2012 NBA Offseason: Grading the Southwest Division

It’s time for Part 4 of my six part series, looking at how every team has fared in free agency so far.  In the first three parts I looked at every Eastern Conference team and now it’s time to shift the focus out west.

Looking at the Southwest Division, did the Dallas Mavericks do enough to make themselves contenders again? Do the San Antonio Spurs have one more run in them? Are the Memphis Grizzlies about to become legitimate contenders for a championship?

I look at that and much more as I grade the Southwest Division.

 

Dallas Mavericks

Players Added

May 9, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard O.J. Mayo (32) drives the ball up the court during the second half of game five in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers at FedEx Forum. The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 92-80. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Draft:, G Darius Johnson-Odom, C Tyler Zeller
Free Agents: F Elton Brand, C Chris Kaman, G O.J. Mayo, G Delonte West (re-signed)
Trades: F Jae Crowder, G Jared Cunningham, C Bernard James (draft day trade from Cavs), F Tadija Dragicevic, G Darren Collison, G Dahntay Jones

Players Lost

Free Agents: G Jason Kidd, G Jason Terry
Trades: G Kelenna Azubuike, G Darius Johnson-Odom, C Tyler Zeller (draft day trade with Cavs), F Lamar Odom, F Shan Foster, C Ian Mahinmi
Waived: C Brendan Haywood (amnesty)

Give Mark Cuban and the Mavs credit for quickly switching to Plan B. They sacrificed the 2012 season to land Deron Williams and Dwight Howard. That didn’t happen and they also lost Kidd and Terry.

However they added three young pieces in the draft, quickly added Kaman and Mayo to reasonable deals, pulled off a deal for Collison and claimed Brand when Philadelphia used the amnesty clause on him.

They will be much better next season. I don’t think they got back into title contention, but they will be a good team. Grade: B

Houston Rockets

Players Added

NBA Draft: G Jeremy Lamb, F Terrence Jones, F Royce White
Free Agents: C Omer Asik, G Jeremy Lin
Trades: F Furkan Aldemir, F Jon Brockman, G Job Diebler, G Toney Douglas, F Gary Forbes, C Josh Harrellson, G Shaun Livingston, F/C JaJuan Johnson, C Jerome Jordan, G E’Twaun Moore, F/C Sean Williams

Players Lost

Free Agents: G Goran Dragic
Trades: F Chase Budinger, C Samuel Dalembert, G Courtney Lee, G Kyle Lowry, C Marcus Camby
Waived: F/C Luis Scola (amnesty), F Jon Leuer

Mar 21, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin (17) during the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Knicks defeated the Sixers 82-79. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Rockets are still players for wither Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum, which could change this grade drastically.

They gutted their roster and gave out bad contracts to Lin and Asik and I love the three guys they got in the first round in Lamb, White and Jones, but they lost Lowry, Scola, Lee, Dragic, Camby, Dalembert and Budinger.

I have to think they aren’t done otherwise they are looking at Lin, Asik and a handful of first and second year players to start the season. There has to be a plan and right now given what they won’t have on the roster, the Rockets took a huge step backwards. Grade: C-

Memphis Grizzlies

Players Added

NBA Draft: G Tony Wroten Jr.
Free Agents: G Jerryd Bayless
Trades: G Wayne Ellington, F D.J. Kennedy

Players Lost

Free Agents: G O.J. Mayo
Trades: F Dante Cunningham, G Jeremy Pargo

The Grizzlies didn’t need to do much as they have their core intact. I would have liked to see them add some additional shooting other than Ellington, but that wasn’t in the cards.

They did though get Wroten in the draft, who’s not NBA-ready, but has the chance to be a top five player in this draft class after he develops. Losing Mayo isn’t going to be a big deal. Grade: C+

New Orleans Hornets

Players Added

NBA Draft: F Anthony Davis, F Darius Miller, G Austin Rivers
Free Agents: G Eric Gordon (re-signed)
Trades: F Ryan Anderson, F Edin Bavcic, C Robin Lopez, F Hakim Warrick

Players Lost

Free Agents: G Marco Belinelli, C Chris Kaman
Trades: F Trevor Ariza, C Emeka Okafor, F Gustavo Ayon, G Jarrett Jack, F Darryl Watkins, C Brad Miller(retired; contract sent to Minnesota), G Jerome Dyson
Waived: F Rashard Lewis

I love what the Hornets have done and getting Davis by winning the lottery is a big part of that. But they also get rivers and Miller in the draft and re-signed Gordon, plus added length in Lopez and Warrick.

Then Dell Demps made deals to acquire the sweet-shooting Anderson and clear cap space by dealing Okafor and Ariza. The Hornets are now a team loaded with young talent and enough cap flexibility to make major moves in the future. Grade: A

 

San Antonio Spurs

Players Added

NBA Draft: G Marcus Denmon
Free Agents: F Boris Diaw (re-signed), F/C Tim Duncan (re-signed), G/F Danny Green (re-signed), G Patrick Mills (re-signed)
Trades:

Players Lost

 

None

 

As it is every year with the Spurs, you have to ask yourself if they are too old, but it’s hard to break up a team that finished with the best record in the NBA a season ago.

 

They didn’t do much but they re-signed Duncan, Diaw and Green and more importantly they stayed under the luxury tax. Only Kawhi Leonard represents a young talent to build with on this team, but if it isn’t broke then I guess it doesn’t need fixed. Grade: B

 

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Topics: 2012 Nba Free Agency, Jeremy Lin, NBA

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