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Thread: Insider: FA winners/losers so far

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    Default Insider: FA winners/losers so far

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story...agency-winners


    Bradford Doolittle
    ESPN Insider
    The NBA free-agent season is in medias res, but because most of the top dogs have found new homes -- or returned to their old ones -- it's as good a time as any to take stock.

    The NBA does a remarkable job of feeding its hoops-starved fans even after the championship parade is over. The draft follows soon after the Finals end. Then we reach July 1, the day the NBA calendar flips, and our attention turns to trades, offer sheets and cap space. Meanwhile, the summer leagues hit Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas, giving us an early preview of incoming rookies and emergent fringe players. By August, things start to settle down, but, before you know it, training camp is here. Professional basketball has truly become a year-round proposition.

    The hectic weeks after the league's transaction moratorium ends can make your head spin, so it's always good to take a snapshot of the league to get a sense of where things stand. That's what we're doing today by choosing some winners and losers from a free-agent season that isn't over. We're taking a snapshot.

    Each free-agent signing adds wins to (or subtracts them from) a team's bottom line, and because there are only 1,230 wins to go around in a season, those wins are also subtracted from (or added to) the rest of the league. We chart those small changes in wins over the course of the summer, and these bottom-line changes in projected victories factor into the list of teams we're going to spotlight today.

    Of course, there is a certain amount of art in declaring a team a winner or loser in this sense because some teams are positioning themselves more for long-term improvement than for the coming season. So the list is a mixture of subjective and objective criteria. Teams aren't being judged strictly on their possible jump in 2012-13 wins but instead more on how well they are executing their organizational plan by using -- or not using -- free agency. That assumes, of course, that the team has an organizational plan to begin with. Some teams make you wonder.


    Winners


    Brooklyn Nets
    Retaining Deron Williams was huge and would make the Nets a winner in free agency even if they did nothing else. Remember, the Joe Johnson trade doesn't factor in because we're talking free agent-related activity here.

    On that front, the Nets have retained Gerald Wallace, Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries and lost Gerald Green. The possibility that the Nets eventually might use these assets to acquire Dwight Howard would make these moves look even better, but we've been dancing that dance for a long time.


    Indiana Pacers
    In a summer in which the Pacers turned over their front office, incoming general manager Kevin Pritchard did a fine job of keeping together and tweaking a roster on the upswing. Keeping Roy Hibbert was imperative, and Indiana managed to work that out with having to deal with the limbo that goes with an offer sheet.

    The Pacers picked a point guard by retaining George Hill on a reasonable, if long, contract. They added a high-quality backup center in Ian Mahinmi in a sign-and-trade deal that sent Darren Collison to Dallas. That move was debatable; it kind of depends on your opinion of Mahinmi, who was an unrestricted free agent. Indiana finished the puzzle by adding high-upside, low-cost bench players in Gerald Green and D.J. Augustin. Augustin immediately becomes the best playmaker on the roster.



    Los Angeles Lakers
    The Lakers are in win-now mode, and their acquisition of Steve Nash puts them back into title consideration. They have the downside that goes with any veteran roster, but Nash's ability to make everyone around him better is worth the risk. If L.A. ends up landing Antawn Jamison, its winner standing might be in jeopardy. OK, that's an exaggeration, but the Lakers are better off without him.


    Miami Heat
    Rashard Lewis has to prove he's still a killer shot-maker from the frontcourt, and Ray Allen has to prove that his body isn't breaking down. But the Heat didn't lose anything from their title roster, so there is nothing but upside with those acquisitions. And there is a possibility that Miami could field one of the scariest teams we've seen in some time.


    Other winners: Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Hornets, Sacramento Kings


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Losers


    Chicago Bulls
    The Bulls have been cautious and cheap this offseason as they prepare for a season that mostly will be played without Derrick Rose. Kyle Korver was traded, so, technically, he doesn't fit into this article, but Chicago let C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer walk strictly for financial reasons. Kirk Hinrich is the only addition so far, and even that isn't official because Chicago has allowed its offseason to be placed on hold by the impending offer sheet Houston is going to give Omer Asik.

