Oh hi. Sorry I’ve ghosted out this last couple weeks,
I was busy moving into my brand new condo!! (self-edit: nobody cares). Since I kept missing deadlines for important NBA stuff, I thought I’d give you a grand recap of what every team’s been up to, this summer, this way can decide whether or not you need to cry it out and whether or not you’re going to watch basketball in 2015-16. So here’s how it went down…
IN: Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG – via trade), Justin Holiday (SG – via free agency), Marcus Eriksson (SG – via draft), Terran Petteway (SF – via free agency), Dimitrios Agravanis (PF – via draft), Tiago Splitter (C – via trade), Walter Tavares (C – via draft rights)
OUT: John Jenkins (SG – Dallas), DeMarre Carroll (SF – Toronto), Pero Antic (C – Europe)
RE-SIGNED: Paul Millsap (PF)
The Atlanta Hawks’ 2015 off-season will forever be remembered for them cheaping out of a decent draft for cap space. They traded Brooklyn’s first round pick (acquired in the infamous Joe Johnson trade), passing on a wing player it would’ve been wise to draft and stashed a Swedish guy and a Greek guy in round 2, in an attempt to keep the band together, which they almost did. Atlanta out-pitched Orlando to retain Paul Millsap, but also acquired Tiago Splitter from San Antonio in a salary dump, allowing their superstar player Al Horford to play his natural position of power forward.
If the plan was to slide Horford down at the 4, why re-sign Horford then? Was Tiago Splitter acquired for roster flexibility only? Are they planning to start him on the bench (Splitter was starting in San Antonio last season, he was starting IN SAN ANTONIO). Who’s going to play small forward then? Thabo Sefolosha? I’m not sure I understand the logic of Atlanta’s off-season. They seemed like they couldn’t manage the suddenly high expectation and barely managed to keep things afloat.
IN: Terry Rozier (PG – via draft), Marcus Thornton (PG – via draft), R.J Hunter (SG – via draft), Jordan Mickey (PF – via draft), Amir Johnson (PF – via free agency), David Lee (PF – via trade)
OUT: Phil Pressey (PG – Portland), Luigi Datome (SF – Europe), Gerald Wallace (F – Golden State), Brandon Bass (PF – Los Angeles Lakers)
RE-SIGNED: Jae Crowder (SF), Jonas Jerebko (PF)
The highlight of Boston’s 2015 off-season was the acquisition of Amir Johnson and David Lee, bolstering their über-soft front court. Re-signing the emerging Jae Crowder, who played such a crucial role in last year’s playoff push was also a shrewd move by GM Danny Ainge. Their draft was a little strange though, reaching for Terry Rozier at #16 (Rozier was considered round 2 talent by many pundits, including yours truly), picking up slider R.J Hunter at #28 and finally fixing a problem at #33, drafting LSU’s shot blocking superstar Jordan Mickey. An overall patient off-season for a team that still has many aces up its sleeve.
IN: Shane Larkin (PG – via free agency), Wayne Ellington (SG – via free agency), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (SF – via trade), Quincy Miller (SF – via trade), Juan Pablo Vaulet (SF – via trade), Chris McCullough (PF – via draft), Willie Reed (PF – via free agency), Andrea Bargnani (PF – via free agency), Thomas Robinson (PF – via free agency)
OUT : Deron Williams (PG – Dallas) Pat Connaughton (SG – Portland), Alan Anderson (SF – Washington), Mirza Teletovic (PF – Phoenix), Mason Plumlee (C – Portland), Jerome Jordan (C – Free Agency)
RE-SIGNED: Thaddeus Young (PF), Brook Lopez (C)
Unusually strong off-season for Brooklyn. I would’ve given them a better grade than that if they hadn’t picked up ‘the Bargnani problem’ for some unknown reason. GM Billy King finally unloaded Deron Williams‘ ridiculous contract, picked up some underrated talent in the draft with Hollis-Jefferson and McCullough and got some more undervalued players for his bench with Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington. The Nets got considerably younger, so I’m not sure how they’ll gel next season and if whether or not they’ll give a top 10 pick to Boston (from the Garnett/Pierce) trade, but they are finally going in the right direction.
