Everything You Need to Know About the 2012 NBA Offseason

Kelly Scaletta@@KellyScalettaFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2012

Everything You Need to Know About the 2012 NBA Offseason

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    The summer of 2012 is drawing to a close. Most of the free agents have been signed, and most of the rosters are completed or just looking for end-of-the-bench type players. At this point, we have a pretty good gauge of what and how teams are doing. 

    Some have been good. Some have been bad. Some have just deferred. 

    Regardless, here is everything you need to know about the offseason. 

Hopefully the Flopping Talks Won't End Up Flopping and Other Rules Changes

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    What happens when Blake Griffin and Manu Ginobili collide? 

    Ha! It's a trick question! They would never make contact because if they come within one foot of each other, they will both fall down.  

    And therein lies the essence of the most annoying thing about watching the NBA. If the AC is up to high, some players will fall down. 

    If you're tired of watching John Lucas III toss around guys like Blake Griffin as though they were rag dolls, then you too are eagerly anticipating the results of September's rules committee meeting, which seeks to solve the flopping problems. 

    Of the solutions recommended, my personal preference is the suggestion that whatever penalty a player would have induced through flopping, he incurs. If a player nearly drew a flagrant, he gets called for a flagrant. 

    Fines are fine, but the problem with them is that they are after the fact, so they still allow the flopping to have an impact on the game. 

    If a player is in Game 7 of a playoff series, do you really think that potential $10,000 fine is going to keep him from flopping when he's making a million or millions of dollars? 

    Nope. If you want to remedy the problem, you have to remedy it in the game. 

    There have been some rules changes, though, mostly having to do with instant replay. 

    All flagrant fouls are now reviewable, which only makes a lot of sense. It really should have been that way in the first place. 

    Refs can also check to see if players were in the restricted area during the final two minutes and overtime.  

    Goaltending is now reviewable in the same time frame. 

Orlando Will Suck the Rust off a Chicago Tailpipe

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    Orlando used to be a contender before it had itself one of the worst self-inflicted offseasons in the history of offseasons. 

    I mean, they really put the "off" in offseason. 

    First, they let restricted free agent Ryan Anderson walk and got nothing in return. Well, technically, they got Gustavo Ayon, a 26 year-old second-year player who averaged 5.9 points and 4.9 boards a game last year. 

    But really, that's pretty much nothing compared to what Anderson, last year's most improved player, was worth. 

    Then they sorted through all the potential deals for Dwight Howard, apparently figuring each increasingly inferior deal to be too much to take in return until they finally got a package highlighted by the likes of Arron Afflalo and Moe Harkless. 

    Maybe they ended up with him because the "Moe" they "harked," the "less" they got. 

    Is that a stretch? 

    The Magic managed to use the offseason to turn one of the best big man combos into a few role players highlighted by Afflalo. 

    They were put in a position that was making it hard from them to get too much, but that was "awful low." 

    OK. No more puns, I promise. 

Daryl Morey Is One Strange Cat with Some Whacked Ideas of How to Build a Team

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    Not to be outdone on the horrendous offseason front is the Houston Rockets. They should change their name to the Bottle Rockets after this offseason. 

    Daryl Morey seemed to be like the gambler who loses big and then keeps betting bigger and bigger, hoping that the next bet will break him even. 

    Maybe the best way to put things is to simply say what their starting five is next year. 

    Point Guard: Jeremy Lin

    Shooting Guard: Kevin Martin

    Small Forward: Chandler Parsons

    Power Forward: Donatas Motiejūnas

    Center: Omer Asik

    Outside of Kevin Martin, the other four players have a grand total of 82 starts, and none have more than two years experience in the NBA. 

    It's not like this is a team of unproven but tremendously talented players either.

    Gary Forbes was undrafted. 

    Linsanity aside, Jeremy Lin isn't worth his bloated contract. He was a second-round pick. Parsons is nice for a second-round pick, but he is a second-round pick. Josh Harrelson was too. 

    Asik was a second-round pick. Ditto Jon Brockman. 

    Carlos Delfino was taken 25th. Motiejūnas was the 20th pick. Even Martin was the 26th pick. Backups Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones were taken this year 12th, 16th and 18th respectively.

    Last year's top pick, Marcus Morris, was taken 14th overall. Patrick Patterson was taken with the 14th pick int he 2010 draft. 

    Put that all together, and you end up with the fact that the Rockets only have three lottery picks and no top-10 players on the team. They have only five players who were even taken in the teens. 

    They've lost players like Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, Luis Scola and Courtney Lee. That doesn't even include their giveaway of Jordan Hill to the Lakers last season before the trade deadline. 

    Maybe Houston is going the "you've got to get worse to get better" route. If they are, they're doing a heck of a job of it. 

