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NBA free agency winners and losers
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On July 9, 2013 @ 11:54 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
There is a Six Degrees of Dwight Howard component to this NBA free agency season, a like-it-or-not reality that his ultimate destination would have a ripple effect on the rest of the league.
So it is, then, that the verdict on who won and who lost in this high stakes job fair that is still ongoing must begin there: the Houston Rockets, make no mistake, got a whole lot better when Howard chose on Friday to leave the Los Angeles Lakers behind and head their way.
He was the biggest fish in the league’s pond, and Houston was the most aggressive fisherman in the lot that also included the Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks. Now the Rockets, who landed James Harden in a stunning trade in October and used their new star player to help lure another, officially join the top class of the parity-filled Western Conference.
Being better, however, is a very different distinction from being the best.
“I think it’s a stretch right now to say that’s a championship team,” TNT analyst and former Phoenix Suns general manager Steve Kerr told USA TODAY Sports. “I think there are a lot of question marks, (and) the first question is, ‘Is Dwight going to be the guy who was a superstar two years ago, or the guy who we’ve seen the last two seasons who has been a bit of an enigma…I like the move for Houston – I think they’re improved – but I don’t really consider them a championship team right now.”
Howard was hardly the only player on the move, though. Here’s a look at some of the winners and losers in free agency so far, with the degree to which they won or lost in descending order.
Los Angeles Clippers
Even Vinny Del Negro has to be impressed with what his former team has done since he was ousted as coach in late May. The new expectations, it’s safe to say, will go way beyond the first-round playoff exit to the Memphis Grizzlies that they endured last season.
Del Negro’s replacement, former Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, was an unofficial … [For more on NBA free agency winners and losers, click here.]
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