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Best and worst NBA offseasons

There is still plenty of time remaining in the NBA offseason for things to change but for the most part the big moves have been made and as always, some teams have done better than others. Below is a list of the teams that have had the best offseason and teams that have had the worst.

BEST

New Orleans Hornets

The New Orleans Hornets were terrible the last few seasons but their new owner Tom Benson has them going in the right direction. Part of their great offseason to this point was a little bit of luck, getting the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft and using it to get Anthony Davis. Davis is a freak athlete with guard ability and center size and defense and all of that together should lead to him becoming a great NBA player. While Davis has not played in the NBA and nobody really knows if he will meet those expectations, if things go according to play he will at least be a dominant blocker and defender as a rookie. But he was not the only big addition they added in the draft as Austin Rivers fell right in their laps. Rivers may have some holes in his game but the son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers has a great understanding of the game and has the ability and range to become a sharpshooter from long range.

But in order to have a great offseason a team has to do more than just drafting a couple of players, they also matched an offer sheet on Eric Gordon, who with Davis and Rivers gives New Orleans a very bright future. They also acquired Ryan Anderson in a sign-and-trade with Orlando. The power forward averaged 16.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last season.

All of this came to be because of a very big move they were able to make, trading the high-priced but underperforming duo of Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza to make some cap room. Gustavo Ayon, Chris Kaman, and Marco Belinelli were all let go as well, clearing even more cap room so they can add some future stars.

Miami Heat

The big three of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh finally got their championship in their second season together but the problem with them the past two seasons has been the depth behind those three. With so much money going towards those superstars it is hard to afford too many other big time players but the Heat added better depth for next season as they try to defend their championship by getting Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Neither guy is in their prime anymore but both are still very good and incredibly deadly from three-point range. If the Heat are hitting three after three next season it would be hard to imagine they would struggle to repeat.

Los Angeles Lakers

As a one or two year fix getting Steve Nash is a tremendous move. Even at 38-years-old Nash is still an incredibly athlete and one of the best point guards in the NBA. Nobody saw the move coming. Nash was expected to sign with Toronto but Los Angeles seemingly came out of nowhere and made Los Angeles a legitimate championship contender again as he teams with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Ron Ar…er Metta World Peace. Nash will get everybody involved and will help Bryant play his hero game that has not been nearly the same in recent years as he gets older. In addition, adding Antwan Jamison to a veteran minimum was an absolute steal and no-risk move that will give the Lakers more depth in the front court. Re-signing Devin Ebanks and drafting Robert Sacre should also give them more versatility and depth there too.

The only problem though is that the additions of Nash and Jamison are really only one or two years players, despite what their contracts might say. The Lakers have some serious age on their team with Bryant, Nash, Gasol, and World Peace all up there in age. Two years from now the Lakers are going to be in major trouble but the Lakers put themselves in great position to contend with the Oklahoma City Thunder to be the Western Conference champions.

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks had a quietly good offseason after a very disappointing start. Last December the Mavericks started to clear things up so they could get the big haul of point guard Deron Williams and center Dwight Howard. Unfortunately for them that was never really that close to happening as Howard accepted the option to go into the final year of his contract and Williams decided to stay with the Nets after they added Joe Johnson. Making matters worse Jason Kidd and Jason Terry both left.

At that point things looked really bad for the Mavericks but owner Mark Cuban and general manager Donnie Nelson put together a new play. First, they got Chris Kaman and put together a great package to land an emerging start at point guard, Darren Collison. Then, they got veteran Elton Brand after winning a big off the amnesty waiver wire and they got him for a very cheap price of only $2.1 million. Lastly, they added two shooting guards, trading with the Pacers for Dahntay Jones and signing O.J. Mayo before drafting Jared Cunningham, Bernard James and Jae Crowder.

This was far from the big haul the Mavericks were hoping they could get but they definitely upgraded. Brand and Kaman are both tough defenders and solid rebounders who can come off the bench and make impacts. Mayo has not lived up to being the third pick in the draft a few years ago but he can provide an immediate spark off offense off the bench and score in bunches in different sorts of ways.

Brooklyn Nets

This has been what the Nets have been clearing cap room for the past few seasons; they wanted to go into Brooklyn with a huge haul in free agency. Some of their midseason moves have to be considered to this offseason grade. The Nets actually started last season when they got Deron Williams to run the point but midseason they traded for Gerald Wallace to give him a big-time scorer to play with.

Well both of those guys re-signed this offseason and will be going to Brooklyn with the Nets. This all became possible because of a major trade, though. Things seemed like Williams was going to go back to his hometown and join the Dallas Mavericks but Brooklyn made a trade to get start shooting guard Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks. That addition was what convinced Williams they were building something special going into Brooklyn and that was what convinced him to stick around.

It also helped that they re-signed Wallace and star center Brook Lopez. Now the Nets may not end up getting Dwight Howard for the simple fact that it is going to be nearly impossible to pay the big salary he demands with all of the money they spent on those four guys but the Nets are definite playoff contenders again after being terrible the past few years.

