NBA Free Agency Palooza Part 2
Welcome to Part 2 of NBA Free Agency Palooza!! In Part 2 we’ll talk about the major free agency players in the Western Conference. If you missed part 1 with the Eastern conference teams make sure to check it out HERE.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
What they Wanted: Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Pau Gasol, all the championships in the world
What they Actually Got: Jeremy Lin, Nick Young, Jordan Hill, Carlos Boozer, Julius Randle, Ed Davis, Xavier Henry, Steve Nash
Ahhh my Lakers my Lakers. I think we all should just pretend that the 27-55 season (most losses in franchise history) should just be erased from everyone’s minds. Last year wasn’t just bad, it was one of all the all-time bad seasons. The one silver lining that came out of this terrible no good year, was the lottery pick they received in an absolutely loaded draft and the cap space to go out and possibly get another superstar player.
The Lakers were able to secure a meeting with Carmelo Anthony and apparently it went well enough that they were briefly considered the favorites to sign him. Getting Carmelo Anthony would’ve given them a good chance at retaining Pau Gasol, and while a core of Kobe, Carmelo, Pau and Julius Randle is by no means a title contender, they would certainly be better than they were last year. The other positive part of signing a Carmelo Anthony is it guarantees that the Lakers have a future face of the franchise. The Los Angeles Lakers have never been considered a small time team. Every season it’s championship or bust, and more importantly every year they have always had star players at the head of their ship. George Mikan, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’neal, and Kobe Bryant. Those are the types of players the Lakers have historically had. Getting Carmelo would be the next guy to take over when Kobe retired. Unfortunately, that extra $30 million pulled ‘Melo back to the Knicks and then Pau Gasol bolted to Chicago.
Now the Lakers can’t afford to have another season like last year. Towards the end of it was bad. Celebrities stopped showing up to games (Jack Nicholson even went to a Clippers game), and the team was routinely getting blown out almost every night. So once they realized that they weren’t getting Carmelo, the logical thing to do would’ve been to save their cap space, pray that they’re not as terrible next year, and look to be big players in free agency in the next few summers once Kobe’s monster contract comes off the books.
But like I mentioned before, this is the Lakers, they can’t tank like the Sixers have been doing the past 2 years. Instead they chose to try and remain kind of competitive in the loaded Western conference. They took a very positive step forward in the drafting of Julius Randle, gave
Swaggy P Nick Young a 4 year deal, overpaid Jordan Hill on a 2 year $18 million deal, claimed Carlos Boozer off of waivers, and got Jeremy Lin (basically for free) in a trade with the Rockets. Pairing all of these guys up with Kobe Bryant coming off of a knee surgery will certainly be an interesting mix. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, they still don’t have a coach! Only in Hollywood
What they Wanted: Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh
What they Actually Got: Trevor Ariza, and a big LOL
If the Cleveland Cavaliers have won the offseason so far, then the Houston Rockets have definitely lost. They were very good last year and simply had the misfortune of being in the stacked Western conference (and having to play against a Lamarcus Aldridge in God mode). Daryl Morey, the Rockets GM, has always been very aggressive when it comes to free agency and that aggressiveness is what got them James Harden and Dwight Howard. While on the surface it seemed that they were very close to getting Chris Bosh to go along with the other two superstars it was never quite a done deal behind the scenes. So how exactly did Houston go from being super close to getting Chris Bosh, to losing Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik, and Chandler Parsons?
- Despite the fact that they offered Carmelo and Chris Bosh max contracts, the Rockets actually never had the cap space to do it. If they wanted either of those guys they had to trade away Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin.
- The Dallas Mavericks offered Chandler Parsons an offer sheet worth $46 million over 3 years ($15 million per season!!!!) that no player in their right mind would’ve refused. Remember Parsons was a restricted free agent, meaning that he could only sign offer sheets with the other teams, and then the Rockets had 3 days to either match it or let him walk. If the Rockets had immediately matched the Parsons deal they would have lost the cap space required to sign Chris Bosh.
- So from July 9th-July 12th the Rockets had to: A. Get Chris Bosh to commit to signing with them (Bosh like everyone else was waiting on LeBron James), B. Trade Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik to free up the cap space to offer Bosh a max deal (they traded Lin and a 1st round pick to the Lakers and Asik to the Pelicans), and then C. Do tasks A and B before the deadline and then match the Mavericks offer and bring back Chandler Parsons.
- After the LeBron decision came through, Miami had to throw everything at Chris Bosh and they got him on a 5 year max deal leaving Houston with nothing. After losing out on Bosh, Daryl Morey decided that while Parsons is a really good player, he probably isn’t worth $15 million a year and let him go to Dallas.
- They worked a three-team trade with the Wizards and the Pelicans to pick up Trevor Ariza. They got Ariza for 4 years and $32 million, which is cheaper than Parsons, and Artiza is basically going to do the same things Parsons did with the added bonus of being a better perimeter defender.
So yes, in the end the Rockets got a pretty good player in Ariza, but man that is an epic swing and a miss as far as the rest of the moves they have made this summer.
What they Wanted: Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James
What they Actually Got: Dirk Nowitzki (on a discount), Chandler Parsons, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton
The Dallas Mavericks are a team that just seems to find a way to field a competitive team every year. It helps that they have one of the best coaches in Rick Carlise, one of the greatest power forwards ever in Dirk Nowitzki, and a smart owner in Marc Cuban. Like everyone else they pitched to both Carmelo and LeBron but they were never really considered. Instead they took care of their own superstar. Dirk chose to return to Dallas for $25 million over the next years and turned down reported max offers from the Lakers and the Rockets.
They may have overpaid for Chandler Parsons but they did pick up a really good player and weaken a division rival, and earlier in the summer they traded Jose Calderon to the Knicks for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton. Yes Raymond Felton is the worst, but getting back Chandler (albeit a Tyson Chandler who isn’t as good as he was two years ago) who is an awesome rim protector is a good move.
Come back on Monday for Part 3 for the all the rest of the Free Agency Palooza!