West Conf. Summer Transactions
Last week we examined the summer transactions of the East squads , this week we head out West. Below is a rundown of significant transactions made since July 1 by Western squads.
MAVS: Re-signed J. Stackhouse & D. George; Signed Ed Jones
No real surprise holding on to the two wing reserves, Stack & George. Even at 32 & with balky knees, Stack is still one of the better bench players in the league, and he really shot the ball well last year. Not really sure what necessitated the Jones signing since Cuban has plenty of wings (Stack, George, & Buckner), but it's a pretty low-risk deal since only the bi-annual exception was used. Still have to find themselves some sort of low-post threat. Webber is still on the market & CWebb has expressed his affinity for Dallas. CWebb obviously doesn't move like he use to, but the Mavs don't need a huge upgrade at this point, just someone who can back-up Dirk & hopefully provide some sporadic post scoring. CWebb also could help the Mavs improve their ball-movement, something that was lacking in the Warriors' series.
NUGGETS: Signed Chucky Atkins
Very shrewd move by the Nugs. They needed a PG who could knock down the open shots created by Iverson & Melo, and Chucky can hit from deep. He's a much better fit than Blake, but he still might be better suited for a back-up role at this time in his career. Do worry about the combo of Atkins & Iverson from a defensive standpoint--very small--and the Nugs could still probably use a defensive-minded combo guard to have on reserve.
WARRIORS: Signed Austin Croshere; Re-signed Matt Barnes
Croshere fits seamlessly into the Nellie-ball system by providing a 4 who can step out & drill perimeter jumpers. Though he does not really provide the answer to the Warriors' rebounding & interior defensive woes. From the Warriors' point-o-view, they got Barnes at a bargain rate after a breakout season & playoff run. From Barnes' point-o-view, he has to be super bummed out he could not parlay his strong play into a more lucrative deal this summer.
ROCKETS: Traded for M. James; Signed S. Francis; Traded for J. Butler & L. Scola
After having a questionable draft night, Daryl Morey has redeemed himself quite nicely by having the finest July of any NBA squad. The Spanoulis-Butler/Scola deal was a big win in Houston's favor where the Rockets filled two major holes (PF & back-up big) for basically nothing since Spanoulis is back to Greece. Scola's easily worth the full MLE, so to sign him for only around $3 mil per is a steal. Butler gives you a servicable reserve behind Yao, which was a must since Dikembe is almost kaput. All of sudden the Rockets have a crowded backcourt with the additon of Francis & James, and now have some viable trade options that were not available last year. Getting Francis on the cheap was a coup, and he could remedy the Rockets' other big weakness--a reliable 3rd scoring option behind Yao & TMac. You combine Francis with Bonzi & Mike James, and now the Rockets' auxillary scoring appears to be good enough to make a Finals push.
CLIPPERS: Signed Brevin Knight; Re-signed Y. Korolev
The Knight signing really ain't gonna matter now that the Clips' season is already a disaster. Even before the Brand injury, the Clips badly needed some more frontcourt help behind Brand & Kaman. For a team that would have been challenging for a botton playoff spot this season, just a swing of 5 games in the standings can make the difference. So with Brand missing at least 2 months, and very little frontcourt depth, the Clips' post-season hopes are pretty much officially screwed.
LAKERS: Re-signed L. Walton; Re-signed C. Mihm; Signed D. Fisher
Liked what the Lakers have done this off-season. Needed to hold on to Walton, who has developed into a valuable cog in the Laker machine. Holding on to Mihm was an underrated move (if he can stay healthy) to help strengthen their frontcourt depth & was retained at a reasonable price (2 years, $5 mil). Did overpay for Fisher's services, a guy they probably could've had at around the vet minimum. But can't quibble too much since Fisher provides you a combo guard who can hit perimeter jumpers (which is vital alongside Kobe) and he's very familiar with the Laker system after being a key role player in the early 2000s LA dynasty.
GRIZZLIES: Signed Darko Milicic; Traded for Juan Navarro
Needed frontcourt help desparately, and acquired arguably the best free agent big this summer. And they locked up Darko with a very reasonable deal. Then to acquire battle-tested Euro vet Navarro was another superb move by the Grizzlies. (BulletsForever.com excerpted our take on Juan--check bottom of post) Done a great job at identifying their weaknesses--PG & F/C--and filled them with the best possible candidates. Can't ask for anything more from the Grizz front office this summer. Smart move to target the PG in the draft since the free agent crop was very thin & they likely would have come up empty-handed.