IN: Jeremy Lin (PG – via free agency), Aaron Harrison (SG – via free agency), Jeremy Lamb (SG – via trade), Nicolas Batum (SF – via trade), Tyler Hansbrough (PF – via free agency), Frank Kaminsky (C – via draft), Spencer Hawes (C – via trade)
OUT : Mo Williams (PG – Cleveland), Lance Stephenson (SG – Los Angeles Clippers), Gerald Henderson (SG – Portland), Jeff Taylor (SF – Europe), Jason Maxiell (PF – Free Agent), Noah Vonleh (PF – Portland), Bismack Biyombo (C – Toronto)
RE-SIGNED: Al Jefferson (C)
I’m not a big fan of how the Charlotte Hornets are managed. I don’t think they got any better this off, season. They’ve unloaded talented but problematic player Lance Stephenson for freakin’ Spencer Hawes, drafted Frank Kaminsky and had Al Jefferson opting in, so now they have three offensive centers who can’t play defense to save their lives. One of them is going to eventually be slid down to power forward, but what is going to happen to Cody Zeller and Marvin Williams then? Also, how are Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist going to co-exist at the wing? It doesn’t make much sense to me, but it’s been a while since this franchise did.
IN: Bobby Portis (PF – via draft), Cristiano Felicio (PF – via free agency)
OUT: Nazr Mohammed (C – Free Agency)
RE-SIGNED: Aaron Brooks (PG), Kirk Hinrich (PG), Jimmy Butler (SG), Mike Dunleavy (SF)
The Chicago Bulls kept the band together this summer, for their new head coach Fred Hoiberg. Their biggest move was to secure budding superstar and new fan darling Jimmy Butler to a long term contract. They’ve also added college ball maniac Bobby Portis to their crowded front court, which is intriguing enough, but Chicago’s big man rotation has yet to make sense to anybody. Is there a trade coming? Taj Gibson is at the absolute height of his worth right now and Chicago would be crazy not to capitalize on it. The jury’s still out, but Chicago kept its talent. It’s what matters.
IN: Mo Williams (PG – via free agency), Cedi Osman (SF – draft), Sir’Dominic Pointer (SF – draft)
OUT: Shawn Marion (PF – Retirement), Rakeem Christmas (PF – Indiana), The Amazing Kendrick Perkins (C – New Orleans)
RE-SIGNED: James Jones (SG), Mike Miller (SG), Iman Shumpert (SG), LeBron James (SF), Kevin Love (PF), Tristan Thompson (PF – not official, but as good as done), Timofey Mozgov (C)
The Cavaliers is another team that went to great lengths to keep the band together. Insane owner extraordinaire Dan Gilbert threw truckloads of money at everybody that mattered in order to keep them happy and judging by their playoffs run last season, this was the only possible move. Matthew Dellavedova and J.R Smith are still hanging in limbo, which is interesting. Smith in particular, seem to have opted out of his contract in order to get hostile offers in an attempt to wrench more money out of the Cavaliers, which they seem unwilling to match. Oh well, I don’t think it’s going to hurt them all that much. I wouldn’t be surprised if they went all the way this year, with the lineup they currently have and if J.R washes up in Sacramento.
