Grading Every NBA Team's Offseason

Nikhil BaradwajSenior Analyst IDecember 23, 2011

Grading Every NBA Team's Offseason

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    With only two days left, we are really close to the beginning of the NBA season.

    Some teams like the Clippers have improved their team, picking up a superstar in Chris Paul, while others like the Lakers, lost one of their key players in Lamar Odom for nothing.

    Nevertheless, let's grade every team's offseason on an A through F scale. In addition to this, each team's biggest gain and loss are noted.

Atlanta Hawks

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    Biggest Gain: Signing Tracy McGrady

    Biggest Loss: Jamal Crawford

    The Atlanta Hawks finally slayed their demons by beating the Orlando Magic in six games in the first round. They lost their series against the Bulls in another six-game series.

    Atlanta did not have the best offseason, downgrading at the sixth man by signing McGrady and losing Crawford.

    In addition, they kept their core of Al Horford, Josh Smith and Joe Johnson, even though this group has not even reached the Eastern Conference Finals.

    Grade: D

Boston Celtics

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    Biggest Gain: Trading for Brandon Bass

    Biggest Loss: Glen Davis

    The Celtics had a disappointing 2010-11 season, going from NBA title contender to pretender after trading Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder. In the end, the C's fell to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in five games.

    Boston failed to improve their team very much over the course of the offseason after failing to get David West.

    This team figures to make the playoffs but not contend for the title and might end up trading parts of their core to revamp their roster.

    Grade: C

Charlotte Bobcats

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    Biggest Gain: Drafting Kemba Walker

    Biggest Loss: Stephen Jackson

    After making the playoffs in 2010, the Charlotte Bobcats completely fell off the map and did not make the playoffs.

    However, they used two lottery picks in the draft on Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo, both of whom can be difference-makers in the future.

    The Bobcats did not really lose anyone of importance, with Jackson being the biggest loss. However, they received Corey Maggette in the deal, who might be a slight upgrade.

    Reggie Williams was a good signing and will be a solid sixth man for Charlotte.

    Grade: B

Chicago Bulls

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    Biggest Gain: Signing Richard Hamilton

    Biggest Loss: Kurt Thomas

    After finishing the season with the best record in the league, the Bulls put up a fine show in the playoffs, beating the Pacers and Hawks in the first two rounds.

    Then, they were dismantled by the Miami Heat in five games.

    Chicago's offseason was actually one of the best in the whole league. The Bulls were able to upgrade in their one position of need, the 2, after signing Hamilton.

    Losing a veteran player like Kurt Thomas will be tough, but the Bulls can make it up with healthy seasons from Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer.

    Grade: A

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Biggest Gain: Drafting Kyrie Irving

    Biggest Loss: JJ Hickson

    After losing the best player in the league, LeBron James, to free agency, the Cleveland Cavaliers got to rebuilding. Not surprisingly, they stumbled to one of the worst records in the league, but did use their two lottery picks on Irving and Tristan Thompson.

    For what they could do, the Cavaliers did pretty well with their offseason. Using the "Amnesty Clause" on Baron Davis was a smart move, giving Irving the starting job right away.

    However, I am skeptical about the JJ Hickson deal, as I feel he has a lot of potential.

    Grade: B

Detroit Pistons

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    Biggest Gain: Re-signing Rodney Stuckey

    Biggest Loss: Tracy McGrady

    The Detroit Pistons had another disappointing season, failing to make the playoffs after being in the madness in 2009. The Pistons used their draft pick on Brandon Knight, a high-upside pick who could become a star.

    When your biggest loss is Tracy McGrady, you know you did something right this offseason. Re-signing Rodney Stuckey was beneficial, although it will be interesting to see how he and Knight co-exist.

    Waiving Richard Hamilton was a great move, getting rid of one of the worst contracts on their team.

    Grade: B

Indiana Pacers

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    Biggest Gain: Signing David West

    Biggest Loss: Josh McRoberts

    The Indiana Pacers re-entered postseason play for the first time since 2006. They did lose to the Chicago Bulls in five games, but pushed the Eastern Conference finalists very hard in the first four games. Indiana traded their draft choice, Kawhi Leonard, for George Hill.

    Larry Bird and management had one of the five best offseasons in the league, picking up West, therefore finally getting a starting power forward.

    The OJ Mayo-Josh McRoberts swap would have been the icing on the cake, but the Pacers might have put themselves in the running for the No. 4 seed in the East.

    Grade: A

Miami Heat

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    Biggest Gain: Signing Shane Battier

    Biggest Loss: Zydrunas Ilgauskas

    The Miami Heat did not live up to their preseason expectations of winning a championship after losing to the Dallas Mavericks in six games.

