“I’m coming home.” The hometown hero turned antichrist turned savior of the universe has returned home to Cleveland to make good on his promise to win the Cavaliers a championship; only this time he’ll have a little more help than just Mo Williams (sorry Mo.) Needless to say, anytime you can score the NBA’s undisputed best player, you can count this off-season as a big fat W. In fact, Cleveland may have pieced together one of the best off-seasons in NBA history; adding the NBA’s best SF (James) while also shipping the two #1 overall draft picks in the last two years for arguably the NBA’s best PF, Kevin Love. If the trio of James, Love and Kyrie Irving can get their chemistry going early in the year, we might be witnessing the birth of the greatest dynasty in NBA history.
The return part deux of Derrick Rose will be bolstered by some very savvy moves by Chicago this offseason. They shed the services of Carlos Boozer and replaced him with Pau Gasol and Euro superstar Nikola Mirotic; not too shabby. The Bulls seem to be on track to return to the 1 or 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Added- Aaron Brooks, Doug McDermott, Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Cameron Bairstow
The Mavs were on the move this offseason, after getting Dirk Nowitzki on the “hometown discount” contract they acquired the services of Chandler Parsons, Jameer Nelson and a slew of other veterans that should give Dirk and the Mavs another crack at winning the Western Conference title.
The freshly re-branded Hornets pulled off one of the best signing of the Free Agency period when they locked up Lance Stephenson for 3 years, including a pretty Player Option in that 3rd year. They drafted talented big man Noah Vonleh in the 1st round and got the signature of veteran Marvin Williams. All in all, it was a very successful offseason for a team coming off of a decent showing in the playoffs.
It’s hard not to be impressed with what the Wizards did this summer; they snagged two quality big men in Blair and Humphries and a surefire Hall of Famer in Paul Pierce. It’s going to be strange to see Pierce in the Red, White & Blue but I see this as a move that could propel the Wiz-kids into the upper-echelon of the Eastern Conference.
Added- Paul Pierce, Kris Humpries, DeJuan Blair,
Re-signing Kyle Lowry was priority #1 for the Raptors this offseason and Lowry rewarded their pursuit by signing on for 4 more years. Priority #2 was added bench depth, which they will receive in the form of Johnson, Cherry and Cabocolo.
Added- James Johnson, Will Cherry, Lucas Nogueira, Bruno Cabocolo
Could this be the year we finally see the Duncan-Popovich Era Spurs drop off? I wouldn’t bet on it. The eternal Spurs are coming off of a gentleman’s sweep of Miami in the NBA Finals and are bringing back essentially the same team. This season’s story will likely be the continued growth of reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and if the Spurs can make it back to the Finals 3 years running.
Added- Kyle Anderson, Bryce Cotton
The Clippers may have staked their claim as the deepest team in the West with the signing of Spencer Hawes to backup DeAndre Jordan. They dropped the hobbled Danny Granger and added the athletic CJ Wilcox, a definite upgrade.
Added-CJ Wilcox, Spencer Hawes, Jordan Farmar
Phil Jackson took a page out of cross-town rival Brooklyn’s playbook when they hired freshly retired PG Derek Fisher to take the helm in the Big Apple. The Knicks scored a major victory when they were able to retain Carmelo Anthony (for a hefty price, I might add) and they definitely upgraded at PG by flipping Raymond Felton for Jose Calderon. I would expect the Knicks to be better than last year’s iteration and to be contending in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference.
It will be interesting to see how veteran swingman Vince Carter will fit into the Grizzlies slow paced offense after playing in Dallas for the last few years. The Griz let go of Ed Davis & James Johnson this offseason and are hoping that Carter and Jordan Adams will be key additions to the bench.
Added- Vince Carter, Jordan Adams, Patrick Christopher
Dropped- James Johnson, Ed Davis, Mike Miller
The Magic two highly touted prospects in this year’s draft in the form of PG Elfrid Payton and PF Aaron Gordon, but they weren’t done there. Orlando also added veteran Ben Gordon, sharshooting big man Channing Frye and capable veteran point guard Luke Ridnour. Free from the cap holds of Jameer Nelson and Jason Maxiell, the Magic made some solid moves this off-season. I would imagine that Ridnour will start at PG early in the year and then transition that spot to Payton by season’ end.