IN: Deron Williams (PG – via free agency), Wesley Matthews (SG – via free agency), John Jenkins (SG – via free agency), Justin Anderson (SG – via draft), Maurice Ndour (PF – via free agency), Jarrid Famous (PF – via draft), ZaZa Pachulia (C – via trade), Satnam Singh (C – via draft), Samuel Dalembert (C – via free agency)
OUT: Rajon Rondo (PG – Sacramento), Monta Ellis (SG – Indiana), Al-Farouq Aminu (SF – Portland), Amar’e Stoudamire (PF – Miami), Tyson Chandler (C – Phoenix)
RE-SIGNED: J.J Barea (PG), Raymond Felton (PG), Charlie Villanueva (PF)
It’ll take a long time before the Mavs live down the DeAndre Jordan fiasco. If they had landed the center, they would’ve been in for a deep playoffs run in the crowded West conference, especially with the addition of Deron Williams, who’s desperately trying to salvage what he has left of a career. Signing Wesley Matthews for max money was a big gamble, considering that he’s coming off a devastating injury, but they have a nice fallback option in Justin Anderson, a similar player they acquired in the draft, who could benefit from Matthews’ tutelage. Dallas lost also their bet at center, losing Tyson Chandler for nothing. I’m afraid the Mavs are stuck on the treadmill.
IN: Emmanuel Mudiay (PG – via draft), Nikola Radicevic (PG – via draft), Nick Johnson (G – via trade), Kostas Papanikolaou (SF – via trade), Joey Dorsey (C – via trade)
OUT: Ty Lawson (PG – Houston)
RE-SIGNED: Jameer Nelson (PG), Will Barton (SG), Danilo Gallinari (SF), Darrell Arthur (PG)
I know it hurts to hear, but the Denver Nuggets are in the toilet, right now. Since 2012-13, where everything seemed to click, they have been disintegrating before out very eyes and they seem to have finally accepted their fate, by trading their disgruntled starting point guard Ty Lawson for what Bill Simmons’ dreaded pu-pu platter offer of rotation players and a draft pick. What the Nuggets can do best right now is bottom and hope they land playmaking wing extraordinaire Ben Simmons in next year’s draft.
IN: Steve Blake (PG – via trade), Darrun Hillard (SF – via draft), Reggie Bullock (SF – via trade), Danny Granger (SF – via trade), Stanley Johnson (SF – via draft), Marcus Morris (SF – via trade), Adonis Thomas (SF – via free agency), Ersan Illyasova (PF – via trade), Aron Baynes (C – via free agency)
OUT: Tayshaun Prince (SF – Free Agency), Caron Butler (SF – via trade), Shawne Williams (SF – via trade), Greg Monroe (C – Milwaukee)
RE-SIGNED: Reggie Jackson (PG), Cartier Martin (SF), Joel Anthony (C)
Stan Van Gundy is rebuilding the shit out of these Pistons. I am in absolute awe of how he handled the Greg Monroe situation by swapping him with a more fitting piece and focusing on building a roster that makes sense rather than to plug holes. Reggie Jackson/Kentavious Caldwell-Pope/Stanley Johnson/Ersan Ilyasova/Andre Drummond is as good a starting 5 as any and the Pistons now have a bench, thanks to an ill-advised salary dump by the Phoenix Suns. Bold predictions: Stanley Johnson will win rookie of the year and the Pistons are going to MAKE THE FREAKIN’ PLAYOFFS. MARK MY WORDS. Sneaky good off-season by Detroit.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
IN: Gerald Wallace (F – via trade), Kevon Looney (F – via draft)
OUT: Justin Holiday (SG – Atlanta), David Lee (PF – Boston)
RE-SIGNED: Leandro Barbosa (PG), Brandon Rush (SG),Draymond Green (PF), Marreese Speights (C)
The 2015 NBA champions kept the band together and it’s all that matters. They had two things to do, this summer: sign Draymond Green and off-load David Lee’s contract and they did it. Expect more dominance from them next season as the team now has championship experience and has spent more time together under the expert tutelage of coach Steve Kerr. A flawless off-season by the champs, who also added the intriguing Kevon Looney on draft night.
