Midsummer Transactional Tidbits
The summer signing period has been officially under way for a few weeks now and rosters are rounding into shape. It seems the same teams that contended last year have been just getting stronger. The Cavs, Magic, Celtics, Spurs, and Lakers (if Odom stays) all look to be deeper than they were last year.
By now, we're getting a pretty strong idea what to expect from most teams in '09-'10 with Lamar Odom, Andre Miller, & Allen Iverson (if he accepts a reduced role) being the only available impact players in free agency. Drew Gooden & Rasho Nesterovic are the best bigs left in the unrestricted pool, and could help certain teams.
Below we take a quick analysis of a handful of playoff-caliber teams summer happenings.
ORLANDO: The Magic might be having the most productive off-season of any team. They project to be the deepest team in the NBA, but they will be paying a hefty bill for their bounty.
A combined $10 million dollars/year is a lot of coin just for your reserve frontcourt of Gortat & Bass. Could be overpaying a bit for Gortat's services since he has no future as a starter in Orlando and heavy minutes could be scarce. Hard to see where Gortat gets more than 15 minutes a game.
One thing is, for sure, Stan Van Gundy will have a wealth of 5-man unit options. Probably will go with a Nelson-Carter-Pietrus-Lewis-Howard starting five. Lewis can obviously swing to the 3-spot, and might have to a little more often this year with Redick as the only wing reserve currently. Pietrus & Carter can play both wing positions. Gortat & Howard can play together for short stretches.
I can even envision an ultra big lineup of Carter at the point, Pietrus at the 2, Lewis at 3, Bass or Gortat at 4, & Dwight at 5. Carter can handle the point for limited minutes, and Pietrus could defend the opposing point.
And with the rumors that Matt Barnes is prepared to sign with Orlando, another versatile option will be at Stan's disposal. But this additional move does amplify the precarious management of minutes that Van Gundy has to deal with. Though, I would imagine that's a problem not too many coaches would complain too much about.
HOUSTON: Daryl Morey made an underrated move by trading for the rights of FC Barcelona's David Andersen. The 6-11 29-year-old is a solid athlete who has excelled at top levels of European basketball last few years. Second time Morey has done a great job acquiring the rights of a Euro post player in the last few years (Luis Scola being the other).
Andersen is probably better-suited as a back-up 4/5 in the NBA, but Yao's injury should force Andersen into the starting five. The other advantage of this transaction is that Andersen is mobile enough to play some minutes at the 4. He could compliment Yao nicely with his ability to draw opposing PFs 20 feet out.
Andersen's sweet-shooting touch is his biggest weapon. Can comfortably float out to 20 feet (though not sure he has NBA 3pt. range on the jumper). Great in pick/pop situations. Should work well in Adelman's schemes with the bigs up high. Would float out to the perimeter often in Barcelona's offense. Uses his touch effectively when posting on the low blocks--nice turnaround jumpers going over either shoulder.
The drawback with Andersen's game is he doesn't hold position real well when defending the low box. Can be pushed around a little, likely will be somewhat of a defensive liability in the NBA. Won't nearly be the interior presence at the rim that Yao or Mutombo were.
Considering how weak the free-agent market was for centers this summer--Gortat might have been the only better option than Andersen--Morey made another savvy move at a reasonable financial rate (roughly $2.5 mil/year).
DALLAS: Since the Magic raided their potential frontline options, the Mavs need to pursue a big to back-up Nowitzki. Two guys Cuban should be focusing on with the full MLE intact are Drew Gooden and Leon Powe.
Going after Powe is a little risky because of his bum knees, but we wouldn't hesitate giving a good chunk of MLE to Gooden, who has shown he can be a solid starter in the NBA. Gooden ain't much defensively and he can flake out sometimes, but has proven he can get you around 10-12 ppg & 7-8 rpg thru his career. Gooden can even slide to the center for short doses, which could be needed with only Ryan Hollins (expected to re-sign) behind Dampier.
Also see: Plays of the 2009 Playoffs