The last time we got together (3 days ago), we talked about basically the Cleveland Cavs & Miami Heat making moves to keep their teams relevant after LeBron made his decision to go back to the Cavs. Here are some other teams in the league who have been winners & losers over the last few days.
NBA Free Agency Winners
While Stephenson was a great defender & a guy who could get under many players skin (see the Eastern Conference Finals from this year with the ear blowing), his act was wearing thin big time. It was time for the organization to move on & it was clear that Pacers President Larry Bird wasn’t going to put up with Stephenson’s shenanigans much longer.
Shortly after it was announced that Stephenson was moving on, the team signed free agent guard Rodney Stuckey, formerly of the Detroit Pistons, to a one-year deal. This is a great deal for the Pacers because Stuckey has much of the same game that Stephenson does & it gives the Pacers another scorer who can easily put up 17-19 points per game, when motivated.
With it looking like George Hill will be the point guard for the foreseeable future, this signing will allow Stuckey to play the shooting guard position (the position he is naturally made for) & give Paul George some extra help with the scoring load, which was the main area that hurt the Pacers throughout the playoff run last year, especially when they got to the conference finals against the Heat.
The Wizards have become an organization that has become a destination spot for players. The team signed former Celtics & Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce to get some veteran leadership in the team to go along with John Wall & Bradley Beal. The team re-signed Martin Gortat, their big center who can get rebounds & has proven to be a strong scorer as the season went on.
Even though the team lost Trevor Ariza, they hired quite possibly the most important person in the organization going forward in the next few years………..David Akins. Who is David Akins you ask? He is the high school coach of Oklahoma City Thunder superstar forward Kevin Durant, who is set to become a free agent in 2016. The Wizards are showing that they want to be a true player in trying to bring Durant to the nation’s capital, assuming that the Thunder won’t put together a deal this year or next that will keep Durant in OKC for the duration of his career.
With the issues of the last two seasons with Russell Westbrook on the court, where Westbrook was taking some insanely crazy shots & not always keeping Durant in the flow of the offense, Durant may see that being in the nation’s capital could mean that his superstar status can grow higher & with Wall & Beal, a new “big 3” could develop soon.
NBA Free Agency Losers
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers had the big opportunity to capitalize on the Los Angeles Clippers misfortune by really putting themselves on the marquee, & didn’t make a single big move. Sorry if I don’t count Jeremy Lin & Carlos Boozer has big time acquisitions, they didn’t get Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James & in a year where Kobe Bryant could be playing his last season in the NBA, the organization could go all out to make the Lakers a contender immediately.
The Rockets traded Lin to the Los Angeles Lakers in thoughts of signing Chris Bosh to a max contract if LeBron didn’t sign with the Heat. Bosh went back to the Heat instead & Houston lost out on re-signing Chandler Parsons as well. The team did get Trevor Ariza from the Wizards, who could be a great wing man & help out Harden & Howard not have all of the attention on them, but the team had far bigger aspirations for this offseason & promises to Dwight Howard in making the team a championship contender & in many ways, the completely failed.
The Rockets will need to make sure that the team is in position to make a move midseason to bring in a key player for a playoff run or there will be talk that the Rockets big spending spree will have been all for nothing.