August 26, 2013 by Ell and Mike Sports
NBA Free Agency Winners/Losers
Cavs – The Cavs were a surprise suitor for C Andrew Bynum, but ended up landing the free agent hoping to get healthy seasons after he sat out last year for the Sixers with injury. If Bynum is healthy he will form a good inside duo with PG Kyrie Irving, the face of the franchise. Bynum is a solid two-way center with good years possibly still ahead injuries pending. PG Jarrett Jack was solid for a young warriors team and should definitely take this Cavs team to a need level as a leader off the bench playing behind Kyrie Irving in a position similar to last year. Jack has a solid all-around game. SF/PF Earl Clark will bring versatility to the lineup as he a tall athletic player who can do many things on the court with or without the ball. He is the type of glue player this team needs the Lakers will miss him sorely.
Pelicans – The Pelicans trade for SG Tyreke Evans giving up budding playmaker PG Greivis Vasquez to the Kings. While Evans is not a traditional SF, he has experience at the position and experience playing next to PG Jrue Holiday and SG Eric Gordon from his younger years. He can provide a good offensive spark, as well as, playmaking ability from the wing. While defense could be a problem with him on the wing, they still have defensive SF Al-Farouq Aminu giving them the versatility to run all kinds of lineups. This trade makes them a possible playoff team. They also receive rookie C Jeff Withey out of Kansas who should provide solid rebounding and two-way play in the absence of C Robin Lopez. Also, the trade for PG Jrue Holiday for PF/C Nerlens Noel to the 76ers gives them a young proven leader coming off his 1st All Star season at only 23 years old.
Nets – The Nets traded SG Marshon Brooks, PF Kris Humprhies, and SF Gerald Wallace to the Celtics for SF Paul Pierce, SG Jason Terry, and PF Kevin Garnett. By making this trade, the Nets made themselves instant championship contenders with so much veteran experience. However, these veterans still have game left and will give all they have to win a championship; alongside PG Deron Williams, SG Joe Johnson, and C Brook Lopez. The Nets also signed SF Andrei Kirilenko giving them a solid defender with a good all around game off the bench. Bringing back PF/C Andray Blatche is another positive as he proved he is ready to take his game to the next level; he could learn a lot from KG. The Nets also signed PG Shaun Livingston to backup Williams; he provides good passing and defense.
Warriors –The Warriors trade for SG/SF Andre Iguodala via sign and trade with the Nuggets. Iggy is a good off-ball player who brings great defense and good energy. He is the type of defender and leader that this team needs to go to the next level. The Warriors also pickup combo guard Toney Douglas who will bring energy and points off the bench to help replace PG Jarrett Jack. PF/C Marreese Speights will bring good defense, scoring, and rebounding off the bench to replace PF Carl Landry and pickup minutes at center. The signing of undrafted rookie combo guard Seth Curry could also be a surprise in this system.
Spurs – The Spurs signed free agent SG Marco Belinelli who will provide solid 3-point shooting off the bench to replace combo guard Gary Neal. The Spurs also signed PF Jeff Pendergraph from the Pacers to replace PF/C Dejaun Blair. Pendergraph will provide solid defense, rebounding and shot blocking making him a natural fit in this system with more minutes available. In addition to those moves, the Spurs re-signed SG/SF Manu Ginobili and PF/C Tiago Splitter. Ginobili still has game left in him and will continue to be a spark off the bench. Splitter is a developing defensive big man that the Spurs are happy to keep around.
Pacers – The Pacers goal this off-season to go to another level involved getting solid production from the bench for a team that already has problems scoring points. The Pacers established this by letting PG D.J. Augustin and PF Tyler Hansbrough depart and replacing them with PG C.J. Watson and SF Chris Copeland. C.J. Watson is the passer and floor general Augustin is, but he will provide solid consistent scoring off the bench playing off defensive PG George Hill. SF Chris Copeland showed last year in his 1st season that he can score with the rest of the league and has the ability to provide high volume scoring whether in the starting rotation or coming off the bench. The Pacers also re-signed PF David West keeping their core players together and keeping their veteran leader on a young upcoming squad. The trade for PF Luis Scola for PF/C Miles Plumlee and SG/SF Gerald Green shows that this team wants instant production and no longer wants to bank on potential. Scola is a solid vet who can provide scoring and inside presence and the Pacers are deep enough to have him come off the bench which will give them maximum production from him. Plumlee and Hansbrough were not always the most effective big men coming off the bench, but Scola will help them not miss a beat in the 2nd unit.
