The NBA: 2012 Off-Season Winners and BIGGER Winners

The off-season and free agency period aren't over yet. There are still some players who have yet to sign new offer sheets like Courtney Lee, Michael Redd, Jermaine O'Neal and Leandro Barbosa. Meanwhile, there are also players who were recently waived, released or amnestied like Andray Blatche, Ryan Gomes and Chris "Birdman" Andersen. But the major players have already chosen their new (or old) teams.

The Dwight Howard trade or non-trade has not been resolved. If Im the Orlando Magic, Id do the trade with the Houston Rockets since they dont care that Howard wont commit to signing an extension with them. Plus the Rockets can offer draft picks, rookies (Lamb and Jones) and they can take back the salaries of Turkoglu and Richardson among others. This trade is easier to complete because a 3rd or 4th team is not needed to make the salaries work.

Anyway, most teams have already sealed the deal with the players that they targeted. A non-playoff team suddenly looks like a contender while a perennial contender might miss the playoffs. As of the moment, here are the winners and bigger winners of the 2012 off-season with their key additions and subtractions.

From the purple and orange of the Suns
 to the purple and gold of the Lakers

LA Lakers
Additions (+) Steve Nash, Antawn Jamison
Subtractions (-) Ramon Sessions, Matt Barnes, Jordan Hill
The Los Angeles Lakers got dumped in the 2nd round because of the spectacular play of Russell Westbrook  and they have had troubles against the speedy and athletic guards of opposing teams (Parker, Lawson). Getting Steve Nash does not help them defensively but offensively, the Lakers are so much better with him. Expect Nash to dominate the ball more than Kobe which means that Gasol and Bynum will get better shots and more looks in their offense. This also allows Kobe to play more off the ball and conserve some energy. Bryant is a decent shooter and Nash can set him up with more open jumpers. Jamison signed with the Lakers which gives them another scoring threat coming from the bench and Jamison is a better three-point shooter than Artest.

LA Clippers
Additions (+) Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom *Grant Hill (maybe) 
Subtractions (-) Ryan Gomes, Mo Williams, Reggie Evans, Nick Young
Blake Griffin just signed a 5-year deal close to $100 million but he injured himself during training camp of the USA team. He tore his meniscus on his right knee while 2 years ago, he broke his kneecap on his left knee which forced him to miss a whole season. The Clippers cant afford anymore injuries since Billups hurt his Achilles heel and Chris Paul a broken thumb. They added former Clipper Lamar Odom who vows to pick up his game and produce again. Odom can play the center position with Griffin and he can be a playmaker. They also improved their clutch shooting getting Crawford who is an upgrade over Nick Young. The bench could be stronger with the potential signing of Grant Hill who is still an excellent defender and can occasionally hit the outside shot.

Dallas Mavericks 
Additions (+) Chris Kaman, Elton Brand, Darren Collison, Dahntay Jones, *OJ Mayo (maybe)
Subtractions (-) Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Lamar Odom, Brandon Haywood, Delonte West
After failing to get Deron Williams or Steve Nash, then losing Kidd and Terry, the Mavericks appeared to be headed to obscurity. Instead, they have recovered nicely with all their recent additions and they still have Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion. Kaman and Brand are better players compared to Haywood and Odom (of last year) while Collison provides them a younger and faster point guard. Both Kaman and Brand can play center or power forward and if they can stay healthy, the Mavericks can once more compete at the top of the Western conference. Rumor has it that OJ Mayo could join the Mavs as well.

Brooklyn Nets
Additions (+) Joe Johnson, CJ Watson, Reggie Evans 
Subtractions (-) Gerald Green, Jordan Farmer, Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson
The best part about the Brooklyn Nets in the off-season was their ability to resign their best players. Williams, Lopez, Wallace and Humphries are all coming back for this season. That's four of their five starters. The fifth starter will be Joe Johnson who they traded for. Johnson will have so many open shots created by Williams and he can defend bigger guards and small forwards. The Nets suddenly look like a playoff team in the East and maybe even the better team in New York. Their bench has been upgraded with the addition of a backup point guard in Watson and they have another rugged rebounder and defender in Evans. The Nets are not officially out of the Howard sweepstakes but they can start discussions again after January 15 due to the contracts signed by Lopez and Humphries.


