So the NBA off-season is pretty much over. The draft, the major trades, and of course Free Agency have all came and went. Some Free Agents such as David Lee, Ray Felton, Allen Iverson, Ramon Sessions, Nate Robinson, Linas Kleiza, and Big Baby Davis are still unsigned. Pretty much all of these players have been rumored to go overseas mainly to Olympiakos, and it looks like Kleiza is really close to signing with the Greek club. Also, two of those players, Lee and Robinson are on the Knicks. The Knicks are said to be interested in Sessions and Felton but both are still Free Agents as of today.
So with all of this, I present my 2009 NBA off-season Winners and Losers
Los Angeles Lakers-The defending champs were able to re-sign Lamar Odom and get Ron Artest for the Mid-Level Exception. The are clearly my favorites to win the title next year and become the first team to repeat since they won 3 straight titles in 00, 01, 02. the rich get richer and the strong get stronger.
Boston Celtics-They signed Rasheed Wallace who can hit big 3's and defend in the post. Raseed and KG will be a match up nightmare for either of the Celtics two biggest threats in the East, the Cavs or the Magic.
San Antonio Spurs-The aging Spurs added a great player in his prime in Richard Jefferson and also added a starting Center in Antonio McDyess. They may have gotten a steal in the draft with DuJuan Blair. Once again the key for San Antonio will be if they can stay healthy. Manu Ginobili was out during last year's playoffs and Tony Parker has a hurt ankle right now. And oh by the way the reason that Blair slipped to them in the second round of the draft was because he has had some knee problems.
Los Angeles Clippers-They got the top pick and a future star in Blake Griffin and they were able to unload Zach Randolph's contract off the books. If Baron Davis is at full strength the Clippers have a good shot to make the playoffs this year.
Oklahoma City Thunder-James Harden was a great pick in draft. Harden and Russell Westbrook gave us a preview of the future in Summer League. Plus they still have that Kevin Durant guy. The future is bright in Oklahoma City. Along with the Clippers and Suns, the Thunder will be fighting for one of those last playoff spots out West next year.
Marcin Gortat-Only in America can a Polish back-up Center who averaged 4ppg and 4rpg a game get an offer by one team (Dallas) wanting to make him a starter, only to have his team (Orlando) match the offer. Gortat received the full MLE and will now probably split time at PF with Brandon Bass whom Orlando signed from Dallas.
Jason Kidd-Despite being 3 years older than Andre Miller and 5 years older than Mike Bibby, Kidd still got a higher paying 3 year deal than both of them. I think that both Bibby and Miller have more value than Kidd at this point in their careers, but hey it's Mark Cuban's money.
Paul Millsap-He gets a big deal and is the PF of the future for Utah. He made the best of his time when Boozer was hurt and got paid accordingly. Not bad for a second round pick in 2006.
Brandon Roy-He just got the max extension that he deserves. Besides LeBron, he might be the best wing under the age of 26. It's either him, Melo, Kevin Durant, or Andre Igoudala.
Houston Rockets-Yao is done, Artest is gone, and McGrady is always hurt and will likely be traded to someone by the trade deadline next year. That leaves Shane Battier and Free Agent pick up Trevor Ariza as their two best players. By the way, Battier and Ariza play the same position, SF, and are both known primarily as defensive stoppers. A playoff spot is open in the West next year.
Milwaukee Bucks-Charlie Villaneuva went east one state to play in Detroit and Ramon Sessions is still unsigned. They traded Richard Jefferson away to save money . As of right now their only two big moves this summer were drafting Brandon Jennings and signing Hakim Warrick. It is looking right now like their starting 5 next year will be C-Andrew Bogut, PF-Hakim Warrick, SF-Luc Richard Mbah a Moute or Joe Alexander, PG-Brandon Jennings and SG-Michael Redd. Something tells me the Bucks will have a very high lottery pick next year.
New York Knicks-David Lee and Nate Robinson are still unsigned and my guess is one of them will end up playing in Europe next year while the other plays the season out with the Knicks on their qualifying offer then bolts as an Unrestricted Free Agent next off-season. Plus they didn't draft Stephen Curry or anyone else that can sell tickets in MSG. This team wants LeBron next off-season. Without Lee or Robinson their best two players are Wilson Chandler and All Harrington. If I was LeBron I would rather play for the New York Liberty.
Minnestota Timberwolves-We still don't know what's going on with Ricky Rubio and honestly I don't think anyone cares anymore. With or without the Boy Wonder from Spain, Minnesota will still stink for another 3-5 years and it's a shame because Al Jefferson and Kevin Love are two of the better young players in the league, and people rarely get to see them.
Carlos Boozer-First he is loyal to the Jazz by not opting out of his contract, then the Jazz basically tell him they don't want him and that Paul Millsap is their PF of the future. So now Boozer has to wonder where he will be traded to this up coming season while preparing to be a Free Agent next year in a class that includes fellow stud PF's Amare, Bosh and Dirk who are all better than him.
Any Unsigned Free agent as of Today-It's August 6th now. So if your a Free Agent and you don't have a big deal by now, you won't any time soon unless it's with a team in Europe.
Only time (and by time I mean this up coming NBA season) will tell:
Cleveland Cavaliers-They got the Diesel and Anthony Parker who are a combined age of 71. They also re-singed/overpaid for Anderson Varejao. Their bigs still can't defend the perimeter and with Rasheed in Boston that makes even more of a difference. LeBron is great but he needs young athletes who can shoot the rock to compliment him, not the trio of Shaq, Parker and Varejao.
Orlando Magic-Vince is good, very good, but can he be a #2/3 option on a team. I don't know yet. Rashard Lewis might be suspended for the first 10 games of the season and I don't know how Brandon Bass or Marcin Gortat will respond as the starting PF.
Detroit Pistons-They gave Ben Gordon $55 million to be the 6th man and Charlie Villanueva $35+ million to be the starting PF. Kwame Brown and newly signed Chris Wilcox will battle for the starting Center spot. They have the talent to be decent, but I still wouldn't rate them ahead of any of the Eastern Conference's young up and coming teams like Atlanta, Miami, Philly or Chicago.
Utah Jazz-We will see if they can trade Boozer any time soon and if making Millsap the starter at PF was indeed the right decision in Salt Lake City.
Portland signing Andre Miller-Brandon Roy is a SG who needs the offense top generate through him, just like Kobe, DWade or Joe Johnson. Andre Miller is a traditional PG who loves to have the ball in his hands to run the offense. Roy would be better complimented with a great shooting PG. Andre Miller is just an average shooter. Portland has one of the best young teams in the league. Miller is 33 but if he can contribute for 2-3 more years while at the same time help bring along last years first round pick PG Jerryd Bayless then the move will have been a good one.