IN: Ty Lawson (PG – via trade), Marcus Thornton (SG – via free agency), Sam Dekker (SF – via draft), Montrezl Harrell (PF – via draft)
OUT: Pablo Prigioni (PG – Denver), Nick Johnson (SG – Denver), Kostas Papanikolaou (SF – Denver), Josh Smith (PF – Los Angeles Clippers), Joey Dorsey (C – Denver)
RE-SIGNED: Patrick Beverly (PG), K.J McDaniels (SF), Corey Brewer (SF)
Lead by NBA fans’ favourite nerd, the Houston Rockets have found a way to get yet better, this off-season by adding playmaker Ty Lawson for a song, drafting solid role players Sam Dekker (who should make up for the loss of Papanikolaou and then some) and Montrezl Harrell and signing sharpshooter Marcus Thornton. If the Lawson/Harden backcourt experiment works out, Houston is going to be right up there with Golden State and San Antonio as top dogs in the Western conference. I have a gut feeling that Houston are going to sneak up on everybody this year. Nobody remembers how good Ty Lawson can be because he was buried in Denver, but he might be the ‘it’ factor that puts Houston over the op.
IN: Monta Ellis (SG – via free agency), Joseph Young (G – via draft), Chase Budinger (SF – via trade), Glenn Robinson III (SF – via free agency), Rakeem Christmas (PF – via trade), Jordan Hill (PF – via free agency), Myles Turner (C – via draft)
OUT: C.J Watson (PG – Orlando), David West (PF – San Antonio), Chris Copeland (SF – Milwaukee), Luis Scola (PF – Toronto), Roy Hibbert (C – Los Angeles Lakers)
RE-SIGNED: Rodney Stuckey (SG), Shayne Whitttington (C)
Here’s another team that did well in the off-season, given the mediocre hand they were dealt. Only thing is that they changed so much, nobody knows if they’re going to be successful with such a new philosophy. Once the biggest team in the NBA, they shrank considerably, loaded up on speed, scoring and length with their new acquisitions. The Pacers are going to have a lot of figuring out to do with their lineup, but they are too talented to fail. If Myles Turner is half the player he’s shown in Summer League, the Pacers are going to make the playoffs with a 4th seed or something like that. Paul George is back and this time he has a lot of help!
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
IN: Lance Stephenson (SG – via trade), Branden Dawson (SF – via draft), Wesley Johnson (SF – via free agency), Paul Pierce (SF – via free agency), Josh Smith (PF – via free agency), Cole Aldrich (C – via free agency)
OUT: Matt Barnes (SF – via trade), Spencer Hawes (SF – via trade)
RE-SIGNED: Austin Rivers (G), DeAndre Jordan (C)
The Clippers got slightly better, this summer. If they would’ve lost DeAndre Jordan to Dallas, it would’ve been a disaster but they managed to keep him and improve. I don’t know that it’s going to be enough though, going against rejuvenated San Antonio, Houston and dominant Golden State. Unless Branden Dawson turns out to be the second coming of Draymond Green, I just don’t see how the Clips can get over the hump and reach the Conference finals. Decent off-season by Doc Rivers, but they are going to need luck in order to succeed in the playoffs with that roster.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
IN: D’Angelo Russell (PG – via draft), Lou Williams (SG – via free agency), Anthony Brown (SF – via draft), Larry Nance Jr. (PF – via draft), Brandon Bass (PF – via free agency), Roy Hibbert (C – via trade)
OUT: Jeremy Lin (PG – Charlotte), Ronnie Price (PG – Phoenix), Wayne Ellington (SG – Brooklyn), Wesley Johnson (SF – Los Angeles Clippers), Ed Davis (PF – Portland), Jordan Hill (PF – Indiana)
The Lakers are still in a rebuilding state and expect a lot of overhaul on their roster for this season also. They managed to get their hands on D’Angelo Russell in the draft though, which should insure the future of showtime in L.A for at least a decade after Kobe Bryant retires. Their first round pick in 2014 Julius Randle should help this year, too. I don’t expect the Lakers to make the playoffs, they will surrender a lottery pick to Philadelphia, but at least there will be hope this year. Russell, Bryant, Williams, Young, Randle and Hibbert should give the Lakers fan something that looks like a glimpse of a decent future.
