Yesterday, I handed out my dubious awards of which teams ended up “losers” during the 2012 NBA off-season. Now it’s time to name the winners of the off-season. At the top of the list, the defending champs who bring more talent to South Beach.
The rich get richer. After making amends for last year by winning the NBA Championship, the Heat have done an outstanding job of adding more pieces around their Big 3. Ray Allen is a huge acquisition at a very affordable rate as his sharpshooting from the perimeter will be a dangerous weapon for drive and kicks from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade while also opening up driving lanes for the duo. Rashard Lewis signed for the veteran’s minimum which adds another proven three-point assassin who could turn out to be a major steal if he can put his recent injury history behind him. Miami was also smart in turning the 27th pick into a possible mid-first round pick next summer when they made a trade with the 76ers.
New York Knicks
I actually really like what the Knicks did this off-season. They wisely did not match the overpriced offer sheets for Landry Fields and Jeremy Lin, choosing to let them walk rather than make their cap situation even worse in the future. New York also added some veterans in Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton, and Kurt Thomas that arrive at cheap rates but should be able to play valuable roles while adding leadership and experience. They were also able to retain three-point gunner Steve Novak and J.R. Smith for reasonable rates.
The Mavs didn’t land their main target of the off-season, Deron Williams. However, they still made some incredibly smart decisions that will keep them competitive for the upcoming season, but perhaps more importantly give them a ton of cap flexibility for next summer so they can try and make a run at Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, or one of the marquee free agents to hit the market.
First and foremost, Dallas pretty much stole Darren Collison from Indiana in a sign-and-trade deal for reserve big man Ian Mahinmi. Collison should step in right away and replace Jason Kidd as the team’s starting point guard. Putting the cherry on top; Collison is in the final year of guaranteed money for his contract. The Mavs also upgraded their center position by amnestying Brendan Haywood, saving the team more than $21 million over the next three years. They replaced Haywood with a more talented, skilled big man in Chris Kaman who agreed to sign a one-year deal. The Mavs also brought in O.J. Mayo at a very affordable rate and won the amnestied rights to Elton Brand for the next season. Dallas likely won’t be competing for the Western Conference Crown but should be a playoff team who could potentially make some major moves next summer.
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.