Miami Heat
Additions (+) Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis
Subtractions (-) Eddy Curry, Juwan Howard, Ronnie Turiaf
The reigning champions did not stay with the status quo. Instead, they made the team better by adding two cheap veterans who can provide them with additional outside shooting. The players they lost were not playing any significant minutes for the Heat and in return, they got rotational players who can even start some games. Lewis and Allen will truly open up the lanes more for the Big 3 while Wade and James will definitely provide more open looks for the 2 newest members of the Heat.

New York Knicks
Additions (+) Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton, Kurt Thomas
Subtractions (-) Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Toney Douglas, Mike Bibby, Baron Davis
The Knicks got older with the additions of Camby, Kidd and Thomas. They let go of their two younger players in Fields and Lin. The lose of Jeremy Lin will hurt them more but they have added two serviceable players in Felton and Kidd as their point guards. This is definitely Carmelo's team now and it's up to him to make this work. Camby and Thomas can hit the occasional jump shot and they will provide a very deep front court for the Knicks who already have Chandler and Stoudemire.

New Orleans Hornets
Additions (+) Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis (Rookie), Austin Rivers (R), 
Subtractions (-) Chris Kaman, Gustavo Ayon, Marco Bellineli, Jarrett Jack, Carl Landry, Trevor Ariza
The Hornets got younger and faster. They added scoring and shooting with the acquisition of Most Improved winner Ryan Anderson while they drafted a potential franchise player in Anthony Davis. Davis was added to to the USA team as an injury-replacement. Although he ma not play a lot of minutes, the experience and exposure should do Davis a lot of good. Austin Rivers will be part of a starting backcourt with Eric Gordon who the Hornets resigned. Their bench still needs more work.


Houston Rockets
Additions (+) Jeremy Lin, Terrence Jones (R), Jeremy Lamb (R), Royce White (R), *Omer Asik (maybe)
Subtractions (-) Kyle Lowry, Marcus Camby, Luis Scola, Courtney Lee, Goran Dragic, Chase Budinger
The Rockets ended up with Jeremy Lin after offering him $25 million for 3 years. He might end up being overpaid but the Rockets know how to manage a Chinese sensation (like Yao Ming) so they could end up making more money in the process. The Rockets released/traded a bunch of decent players to free up salary cap to absorb the trade for Dwight Howard. So far it has not happened and the Rockets are left with a bunch of good rookies, an often injured Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lin. Sad to say that this roster wont be good enough to compete in the West (unless they get Howard).

Chicago Bulls
Additions (+) Kirk Hinrich, Marquis Teague (R)
Subtractions (-) CJ Watson, Kyle Korver, John Lucas, *Omer Asik (maybe)
The Bulls havent made any significant additions to their team during free agency. They actually lost players that were integral in their regular season run last year like Watson and Korver, maybe Asik too. Derrick Rose will be out until January or February due to his ACL injury and once he gets back on the court, it will take him some time to return to his explosive self. The Bulls could be out of playoff contention by then. They added Hinrich who they traded away a few seasons back and they drafted a rookie to serve as a backup point guard. Things are not looking good for the Bulls.

Phoenix Suns
Additions (+) Luis Scola, Goran Dragic
Subtractions (-) Steve Nash, Michael Redd, Grant Hill,  Josh Childress, Shannon Brown
They gave away their best player in franchise history to a division rival. They lost their best perimeter defender in Grant Hill and they lost a couple of bench pieces in Childress and Brown. In return, they got back Dragic who they traded away before but played great in Houston last season because it was a contract year. They also picked up Scola who was amnestied by the Rockets. Luis Scola is a good player and he will form a sweet shooting front court with Frye and Gortat. The biggest problem for the Suns, can they overcome the Lakers or Clippers to fight for a playoff spot?

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