Brooklyn Nets: C+
KEY ADDITIONS AND RE-SIGNINGS: Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace
KEY LOSSES: Gerald Green
Brooklyn is one of those teams whose grade could be an A or an F, depending on if one takes a short term or long term perspective. On one hand, they added a top 5 shooting guard for basically nothing and re-signed arguably the best point guard in the league. On the other hand, they signed a center who averages six rebounds a game to a max deal, gave Gerald Wallace (an athleticism player in his 30s) $40 million, and have two $100 million dollar contracts on their hands. With the Nets moving to Brooklyn, they need to quickly build a fan base and the best way to do that is by winning immediately; ticket buyers do not care about the Nets five years from now.
Boston Celtics: A-
KEY ADDITIONS AND RE-SIGNINGS: Jeff Green, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Kevin Garnett, Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo
KEY LOSSES: Ray Allen
The Celtics did not make any big splashes this offseason, but made some solid moves that, without a doubt, will make this year’s team better than the last. The only major loss was Ray Allen, but the emergence of Avery Bradley had diminished his role greatly. To solidify the off-guard spot even more, the Celts went out and got Jason Terry and Courtney Lee. Jeff Green who did not play at all last season after a heart surgery will play this year and provide depth behind Paul Pierce. Boston may have overpaid Green, but they were in dire need of quality bench players. Boston was blessed by the basketball gods when Jared Sullinger, a player with top eight talent, fell to them at pick 21 because of health concerns. He is a polished post-up player with a high basketball IQ. Fab Melo can be a big body off the pine who can commit fouls and be a generic 7 foot stiff.
Toronto Raptors: B+
KEY ADDITIONS AND RE-SIGNINGS: Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross, Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields
KEY LOSSES: none
The Raptors are a young team on the rise that added young talent and lost nobody important this offseason. The Raptors convinced last year’s first round draft choice, Jonas Valanciunas, to come over from Europe and join the team. Valanciunas will make a huge impact on both ends and will learn from head coach Dwane Casey. Toronto took advantage of Houston’s desperation for trade assets and the Raps were able to acquire a top 10 point guard in Kyle Lowry. Terrence Ross, the Raptors’ first round pick is an athletic shooting guard with a smooth stroke from deep. While watching him in the summer league, I tried to think of whom his game resembled. Finally, it came to me: (Raptors fans do not get too excited) young Kobe. The only move by Toronto that soured me was the signing of Landry Fields. Fields really should not be starting, let alone getting a $20 million contract.
Philadelphia 76ers: A
KEY ADDITIONS AND RE-SIGNINGS: Andrew Bynum, Dorrell Wright, Nick Young, Kwame Brown, Arnett Moultrie, Jason Richardson
KEY LOSSES: Andre Iguodala, Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless, Jodie Meeks, Lou Williams, Elton Brand
The Sixers go into this year with a very different team than the one that went to the eastern semis last year. Coming into the offseason I was very down on the 76ers; they were a team in NBA purgatory, too good for a high draft pick, not good enough to be a serious contender. They had no real stars and management had seemed timid to make bold moves. Then the blockbuster Dwight Howard deal occured. This trade was an all around huge win for the Sixers. They traded away Iguodala, who they had been shopping for years, and received Andrew Bynum. Bynum can become a bonafide star and focal point of the Philly offense. Philadelphia made some other great moves this offseason too. They amnestied Elton Brand, signed some quality role players, and put together a good draft class. It was unfortunate that the 76ers had to trade away Nik Vucevic and Moe Harkless, but to get a star, you need to pay the price.
New York Knicks: F
KEY ADDITIONS AND RE-SIGNINGS: Ronnie Brewer, Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni, Kurt Thomas
KEY LOSSES: Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields
If it were 2001, this Knicks frontcourt would be generating a lot of hype. “Holy crap, they signed Camby, and, Kurt Thomas. Nothing can stop ‘em.” Unfortunately for Knick fans, this is 2012 and the Knicks just signed a 38 and 39 year old. Why the New York management would sign two players so blatantly over the hill stupefies me. But wait, there is more! The Knicks did not make any effort to resign a young and extremely talented point guard, not to mention the most popular Knick in a decade. Instead at the point they decided to go with: a 39 year old who was recently arrested for DUI, a 35 year old Argentine who has never played in the NBA, and a point guard with a history of weight problems coming off of his worst year in the league. Overall, James Dolan made some of the worst moves I have ever seen. Your move, Kahn.