As it looks now, the starting lineup of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Caron Butler, DeAndre Jordan and Chauncey Billups/Randy Foye stacks up well against the leagues best. Paul will make the lives of his new teammates a whole lot easier on the offensive end with his ability to set up teammates and distribute the ball to the right person and at the right time.
The team's bench now consists of Mo Williams, Ryan Gomes, the Injured Eric Bledsoe and a couple of rookies and first-year players. The youngsters feature forward Trey Thompkins and athletic guard Travis Leslie.
Once the Clippers add another frontcourt veteran to this bunch, playoffs here we come! If they could add the likes of Kris Humphires, Andrei Kirlenko or Samuel Dalembert to shore up the interior, Clipper nation will be going crazy into the months of May and June during playoff time.
The New Beasts of the East?
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Tyson Chandler has brought defensive respectability to New York and has yet to even play a game for them.
His ability to protect the interior is why the team acquired the second team's all-defensive player. While his overall number doesn't jump at you, a double-double from a guy who brings a solid defensive presence will prove invaluable come playoff time.
Gotham's team has lacked this kind of legitimate size since the Ewing era.
The Knicks also brought in defensive-oriented Jared Jeffries, who was the top player in the league at taking charges, and veteran shooter Mike Bibby, who should be able to give them more than Eddie House did from the back up point guard spot.
Rookie point guard Iman Shumpert, along with centers Josh Harrellson and Jordan Jordan, will hope to break into the rotation during camp and throughout the season. The Knicks need to address their needs for another shooter, point guard or wing defender with the two slots they have left.
Hornets Still Buzzing After Losing Paul
Will the new youth prevail in the Bayou?
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The deal is finally over, CP3 has moved on to the West Coast, and as the trade smoked cleared, the Hornets found themselves with plenty to look forward too.
The blockbuster trade brought them one of the best scorers in the game in Eric Gordon, a superstar in the making. Gordon will provide the team with 20 plus points per night and a lot of great highlights to go along with that. At 22, he has a lot of growth in his game, but New Orleans better lock him up as soon as they can.
In Al-Farouq Aminu, the Hornets have their small forward of the future who needs to polish up parts of his game and become less turnover-prone. He is a great athlete who gets up and down the floor with ease, and should get better as he gets stronger.
Chris Kaman is the elder statesman of the bunch at 29, and will bring solid offense from the center position. Kaman is very strong at going to the basket with his solid footwork and ability to use both hands to finish at the rim.
It will be interesting to see how he co-exists with current center Emeka Okafor. If Kaman can stay healthy, the Hornets might decide to move Okafor and address the other team needs or use Kaman as the bait.
The kicker to this deal is the 2012 Minnesota T-Wolves first-round draft pick. What's likely is that the T-Wolves won't make the playoffs, and with last year's talented class coming out of college, the Hornets will be able to draft another blue chip prospect.
Will Dirk Be Smiliing Once He Sees His New Teamattes?
Will Dirk be smiling all year about his new team?
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How the mighty have fallen. It looked like Dallas was destined for the possibility for another title until the grit and toughness took off for greener pastures. The trio of Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler and J.J Barea were players that changed the game with their tough play on both ends of the court.
Now enter Vince Carter, Lamar Odom, Brandan Wright, Andy Rautins and Delonte West as the replacements. Other than West, none of these players pump fear into opponents on the defensive end and have past reputations of playing soft and being injury-prone.
To make matters worse, West, a player who plays tough, suffers from depression and has a bipolar sickness that has to make some wonder if he's even worth the risk.
Kobe is still waiting for his reinforcments
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No team has heard their name in trade rumors more than the LA Lakers this offseason. Right now they are batting 0-2 with two strikeouts, as they lost out on the Chris Paul sweepstakes—not once but twice— and were shut out from the Dwight Howard trade possibility as the Orlando Magic pulled the big man off the market.
To compound the matter, disgruntled forward Lamar Odom—aka candy man—became sensitive over hearing his named in trade rumors and eventually was shipped out to Dallas. With the talent level of free agents sinking by the day, the Lakers eventually settled on the athletic 24-year-old and unproven forward Josh McRoberts to replace Odom.
Other than that, the Lakers have only added some second-rounders and seem as if they hope that an amnestied players clears waivers and falls in their laps. The divorce between Kobe and his wife right now isn't helping things...unless she decides to go on reality TV in the future?
The Sun Is Not as Hot Anymore
Nash is screaming out for reinforcements!
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Can you say "rebuilding mode" as the two best players on the current roster are 39 and 37 in Steve Nash and Grant Hill.
Rather than get into free-agency frenzy this year, the Suns fiddled around and picked up a slew of players who will be playing the same position. Hill, Jared Dudley, Michael Pietrus, Josh Childress and Shannon Brown are all wing players vying for playing time.
I just don't see this working out, as the other four to six guards who were brought in could be a sign of other small moves to come.
With the Interior consisting of Channing Frye, Hakeem Warrick Marcin Gortat, Robin Lopez and rookie Markieff Morris, the Suns have a few pieces that might bring them some talent. That talent won't be named Dwight Howard or any of the bigger names that are currently on the market.
Overall, the Suns have what looks like a roster full of role players with no stars to carry them in their grueling 66-game season. The lottery is lurking, and with such a good class coming, maybe the Suns will just plat their games with hopes of a top-five pick in 2012.