2014 NBA Free Agency: Winners and Losers

2014 NBA FABy Stefan Anderson

The 2014-2015 NBA season is poised to be a great season, due to the interesting off-season we just witnessed. With the best draft we seen in over a decade, your favorite superstars opting to become free agents and every team chasing the goal of bringing a NBA championship.

Following the “King” LeBron James making his decision to return home to Cleveland on an interesting 2 year contract, the dominoes began to fall in free agency. Teams throughout the league, cleared cap space and aligning all possible moves to gather up the pieces to improve their current roster for the upcoming season.

As the majority of the players were signed to their various teams, we discuss the winner and losers in the 2014 free agency pool.

Taking the next step:

Washington Wizards: Resigning the “Polish Hammer” Marcin Gortat and then bringing in former Finals MVP Paul Pierce, the “Wiz Kids” look to improve on their breakout season last year. Washington has promising future in Wall and Beal and to add sound veterans in the mix makes their chances to come out the Eastern Conference even greater. Along Pierce and Gortat, the Wizards also combined tenacious rebounders Kris Humphries and Dejuan Blair.

Charlotte Hornets: The Bobcats, excuse me the Hornets are back in Charlotte and look to make that next to step to becoming the next team to make a run in the wide open Eastern Conference this season. After making the playoffs for the 2nd time since turning over the franchise. Charlotte took a big chance by signing the sometimes head case Lance Stephenson. Stephenson can give Charlotte another dimension they lacked in the past with ability to do everything on the court. Stephenson and Kemba Walker should make the perfect NYC connection on Charlotte this season. The Hornets also added swingman Marvin Williams, who will give more depth as he can play the wing or a stretch 4 depending on the coach’s decision.

Winners:

Dallas Mavericks: Trading to reacquire the former “heart” of the 2011 Championship team , Tyson Chandler and guard Raymond Felton, the Mavs looked to improve their roster after taking the defending NBA champion Spurs to 7 games in this year’s playoffs. The Mavs went on to sign the offer sheet of the budding superstar in Chandler Parsons to give Dallas more offensive weapons to pair alongside Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki. They also brought the veteran leadership of Richard Jefferson and Rashad Lewis after losing savvy vets like DeJuan Blair and Vince Carter.

Miami Heat: Most would say when you lose LeBron James how could you rebound from that. Unlike Cleveland, Miami and their brass did not put all their marbles in one basket and watch the future pass by them as the league’s feature star walks away. Miami had a great amount cap space and made the most of it and will still remain a great team as they compete in the Eastern Conference. Resigning Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and Mario Chalmers, Miami took the proper steps in making a competitive roster. Adding vets like Josh McRoberts, Luol Deng, and Danny Granger to help fill the void of LeBron James. The Heat have a good cast of players to play in the East’s most competitive division, the Southeast Division, with Washington and Charlotte improving their rosters.

Losers:

Los Angeles Lakers: With Kobe Bryant reaching the end of his career and their worst season the in the past 20 years, the question remains will the Lake Show remain to its prominence? The answer to that question seems very uncertain as management and ownership have not figured the solution to their problem. After giving Lakers legend Kobe Bryant a hefty contract, the Lakers lacked the max money to bring in Carmelo Anthony or even by a long shot a LeBron James. They end up losing who Kobe’s claimed as one of his closest teammates Pau Gasol to the Chicago Bulls, after the franchise front office tried dealing (almost landing Chris Paul at one point) with continuous effort, ends biting them now. The Lakers aren’t far off but has questions, a solid supporting cast that highlight Jeremy Lin, Nick “Swaggy P” Young, Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis. Yes the talent is good enough for a 6-8 seed in the Western Conference but lacks the talent to win another championship for Bryant’s and LA’s resume.