    Miami should have probably won the series, but should not be ashamed of their postseason performance before the Finals, after beating the 76ers, Celtics and Bulls each in five games.

    Miami did pick up Norris Cole in the draft and he could be an upgrade at the point guard position in the long term. Shane Battier was a superb signing, making Miami's perimeter defense even better. 

    Grade: B

Milwaukee Bucks

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    Biggest Gain: Trading for Stephen Jackson

    Biggest Loss: John Salmons/Corey Maggette

    The Milwaukee Bucks had a very disappointing season this past year, failing to make the playoffs after surprising everyone in the 2009-10 season. They drafted Tobias Harris in the first round, who has huge upside.

    The Bucks did not have a great offseason, making a head-scratching deal where they traded down in the draft and traded away both Salmons and Maggette.

    In the end, Milwaukee did not seem to get any better and will struggle to get the eighth seed in the East.

    Grade: D

New Jersey Nets

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    Biggest Gain: Re-signing Kris Humphries

    Biggest Loss: Sasha Vujacic

    After failing to sign LeBron James in the 2010 offseason, the Nets rebounded when they traded for Deron Williams, who all of a sudden makes Brooklyn a more attractive destination. Picking up Marshon Brooks in a draft-day trade was shrewd as he has a chance to be a high volume scorer in the league.

    The Nets' best move was probably re-signing Kris Humphries to a one-year deal, as he is a 10-10 machine and will give New Jersey cap space for their pursuit of Dwight Howard.

    Even though they did not lose anyone of note, the Nets failed to sign Nene, which would have been a marquee move.

    Grade: C

New York Knicks

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    Biggest Gain: Signing Tyson Chandler

    Biggest Loss: Chauncey Billups

    The 2010-11 season will be remembered for Knicks fans as the year when their team became relevant basketball-wise for the first time in 10 years when they signed All-Stars Amar'e Stoudemire and traded for Carmelo Anthony. After getting the No. 6 seed, they were swept by the Celtics in the first round.

    New York made the marquee signing of the offseason, picking up defensive pillar Chandler in shocking fashion. Chandler will greatly improve the Knicks defense and gives New York the best frontcourt in the league.

    Iman Shumpert is very good defensively and has great athleticism. Losing Billups is a big blow to New York's backcourt, but Toney Douglas and Baron Davis are adequate replacements.

    Grade: A

Orlando Magic

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    Biggest Gain: Sign and Trade for Glen Davis

    Biggest Loss: Brandon Bass

    The Orlando Magic had a disappointing season, after getting the No. 4 seed and promptly losing in the first round to the Atlanta Hawks, a team which they had terrorized in the past. Add the fact that their superstar, Dwight Howard, wants out and the Magic are a team really in trouble.

    Not only did the Magic not trade Howard for a good package, but they also made two stupid signings.

    Giving Jason Richardson and Davis long-term deals handcuffed Orlando even more for the future and likely will not entice D-12 to stay.

    Grade: F

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Biggest Gain: Re-signing Thaddeus Young

    Biggest Loss: Jason Kapono

    After landing the No. 2 pick in the 2010 Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers bounced back and made the playoffs. They were beaten handily by the Heat in five games, but drafted versatile big man Nikola Vucevic in the 2011 Draft.

    Philadelphia did re-sign young big men Young and Spencer Hawes, keeping Young for multiple years and Hawes for at least one more.

    However, they did not gain anyone of note other than Vucevic, making their offseason mediocre.

    Grade: C

Toronto Raptors

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    Biggest Gain: Drafting Jonas Valanciunas

    Biggest Loss: Sonny Weems

    Another season. Another disappointment. The Toronto Raptors were a bad team again and nowhere near contention. However, some of the pieces are in play for the future with DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis improving and the great drafting of Valanciunas.

    Toronto had a solid offseason, not losing anyone, but also not gaining anyone of importance during the free-agency period.

    Toronto's offseason would have been ranked higher, but Valanciunas will not be playing this year due to his contract in Europe.

    Grade: C

Washington Wizards

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    Biggest Gain: Drafting Jan Vesely

    Biggest Loss: Josh Howard

    The Washington Wizards shockingly won the lottery for the 2010 Draft and drafted one of the top prospects of the past decade in John Wall. JaVale McGee and Wall will be a top tandem and the drafting of Vesely and Singleton improves Washington's future as a franchise.

    The Wizards offseason was yet another mediocre one, with no major signings and losses through free agency.

    However, Washington did not amnesty Rashard Lewis' awful contract, but still have the option to next season.