    Right now, considering Rose's absence for at least half the coming season, the Bulls are headed for a low playoff seed in the East -- on paper. Tom Thibodeau probably will see to it that his team plays better than that, but that has nothing to do with free agency.


    Philadelphia 76ers
    It's as simple as this: The Sixers let Louis Williams walk and replaced him with a markedly inferior player in Nick Young. Signing Kwame Brown and Royal Ivey doesn't exactly make up for that, especially because, with a creative offseason, Philly was poised to build off an exciting playoff run.


    Phoenix Suns
    It was time to turn the page on Nash, but it's what has come since his departure that leaves you scratching your head. Goran Dragic is a worthy replacement for Nash, but that's the apex of Phoenix's offseason. The Suns signed underachiever Michael Beasley and claimed Luis Scola off amnesty waivers. You're looking at a roster where the best player is probably Marcin Gortat, who projects as about a six-win player.

    They haven't added the kind of future assets you'd like to see a rebuilding team gather. When it comes to free agency, it's never wise to build with midpriced players, but that's what the Suns have done.


    Other losers: Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Treading water


    Dallas Mavericks
    The Mavericks were positioned to make a big splash in their pursuit of Deron Williams. It didn't work out. Instead of locking up a bunch of middling players in response, the Mavericks have loaded up on short-term contracts, retaining their flexibility for a future run at an elite player. The roster, as is, doesn't profile as a playoff-quality team. The overall plan remains sound, but there promise to be some short-term pains.


    New York Knicks
    The Knicks did well to retain J.R. Smith on a bargain contract. Steve Novak was a worthy retention, as well, although the dollars and length of his contract would be problematic on a thriftier team. Marcus Camby and Jason Kidd look good on paper, which is why New York stands second in the East in our summer projections, even after the loss of Jeremy Lin. This last bit of mismanagement is why the Knicks don't ascend to the winner's group.


    Other treaders: Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Incomplete


    Houston Rockets
    The Rockets' long-term plan is a good one: Find the franchise building block their roster has lacked since Yao Ming was injured. Adding Lin is a major boost to Houston's offseason outlook. However, there is still the impending offer sheet to Asik out there in limbo land, and a good bit of cap space Houston still has to play with. It's too soon to judge the Rockets' free-agent activity. The same holds true for the Timberwolves, our other incomplete mark, as the team is waiting on the outcome of Nicolas Batum's offer sheet.


    Other incomplete: Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Default Re: Insider: FA winners/losers so far

    New York stands second in the East in our summer projections, even after the loss of Jeremy Lin
    As in... they are expecting the Knicks to be #2 in the East next season? Optimistic.

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    Default Re: Insider: FA winners/losers so far

    The only thing we did right this season is adding Augustin.
    I don't see how overpaying your backup point guard (Or the point guard that started for 15 games), trading your starting point guard for a FA that's going to be a backup, and signing a bust that finally started producing last year makes us "Winners".

    This isn't a bad offseason, but 'Winners'? Come on
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    Default Re: Insider: FA winners/losers so far

    Quote Originally Posted by ballism View Post
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    As in... they are expecting the Knicks to be #2 in the East next season? Optimistic.
    There is no way, no how, the Pacers finish behind the Knicks next year. So...they are expecting us to be the top seed?

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    Default Re: Insider: FA winners/losers so far

    Quote Originally Posted by jjbjjbjjb View Post
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    There is no way, no how, the Pacers finish behind the Knicks next year. So...they are expecting us to be the top seed?
    In much the same way that there was no way, no how the Pacers would finish behind the Knicks last year....it didn't stop virtually every columnist and reporter from accepting that the Knicks were obviously better than the pacers despite any differences in team record and menopausal mood swings.

