Just when we thought we'd miss the NBA badly, this off-season is proving to be quite eventful with all the blockbuster trades; whirlwind signings and re-signings; and the pile of big bucks being handed out.
Some moves totally blew us away (like the formation of the "Splash Fam"), others left us hurling expletives to executives of our favorite teams ("Mozgov, WTF!"). What's important, however, is that all these deals have laid the perfect groundwork for what is poised to be an exciting 2016-17 season.
Ever your reputed basketball analysts, FHM rates the most and least constructive updates on player movement (so far) this summer.
BEST 2016 OFF-SEASON MOVES
Simply put, these teams and players have done their homework.
5) Indiana Pacers additions (Al Jefferson, Thaddeus Young, Jeff Teague)
Led by a comebacking Paul George, the ragtag Pacers crew reached the playoffs and almost knocked out the Toronto Raptors in the first round months ago. Adding the proven trio to George and promising sophomore Myles Tuner makes for a formidable starting unit that new head coach Nate McMillan can guide in their journey back to the top of the East.
Barring any health issues, New York will have the attack guard it longed for since that brief phenomenal period called Linsanity. Considering the price the team had to pay—Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon, and Jerian Grant for Rose, Justin Holiday, and a 2017 second-round pick—and its current mentality (win-now instead of rebuilding), the Knicks believe the former Most Valuable Player is definitely a risk worth taking. And we agree.
Horford and Barnes fill the needs of their respective new teams (inside presence and wing versatility, respectively), having no problem fitting in any system. The former Hawk will also bring a tremendous locker room presence to the young Celtics, while the ex-Warrior will provide fresh legs to the veteran Mavericks.
Gasol may be the eldest statesman in this list at 36, but him joining the steady core of LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker bolsters San Antonio's chances to contend for another a title. A solid pickup, especially with Tim Duncan's plans for the next season still up in the air.
Need we say more? Despite being hit by a huge wave of criticism (which will linger a while), the 2014 MVP puts himself in the best position to win it all. The only question now is, how quickly the four All-Stars in Durant, back-to-back MVP (2015, 2016) MVP Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson can develop a winning chemistry.
WORST 2016 OFF-SEASON MOVES
Honorable mention: OJ Mayo to the wrong kind of Cloud 9
5) Orlando Magic frontcourt additions (Serge Ibaka, Jeff Green)
What now looks like a rather imposing Magic frontline could prove to be detrimental to development of its resident young big men (Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon). Add Bismack Biyombo—although expectedly to come off the bench—to the fray and what you have in Orlando is a frontcourt logjam. Good thing the team has new head coach Frank Vogel to figure it all out.
These two signings are prime examples of how drastic the salary cap blew up this year. Some deals were actually reasonable, but doling out that amount of money to a center (four-year $64-million deal) who saw his amazing 2015 Finals run vanish this season, and a forward who saw his numbers dip in an advantageous system suited to his talents is bound to leave basketball fans scratching their heads.
3) David West to the Golden State Warriors
Funny how the same move is now viewed differently this year. Last season, West headed to San Antonio on veteran's minimum to aid the team in their shared quest for a title. This time ,though, he's seen as a desperate former All-Star jumping on Golden State's championship bandwagon.
2) Golden State Warriors subtractions (lost Barnes and Andrew Bogut to Dallas, Leandro Barbosa to the Phoenix Suns, Marreese Speights to the Los Angeles Clippers, Festus Ezeli to the Portland Trail Blazers, Brandon Rush to the Minnesota Timberwolves)
Ah, the price of Kevin Durant. It seems that the Warriors front office forgot that the five of players they virtually let go (sorry, Brandon) were instrumental in setting up the best regular season record in NBA history. There's a strong possibility that the new squad breaks 73-9 with another superstar in the fold, but the adage "If it ain't broke, dont fix it" springs to mind upon this collective lineup revamp.
After 13 years, the franchise leader in points, assists, steals, minutes and games played leaves Miami-D(W)ade County with a heavy heart to finally play for his hometown. The damage dealt was a shocker, epitomizing the sad and harsh realities in the league and how fickle money matters and relationships between great players and franchises can be.
Photos via Bleacher Report, VN Design