IN: Andrew Harrison (PG – via draft), Matt Barnes (SF – via trade), Jarrell Martin (PF – via draft), Brandan Wright (C – via free agency)
OUT: Nick Calathes (PG – International) Janis Timma (SF – Orlando), Kosta Koufos (C – Sacramento)
RE-SIGNED: Jeff Green (SF), Marc Gasol (C)
Quiet summer for the Grizzlies. They have managed not to fuck up, but they did not manage to improve either. Memphis is still a grinding defensive juggernaut, but they will still have problems scoring the basketball next season and will be dependent on Marc Gasol for any kind of defensive production. I’m not overly in love with their first pick Jarrell Martin who seems to have underwent a diet of Krispy Kreme donuts last year. They might make it to the conference finals this year if they’re lucky and the timing is on their side, but they’re not getting over the hump. No way.
IN: Justise Winslow (SF – via draft), Gerald Green (SF – via free agency), Amar’e Stoudamire (PF – via free agency)
OUT: Michael Beasley (SF – Free Agency)
RE-SIGNED : Goran Dragic (PG), Dwyane Wade (SG), Luol Deng (SF)
NBA warlock Pat Riley has done it again. He has slightly improved his team over the summer, which should be devastating with the return of Chris Bosh from a season-ending lung problem. Riley somehow had highly-touted grinding two way prospect Justise Winslow falling on his lap at the draft too, which should pay dividends sooner than later, given how Miami loves and develops their players. The post-LeBron era is going along fine in South Beach. The Heat is another team I’m expecting back in the playoffs this year and depending on how they’re gelling this year, I would’ve be surprised to see them upset Cleveland if they ever meet in the playoffs. Because Pat Riley.
IN: Greivis Vasquez (PG – via trade), Rashad Vaughn (SF – via draft), Greg Monroe (C – via free agency)
OUT: Jared Dudley (PF – Washington)
RE-SIGNED: Khris Middleton (SG)
Ah, the Milwaukee Bucks. They have become the NBA’s feel-good story since they lucked out in the 2013 and drafted Giannis Antetokoumnpo with the 15th overall pick. They are young, long and the future belongs to them. They had a quiet off-season overall, topped by the acquisition of multitalented big man Greg Monroe on the free agent market and the re-signing of clutch guard Khris Middleton (who both used to play for Detroit, by the way. Says something about the Pistons’ scouting team). The Bucks have improved this off-season, but I don’t think they improved enough to become a contender in the East. There is so much youth, so many intangibles about this team, it’s difficult to say though. They will definitely be one of the most exciting stories next season. The name of the game for the Bucks is patience. They need to develop their young guys. Stick with them through thick and thin.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
IN: Alonzo Gee (SF – via free agency), The Amazing Kendrick Perkins (C – via free agency)
OUT: Jimmer Fredette (G – San Antonio)
RE-SIGNED: Eric Gordon (SG), Luke Babbitt (SF), Dante Cunningham (PF), Anthony Davis (PF), Omer Asik (C), Alexis Ajinca (C)
The New Orleans Pelicans are a really good basketball team. They have Anthony Davis on their lineup, who is probably the best player in the NBA, right now. Their off-season reflected the confidence they have in their lineup, giving long-term contracts to both Davis and their center Omer Asik. Lots of their support players have opted in, too, showing belief in the team and their philosophy. The Pels are banking on their new coach Alvin Gentry and on the Injury Gods to leave them alone in order to take the next step. If point guard Jrue Holiday can stay healthy, I’m expecting the Pels to outperform expectations.
