NBA Summer Transactions Part 1
First part of a two part series summarizing the big trades and free agent signings that occured this summer in the NBA
I mentioned during [[link|url=http://www.roundup.com]] the most listened to sports talk show in Tompkins County [[end-link]] that I would review this summerís NBA transitions, trades, and free agent signings [[link|url=http://wvbr.com/sportsblog]]sports blog[[end-link]] on wvbr.com, [[link|url=http://wvbr.com]]the website that rocks the lake.[[end-link]] This is not a pre-season ranking as there are still NBA trades, free agent signings, and transactions that have yet to occur. However, I will probably put one up, and it will be better than [[link|url=http://www.usatoday.com/]]some of the big name predictions[[end-link]], one of which predicted the [[link|url=http://pippenainteasy.com/]]Chicago Bulls[[end-link]] would go to the NBA Finals two years ago. Instead, they ended up with the first pick in the draft the following season.
Iíll start with the [[link|url=http://www.spursquake.com/]]San Antonio Spurs[[end-link]]. As I mentioned on Roundup, they are no longer [[link|url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/16/kesha-nicole-nichols-dump_n_235129.html]]Richard Jeffersonless[[end-link]]. The [[link|url=http://www.brewhoop.com/]]Milwaukee Bucks[[end-link]] traded him to the Spurs for Kurt Thomas, Bruce Bowen, and Fabrico Oberto. Losing these role players could cost the Spurs chemistry and defense. However, I believe that not only will Richard Jefferson help the Spurs, but it will propel the team into an elite group of the top five teams in the league, each of which improved during the off season.
The five best teams in the NBA next year will be:
[[link|url=http://airalamo.com/]]The San Antonio Spurs[[end-link]]
[[link|url=http://www.forumblueandgold.com/]]The Los Angeles Lakers[[end-link]]
[[link|url=http://www.thirdquartercollapse.com/]]The Orlando Magic[[end-link]]
[[link|url=http://lebrownstown.com/]]The Cleveland Cavaliers[[end-link]]
[[link|url=http://celticsgreen.blogspot.com/]]The Boston Celtics[[end-link]]
Why these five? The latter four were in an elite top four group last year. In the past decade, the Spurs usually belonged to such clubs; however, last season they were stricken with injured Manu Ginobili and they were [[link|url=http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2009/07/23/2009-07-23_kesha_nicole_nichols_forgives_nba_star_richard_jefferson_for_ditching_her_on_eve.html]]Richard Jeffersonless[[end-link]]. Without any [[link|url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnTr5zU15M4]]major injuries[[end-link]] they should move up from nearly getting swept in the first round by the sixth seeded [[link|url=http://blogmaverick.com/]]Dallas Mavericks[[end-link]] to joining a hard to touch top five.
Like the Spurs, the [[link|url=http://lakeshowlife.com/]]defending champs[[end-link]] got better. The Lakers were on draft night when they traded their picks away for cash and future picks. This freed up salary cap space for them to resign forwards Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom. Ariza signed with the Houston Rockets and [[link|url=http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/rumors/post/Lamar-Odom-deciding-between-Lakers-and-Heat;_ylt=AoDnJf9LgXGGab8XMqZN2B9YPKB4?urn=nba,179179]]Odom remains unsigned and deciding[[end-link]] between the Lakers and the [[link|url=http://www.heatlocker.com/]]Miami Heat[[end-link]]. However, the same day that Ariza signed with the Rockets the Lakers signed Rockets forward Ron Artest. This should help both teams and both players. Ariza is full of potential: heís young, athletic, and has a rare combination of [[link|url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToRw_FG2ze8]]dunkablity[[end-link]] and three-point-shotability. However, he only managed about 9 points and 4 rebounds a game on the star-studded Lakers roster. Heís already won a title; now he should be able to find out if he can flourish as a star. Houston will provide him that opportunity. Artest will perform better on the Lakers as he will be under less pressure to score. People say he shoots a lot of bricks; however, the former defensive player of the year had to take over on offense once Yao and T-Mac went down with injuries.
The [[link|url=http://www.orlandosmagic.blogspot.com/]]Orlando Magic[[end-link]] lost some talent. During free agency they lost Hedo Turkoglu to the [[link|url=http://raptorsrapture.com/]]Toronto Raptors[[end-link]], who were fortunate enough for the opportunity to overpay him. They also traded away Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, and Tony Battie to the [[link|url=http://www.netsnotes.com/]]New Jersey Nets[[end-link]] of [[link|url=http://www.rocafella.com ]]Brooklyn[[end-link]] for Vince Carter. While losing Alston, who held the Magic together when Jameer Nelson got hurt, will be a damper to the teamís success, adding Vince Carter will ultimately help Orlando. Carterís a star player, a great shooter, and a great dunker. Plus heís a shooting guard, which will allow them to win a title according to [[link|url=http://twitter.com/Swirzey]]my shooting guard-big man theory[[end-link]] (short version: every team in the past decades and a half that won an NBA title had a good shooting guard and a good power forward and/or center; the only exception is the lockout year Spurs; look it up).
The same day that the Magic traded for Carter the Cavs traded for [[link|url=http://twitter.com/THE_REAL_SHAQ]]Shaquille OíNeal[[end-link]]. Although he is aging, he should help the Cavs for two reasons. First of all, he no longer plays for the [[link|url=http://www.brightsideofthesun.com/]]Phoenix Suns[[end-link]] who run a fast paced offense that Shaq had trouble keeping up with. Secondly, the Cavs can rest him by splitting his minutes with center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who also is getting up there in NBA years. The Cavs had to trade to the Suns forward/center Ben Wallace and shooting guard Sasha Pavlovic. Wallace will be either hit or miss for the Suns; miss if heís too old, hit if Cleveland was a bad system for him. Pavlovic will flourish in Phoenix. Heís a great long range shooter who has been improving his speed. Heíll fit nicely into that offense with Steve Nash. The Cavs also improved by adding forward Jamario Moon and shooting guard Anthony Parker. Parkerís decent, but I believed he was a little overhyped. There were better free agent shooting guards on the market at that point in time, such as Marquis Daniels.
The [[link|url=http://celticsrant.com/]]Boston Celtics[[end-link]] improved by signing Marquis Daniels. Heís a great scorer, can shoot the three, and although averaged only 13.6 points per game last season, he would often light up for 20 plus points (not to mention 13.6 is 3 more than Anthony Parker averaged). Daniels will split minutes with Ray Allen, who is aging but still was the star shooting guard when they won their title two years ago (remember the theory) Rasheed Wallace is an even stronger addition to the Celtics. Heís getting old but can still play. Any big man who can defend, dunk, rebound, and shoot the three is helpful. Boston probably improved the most out of these five teams. They didnít lose any players and they would have improved without adding any players. Two players stepped up for the Celtics during Kevin Garnettís late season injury: Rajon Rondo and [[link|url=http://www.bigbaby.com/]]Glen Davis[[end-link]]. Rondo was averaging nearly a triple double during this period and [[link|url=http://twitter.com/Swirzey]]ďBig BabyĒ[[end-link]] did a great job replacing Garnett. Both players improved from the experience and wonít be less talented when Garnett returns (although they wonít put up the same numbers).
This has gotten lengthy and will turn into a two part series. Check back soon for the rest of the NBA!