The NBA free agency period started last week and while some moves appear to be insignificant on the surface, others are colossal. We’ve seen the Clippers bring in Lamar Odom and Jamal Crawford, the Dallas Mavericks flip their entire roster, and the Houston Rockets gut their franchise in hope of landing Dwight Howard. At press time, the Dwightmare is still going ongoing and while it’s been dragging out like the Carmelo Anthony fiasco in 2010-2011, you can’t help but follow the latest stories about where the disgruntled big man will go. But, for now, there’s plenty else to discuss.
In a trade that absolutely no one saw coming, Steve Nash was dealt to the L.A. Lakers in exchange for two first-round picks and two second-rounders. It’s a steep price to pay by sacrificing a plethora of future selections but you can’t fault the Lakers in the slightest. Kobe Bryant’s window to win a sixth championship is slowly closing and L.A. had to do everything they could to surround him with the best talent—and they did just that. Steve Nash is one of the best point guards in the world and while their backcourt will be a combined 72 years old at the start of the season, they should easily be a top-two contender in the West. I think they’ll need some time to mesh together but once they get some games under their belts and can properly work together with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, Kobe and Nash will turn the Lakers into a major threat.
How about those Brooklyn Nets, huh? They’ve got a new name and more importantly, a completely revamped lineup. They were able to bring in veteran swingman Joe Johnson and his gargantuan contract while re-signing Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez. Kris Humphries hasn’t signed (yet) but if he does, they look like major players in the East. Since they were unable to land Dwight, they decided to ink Lopez to a max contract before any other team had the opportunity to sign him. Do I think that Brook is a fine player? Sure. Should he have garnered a max deal? Absolutely not. He’s coming off not only a broken right foot, but a right ankle issue as well. While I’m completely aware that he’s an offensive threat, I’m not a fan of seven-footers that can’t rebound or play defense and have been dealing with injuries. Sorry.
That being said, the Nets have dominated the offseason. Pairing Williams and Johnson together will free up guys like Wallace, MarShon Brooks (so long as he doesn’t get traded) and Lopez (assuming he plays more than five games this year). I give a lot of credit to general manager Billy King and their billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov in giving the team a new stadium and a completely new outlook. The only upsetting thing is that I don’t think we’ll be seeing Nets tickets start at less than a dollar on StubHub like they were the past few years. Get ready to pony up some dough to see your favorite team play at the Barclays Center, Nets fans!
Now where should I begin with my New York Knicks? Well, first off, we brought in Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby, re-signed J.R. Smith and Steve Novak, and traded for Raymond Felton while presumably letting Jeremy Lin walk. Kidd, of course, threw a wrench into Dallas’ plans by originally telling them he’d sign there only to spurn the Mavs and reach a three-year, $9 million deal with New York. I like the move—not only because we get Kidd on the cheap, but because he’s a leader and can open up the floor.
Both Smith and “Novakaine” were awfully impressive with the second unit last year. You know what you’re going to get from both guys and they should be able to light it up in spurts this season. The Marcus Camby deal, however, wasn’t the greatest. It was a steep price to pay by giving a 38-year-old $13.2 million over the next three years while dishing out two second-round picks as well as Josh Harrellson. While he can still rebound relatively well at his advanced age, he’s an offensive liability, his blocks per game reached a career-low last year, and he’s never played in more than 80 games in a season (I’d be shocked if he managed to play in 60 this year). But Camby will provide depth if/when Amare Stoudemire gets injured and/or clocks any more fire extinguishers. Still, it’s a risky move.
It’s been exciting to see some teams getting better (like the Heat bringing in Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis for next to nothing) while laughing at the franchises in a perpetual flux (I’m looking at you, Orlando). We’ve still got a ways to go for the start of the next NBA season but I know I’m already looking forward to seeing the Knicks take down LeBron and Co. How ‘bout you? email@example.com
(Photo credit: Seth Wenig/AP)