Bobcats – The Bobcats sign free agent C Al Jefferson from the Jazz giving them a proven veteran big man. He will bring toughness, physicality, and production to a team that lacks all three categories. It will be interesting to see how much better the Bobcats could be with Jefferson, playing off PG Kemba Walker allowing him to feed a proven scorer in the paint. The re-signing of SG Ben Gordon also helps as he provided solid scoring off the bench last season. Bringing back SG Gerald Henderson shows that the team still believes that he will develop into a star, but he needs to show more consistency. PG Jannero Pargo will be a solid 3-point threat who will help space the floor.
Rockets – The Rockets surprisingly sign free agent C Dwight Howard making them an instant championship contender as he pairs up with SG James Harden. With help from the legends Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin McHale, Dwight’s game should go to another level offensively making him a more complete center for years to come. This move did cause them to lose PF Thomas Robinson, but picking up Dwight was an offer they couldn’t refuse. The signing of C Marcus Camby will be solid as far as leadership and he can still provide some defensive minutes behind Howard and Asik. The Rockets also re-signed SG/SF Francisco Garcia who proved that he can contribute as a solid role player in their system. The Rockets were also able to re-sign PG Aaron Brooks to provide scoring off the bench. The loss of SF Carlos Delfino will be forgotten with Garcia back. The Rockets also add SG/SF Ronnie Brewer who will provide solid perimeter defense.
Pistons – The Pistons acquire SF/PF Josh Smith via free agency a solid player who should be a good veteran addition to an upcoming young team. Smith will bring defense, toughness, and good rebounding; he has a good inside/outside game. Bringing in Smith proves that this team is ready to compete for a playoff spot after a long drought. The Pistons also bring back former PG Chauncey Billups as a veteran leader and mentor. He can also still provide a few good minutes. The trade for PG Brandon Jennings from the Bucks for PG Brandon Knight and two lesser prospects also shows the Pistons are ready to win now. Jennings has proven he can be a star caliber point guard, but he is still in need of some guidance also. Hopefully, Billups can be that mentor to keep Jennings’ head in the game. The re-signing of PG Will Bynum gives them a solid backup to keep the 2nd unit productive which is the key to the depth of playoff caliber squads.
Clippers – The Clippers needed to improve after a shocking 1st Round loss in the playoffs after their best regular season ever. They started free agency off right by bringing back the key player responsible for their best season by re-signing star PG Chris Paul. CP3 gives them their building block for the long term to matchup with PF Blake Griffin for years to come. The trade for Coach Doc Rivers was a big surprise, but obtaining a top coach was long overdue for the Clippers; which is the key reason why they are now considered championship contenders going into next season. The Clippers also traded PG Eric Bledsoe and SF Caron Butler in a 3-team trade to acquire SG J.J. Redick and SF Jared Dudley. Although moving Bledsoe was questionable, they acquire two players that are a good fit for the new system and play roles that complement the current core players on the team. Redick will shoot and space the floor to complement Griffin and Jordan in the paint. Dudley will provide 3-point shooting, as well as, good defense and rebounding from the SF spot. Signing PG Darren Collison gives them a solid pg to play behind CP3 and replace Bledsoe. Although he struggled last season, he should be comfortable playing for a better team, in a different system that fits his skills, and playing behind Paul again. The re-signing of SF Matt Barnes gives them continuity as he will still provide solid defense and all-around play for the 2nd unit; he could also start at times if Dudley struggles. The losses of PF Lamar Odom, SF Grant Hill, and PG/SG Chauncey Billups were all expected and their veteran leadership will be missed more than their playing time. The Clippers add PF Antawn Jamison he will provide solid minutes off the bench in Lamar Odom’s absence.