    Grade: C

Dallas Mavericks

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    Biggest Gain: Trading for Lamar Odom

    Biggest Loss: Tyson Chandler

    The Dallas Mavericks had their best season ever, winning the NBA Championship in dramatic fashion after shocking the heavily favored Miami Heat in six games. Dirk Nowitzki was unstoppable in the playoffs behind role players J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Shawn Marion.

    Barea and Chandler are both gone, creating a huge void in Dallas' core and chances at repeating.

    Getting Lamar Odom for nothing and signing Vince Carter will fill the void for sure, but Chandler's presence in the post will be hard to replace.

    Grade: B

Denver Nuggets

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    Biggest Gain(s): Re-signing Arron Afflalo and Nene

    Biggest Loss: J.R. Smith

    Who would have thought that the Denver Nuggets would have actually been better than they were with Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony? The reality is this team is legit, even though they were beaten by the Thunder in five games in the playoffs.

    Getting Kenneth Faried in the draft was a major plus and he will fill Kenyon Martin's void. The Nuggets shocked everyone when they re-signed Nene and made the smart move of bringing back Afflalo.

    Losing J.R. Smith will be tough, but Wilson Chandler has not made any indications of leaving the Nuggets after coming back from China.

    Grade: B

Golden State Warriors

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    Biggest Gain: Drafting Klay Thompson

    Biggest Loss: Reggie Williams

    The Golden State Warriors had a disappointing season, missing the playoffs yet again. The franchise and fans did get some great news when new management finally replaced Chris Cohan and seem dedicated to improving the state of the team.

    Picking up Klay Thompson in the draft will definitely help the team and will make Monta Ellis expendable. Not trading Ellis was a stupid decision on the Warriors' part, as he seemingly cannot coexist with Stephen Curry.

    Getting Kwame Brown instead of the other centers on the market is disheartening, but the deal has little risk because it expires next season.

    Grade: C

Houston Rockets

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    Biggest Gain: Signing Samuel Dalembert

    Biggest Loss: Chuck Hayes

    The Rockets are that team in NBA's purgatory. They are never bad enough for the lottery and never good enough for the playoffs after finishing in ninth in the West. They drafted big man Marcus Morris with the 14th pick in the draft. 

    If there was a team that was the most screwed by David Stern's veto of the proposed Chris Paul deal, it would be the Rockets after failing to get Pau Gasol in a franchise-changing deal. 

    The Rockets also failed in attempts to sign Marc Gasol and Nene after both re-upped with their old franchises. They had to settle for Samuel Dalembert, who is still an upgrade at the center position over Chuck Hayes and Brad Miller.

    Grade: C

Los Angeles Clippers

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    Biggest Gain: Trading for Chris Paul

    Biggest Loss: Eric Gordon

    The Los Angeles Clippers have been the laughing stock of the NBA for quite some time and did not make the playoffs last year despite a monster performance from Blake Griffin.

    Expect that to change after a superb offseason in Lob City.

    The Clips did give up a hefty package including an unprotected first-round pick from Minnesota and young stud Eric Gordon to get CP3, but he is a franchise player who will improve everyone around him.

    Getting Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler are solid additions and both players will make immediate impacts as they play big minutes for Los Angeles.

    Needless to say, the Clippers are officially on the map.

    Grade: A+

Los Angeles Lakers

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    Biggest Gain: Signing Josh McRoberts

    Biggest Loss: Lamar Odom

    The Lakers had a tough 2010-11 season, failing to three-peat after they were swept by the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals.

    Who would have thought that things would get worse?

    Los Angeles first were foiled in an attempt to get Chris Paul, where they basically gave up their front-line depth when David Stern vetoed the deal.

    After Lamar Odom found out that he was in the package, he sulked and the Lakers traded him for a trade exception to the defending champions. Not only this, but LA lost Phil Jackson and Shannon Brown this offseason too.

    Disastrous to say the least.

    Grade: F

Memphis Grizzlies

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    Biggest Gain: Re-signing Marc Gasol

    Biggest Loss(es): Shane Battier to the Heat/Darrell Arthur to injury

    The Memphis Grizzlies were the pleasant surprise of the league last year, shocking the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs, then pushing the Thunder to seven games—without Rudy Gay.

    This year, more expectations will be heaped on with the return of Zach Randolph and Gasol.

    Re-signing Gasol was imperative and Memphis immediately matched the Rockets' offer sheet. Losing Shane Battier is not the end of the world, considering that they already have one of the top perimeter defenders in the league in Tony Allen.

    The loss of Darrell Arthur for the season will be tough, but the Grizzlies will manage.

    Grade: B

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Biggest Gain: Drafting Derrick Williams

    Biggest Loss: Lazar Hayward

    The Minnesota Timberwolves are the definition of a doormat team in the league, as they stumbled to yet another losing season with the worst record in the league.

