Men On the Move
After tabbing their draft picks in late June, NBA teams continue to replenish their rosters in July through free agency and trades. As the calendar turns to August, most squad’s rosters have been shaped up for the next season.
There are still some deals to be done, but as we close the book on July, here’s a quick primer to help you understand the perennial player (and coach) relocations. The Cavs and the Mavs were busy ballclubs, the Spurs stood pat and Houston made the biggest splash of the summer.
So you won’t be surprised next season when you see Tyler Hansbrough in a Raptors uniform, please follow along closely …
The Cavaliers have already experienced some serious turnover this summer. They beefed up their backcourt with Jarrett Jack and brought over a pair of Mike Brown protégés from LakerLand – forward Earl Clark and two-time Champ and former All-Star, Andrew Bynum. Gone from last year’s squad are Omri Casspi (Houston), Wayne Ellington (Dallas), Shaun Livingston (Brooklyn) and Mareese Speights (Golden State). Kevin Jones and Chris Quinn were released and free agent Luke Walton is still waiting to be signed by someone.
In the Cavs’ division, the Pistons made the biggest move, inking explosive forward free agent, Josh Smith. (And also brought back Mr. Big Shot, Chauncey Billups – the straw that stirred Detroit’s drink from 2002-09.)
The Bulls added Mike Dunleavy to offset the loss of Marco Belinelli, who departed for San Antonio.
The Pacers – who finished the season on the doorstep of the NBA Finals, added Chris Copeland, C.J. Watson and former Cavalier reserve, Donald Sloan. They also dealt for Luis Scola, but easily their biggest move was to retain the services of David West.
Milwaukee lost Monta Ellis to free agency, but added OJ Mayo, Zaza Pachulia and Luke Ridnour.
The biggest shakeup in the East came out of the Atlantic Division, where a Draft night trade changed the face of two franchises.
The Celtics said goodbye to a pair of organization icons – sending Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets in exchange for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans. Brooklyn, with new head coach Jason Kidd, also added Alan Anderson, Shaun Livingston and the AK-47, Andrei Kirilenko.
The Knicks were relatively quiet this summer. They did trade for the former No. 1 overall pick, Andrea Bargnani – sending Steve Novak and Quentin Richardson north of the border. And they signed Queensbridge native, Metta World Peace – a hometown guy they probably should have drafted out of college when he was still Ron Artest in 1999.
Metta World Peace was one of four players that were released this summer under the CBA’s amnesty provision. Other players cut were Linas Kleiza by the Raptors, Tyrus Thomas by the Bobcats, Mike Miller by the Heat and former Cavalier, Drew Gooden, by the Bucks.
The Eastern Conference’s Southwest Division was relatively quiet, except for Atlanta – where former Cavs GM Danny Ferry continued the Hawks’ facelift. Following the San Antonio blueprint, Ferry went international in the Draft. They parted ways with Josh Smith and Zaza Pachulia, brought in Paul Milsap and Elton Brand and re-signed guard Jeff Teague.
Charlotte also poached the Utah Jazz, signing free agent Big Al Jefferson. A rebuilding Orlando club was quiet, signing former Pistons big man, Jason Maxiell. Washington, another team building through a youth movement, signed Eric Maynor.
In the Western Conference, as previously mentioned, the Mavericks turned over much of their roster in an attempt to get Dirk one more title. Gone are Elton Brand, Darren Collison, Chris Kaman, OJ Mayo, Anthony Morrow and Jared Cunningham. In their place, Mark Cuban brought in Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Monta Ellis, Bernard James and former Cavalier, Wayne Ellington.
The Rockets didn’t make a lot of moves, this summer. But they made a big one – signing future Hall of Fame center, Dwight Howard. They landed Omri Casspi, Reggie Williams and re-signed Aaron Brooks for the third time in his five-year NBA career. They traded Thomas Robinson – the No. 5 overall pick of the 2012 Draft – to the Blazers and dealt problematic forward, Royce White – selected 11 spots after Robinson – to the Sixers.
The Grizzlies, who closed last season with their first-ever trip to the Western Conference Finals, added two-time NBA Champ, Mike Miller – who spent six seasons in Memphis. They also traded forward Darrell Arthur for former Ohio State standout, Kosta Koufos.
The newly-renamed New Orleans Pelicans drastically improved their backcourt with a pair of trades – acquiring 2010 Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans, from Sacramento and All-Star point guard, Jrue Holiday, from the Sixers in a Draft night deal that sent Nerlens Noel to Philly.
In the Pacific Division, the Warriors parted ways with Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, but acquired Andre Iguodala in a three-way trade with Denver and Utah.
The rapidly-improving Clippers had a busy summer as they continue to steal Tinseltown thunder from the Lakers. Aside from acquiring new head coach, Doc Rivers, the Clippers also signed guard Darren Collison to replace Eric Bledsoe – who was traded to Phoenix – as well as former Buckeyes big man, Byron Mullens. L.A. also dealt for a pair of long-distance marksmen: Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick.
After losing Dwight Howard and Earl Clark, and amnestying Metta World Peace, the Lakers made a series of small moves – signing Chris Kaman (the 6th pick of 2003 Draft) and Wesley Johnson (who went No. 4 overall in 2010). They also brought in a pair of guards who starred collegiately in Southern California – Jordan Farmar and Nick Young.
The rebuilding Suns dealt for up-and-coming Eric Bledsoe, veteran swingman Caron Butler and high-flying journeyman forward Gerald Green.
The Nuggets signed former Cavalier big man, J.J. Hickson, and guard Randy Foye. The Timberwolves re-acquired Corey Brewer, who spent his first four seasons in Minnesota, as well as Ronny Turiaf and Zanesville’s own Kevin Martin.
The Oklahoma City Thunder pretty much stood pat.
In the Pacific Northwest, the Blazers picked up Earl Watson and Dorrell Wright and traded for Thomas Robinson and Robin Lopez. And in Salt Lake City, the Jazz dealt for Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush.
Finally, the Kings, with new leadership and a new lease on life after nearly relocating to Seattle, inked Carl Landry and dealt for Luc Mbah a Moute and Greivis Vasquez.
The Kings are one of 13 teams that will have a different head coach this season than they did at the end of last year.
Former Cavalier assistant Mike Malone will take over in Sacramento and his boss back in Cleveland, Mike Brown, returns to the Wine and Gold after a three-year absence. Brown, who compiled a 272-138 mark (and a winning percentage of .663) in five seasons with the Cavs, was re-hired on April 23 after the squad dismissed Byron Scott.
In Atlanta, Ferry plucked Mike Budenholzer off his buddy, Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio. Former Hawks coach, Larry Drew, landed on his feet, however, taking over in Milwaukee.
The Celtics’ summer of drama continued when Doc Rivers went west to take over the Clippers vacancy, replacing Vinny Del Negro. The Celtics committed to their youth movement by hiring 36-year-old Brad Stevens, who put Butler University on the map.
Jason Kidd went right from the hardwood to the bench – across the East River to Brooklyn. Steve Clifford takes over at the helm for the Bobcats and longtime assistant Brian Shaw finally gets his chance with Denver, replacing George Karl.
Maurice Cheeks is back as a head coach after a five-year absence, taking over for Lawrence Frank in the Motor City.
David Joerger gets his first NBA head coaching opportunity with the Memphis Grizzlies and Jeff Hornacek returns to Phoenix, the team he spent his first six NBA seasons with, as their new head coach.
The only team that has yet to fill its head coaching vacancy is the Philadelphia 76ers. But they’ve got time. The summer has seen a ton of movement so far. But we’ve still got a ways to go until Training Camps tip off in October.