Suns – The Suns make the Winners list as they got production for players who were not part of the long term equation. The Suns traded SF Jared Dudley in a 3-team trade allowing them to acquire budding PG Eric Bledsoe and veteran SF Caron Butler. Bledsoe seems to be ready for a bigger role than the Clippers could give him and will provide solid play next to PG Goran Dragic, as well as, providing a spark off the bench for the Suns; he could eventually be the long-term starter. Caron Butler is no longer the star he was in his youth, but he can still provide solid two-way play from the wing when healthy and will be a key leader on this young team. Trading PF Luis Scola for PF/C Miles Plumlee and SG/SF Gerald Green helps the team get younger, more athletic, and gives them another future 1st round pick. Scola showed that he was on a decline making him a bad fit for a rebuilding team. PF/C Miles Plumlee appears ready to contribute after a strong summer league showing as a good two-way big man. SG/SF Gerald Green has shown that he can score provide solid energy off the bench and he will provide better minutes than last year’s pickup SF Wes Johnson who they allowed to walk. Overall, the Suns gain more picks and prospects to help with their rebuilding efforts.
*Caron Butler was later traded to the Bucks to provide playing time for younger players.
Knicks – The Knicks goal this offseason was to improve their overall roster to make a playoff run. The Knicks traded PF Steve Novak and C Marcus Camby for PF/C Andrea Bargnani. Despite coming off injury, Bargnani should be a good fit next to defensive C Tyson Chandler. Bargnani has good offensive skills, but how he plays on a team where he is not the primary offensive focus and playing for a team with something to play for will be different for him. They will miss Novak’s sweet shooting touch, but Bargnani can provide similar consistency from beyond the arc. Camby was never really healthy so they can’t miss something they never had. The Knicks also helped keep the core players together by re-signing PF/C Kenyon Martin and SG/SF J.R. Smith. Martin showed that he still can provide toughness, rebounding, and shot blocking for a team in need of players willing to do the dirty work. Smith gives the Knicks a solid scorer off the bench to spell SF Carmelo Anthony or even start in case of injury. The re-signing of PG Pablo Prigioni gives them a solid veteran leader off the bench who will provide great passing skills on a team in need of help moving the ball especially now that PG Jason Kidd is retired. The loss of SF Chris Copeland is the only big loss as he provided an offensive spark off the bench when allowed to do so and helped them space the floor as they outscored many teams who could not match the offensive power of the 2nd unit. Late pickups SF Metta World Peace and PG Beno Udrih can provide solid minutes off the bench at this stage in their careers. MWP has the ability to provide great defense and will be more effective in a limited role player position. Beno Udrih is a good backup guard who will provide scoring, size, and good passing for a team lacking a true point guard.
Hawks –The Hawks lose star PF Josh Smith which definitely hurts a team lacking star talent by losing their best player. They decided to add PFs Paul Milsap and Elton Brand to help replace him via free agency; however neither are star caliber players. Milsap should bring versatility similar to Smith with the ability to play on the wing, but Milsap does not have the defense Smith possesses. Brand is good for a few minutes off the bench at this point in his career and will also help on the offensive end, but he is also very limited on defense. The Hawks did re-sign Kyle Korver, but they might have overpaid for a role player who’s only good at spot shooting 3’s. However, he did have one of his best seasons last year on a Hawks team with a mixture of talents. Hawks also matched the offer sheet for PG Jeff Teague which was a plus as he showed solid development last year and still has room to grow; his passing skills increased as the season went on and he is still a solid scorer. The loss of solid backup C Zaza Pachulia will hurt a team that already lacks size and inside toughness without Smith. SG/SF Demarre Carroll will provide solid minutes of the bench and will be another role player.
