By Jonathan Hartzell, NBA.com
The 2013 NBA offseason is nearly half over and with most of the major free agents signed, the winners and losers of the offseason have emerged. It should be noted however that last year’s major moves didn’t stop until two days before the season began when the Houston Rockets acquired James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
So while a lot still can change, here are the 10 teams who’ve had the most productive offseasons so far:
Sam Hinkie added young talent like Nerlens Noel this offseaon.
Additions: Nerlens Noel, Royce White, James Anderson, Michael Carter-Williams
Subtractions: Jrue Holiday, Andrew Bynum, Nick Young, Dorell Wright
Overview: The major move of the Sixers’ offseason occurred in mid-May when they announced the hire of Sam Hinkie as president of basketball operations and general manager. Hinkie comes from the Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey’s school of basketball operations and the moves he’s made so far this offseason signal a similar approach. The Sixers have acquired young talent, added draft picks, and assured they will be one of the worst teams in the league next season before what should be one of the best draft classes in years. They’re rebuilding the right way and the benefits should be apparent in a few seasons.
Corey Brewer returns to Minnesota after being drafted by the team in 2007.
Additions: Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Ronny Turiaf, Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad
Subtractions: Andrei Kirilenko, Greg Stiemsma, Luke Ridnour
Overview: The Timberwolves made their already high-power offense even more dangerous this offseason when they acquired Martin and Brewer and resigned Chase Budinger. Point guard Ricky Rubio will now have plenty of 3-point options strolling around the perimeter and the return of Kevin Love should place Minnesota back into the Western Conference playoff picture. They are still in negotiations with center Nikola Pekovic, who is a restricted free agent and his resigning will be critical to the team’s success as their defense would struggle to survive without his presence.
Luis Scola adds size to the Pacers’ bench.
Additions: Luis Scola, Chris Copeland, Donald Sloan, C.J. Watson, Solomon Hill
Subtractions: D.J. Augustin, Tyler Hansbrough, Jeff Pendergraph, Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee
Overview: The Pacers accomplished objective number one of their offseason when they quickly resigned power forward David West. Since they locked him up, the Pacers have been busy adding depth to their bench. Watson and Sloan shore up the guard position and the recent acquisition of Scola gives them one of the best bench big men in the league. They’re stockpiling talent for hopefully another battle against the Miami Heat in next season’s conference finals and, so far, they look to be doing a pretty good job at it.
Golden State Warriors
Andre Iguodala makes the Warriors a contender in the Western Conference.
Additions: Andre Iguodala, Marreese Speights, Toney Douglas, Jermaine O’Neal
Subtractions: Jarrett Jack, Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, Brandon Rush, Carl Landry
Overview: The Warriors addition of Iguodala makes them an impressively deep team as emerging contributor Harrison Barnes will most likely move to the bench and provide a spark with the second unit. The loss of Jack will definitely impact the team, but Douglas should be able to lessen the blow. This team is still led by oft-hurt players and their success will be directly linked to their relative health. But if they can stay healthy, then the Warriors should be a contender in the Western Conference.
Eric Bledsoe will have an opportunity to start in Phoenix.
Additions: Eric Bledsoe, Alex Len, Archie Goodwin, Malcolm Lee, Caron Butler, Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee
Subtractions: Jared Dudley, Luis Scola
Overview: The Suns were able to wrangle Bledsoe away from the Los Angeles Clippers and now they have a young, exciting point guard for the future. The unloading of Scola also brought in young talent and picks to help the Suns gain some of the best roster flexibility in the league. The Suns, who most likely will struggle this season, will be an interesting team in a few years under new head coach Jeff Hornacek.
Andrew Bynum may actually play this season.
Additions: Anthony Bennett, Andrew Bynum, Jarrett Jack, Earl Clark, Sergey Karasev
Subtractions: Marreese Speights, Shaun Livingston, Wayne Ellington, Omri Casspi
Overview: The Cavaliers “won” the Bynum free agency sweepstakes and they seem determined to make a playoff push this season under new head coach Mike Brown. They made a surprise move when they drafted Bennett with the first overall pick, but his potential and play style is exactly what this roster needs. If All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and Bynum can stay healthy, then the Cavaliers should be able to work their way into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Pierce, Garnett, and Terry make the Nets contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Additions: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson, Mason Plumlee
Subtractions: Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks
Overview: It would be an understatement to say the Nets are going for it this season. Brooklyn made the biggest splash of the offseason when they acquired Pierce and Garnett from the Boston Celtics and they now seem ready to become a contender under rookie head coach Jason Kidd. This is still an old team which could breakdown at any time and they gave up a lot of draft picks to make this roster possible. But the Nets will be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference if the roster meshes quickly and point guard Deron Williams returns to the All-NBA level play he’s displayed during short stretches in Brooklyn.
The Hawks were able to sign Paul Millsap to a reasonable deal this offseason.
Additions: Paul Millsap, Elton Brand, Dennis Schroeder, Lucas Nogueira, Mike Muscala
Subtractions: Josh Smith, Zaza Pachulia, Devin Harris
Overview: The Hawks may not be much better than they were last year, but their roster is unquestionably in a better position than a year ago. The Hawks were able to resign Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver to reasonable deals, let Smith and his questionable shooting walk to Detroit, agreed to two of the best deals of the summer with Millsap and Brand, and they drafted two exciting young prospects in Schroeder and Nogueira. Atlanta quietly had one of the best offseasons in the league and fans of the Hawks should be excited about their future.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers added a lot of talent this offseason.
Additions: J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Darren Collison, Byron Mullens, Reggie Bullock
Subtractions: Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups, Ronny Turiaf
Overview: The Clippers were able to negotiate one of the best non-player acquisitions of the summer when they worked out a deal with the Celtics for head coach Doc Rivers. Rivers will act as both head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations for the Clippers and his leadership already made an impact when Chris Paul quickly decided to resign with the team. The loss of Bledsoe was an unavoidable disappointment, but the addition of sharp-shooters Redick and Dudley will help improve the Clippers’ sometimes stagnant half-court offense . This team will be a contender in the Western Conference if not for unforeseen circumstances.
Dwight Howard makes the Rockets one of the best teams in the Western Conference.
Additions: Dwight Howard, Omri Caspi, Marcus Camby, Isaiah Canaan, Reggie Williams
Subtractions: Carlos Delfino, Thomas Robinson
Overview: The free-agent prize of the summer found a new home in Houston when Howard agreed to a contract with the Rockets. The dominant-when-healthy center instantly makes the Rockets a title contender and he should be able to grow with James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons, and Omer Asik. The past year has been a master-class in rebuilding by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey as he turned young talent and picks into two superstars. Besides the loss of Robinson, the Rockets were able to get significantly better this offseason without hurting their future and that’s a rare thing to do in today’s NBA.