This may not be a haul like Miami had when they signed LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh two years ago but the Nets easily had the best offseason in the NBA so far and it is going to be nearly impossible to beat.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics big-three are not split up with Ray Allen leaving for Miami but the Celtics have reopened their window of opportunity. Kevin Garnett is sticking around. Even though KG is getting older he has changed how he plays and has found new life and is still one of the most dominant big men in the NBA.

Replacing Allen is impossible but the Celtics did a good job getting a guard to fill his role, signing Jason Terry from the Dallas Mavericks. Terry does not have the great shooting ability that Allen had but he can get to the rim a lot better and has a solid mid-range game and he will come up in big situations.

In a sign-and-trade move the Celtics added Courtney Lee from the Rockers. Lee is not a dominant scorer but he does have solid offensive ability and can hit shots from the win. Lee will replace Mickael Pietrus and they only had to give up a handful of average prospects.

If Jeff Green can come back healthy then that too will be a big upgrade for the offense. Re-signing Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox was just icing on the cake for them.

They also put together a solid draft as well, getting Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, and Kris Joseph, all three of whom should see time in the front court as rookies. Every year general manager Danny Ainge figures out how to get a young team with veteran savvy and this year is no different. Garnett, Terry, Wilcox, and Pierce are all aging veterans with load of experience in all sorts of situations but Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Green Lee, Sullinger, Melo and Joseph are a great group of young players that should be a core in the future.

WORST

Chicago Bulls

Even when they did not have Derrick Rose for large chunks of time last season the Chicago Bulls were still one of the best teams in the league because of their defense and the amazing trio of Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng but without Rose they do not have a quartet that is a serious championship contender. Rose might miss next season after he tore his ACL in the first round of the playoffs. They will still likely win games and make it to the post season but things will not be the quite the same.

In addition to not having Rose the Bulls lost center Omar Asik and guards Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver. To make up for Korver and Brewer the Bulls added Marco Belinelli and brought Kirk Hinrick back and signed Nazr Mohammad to replace Asik. But none of those moves help replace Rose. They did draft Marquis Teague but he is not ready for that sort of responsibility and while Nate Robinson is good and very well may be the starting point guard he does not have the same skill set that Rose does. Like Rose he will get to the basket and score in bunches but he does not control the tempo nearly as well, struggles at the free throw line, does not get his teammates involved as much and he is horrible on the defensive end.

Houston Rockets

Every year the Rockets seem to miss out on a big free agent. Yes, they got Jeremy Lin to be their future point guard but we have to see if he can match Linsanity. Lin is an incredible question mark because while he proved he can score and run the point he turns the ball over a lot and is coming off an injury that made him miss the end of last season.

But the Rockets tried to make room for Dwight Howard but that just is not happening and they had to fill their team with a bunch of young talent or secondary veterans.

After realizing they were not going to get Howard the Rockets tried to load up on draft picks to put a package together so they could move up and get a major future star but that did not happen either, at least, though, they have a bunch of young draft picks to work with, like Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones.

But the Rockets are missing star power on their team, at least for now. Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, Marcus Camby, Chase Budinger and Samuel Dalembert are all gone and now the team is still with guys like Omer Asik, Shaun Livingston, Jon Brockman, Toney Douglas, Gary Forbes, JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore, and Sean Williams.

Maybe the draft picks and some of those other young players they added really work out but they have a lot to prove.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Chase Budinger was a decent but not great addition for Minnesota but getting Brandon Roy and drafting Robbie Hummel are just very interesting decisions. Roy has a lot of talent but knee injury after knee injury forced him to initially retire. If Roy’s knees do hold up then sure, this will be a great move, but if it doesn’t then they really didn’t do anything and history might show Roy won’t be able to come back. But if dealing with one player with bad knees was not enough they drafted Hummel, who has a lot of talent but constantly missed time at Purdue with knee problems.

Budinger and Alexey Shvd right now are likely the two best additions they made and those two are purely moderate scorers that don’t do much else. At least they accepted their losses by waiving Darko Milicic and Martell Webster.

Orlando Magic

This Dwight Howard parade has gone on far too long and has gotten way to out of control. When a team lets their star player run things like they have let Howard do this is what happens; they lost a very good head coach, lost their general manager, and lost all good trade offers for their star center.

Now losing general manager Otis Smith is probably a good thing but first-time general manager Rob Hennigan might be in an impossible situation to fix any time soon.

The Magic completely screwed up when they decided not to trade Howard last offseason and even worse when they did not make a move at the deadline. Even though Howard opted to go into the final year of his contract everybody knows he is going to be leaving in the offseason and the Magic can’t do anything about it. Big named players did not go to Orlando because they do not want to be stuck on a Howard-less team so they have not been able to get anything to persuade Howard to stay and in turn that has kept teams from sending in any good offers for him.

Orlando though that the longer he waited the better the offers for Howard would be but that was far from what happened. Teams know Howard is going to be a free agent next year and they will be able to sign him without giving anything up so they are making room this year for his free agency net year.

So what can the Magic do about it? Nothing really and it is because they waited and waited far too long. The Magic did nothing to improve their team for next year. They re-signed point guard Jameer Nelson but the guys they added were rookie draft picks Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn and veteran Gustavo Ayon.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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