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    Default Re: Insider: FA winners/losers so far

    The Pacers record was 42-24 and The Knicks 36-30, yep not as crazy as you guys think, two coaches, Amare hurt, Melo hurt, Lin hurt,Baron Davis hurt, Amare's dead in the family,etc,etc.

    If you don't think that affects a team record I don't know what to tell you.

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    Default Re: Insider: FA winners/losers so far

    Quote Originally Posted by vnzla81 View Post
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    The Pacers record was 42-24 and The Knicks 36-30, yep not as crazy as you guys think, two coaches, Amare hurt, Melo hurt, Lin hurt,Baron Davis hurt, Amare's dead in the family,etc,etc.

    If you don't think that affects a team record I don't know what to tell you.
    I won't disagree that their record was affected, and most likely negatively. But the Knicks' worst basketball was played at the beginning of the season with both Amare and Melo healthy and Lin sitting. Their best basketball was played in 2 steaks -- one without Melo or Amare and one without Amare. Then at the end of the season they played well with Melo going crazy.

    If anything, i think the person who has the chance to stabilize them a bit is Jason Kidd. But otherwise, I believe we are a superior team (barring a setback of our own of course).

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    Default Re: Insider: FA winners/losers so far

    Quote Originally Posted by aamcguy View Post
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    I won't disagree that their record was affected, and most likely negatively. But the Knicks' worst basketball was played at the beginning of the season with both Amare and Melo healthy and Lin sitting. Their best basketball was played in 2 steaks -- one without Melo or Amare and one without Amare. Then at the end of the season they played well with Melo going crazy.

    If anything, i think the person who has the chance to stabilize them a bit is Jason Kidd. But otherwise, I believe we are a superior team (barring a setback of our own of course).
    Amare and Melo were never healthy, they both were out of shape, Amare had a back issue and Melo had hamstrings issues, By watching team USA it looks like Melo is in shape and healthy and I expect Amare to be in shape and healthy.

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    Default Re: Insider: FA winners/losers so far

    Can I get a list of which teams (like the Knicks) are allowed to be considered better when they have injury/coaching/locker room problems vs. which teams (like the Pacers) are considered to be making excuses and that the record is all that counts when it shows they suck?

    It would help me in my future discussions.

    It is kind of like that hidden code on license plates that denotes the "special" drivers who don't have to merge or can cut off exit lanes and so forth. STILL haven't figured that one out.
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    Default Re: Insider: FA winners/losers so far

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    Can I get a list of which teams (like the Knicks) are allowed to be considered better when they have injury/coaching/locker room problems vs. which teams (like the Pacers) are considered to be making excuses and that the record is all that counts when it shows they suck?
    Go to http://espn.go.com/. At the very top, there's a line that lists a number of cities.
    If your team is in one of those places, it means you have a special ESPN sub-division and can therefore make any excuse you like.

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    Default Re: Insider: FA winners/losers so far

    Quote Originally Posted by ballism View Post
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    Go to http://espn.go.com/. At the very top, there's a line that lists a number of cities.
    If your team is in one of those places, it means you have a special ESPN sub-division and can therefore make any excuse you like.
    Don't forget Miami or Orlando. Not only does Miami actually get triple the excuses (one for each of the big three), but they also get the same "Pacer play-off only" excuse bonus that Orlando does.

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    Default Re: Insider: FA winners/losers so far

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    Can I get a list of which teams (like the Knicks) are allowed to be considered better when they have injury/coaching/locker room problems vs. which teams (like the Pacers) are considered to be making excuses and that the record is all that counts when it shows they suck?

    It would help me in my future discussions.

    It is kind of like that hidden code on license plates that denotes the "special" drivers who don't have to merge or can cut off exit lanes and so forth. STILL haven't figured that one out.
    Nobody is saying that the Pacers sucks, come on Bills you know better than that!!!

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