NEW YORK KNICKS
IN: Jerian Grant (PG – via draft), Arron Afflalo (SG – via free agency), Kyle O’Quinn (PF – via Sign and Trade), Derrick Williams (PF – via free agency), Kristaps Porzingis (PF – via draft), Robin Lopez (C – via free agency), Guillermo Hernangomez (C – via draft)
OUT: Shane Larkin (PG – Brooklyn), Alexey Shved (SG – Europe), Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG – via trade),, Quincy Acy (PF – Sacramento), Andrea Bargnani (PF – Brooklyn), Jason Smith (PF – Orlando) Cole Aldrich (C – Los Angeles Clippers)
RE-SIGNED: Lance Thomas (SF),Lou Amundson (PF)
The Knicks turned lemon into lemonade during the draft, turning one pick and a lottery demotion into American culture enthusiast Kristaps Porzingis, high flying combo guard Jerian Grant and Guillermo Hernangomez. That set the tone for a free agent period that was unspectacular, but amazingly rational. They shored up that gaping hole in their interior defense by securing efficient patrol cop and pick and roll center Robin Lopez for 4 years, traded for shooting forward Kyle O’Quinn and took chances on reliable Arron Afflalo and former #2 overall pick Derrick Williams. Signing Lou Amundson and Lance Thomas was an underrated move since they helped changing the rotting culture last year, but I would’ve preferred keeping Quincy Acy to Amundson. The Knicks won’t make the playoffs next year, they’ll forfeit a lottery pick to Denver (who sorely need it), but they are in the right direction. Phil Jackson is not senile after all.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
IN: Cameron Payne (PG – via draft), Dakari Johnson (C – via draft)
RE-SIGNED: Kyle Singler (SF),Enes Kanter (C)
You can’t argue that the Thunder’s off-season doesn’t make sense. They got themselves a new coach that is reputable for being a smart Xs and Os guy, they re-signed the pick and roll big man that helped turning Russell Westbrook into Godzilla last year, they got themselves a quarterback for their second unit in the draft (who will be able to replace Westbrook in a pinch on off nights)…and they are patiently waiting for Kevin Durant to come back. It’s all or nothing for OKC this year, since Kevin Durant is in a contract year. They will either make a very deep playofs run or lose him in free agency. They are probably the most interesting story going into next season, but they had the quiet off-season they needed to have.
IN: Tyler Harvey (PG – via draft), Mario Hezonja (SF – via draft), Jason Smith (PF – via free agency)
OUT: Kyl O’Quinn (PF – New York)
RE-SIGNED: Tobias Harris (F)
Orlando obviously believes in their young and athletic line-up. Who wouldn’t, really? They have one of the most watchable starting 5 in the NBA in Elfrid Payton/Victor Oladipo/Mario Hezonja/Aaron Gordon/Nikola Vucevic. If they can convince Tobias Harris to come off the bench and play combo guard, they’ll have something interesting going. Only thing I’m not sure about is the hiring of bullheaded head coach Scott Skiles. Orlando took a risk by drafting hyper cocky swingman with superstar potential Mario Hezonja in the draft and the chances he’l butt heads with Skiles are very high. Truth it, Orlando will need Hezonja’s shooting and scoring, so they better keep him happy and productive. He’s another dark horse for rookie of the year.
IN: Scotty Wilbekin (G – via free agency), Nik Stauskas (SG – via trade), J.P Tokoto (SG – via draft), Richaun Holmes (SF – via draft), Luka Mitrovic (PF – via draft), Carl Landry (PF – via trade), Jason Thompson (C- via trade), Jahlil OKafor (C – via draft), Arturas Gudaitis (C – via draft)
OUT: Ish Smith (PG – Free Agency), Glenn Robinson III (SF – Indiana), Thomas Robinson (PF – Brooklyn), Henry Sims (C – Free Agency)
There is a special kind of darkness over Philadelphia. GM Sam Hinkie’s evil plan of intentionally sucking for a couple years is going off rails after the team drafted a third big man in three years using top 10 picks. They have a great lineup of young bigs, but they suck just about everywhere else, they alienated the entire NBA and no free agent wants to commit to a future with such a joke of a franchise. These are dark times indeed in Philadelphia. They have lucked out and got Nik Stauskas for nothing from Sacramento, but it seems like they are bound to suck for a couple more years and they’ll have to entually stick by their talent and develop a watchable franchise at some point (that said, I have watched 10 or 12 of their games out of pure morbid curiosity last year).