Added- Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon, Ben Gordon, Channing Frye, Roy Devyn Marble, Luke Ridnour
The Sixers probably have the least talented and least experienced roster in the NBA, but their goal isn’t to win now; it’s to build a foundation. They drafted Kansas C Joel Embiid and prized European commodity Dario Saric in the first round, in addition, we will presumably be witness to the debut of Nerlens Noel this season. Philly isn’t going to win many games this season, but the building blocks are in place for future seasons.
Added- Pierre Jackson, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, KJ McDaniels, Jerami Grant, Jordan McRae, Anthony Bennett
San Francisco replaced successful yet embattled Head Coach Mark Jackson with broadcaster Steve Kerr; which may sound odd on paper but hiring rookie Head Coaches is turning into a league trend. Kerr has a good basketball mind and it’ll be intriguing to see if he can take the Warriors to greater heights. The addition of Shaun Livingston should give the Warriors added backcourt stability off the bench.
Added- Brandon Rush, Shaun Livingston
It’s hard to fault Minnesota this offseason; at least they got a return on Kevin Love who was almost guaranteed to leave next summer anyway. The T-Wolves drafted high flying prospect Zach LaVine and then got #1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins in return for Kevin Love. The future looks bright right now for the Wolves, but it will be a trial by fire for these rookies.
Added- Zach LaVine, Mo Williams, Andrew Wiggins (pending), Thaddeus Young (pending)
New Head of Basketball Operations Stan van Gundy went out of his way to acquire the services of Jodie Meeks this offseason; but that doesn’t solve the Pistons main issue of overcrowding on their roster. With the possibility of Caron Butler starting at the 3 or 4, incumbent “stretch” 4 Josh Smith might be on his way out of Detroit. The Pistons have a log-jam at the Forward position with Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, Josh Smith, Caron Butler and Kyle Singler; it will be interesting to see who stays and who is on the move.
Added- Jodie Meeks, Caron Butler, DJ Augustin, Spencer Dinwiddle
Utah’s hand was forced when Charlotte signed Gordon Hayward to a 4 year/$63 million offer sheet and the Jazz decided that overpaying the 4th year swingman was better than losing him altogether. The Jazz pieced together a pretty solid draft by picking up Dante Exum and Rodney Hood, while replacing the sharpshooing presence of Brandon Rush with Steve Novak. I’d say the forecast calls for another middling year for the Utah Jazz.
Added- Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, Trevor Booker, Carrick Felix, Steve Novak
Dropped- Marvin Williams, Brandon Rush, Richard Jefferson, Diante Garrett, John Lucas, Erik Murphy, Malcolm Thomas
Milwaukee Bucks: C+ (Projection- 17-65)
Milwaukee made a splash early during this free agency period by stealing coach Jason Kidd away from Brooklyn, but when your biggest move is signing a second year head coach, it’s gonna be hard to separate from the rest of the pack. Milwaukee made, in my opinion, some pretty solid backcourt moves this off-season; signing veteran Jerryd Bayless and landing Kendall Marshall off of waivers. This could be a sign that we will get to see Brandon Knight play more at the 2 spot this season.
Added- Jabari Parker, Kendall Marshall, Johnny O’Bryant, Jerryd Bayless, Damien Inglis
The Hawks have to be feeling good after the 2013-2014 playoffs; they may have gotten in due to a weak conference but they took #1 seed Indiana to 7 games and had them on the ropes for the entire series. They added defensive specialist Thabo Sefolosha, who could prove to be a key piece to the Hawks success this season.
Added- Thabo Sefolosha, Adreian Payne
Maybe a Phoenix fan can clue me in as to why the Suns went out of their way to sign Isaiah Thomas, a starting level PG, when the team has no starting spot for him? No doubt that Thomas will provide a spark off the bench and Coach Hornacek has already stated that Bledsoe/Dragic/Thomas will be used as a 3-headed backcourt. I hope for the Suns sake this move will work out well.
Added- Anthony Tolliver, TJ Warren, Isaiah Thomas
The mass exodus of King James and his Court Jesters (Ray Allen, James Jones in this case) was enough to put one franchise in the hole for years; will Pat Riley be able to stop the bleeding? He added Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts and Shawne Williams; which would be very exciting if this was the 2008 Indiana Pacers. But alas, you’ve got to give props to Riley for convincing Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to stay on board.
Added- Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts, James Ennis, Luol Deng, Shabazz Napier, Shawne WIlliams
A rather uneventful summer for the Trail-Blazers, they added Chris Kaman and on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again and finally on-again Trail Blazer Steve Blake for his 3rd tenure in Portland.