Houston Rockets: You decline the option of a young superstar who wouldn’t cost much than irrational contracts to players who didn’t deserve it, the things that go through Daryl Morey head. I must give credit where it’s due because he didn’t release the outlandish contracts of the underachieving Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. The Rockets then failed to sign LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony and then watched the interested Chris Bosh sign back with Miami to become the league’s highest paid superstar. That just the beginning , seeing the then cheap young star who helped gather a player like Dwight Howard into signing with Rockets, Chandler Parson , sign with in state rival Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets and their front office plan to try again next summer possibly, where they received a first round pick through trades and bringing back the serviceable Trevor Ariza , who can bring exactly what is needed on Houston, defense and three point shooting. But the Rockets surely missed out on bringing a 3rd or 4th all-star which is needed in the tough Western Conference.

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NBA Trade Deadline: Was It Worth It?

By Stefan Anderson

After the All Star Break concludes, the real test of the NBA season begins when the last 30 games are played and playoff seeds are sealed. With that, you have teams that are gearing up for the playoff push and teams going for the complete opposite, rebuilding.  And in today’s NBA Trade Deadline came to end at 3 pm, some teams helped their chances, some were hesitant and some just stayed stagnant. With a plethora of trades that occurred during today’s deadline, I will elaborate and discuss the trade deadline. Here are you for the trade deadline awards.

Passing Me By Award: The Passing Me By Award goes to the team that failed to make a trade that can put them in the right position. This award goes to Houston Rockets and The Los Angeles Lakers.

  • The Houston Rockets failed to make a trade to acquire All-Star Point Guard Rajon Rondo. With the trade rumors circulating all week, Rondo would have joined a cast of James Harden and Dwight Howard to help propel the Rockets to Western Conference dominance. Although Rondo has not been the most interpersonal person in the past few years, his defense presence, playmaking skills and championship pedigree would have helped in the guard heavy West. When you get the playoffs and have to face guards like Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard, a player like Rajon Rondo would be a great guard to have on your team.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers are in the process of rebuilding and restricting their legacy and Kobe Bryant is in the waning moments of his career.  The Lakers are currently at the bottom of the Western Conference and are lottery ball bound. With a wealthy expiring contract of Pau Gasol, why not trade him for draft picks or a lesser value player. A draft to help the Lakers future to go along, with their upcoming lottery pick along with the luxury of getting Gasol contract off the books to bring in future stars(LeBron, Melo, Durant, Love)

Just The Right Fit: The Just The Right Fit award goes to the Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors.

  • Washington has acquired veteran Andre Miller in a three way trade. Miller has always been a classy point guard until this season in Denver. His true point guard skills, unselfish ways and leadership can help the young Wizards as they make a playoff push.  The Wizards are currently sitting in 5th place in the East and with mentorship of Miller for John Wall can help lead the Wizards to the first playoff series win since 2005.
  • Golden State just traded for veteran point guard Steve Blake. Blake can provide that backup point guard role for All-Star Steph Curry, something the Warriors have been lacking since losing Jarrett Jack to free agency. Blake bring another shooter to already stacked Warriors team along with leadership off their young bench. Steve Blake could be that missing piece that can help Golden State win the West.

The Casino Award: The Casino Award goes to the Indiana Pacers.

  • Indiana has shown no sign of slowing after their game 7 loss to the Miami Heat in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. Following an aggressive offseason where they added Luis Scola, C.J. Watson and Chris Copeland.  The blue-collared Pacers continue to put the pedal to the medal, after signing big man Andrew Bynum and now receiving young swingman Evan Turner. The Eastern Conference leading Pacers are looking to put all their chips into winning the Eastern Conference along with a NBA Championship. Trading for the younger, more productive Turner for their former star Danny Granger gives the Pacers that edge they need take the two time defending champion Miami Heat out of their throne.

The Golden Ticket Award: The biggest winner of today’s Trade Deadline goes to The Philadelphia 76ers.

  • Although they traded one of the premier players in Evan Turner, they received much more and put themselves in a great opportunity to rebuild as they look to do in the future. Trading for an expiring contract in Danny Granger worth 13 million along with acquiring 5 draft picks through their active day during the trade deadline. With the emergence of rookie Michael Carter-Williams, the return of lottery pick Nerlens Noel and a lottery pick in this year’s draft, the Sixers are in great shape to build a great future through the draft along with free agency.