Will the Houston Rockets be stronger next season?

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The Houston Rockets tried hard to land Carmelo Anthony this summer. And when they failed to do so, they turned their interest towards Chris Bosh. They didn’t manage to land Miami’s superstar either and on top of that, they saw the Dallas Mavericks “stealing” Chandler Parsons from them. Houston acted quickly and brought in Trevor Ariza to replace Parsons and now, the Rockets are looking to re-enter a championship contending course. But will Houston be stronger or weaker in comparison to the 2013 – 2014 season? [Read more…]

New Orleans Hornets dump salary in trade with Washington Wizards

emeka okafor trade

The NBA off-season is officially underway as the first trade has been made between the Washington Wizards and New Orleans Hornets.  Here is my analysis on the deal which includes Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Rashard Lewis, and a pick in the up-coming 2012 NBA Draft.

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Artest Joining Kobe in Hollywood

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by: David Kay

When it comes down to it, the Lakers and Rockets pretty much swapped Ron Artest for Trevor Ariza straight up.  Thursday, Artest reached an agreement with the defending champs on a 3-year deal worth about $18 million.  Houston responded by stealing the Lakers’ Trevor Ariza for the mid-level exception which will net him around $33.5 million for the next five years.  So who gets the advantage?

From the Lakers’ standpoint, signing Artest brings in a veteran defensive stopper who can also provide toughness and offensive firepower.  Yes, there is the whole “Artest is crazy” argument, but for the most part; he was the ideal citizen in his one year in Houston last season.  Snagging Artest at a VERY reasonable price increases the Lake Show’s chances of once again claiming the Western Conference crown and making a run at a second straight NBA title.

He was a thorn in Kobe Bryant’s side when the two teams met in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, so it will be interesting to see how Artest and the Mamba co-exist in Hollywood.  I would assume that Artest understands that by signing with L.A., he will play second fiddle to Kobe and must become more of a role player if he wants to win a ring.  If the Lakers are able to re-sign Lamar Odom (which may be more difficult now that Artest will steal some of his minutes), they will clearly be the favorite to once again be the best of the west.

83010071NG020_LAKRS_CLIPSWhen the Rockets realized they were likely losing Artest to the Lakers, they turned their attention to Ariza.  The five-year pro found a home in L.A. and was vital to the Lakers’ success in the post-season, which ultimately led to him becoming a sought after free agent this summer.  He is a tenacious defender, runs the break well, and doesn’t try to do too much on the offensive end.

I am not sure he is a better option for the Rockets than Artest though.  With Yao Ming’s career-threatening injury and Tracy McGrady’s brittleness, Artest provided an offensive ability the Rockets needed with their two big guns un-reliable.  Signing Ariza means Houston takes a hit on the offensive end, and if T-Mac cannot stay healthy this season, the Rockets might be one of lowest scoring teams in the NBA.  Also, giving Ariza their entire mid-level exception limits what Houston can do in the remainder of free agency in terms of finding a replacement for Yao.  They may have to find a suitor via trade for T-Mac’s expiring contract as to fill a couple holes on their roster.

Advantage: Lakers (unless of course Artest goes back to his old, “run in the crowd and punch fans” ways.)

Final NBA Off-season Analysis

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By Paul M. Banks, David Kay, Peter Christian

In our final NBA team analysis before the offseason officially begins, we complete the set with the L.A. Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic


LOS ANGELES LAKERS
2. Trevor or Lamar? – Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom were both integral parts in the Lakers title run. However, both are unrestricted free agents and should garner a lot of attention from other teams this off-season. I don’t think the Lakers will be able to afford re-signing both players meaning one is likely to leave. But which player do they pursue because they each bring something different to the table. Odom is a veteran who can handle the ball offensively and play multiple spots on the floor. Ariza is the type of defensive stopper that every championship team needs, is six years younger than Odom, and should come at a cheaper cost. Decisions, decisions…

For the full write-up click here


CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

1. Sell your soul to keep LeBron – LeBron will be to the 2010 off-season what Lil Wayne has been to hip-hop the past year; the hottest commodity in the game. The King can’t blink without someone mentioning the possibility of him leaving Cleveland for the bright lights of NYC. The Cavs need to do any and everything in their power to not let LeBron hit the free agency market in 2010 when any team with the cap space will do whatever it takes to sign him. Re-name Cleveland, “LeBronland” or call Quicken Loans Arena, “King James Arena.” Hire Jack Bauer to kidnap LeBron’s family and make him sign a contract before they are safely released. ANYTHING!

2. Sure up the inside game – With Anderson Varajeo likely opting out of his contract and rumors that Ben Wallace will contemplate retirement this off-season, the Cavs need to sure up their depth down low. Zydrunas Ilgauskas also has a player option, but will almost certainly return. Outside of Z, Cleveland is pretty thin up-front and needs to find another scoring option down low since Wallace is pretty worthless on the offensive end. Re-signing Varajeo would be a must since the Cavs don’t have the cap space to find his replacement, unless a player like Rasheed Wallace takes the mid-level exception.

For the full write-up click here

ORLANDO MAGIC

This past season was a magical one in Orlando, as the Magic emerged as one of the elite teams in the league, advancing to the NBA Finals for just the second time in the franchise’s brief history. Despite the fact that Orlando was defeated by the Lakers in five games, the team cannot be disappointed with their ’08-’09 campaign.

The success of the Magic directly correlates with Dwight Howard continuing to develop into one of the most dominant big men in the NBA. What put Orlando over the top though was the effectiveness of the players around Superman. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu came up clutch in late-game situations, providing outside threats to compliment Howard’s presence inside. Even though Jameer Nelson missed the final two-plus months of the regular season, and pretty much the entire playoffs, the Magic didn’t miss much of a beat as the trade deadline acquisition of Rafer Alston helped fill the void. Courtney Lee seems like he will prove to be a steal of a late first round draft pick and should be an important piece of the puzzle for years to come. If Orlando can keep this core together, they should remain in the upper tier of the Eastern Conference.

For the full write up, click here