Added- Chris Kaman, Steve Blake
Dropped- Mo Williams, Earl Watson
Danny Ainge spend the weeks leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft talking down about the talent level in the pool of players, however, he managed to go out of his way to snag another combo guard to add to his ever growing collection(in additon to re-signing fellow combo guard Avery Bradley.) The C’s also decided to take a chance on Evan Turner after his dismal end of year performance in Indiana.
Added- Marcus Smart, Evan Turner, James Young, Marcus Thornton, Tyler Zeller
Dropped- Kris Humphries, Jerryd Bayless
Houston chose not to match Dallas’ offer sheet to Chandler Parsons, who has stated that he felt slighted by the toxic atmosphere of the Rockets locker room; with rumors circulating that Dwight Howard and James Harden won’t even eat at the same table as the other Rockets, chemistry could be a big issue this season.
Added- Trevor Ariza, Clint Capela, Ish Smith, Nick Johnson, Jeff Adrien, Joey Dorsey, Scotty Hopson, Alonzo Gee, Kostas Papanikolau
OKC let Sefolosha walk this summer and bestowed sharpshooting Anthony Morrow as his replacement. The Thunder made just a feeble rumble when they signed journeyman Sebastian Telfair to their bench; but when you have a core like Durant-Westbrook, you don’t need to do much retooling.
Added- Anthony Morrow, Mitch McGary, Sebastian Telfair
Dropped- Caron Butler, Thabo Sefolosha, Derek Fisher
Undoubtedly the most quiet team this summer, the Denver Nuggets decided to “hold” this offseason and keep Brian Shaw‘s squad in order, for the most part. They snagged two quality rookies in the form of Michigan State guard Gary Harris and Bosnian big man Jusuf Nurkic; the Nugs will look to make it back to the playoffs after missing out last year.
Added- Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic, Erick Green
Dropped- Aaron Brooks, Jan Vesely
It’s been a complete 360 this summer compared to last for Brooklyn. They lost Paul Pierce to Washington, Shaun Livingston to Golden State, Head Coach Jason Kidd to Milwaukee and Andray Blatche to discontent. The Nets did grab Jarrett Jack from Cleveland and the freshly imported Bojan Bodanovic; but will it be enough to keep the Nets from treading water?
Added- Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev, Markel Brown, Cory Jefferson, Bojan Bogdanovic,
Dropped- Paul Pierce, Andray Blatche, Jason Collins, Shaun Livingston, Marcus Thornton
It’s been a less than stellar off-season for the New Orleans Pelicans. While I like the addition of Russ Smith and Patric Young, they are going to overpay Omer Asik for his services at Center this season. The Pelicans will likely improve over last season, thanks to the blossoming Anthony Davis, but for now their offseason grade is a lowly D+.
Added- Omer Asik, Jimmer Fredette, Russ Smith, Patric Young
Dropped- Al-Farouq Aminu, James Southerland, Brian Roberts, Anthony Morrow, Jason Smith
Well, at least they’re trying. After failing to land superstar F Carmelo Anthony, the Lakers went out and landed the high priced PG Jeremy Lin from Houston and the perpetually howling PF Carlos Boozer off of waivers from Chicago. To complicate matters, there’s a rumor circulating that Boozer will be playing SF this year. Yuck! With a grizzled, mortal version Kobe Bryant and old broken down Steve Nash, this season could get ugly, quick.
Added- Julius Randle, Carlos Boozer, Jeremy Lin, Ed Davis
The best thing that can be said about the Kings this offseason: they participated. They willingly gave up PG Isaiah Thomas and replaced him with the less talented Darren Collison, for virtually the same price. They picked up Nik Stauskas in the draft, who, has very high bust potential according to our Prospect Tiers. It appears that the Kings and Lakers have conceded and are willing to let Golden State/LA Clippers/Phoenix duke it out for the Pacific Division crown.
Added- Nik Stauskas, Darren Collison, Eric Moreland, Alex Oriahki, Jeremy Tyler, Wayne Ellington
Hands down the worst off-season in the NBA, Indiana went through a number of franchise altering events this summer. First, they failed to offer Lance Stephenson anything less than 5 years, so he packed his bags and went to Charlotte. Then, a mere two weeks later, Paul George gruesomely broke his leg in a Team USA scrimmage; effectively ending the Pacers season before it even had a chance to begin.
Added- Rodney Stuckey, CJ Miles, Damjan Rudez, Shayne Whittington