NBA Free Agents 2011: Teams That Need to Make a Big Splash
The NBA has just a few weeks before their season starts and has a short free agent period to accompany the shorter season.
While this year's free agency class is not as star-studded as last year's class, there are a lot of players who can come in and help a team immediately.
Here are a few teams who need make a big splash this year in free agency.
The Dallas Mavericks are coming off a championship season.
And while most defending champions usually don’t need to make moves, the Mavs could lose some key pieces to last year’s run.
J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler have indicated that they are most likely not returning to the Mavs (source: ESPN Dallas).
Tyson Chandler anchored the defense for the Mavs as they finally had a big man to complement Dirk Nowitzki and protect the rim.
J.J. Barea was a high-energy point guard for the Mavs, giving Jason Kidd much needed rest and providing some much needed offense for them.
While Caron Butler sat out the playoffs and most of the season with a knee injury, he is a borderline all-star swingman capable of putting up 20 points a night.
With all these players likely leaving, Dallas will need to make some moves to replace them.
Jamal Crawford is available and may replace the instant scoring they lost, and if the Mavs are willing to spend a little bit of money, centers like Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan are also available.
Whatever the case may be, the Mavs need to make a big splash in free agency.
New Jersey Nets
The Nets made a big splash last year bringing in Deron Williams to run the show in New Jersey.
Williams will be in a contract year this year and after the Nets paid a hefty price for him, they will need to make some moves in order to keep him.
At this point, I’m not sure the Nets have the assets to get a big name, but there are some players available to complement this team well.
Caron Butler is a free agent who can score 20 points a night when needed.
He can help take the scoring load off of Williams, defend the other team’s best wing player and have plenty of open looks with Williams getting into the paint at ease and finding Butler on the wing.
If the Nets can add Butler and add a big man, they can surprise a few teams in the Eastern Conference next year.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers had a disappointing end of the season as they were swept by the Dallas Mavericks. It also seems like they are starting to show their age as they fade out of the number of contenders in the Western Conference.
While the free agent market is full of mostly big men, the Lakers need to get younger in the backcourt.
Against the Mavs last year, J.J. Barea torched the Lakers as he weaved in and out of their defense and provided instant offense off the bench.
The Lakers may want to consider a guard like him or Jamal Crawford who can initiate offense off the bench.
They may also want to get a defensive-minded guard to help defend against guards like Barea. Crawford will not provide that, but the Lakers could also look to Shane Battier and Aaron Afflalo.
At the end of the day, the Lakers are going to need to make some moves if they are going to stay relevant.
Last season’s Eastern Conference finals seemed to show that the Bulls are one player away from the Finals.
Derrick Rose was the MVP of the league last year at the age of 23 and could only be getting better as he continues to work on his game.
What Rose needs is a guard who can hit open jump shots—something that alluded the Bulls in the playoffs.
Jason Richardson could be that player.
Richardson normally shoots near 40 percent from the arc and can also finish at the basket. Richardson would not be expensive and Rose can get him open looks on the perimeter and at the rim.
Richardson could be the one big splash the Bulls make this offseason to put them over the top.
Despite making it all the way to the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat may have had the most disappointing season of any team in the NBA.
After an extravagant selection show to announce Lebron James' arrival and a preseason party where James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh predicted seven championships, the Heat had a very disappointing performance in the postseason.
The Heat will have the challenge of convincing players to take less money to sign a contract while giving them the hope of appearing in the NBA finals.
Could a scoring guard like Jamal Crawford take less money to go to Miami?
Miami has a few cheap options on the perimeter and in the post.
Anthony Parker is a former teammate of Lebron James in Cleveland and a career 40 percent shooter from deep. Parker could help Miami by spotting up from outside when Wade and James penetrate.
Samuel Dalembert is a good option for the Heat down low. Dalembert gets his offense primarily off of put backs and can protect the rim. He would be an excellent complement to Chris Bosh down low as Bosh sets up in the high post or goes for that mid-range jumper, Dalembert will be banging down low waiting for the rebound.
Whatever the case may be, the Heat need to make splash and add a few players to complement their stars.