IN: Ronnie Price (PG – via free agency), Devin Booker (SG – via draft), Sonny Weems (SF – via free agency), Jon Leuer (PF – via trade), Mirza Teletovic (PF – via free agency), Tyson Chandler (C – via free agency)
OUT: Marcus Thornton (SG – Houston), Marcus Morris (SF – Detroit), Reggie Bullock (SF – Detroit), Danny Granger (SF – Detroit), Gerald Green (SF – Miami), Brandan Wright (C – Memphis)
RE-SIGNED: Brandon Knight (PG)
After being the feel good story of the 2013-14 season, the Phoenix Suns got greedy and turned into a mess, last year. The three point guards system just alienated everybody and forced them to sell low on the trade market. I love what they did in their off season, though. They paid the high price for a creaking Tyson Chandler, but he’ll help mold Alex Len into who the Suns want him to be, they got themselves a proper contemporary shooting guard in Devin Booker and got their hands on Mirza Teletovic and Jon Leuer to make up for what they had lost with Channing Tatum last year. Sonny Weems is another underrated depth pick up. Expect the Suns to be in contention for an 8th seed in the ultra-competitive Western conference.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
IN: Phil Pressey (PG – via free agency), Pat Connaughton (SG – via trade), Gerald Henderson (SG – via trade), Maurice Harkless (SF – via trade), Al-Farouq Aminu (SF – via free agency), Noah Vonleh (PF – via trade), Cliff Alexander (PF – via free agency), Mason Plumlee (C – via trade)
OUT: Steve Blake (PG – Brooklyn), Wesley Matthews (SG – Dallas), Arron Afflalo (SG – New York), Nicolas Batum (SF – Charlotte), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (SF – Brooklyn), LaMarcus Aldridge (PF – San Antonio), Robin Lopez (C – New York)
RE-SIGNED: Damian Lillard (PG)
Portland decided to blow it all up after losing all-star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge to the San Antonio Spurs. They didn’t do a half-bad job at restocking on young talent though. Connaughton, Vonleh, Alexander and Plumlee are all young players I love, but it’s going to take them more than one season to turn the ship around. Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless are sneaky pick ups who would soften the blow of losing Nicolas Batum, but don’t expect Portland to make the playoffs next year. I think it’s for the best, but it’s going to suck be a Blazers fan for a little while.
IN: Rajon Rondo (PG – via free agency), David Stockton (PG – via free agency), Seth Curry (SG – via free agency), Marco Belinelli (SG – via free agency), Duje Dukan (PF – via free agency), Quincy Acy (PF – via free agency), Willie Cauley-Stein (C – via draft), Kosta Koufos (C – via free agency)
OUT: Ray McCallum (PF – via trade), Derrick Williams (PF – New York), Ryan Hollins (C – Free Agency)
RE-SIGNED: Omri Casspi (SF)
The Sacramento Kings have won back the infamous title of ‘Bangkok of the NBA’ where every player nobody wants washes up after running out of options. The George Karl, DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo situation stinks to me and for some reason I can’t quite explain, I’m expecting J.R Smith to joint the show soon, for something ludicrous like 10 million dollars a year. I’m not expecting the Kings to make the playoffs anytime soon with a front office that has no idea what the hell they’re doing and I’m expecting them back in the lottery next year with a pick ranging anywhere from 3 to 9. I also think George Karl doesn’t finish the year as head coach, because owner Vivek Ranadive is insane. When will the Kings be good again? There is no sign of that in the nearby future.