TWOLVES: Traded for Juwan Howard; Traded for Al Jefferson, R. Gomes, G. Green, S. Telfair, & T. Ratliff
Things will not be pretty in Minny next year, but the TWolves have stockpiled a lot of young, promising assets, and could possibly have a nice chunk of salary cap space to play with next summer. This squad is still lopsided with way too many guards and not enough frontcourt depth. Have to imagine the TWolves are looking to move some of their deadweight contracts (Jaric & Blount) to clear even more cap space & build around their young assets.
HORNETS: Signed Mo Peterson
Still think they should have solved their SG issues by drafting Nick Young. Mo Peterson is a solid vet; just not sure he's starting-caliber at this point in his career. If the Hornets can avoid the injury bug that haunted the team last year they should be fighting for a 8-seed with Golden State.
SUNS: Signed Grant Hill; Traded Kurt Thomas; Re-signed S. Marks
Another shaky off-season for the Suns thanks to their owner being deathly afraid of the luxury tax. Oh yeah, they re-signed Sean Marks--if you think he solves some of their size issues, well, then you must be from New Zealand. Still have done nothing to answer their rebounding or interior defensive issues, and actually regressed some with the Thomas salary dump. Some people seem to think Grant Hill will push them over the top in the West, but I just don't see it. Grant basically just duplicates what Boris Diaw gives you at the forward spot, and really does not help the rebounding or interior defense. They seem to be angling for PJ Brown, which could soften the blow of Kurt's departure. PJ can probably come close to covering the loss of Kurt's rebounding & defense, but PJ's a slight downgrade because he can't drill 15-footers like Kurt could, especially valuable in the high picks with Nash.
BLAZERS: Signed Steve Blake; Re-signed Travis Outlaw
I guess after having a near-perfect draft night, wonderboy GM Kevin Pritchard proved he's not infalliable by throwing the MLE at mediocre Steve Blake. Don't understand offering Blake the full MLE, especially when the Blazers have a handful of promising PGs in-house already. Jarrett Jack is better than Blake is now, and Sergio has more potential than Blake. Bringing in Blake only hampers their development. On top of that, they just drafted another promising PG last month, P. Koponen. I guess on the bright side, Portland only signed Blake for 2 years; but why sign him in the first place?
KINGS: Signed Mikki Moore
What the hell has happened to Geoff Petrie in the last few years? First, he passes up players like Rondo & Farmar for another 2-guard in Douby in the '06 draft. Then he overpays for John Salmons last summer, and then grabs a slow 7-footer with dubious rebounding & defensive skills to pair with Brad Miller this draft. Sweet. So in free agency the Kings go add another 7-footer who rebounds poorly for his size. Moore does give the Kings' frontcourt some much needed athleticism, but I'm not sure he's provides them with defensive stalwart they're desparately lacking on their frontline. Also, still could use a viable back-up PG behind Bibby. Petrie use to be one of the shrewdest front-office operators in the game just a few years ago, but has really been underachieving the last few years. Now let me say Petrie might not be fully to blame because you hear rumblings that the Maloofs might be overruling Petrie on basketball decisions lately.
SPURS: Re-signed Fab Oberto, M. Bonner & J. Vaughn
The Butler trade was made so the Spurs stayed just short of the lux tax, but possibly made a tactical error by handing Scola's rights to a divisional rival. Especially since the Rockets were basically just a starting-caliber PF away from being a title contender. Holding onto Oberto & Vaughn was a must, but not so sure paying Bonner $3 mil per year was all that wise; probably somewhat overpaying for a guy of his talent.
SONICS: Traded for Kurt Thomas
Kurt's going into the final year of his deal, and could be a highly sought after piece come mid-February. Sure a lot of playoff contenders would love to have Kurt's defensive presence & veteran toughness for the stretch run, so Presti now has a highly valuable trade option at his disposal.
JAZZ: Signed Jason Hart; Signed Ronnie Price
After Derek Fisher's departure, the Jazz had a need for a reserve PG or combo guard, and Jason Hart has the ability to adequately fill that void. The Jazz also grabbed another ex-Kings' guard in Ronnie Price, who gives the Jazz another option off the bench in the backcourt.