Summer Trade Review: Western Conference
Everything you need to know that changed this summer in the Western Conference.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Get educated kids. It's about to all get started and you don't want to be the only one that doesn't know what team Jrue, Tyreke, Andre, Dwight, and Eric now play for.
Denver Nuggets: The departure of Andre Iguodala is the big story in Denver. Iguodala was a good fit for the Denver offense that rewarded his athleticism. They also lost Corey Brewer that added depth. The addition of Nate Robinson is unpredictable as Robinson can be a great spark at times, but inconsistent too. They also acquired J.J. Hickson who is a double-double monster and Randy Foye who is a sharp-shooter, but Denver will be very lucky to reproduce last years success. Look for a slip in productivity.
Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers had a busy summer picking up J.J Redick which greatly improves their 3-point shooting and Jared Dudley. The big loss was Eric Bledsoe who was a superb backup to Chris Paul and had become simply too good to stay. They also lost Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups, Grant Hill, and Ronny Turiaf. A lot of veterans and leadership just went out the door. They will be good this season, but haven't done much to make themselves a post season team. Look for lots of dunks and regular season wins, but no Western Conference Championships in sight.
Dallas Mavericks: O.J. Mayo, Elton Brand, and Chris Kaman all left this struggling team. They managed to get Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Dejuan Blair, and Devin Harris to take over, but their simply isn't enough talent. The chemistry between Calderon and Ellis in the back court will determine the season in Dallas. Best case scenario is they barely slip into the playoffs. Not holding my breadth.
Minnesota Timberwolve: They lost Andrei Kirilenko which hurts, but managed to pick up both Chase Budinger and Corey Brewer to strengthen their bench play. They also got Kevin Martin to improve their perimeter shooting. Overall the TWolves had a marginal off-season. I wouldn't expect many more victories even with J.J. Barea and Ricky Rubio healthy.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Their big loss was Kevin Martin. This will hurt the Thunder, but won't likely cost them too many wins when the season is underway. They are still a team driven by two of the most dynamic and unstoppable players in the game today (Kevin Durant & Kevin Westbrook). They picked up Ryan Gomes, Andre Roberson, and Steven Adams. Adams is a big body that helps underneath, while Gomes will help replace Martin.
Utah Jazz: The Jazz lost a truck load of talent in Al Jerrerson, Paul Millsap, Randy Foye, Mo Williams, and Earl Watson all departing. The Jazz attempted to makeup for this talent loss by acquiring Trey Burke, Richard Jefferson, John Lucass II, Brandon Rush, and Andris Biedrins, but they feel far short. The Jazz are in rebuilding mode and falling fast. Expect the Jazz to win closer to 25 games this season, down from 43 last year. This is a greatly weakened team that wasn't all that strong a year ago.
Golden State Warriors: The big loss for was Jarrett Jack. He was a quality backup guard for Stephen Curry who may be lethal beyond the arc, but is also painfully injury prone. The big acquisition was Andre Iguodala who greatly improves the teams perimeter defense. This will likely result in more actual wins this season if they can keep Curry on the court and out of the physical therapist's office. I also like the pickup of Jermaine O'Neal who is a veteran big man. He is a solid addition to a young team and he can still be effective defensively and with rebounding.
Los Angeles Lakers: Lost everything but the kitchen sink. With the departures of Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace, Antawn Jamison, and Earl Clark, the Lakers have thrown in the towel on the 2013-2014 season. They will be lucky to even make the playoffs. Very lucky. They acquired Chris Kaman, Jordan Farmar, Nick Young, and Wesley Johnson, but this is not going to end well for the Laker faithful this season. Start thinking ahead to brighter days next summer.
Phoenix Suns: The scooped up Eric Bledsoe from the Clippers. The problem is Bledsoe is now the best player on the Suns and he was a backup for the Clippers. This should show you where Phoenix stands. They also got Caron Butler, Alex Len, Archive Goodwin, Gerald Green, and Miles Plumlee. They also lost Jared Dudley and Luis Scola. This was a decent off-season, but they didn't make any moves that will greatly improve their chances. Look for another 30-win season.
Sacramento Kings: The big news here is they lost former rookie of the year Tyreke Evans. This is a huge loss for a team in need of leadership and direction. They picked up Carl Landry, Ben McLemore, and Greivis Vasquez, but this is a team in pain. Hard to decipher any long-term plan taking place here.
Houston Rockets: Best off season in the league. They managed to get Dwight Howard, Reggie Williams, and Marcus Camby and only lose Thomas Robinson, Carlos Delfino, and Royce White. This is a quality team now the Howard joins James Harden and Jeremy Lin. Look for a big 2013-2014 season from the Rockets.
Memphis Grizzlies: They picked up 3-point specialist Mike Miller who is also known to double on the weekend and an 80-year old man hobbling around the mall (he's injury prone) and lost Darrell Arthur and Austin Daye. They are slightly stronger than last season, but are still missing one ore two pieces if they every want to get out of the middle of the pack in the West.
New Orleans Pelicans: Still getting used to that name, but they got some great new talent this summer in picking up Jrue Holiday for Nerlens Noel. Plus, they also picked up Tyreke Evans. Yes, they lost Robin Lopez, but this team got a whole lot better. Look for them to have a much better season.
San Antonio Spurs: They lost Gary Neal and Dejuan Blair, but added Marco Bellineli and Jeff Pendergraph. This is a team built on team culture, chemistry, and simplicity. Another summer with almost no activity at the Alamo. The Spurs will be good, but with Manu's slipping productivity I wouldn't expect them to win the West again.
Portland Trailblaers: Picked up Robin Lopez which goes a long way to fix their size issues. They also got Mo Williams and C.J.McCollum which they hope will take some of the pressure off Damien Lillard in the back court. Overall Portland had a productive off season. These moves will produce tangible results.
Photo Credit: WENN