HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Coach: Worst Free Agent Signings Of 2010
By Anthony Macri
With the up-and-down roller coaster ride that is the CBA negotiations, the likelihood is if there is a resolution and any free agency period, it will be short and extremely active. Now is as good a time as any to look back at last year’s free agent signings and give some quick analysis as teams continue to prepare for this year’s crop.
This analysis is not about the player’s overall talent level, but rather a look at if they already have or are likely to produce at least to their level of compensation. In other words, this is the bottom three free agent signings of 2010 in terms of value. Without further ado…
Solving Problems: The Post-Chris Paul Hornets?
By Eric Pincus
The New Orleans Hornets are at a serious crossroads. David West is a free agent, looking for a large, long-term deal; Chris Paul can opt out of the final year of his contract to become a free agent next summer; and the NBA, which currently owns the team, is looking for a buyer . . . only adding to the uncertainty.
General Manager Dell Demps is charged with operating the team like any other but who exactly decides on the future of the franchise? Commissioner David Stern?
If the season does get cancelled, both All-Stars may have already played their final games for the Hornets and the roster is basically Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and Jarrett Jack.
That’s simply not a starting point for the future should Paul decide to up and leave.
If the Hornets can’t get Chris to extend, it may be time preserve cap space, explore trades and build for the future.
Solving Problems: Tapping Wizards’ Potential
By Joel Brigham
A lot of teams in the NBA have problems that are technically pretty solvable as we’ve proven in the multiple “Solving Problems” articles we’ve posted here at HOOPSWORLD over the course of the last couple of weeks. When it comes to the Washington Wizards, however, the real problem isn’t one that the organization can do a whole lot about.
The problem for Washington is the really important players on the roster haven’t yet lived up to their potential.
You could argue that a coach—in this case, Flip Saunders—is responsible for getting the most out of his guys, that in the right system anybody could flourish, but Washington is full of really talented young men that just can’t seem to figure out how to get to the next level as burgeoning stars.
Solving Problems: Blazers Need Big Men
By Jason Fleming
Another season passed with the Portland Trail Blazers again getting hammered by injuries. Center Greg Oden, All-Star guard Brandon Roy, and center Marcus Camby combined to miss 140 player games, and that doesn’t even include all the games center Joel Przybilla missed early on before being traded to Charlotte in the Gerald Wallace deal.
The Blazers even tried to replace them, signing former San Antonio Spur and Washington Wizard Fabricio Oberto early in training camp to fill the void. Unfortunately for him and the team, Oberto was forced to retire again with heart issues after just five games. The Blazers were forced to play catch up in the middle all season long, with Coach Nate McMillan using power forward LaMarcus Aldridge in the middle and playing a small lineup in order to stay competitive.
The biggest issue Portland needs to solve is being able to absorb injuries and still be productive. With 48 wins last season they did a decent job of that, but does anyone think they can do that again? Does anyone think they should rely on being able to do that again? Not a chance.
The Denver Nuggets Secret Advantage
By Eric Pincus
The Denver Nuggets were a revelation last season, continuing to win games after the lengthy Carmelo Anthony saga ended in a blockbuster trade with the New York Knicks.
Incoming players Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Timofey Mozgov all found ways to contribute. Gallinari showed signs of being an NBA star in his own right. Would the Nuggets be a better team with a well-balanced attack . . . or would they miss the powerful but individualistic scoring from Anthony?
When Denver kept winning, it looked like the team concept was more potent but then the Nuggets lacked punch in their first-round loss in five games to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Then again, as great as Carmelo was for the Nuggets through the years, his team only got out of the first round once in seven tries.
Now Denver may be one of the few teams in the league well positioned for both present day and the foreseeable future. Still, a lot rides on the choices they make this summer.