Bucks – The Bucks loss SG Monta Ellis to the Mavs via free agency after he was their most consistent scorer, but not the idle fit next to PG Brandon Jennings. The Bucks also loss PG Brandon Jennings who was believed to be their PG of the future via trade with the Pistons for PG Brandon Knight and two lesser prospects. For salary cap purposes, the Bucks traded their best defender Luc Mbah a Moute to the Kings; although he has the ability to defend multiple position on a team that didn’t play much defense. Also, the loss of SG J.J. Redick via free agency who they acquired during the season via trade accounts for another minus. Including prospects SF/PF Tobias Harris and SG Doron Lamb in that process makes the move even more questionable. The addition of SG O.J. Mayo does help relieve the loss of Monta Ellis as he will provide more efficient offense and passing skills. Mayo is also willing to play defense and play off the ball. C Zaza Pachulia will be a solid two-way big man off the bench as a player who knows what Coach Larry Drew expects. PG/SG Gary Neal should be a solid contributor off the bench and can help replace the Jennings and Ellis combo.
*Bucks add Caron Butler via trade.
Celtics – The Celtics traded PF/C Kevin Garnett, SF Paul Pierce, and SG Jason Terry for PF Kris Humphries, SF Gerald Wallace, and SG Marshon Brooks from the Nets. This move automatically downgrades the Celtics as they would have still been in the playoff hunt with chances to go deeper injuries pending. Humphries is a solid rebounder, but doesn’t do much else. Wallace is a good defender and rebounder, but he is not much of a scorer anymore and has problems defending quicker players or players with good handles. Brooks could be a surprise if he continues to develop; he is a high volume scorer, but he needs work with consistency and defense. The Celtics also traded Coach Doc Rivers to the Clippers to start off the rebuilding stage; a bad sign when you move out one of the best coaches in the league. Rivers worked magic without PG Rajon Rondo last season pushing the team into the playoffs anyway.
Lakers – It is already bad enough SG Kobe Bryant is coming off injury. The Lakers loss C Dwight Howard who was never a good fit under Coach D’Antoni and never appeared comfortable playing in LA. They will miss his inside presence and defense; he could have been another great Lakers Center. The Lakers also loss SF/PF Earl Clark who was a solid versatile big man in this system. The Lakers will miss him coming off the bench and filling in for starters when needed. The Lakers amnestied SF Metta World Peace allowing him to leave for the Knicks. They will miss his defense despite the decline as he usually guards the opposing teams top perimeter player. The Lakers also loss PF Antawn Jamison who never seemed to be a good fit for this system, but found ways to still score points and contribute. The Lakers signed SG Nick Young who should be comfortable playing in LA. He is a good shooter especially from 3-point and should be solid whether off the bench on in the starting lineup. The signing of SG/SF Wes Johnson fills the need of more athleticism on the wing, but I’m not sure how much he will actually contribute. PG Jordan Farmar is a former Laker who should fit into this system and take some minutes from PGs Steve Nash and Steve Blake.
Jazz –The Jazz already planned for the losses of C Al Jefferson and PF Paul Milsap by drafting SG Alec Burks and C Enes Kanter and the trade including PF Derrick Favors in previous years. However, it makes no sense that the Jazz loss both players for nothing. If they had no plans to re-sign either player, they should have been traded during the season last year for a proven veteran guard. PG John Lucas III has proven to be a solid backup pg and should be solid in a similar role. The Jazz also signed the Summer League star PG Ian Clark who proved that he can be a scorer in this league and should only get better now that he has found a team; especially since the Jazz are in need of solid PG play.
Mavs – The Mavs loss one of their most consistent scorers from last season in SG O.J. Mayo which doesn’t help and they had the space to keep him around. The additions of PG Jose Calderon and SG Monta Ellis show a sense of desperation to provide talent around PF Dirk Nowitzki for the end of his career. It would have been considered a good pickup a few years ago, but now Calderon is an aging, defenseless point guard with good passing and 3-point skills and Ellis is a shooter who jacks up too many shots while playing risky defense. The Mavs also loss C Chris Kaman which shouldn’t hurt too much because he was injured, but he is replaced by C Samuel Dalembert who is even slower and less talented. However, Dalembert should provide defense and rebounding next to Dirk which should make him a good fit. PF/C Brandan Wright was re-signed and should also provide solid minutes at the big man spots. PF/ C Dejaun Blair is an inconsistent player who could be a hidden gem health pending and minutes pending. SG Wayne Ellington is a spot shooter who will be a good role player, but the team already has Ellis and Carter to take shots from the SG spot so minutes will be tough. This is a patch work job and I would be shocked if this team made the playoffs.