Brandon Roy Isn't Quite as Ready to Call It Quits as We Thought He Was

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    Remember how Brandon Roy retired last year and we all grieved the loss of one of the future players of the game?

    Oops! I guess he's back. 

    Specifically, he's back with the Timberwolves, who have had a not good, but great offseason. In fact, they're (in your best Tony the Tiger voide) grrreeeat!

    The Wolves have added not only Roy, but also Chase Buddinger, Andrei Kirilenko, Alexey Shved and Greg Stiemsma as significant pieces. 

    The Wolves suddenly have a very formidable starting five, and with players like Luke Ridnour, Shved, Buddinger, Derrick Williams and Steisma coming of the bench, they're very deep too. 

    They'll be hard pressed to challenge the Thunder for the division title, but they could still claim the fourth playoff seed. Their roster stacks up well against the Grizzlies and the Clippers, who would also compete for that seed, and the Wolves might have the best coach among the three. 

    This is the year the Wolves finally put it together and have their first postseason run since Kevin Garnett was there. 

The Bulls Are Determined to Win...Eventually

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    The Bulls have been very busy this offseason. Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Omer Asik, C.J. Watson, the great Brian Scalabrine and John Lucas III are all gone. In their places are Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson, Marquis Teague, Marco Belinelli, Nazr Moahmmed and Vladimir Radmanovic. 

    For a city that had fallen in love with their "Bench Mob," this is taking some getting used to. In many ways, this could be essentially the same team with different players, but regardless of who is there and who isn't, the Bulls are still going to be without their superstar, Derrick Rose

    It may in fact be a two-year process for Rose to return to form, this year to get healthy and next year to get back up to speed.

    In 2014-2015, though, the Bulls could be looking at a time to take a step towards adding a superstar to Rose. They could have both Boozer's and Deng's contracts off the books (although it's possible Deng could re-sign for less than market value).

    They should be able to open up some significant cap space. 

    The Bulls could use that money to sign another max contract player. 

    They could also be adding Nikola Mirotic. The Charlotte pick will close to fruition if they don't actually get to use it in 2014-2015 (top 10 protected in 2014-15, top eight the year after that and unprotected the year after that). 

    Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler and Marquis Teague will be developing. Taj Gibson will still be in his prime, as will Joakim Noah.

    Most importantly, Rose will just be 26. 

    Essentially, it looks like the Bulls are going to try and do what they can over the next two years, but they are more thinking of the long-term future than the present. 

    They're positioning themselves cap-wise to avoid having to pay the repeater tax once they feel they can make a solid run at a title two years from now. 

Jason Terry Might Be a Tad Deluded in Considering the Magical Powers of Tatoos

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    Two years ago, Jason Terry got a championship trophy tattooed on his arm. Then, last week, he did the same thing to his other arm, only this time with a Celtics "spin" to it. 

    Terry must think there's some kind of crazy voodoo magic at work here or something. 

    If he's right, I'll eat an entire box of frosted Lucky Charms without the "marshmallow surprises." 

    If you're a Celitcs fan, it would be magically delicious to see the Celtics win it all, but is it likely?

    They have Jeff Green coming back from his heart problems (and that alone is one of the feel-good stories of the year), and they added Terry and Courtney Lee. 

    Kevin Garnett has found new life as a center. 

    Rajon Rondo is giving out more dimes than a change machine. 

    Yet for some reason, it just seems that they aren't quite there. It's hard to envision them beating Miami or the Lakers, much less both, in a seven-game series. They just don't have that go-to player, and Paul Pierce isn't it anymore. 

    Roughly 10 months from now, Terry should be getting a big "X" tattooed on his arm. 

The Thunder Aren't Done Building Through the Draft

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    In what might be the most underappreciated story of the offseason, we feature the Oklahoma City Thunder's amazing fortune in the draft. 

    Inexplicably, Perry Jones III, who was considered by many to be the second-best pick in the country a month before the draft, fell all the way to Oklahoma City. 

    Jones has real top five talent. It's almost criminal that a team that already has that much young talent should be able to land him. 

    They have a habit of hitting on their picks and have developed a championship-caliber team off of top-five picks including the likes of Serge Ibaka, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kevin Durant, a guy you may have heard of. 

    All four of them were on the court for the gold-medal game in the Olympics. 

    I don't know how this happened. Did someone from Oklahoma City start some mean and vicious rumor about Jones before the draft? How does a player with that much talent fall that far?

    I mean, I know there's questions about his motor, but for crying out loud, it can't be that bad. 

    Durant might be a more quiet and laid-back kind of leader, but I know Russell Westbrook has got just a lot of a bit of fire to him, and he should be able to remedy that whole "motor" thing pretty quickly. 