GRADE: D- (it would’ve been F if they hadn’t drafted Cauley-Stein and signed Kosta Koufos)
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
IN: Ray McCallum (PG – via trade), Jimmer Fredette (SG – via free agency), Jonathon Simmons (SF – via free agency), LaMarcus Aldridge (PF – via free agency), David West (PF – free agency),Cady LaLanne (PF – via draft), Nikola Miliutinov (C – via draft)
OUT: Corey Joseph (PG – Toronto), Marco Belinelli (SG – Sacramento), Aron Baynes (C – Detroit), Tiago Splitter (C – Atlanta)
RESIGNED: Danny Green (SG), Manu Ginobilli (SG),Kawhi Leonard (SF), Tim Duncan (PF), Matt Bonner (PF)
What an absolutely nutty off-season for the Spurs. They managed to keep the band together, swap Tiago Splitter for freakin’ LaMarcus Aldridge, get David West for veteran minimum and pick up Ray McCallum for virtually NOTHING. McCallum is already a better player than Cory Joseph (who the Spurs lost to Toronto) and in the right situation, he’ll be better than Patty Mills too. I’m expecting him to blossom into a starting quality player with the Spurs. Did I mention they signed Kawhi Leonard to a max deal? That’s right, they’ll have Tony Parker/Danny Green/Kawhi Leonard/LaMarcus Aldridge/Tim Duncan on the floor at times, this year. How freakin’ scary is this? They are my early favourites for the NBA title.
IN: Delon Wright (PG – via draft), Cory Joseph (PG – via free agency), Norman Powell (SF – via draft), DeMarre Carroll (F – via free agency), Luis Scola (PF – via free agency), Bismack Biyombo (C – via free agency)
OUT: Lou Williams (SG – Los Angeles Lakers), Tyler Hansbrough (PF – Charlotte), Amir Johnson (PF – Boston)
Not the off-season overhaul the Raptors fans were expecting, but GM Masai Ujiri stayed busy nonetheless. He picked two seniors in the draft, Delon Wright and Norman Powell, who should contribute and deepen the bench rotation right away and he signed highly touted combo forward DeMarre Carroll, who I believe the Raps will use at power foward next year, alongside DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross. The loss of their spiritual leader Amir Johnson is going to hurt, but I think Masai Ujiri is waiting for the season to start and for teams to get desperate for new talent in order to start dealing. I’m expecting misunderstood gem Jonas Valanciunas to be gone before the season starts. A very conservative off-season overall.
IN: Bryce Cotton (PG – via free agency), Olivier Hanlan (G – via draft), Trey Lyles (F – via draft)
OUT: Jeremy Evans (PF – Dallas)
RE-SIGNED: Joe Ingles (SF)
The Utah Jazz didn’t do much this off-season, but they didn’t need to. Drafting players to shore up needs and staying put is what they needed to do and it’s what they did. Everybody’s talking about the Milwaukee Bucks being the great young team of the NBA, but I think the Jazz is going to steal that title from them, this year. Lead by the most underrated coach in the league, they’ll continue to surprise people and get some hard-earned respect in the West. Neither of their two draft picks Trey Lyles or Olivier Hanlan are saviours, but they should be of great help in regards to roster flexibility. I predict at least 40 victories for them in 2015-16.
IN: Gary Neal (SG – via free agency), Kelly Oubre (SF – via draft), Alan Anderson (SF – via free agency), Jared Dudley (PF – via free agency), Aaron White (PF – via draft)
OUT: Paul Pierce (SF – via Los Angeles Clippers)
RE-SIGNED: Garnett Temple (SG),Drew Gooden (PF)
I just don’t know anymore. The Wizards are a talented young team that’s notoriously poorly managed and they’ve been riding the treadmill at full speed this off-season. Adding Kelly Oubre on draft night was a good move and I have a good feeling about it (he fits alongside Wall and Beal on the perimeter very well), but they lost their playoffs leader after only one season and they still have a bad coach. Jared Dudley and Alan Anderson will help compensate for the loss of Pierce, but they haven’t got any better. The Wizards have all the talent in the world, but they don’t have their shit together. I just don’t see it.