    The T-Wolves made it up with a solid draft getting the best player of the class in Derrick Williams, along with defensive specialist Malcolm Lee.

    Minnesota did finally get Ricky Rubio to come to the US and he will play his first professional season in the NBA this year. 

    However, David Kahn for some reason signed yet another point guard in J.J. Barea, even though he has three on the roster already. 

    Grade: C

New Orleans Hornets

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    Biggest Gain(s): Trading for an unprotected Minnesota first round pick and Eric Gordon

    Biggest Loss: Chris Paul

    After losing in the first round of the playoffs and realizing that the Hornets are not true contenders in the West, Hornets superstar point guard Chris Paul requested for a trade.

    And boy, did the league-owned Hornets do well in giving up Paul.

    New Orleans picked up an elite young shooting guard in Eric Gordon, a likely top-10 pick in the loaded 2012 NBA Draft, an expiring contract in Chris Kaman and a solid young player in Al-Farouq Aminu.

    If the Hornets can use their two probable lottery picks effectively, this team might be back in the playoff picture sooner rather than later.

    Grade: A

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Biggest Gain: Drafting Reggie Jackson

    Biggest Loss: None

    The most talked about young team in the league, the Oklahoma City Thunder are well-positioned for postseason success for the next five to six years.

    They made a step in the right direction last year, when they lasted until the Conference Finals, where they were defeated by the Dallas Mavericks.

    Sam Presti did not make any major moves in free agency because he truly does not need to. This team is the top dog out west and could be in the Finals if Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant learn to play together.

    Getting Reggie Jackson in the draft could turn out to be a steal, especially if he reaches his potential.

    Grade: B

Phoenix Suns

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    Biggest Gain: Signing Shannon Brown/Re-signing Grant Hill

    Biggest Loss: Aaron Brooks

    The Phoenix Suns completely fell off of their perch last season, failing to make the playoffs after being in the Conference Finals the year before.

    They drafted Markieff Morris in the first round, yet another defensive-minded player to pair with Robin Lopez or Marcin Gortat.

    In free agency, they picked up Shannon Brown and re-signed Grant Hill—nothing too impressive, but nothing stupid. Losing Brooks' talent will be tough, but he did not even have a major role on the team.

    Grade: C

Portland Trailblazers

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    Biggest Gain: Signing Jamal Crawford

    Biggest Loss: The Retirement of Brandon Roy

    The Portland Trailblazers failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs once again, after the Dallas Mavericks beat them in six games.

    The offseason started off on a sad note, when former All-Star Brandon Roy announced his retirement due to his degenerative knees. Even though he did not have a major role on the team, he will be missed.

    Getting Crawford will soothe their wounds, but drafting Nolan Smith so high was head-scratching and shocking.

    Grade: D

Sacramento Kings

28 of 30

    Biggest Gain: Re-signing Marcus Thornton

    Biggest Loss: Omri Casspi

    The Kings struggled last year again and this team is a few years from contending. Many players need to improve specific facets of their game and they seem to be a few lottery players away.

    Drafting Jimmer Fredette was a head-scratching move, considering that Sacramento already had their fair share of high-scoring guards.

    Re-signing Thornton was a smart move, as he seems to be a great scorer. Thornton still needs to work on his defense. Losing Casspi might be difficult, but he did not seem to be a part of their long-term plans.

    Grade: C

San Antonio Spurs

29 of 30

    Biggest Gain: Trading for draft pick Kawhi Leonard

    Biggest Loss: George Hill

    After holding the best record in the league for the majority of the year, the San Antonio Spurs lost that honor to the Bulls late in the season and were stunned by the Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs.

    The Spurs' aging core might have one last shot at the title and R.C. Buford was unable to negotiate a major deal because of his team's cap situation.

    Losing Hill in the Leonard trade is a slight blow, as he was one of a handful promising young players on the team. They also did not amnesty Richard Jefferson, who has been awful during the preseason.

    Grade: D

Utah Jazz

30 of 30

    Biggest Gain(s): Drafting Enes Kanter and Alec Burks

    Biggest Loss: Andrei Kirilenko 

    The Utah Jazz fell out of playoff contention after they traded Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets, but did receive a huge package in return for him including Derrick Favors and a few first-round picks.

    The Jazz used their two lottery picks on Enes Kanter and Alec Burks, two solid young prospects who will add to Utah's young talent.

    Amazingly, the Jazz will be contending for the last playoff spot with a solid young core of Favors, Kanter, Burks and Hayward, while possessing veteran talent like Devin Harris, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson at the same time.

    Grade: B