    Certainly if they can get a "Hemi" in there to replace that little four-banger he's got going, there's enough to like about Jones to think that he could be another All-Star. 

    Just what the NBA needs, another player who can score at will on the Thunder. 

The Hornets Sure Know How to Take Advantage of the Lottery Not Being Rigged

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    Earlier this offseason, when pressed about whether the lottery was rigged by Jim Rome, David Stern wiped the smirk off Rome's face like Jim Everett jumping across a table when he asked Rome whether he'd stopped beating his wife yet. 

    It's the famous "loaded question" for which there is no correct answer because the premise is wrong, and Stern was using it rhetorically, not suggesting that Rome was actually beating his wife. 

    Of course, the media came to the aid of its own (as it always does when someone in the media might be at fault). 

    Rigged or not, the Hornets won the lottery and made the most of it by selecting Anthony Davis. Of course, this shocked..uhm...no one. 

    Then they took Austin Rivers as their point guard of the future with the 10th pick. 

    Then they added Ryan Anderson. 

    Then they matched the offer on Eric Gordon. 

    Suddenly, they are looking like a team that could be contending for a postseason spot in a year, if not this year. 

Every Thorn Has Its Rose

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    Just when we thought the Dwightmare would never end, the Philadelphia 76ers came out of nowhere to help us all wake from our misery. 

    They had a cross to bear. Poor Sixers. 

    They had to give up the lofty performances of Andre Iguodala and only have the services of the second-best center in the NBA to back him up. 

    Too bad. So sad. I guess I'll have to cry. 

    Seriously, how are people not giving the Sixers more credit for this? It's almost as though they're an afterthought on this trade?

    Philadelphia had an amazing offseason. It lost Lou Williams, but replaced him with Nick Young. And oh yeah, it got Jason Richardson in the trade too. 

    They also signed Dorrell Wright. 

    They also re-signed Spencer Hawes, who will be able to take over as power forward. 

    On top of all that, Evan Turner showed signs of breaking out last year and could have his shot at starting in place of Iguodala now. 

    The Sixers are still a deep team, but now, they have that star player they can build around too. They are very much a team that could threaten the Heat for the Eastern Conference title. 

The Nets Are a Destination Spot for the First Time Ever

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    The New Jersey Nets weren't really a team that anyone wanted to go to. The Brooklyn Nets, though, apparently are a different story. 

    They kept Deron Williams. Dwight Howard wanted to go there. Gerald Wallace stuck around. So did Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries. 

    Joe Johnson was happy about being traded there. 

    The Nets are going to be better. They're going to compete with the Knicks for the best team in New York. There's even a chance they'll be a top-four team, but that's not any guarantee. 

    However, what is critical for the Nets goes well beyond what happens this year. They are now a destination team. Playing in a place where players want to go ends up trumping a lot of things in the long-term. 

    Just ask the Los Angeles Lakers. 

The Lakers Really, Really Want to Get Kobe His 6th Ring

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    Some people, and by "some people," I mean me, need to apologize for earlier critical comments made about Mitch Kupchack.  

    Needless to say, Kupchack has had a pretty decent offseason and has done everything possible and a couple of things impossible to help Kobe Bryant get his sixth ring. 

    The Lakers have added Antawn Jamison, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. In reality, Nash, not Howard, might be the most important of these three additions. 

    The reason being firstly that the difference between Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum isn't negligible, but it's not nearly the difference between Ramon Sessions and Steve Nash. 

    Nash makes teams more efficient. It's what he does. He's a genius at it, and he'll do it with the Lakers. Dwight Howard will help the offense, but he'll help the defense even more. 

    With Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, this team could arguably contend for a title even if it didn't have Kobe Bryant, but it does. 

    In fact, Kobe Bryant has them. 

    The Lakers are suddenly a team that is ridiculously stacked, has the best starting five in the NBA and has the ability to dominate on both ends of the court. 

    Kobe's sixth ring is a realistic possibility, even a likelihood now. 

Who Needs Paquiao vs. Mayweather? We Could Have Kobe vs. Lebron!

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    The one thing the NBA world has wanted to see for the last several years is to see Kobe Bryant and LeBron James on the grandest stage, the NBA Finals. 

    Somehow, in our minds, this will settle the single most argued Internet debate over the last decade. Whoever wins will always say "2013," and that will end it. 

    Or it won't. 

    But it sure will be fun to watch. 

    One thing is certain. Neither side will be able to complain that their guy didn't have help if this happens, and this year, it's looking like it's inevitable. 

    Sure, both teams will have to go through a tough playoff schedule to get there. But it seems inevitable. 

    We got to see Larry vs. Magic. 

    We got to see the Jazz take their shot at Jordan's Bulls. 

    Now we hope to finally see this generation's two greatest talents knock heads in the finals. 

    Love it live, people. Love it live. 

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