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NBA PM: 2014 Offseason May Shift Power
Posted By Alex Kennedy On April 17, 2013 @ 5:05 pm In NBA | No Comments
Every so often, there is a draft class or free agent class that changes the landscape of the NBA. The 1996 NBA Draft welcomed Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Stephon Marbury, Jermaine O’Neal and many others to the league. The 2010 free agent class was one of the best in NBA history, with stars such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Joe Johnson available.
Next offseason has the potential to shift the balance of power in the NBA because the draft class and free agent class are loaded with franchise-changing players. Rebuilding teams will have the opportunity to add a star in June while contending teams will be able to bolster their roster in July.
The 2014 draft class could include Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Dante Exum, Mario Hezonja, James McAdoo, P.J. Hairston, Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein and many other talented players.
Wiggins has superstar potential and his dominance at the high school level has led some talent evaluators to compare him to LeBron James. Many people in NBA circles believe that Wiggins could start in the NBA today and make a significant impact – he’s that good.
However, Wiggins isn’t the only potential star in the draft class. Parker and Randle have drawn a lot of praise as well and they have tremendous upside too. Gordon and the Harrison twins are expected to be one-and-done and then light up the NBA as well. Throw in the players who decided to return to school such as Smart, McAdoo, Hairston, Poythress and Cauley-Stein – who were all being projected as first-round picks in the 2013 NBA Draft – and the 2014 draft class could be one of the best in recent history.
The 2014 free agent class could include LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Bosh, John Wall, Paul George, Zach Randolph, Luol Deng, Rudy Gay, Pau Gasol, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Larry Sanders, Greg Monroe, Paul Pierce, Danny Granger, Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrew Bogut among others.
Bryant, Nowitzki, Granger, Deng, Pierce, Gasol and Bogut will be unrestricted free agents that summer. James, Wade, Anthony, Stoudemire, Bosh, Gay and Randolph have either a player option or early termination option, which means they can opt-out and become unrestricted free agents. Wall, George, Cousins, Favors, Sanders and Monroe will be restricted free agents.
Executives have already started preparing for next offseason. Some rebuilding teams are doing their homework on the top draft prospects. Some contending teams have refused to make any moves that jeopardize their flexibility and cap room for the summer of 2014. Either way, teams understand that there will be a wealth of talent available in the very near future. One Western Conference executive admitted that he has been eyeing the summer of 2014 since last year.
The summer of 2013 should be fun, as NBA offseasons always are. However, it’s nothing compared to what we’ll see in the summer of 2014.
DeRozan Guarantees Raptors Will Make Playoffs Next Year
HOOPSWORLD caught up with Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan recently and the Raptors' emerging player is extremely confident Toronto will be back in the playoff mix next season.Watch More Video Here
This season, the Toronto Raptors were hoping to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The team was confident entering the season and felt that they could secure the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference if they played to their full potential. However, things didn’t go as planned for Toronto.
They were hit with a number of injuries to key players including Kyle Lowry, Andrea Bargnani, Landry Fields and Jonas Valanciunas among others. DeMar DeRozan is the only Raptor who has played in every game this season. They also made a blockbuster move several months ago, acquiring Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies in a six-player, three-team trade. Suddenly, Jose Calderon and Ed Davis were gone and the team had a new focal point in Gay.
While it has been a difficult year for the Raptors, who currently sit at 33-48, the group believes they’ll experience more success next season since everyone will be healthy again and they’ll have had a full offseason and training camp together. The Raptors are on a four-game winning streak and they’ve won seven of their last 10, which has given the team even more optimism about next year.
In fact, DeRozan is so optimistic that he’s guaranteeing the Raptors will make the playoffs in 2013-14.
“I know for a fact next year we’re going to be there,” DeRozan said. “With the talent that we have on this team and with the way we know we can play and the way we’ve been playing, we’re definitely going to be there.”
DeRozan says he’s hungrier than ever to play in the postseason. He was really hoping that this would be the year that the Raptors end their playoff drought, but it didn’t happen in large part due to injuries.
“It definitely sucks not having your main guys early on in the season, a lot of key players going down,” DeRozan said. “You never know what could happen, but it is what it is. We have to play through it. It happens in this league and you have to be ready for it. We’re trying to make up for what we lost early on.”
Since acquiring Gay, the Raptors have beaten a number of playoff teams including the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks (twice), Chicago Bulls (twice), Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks. Gay has made a huge impact in Toronto and he has also helped DeRozan become a better player.
“I’ve learned a lot from him,” DeRozan said of Gay. “I watch a lot of things that he does when he gets the ball and [see] opportunities where I can help by doing something positive on both ends. I try to feed off of him and vice versa.”
So, is DeRozan’s postseason goal for the Raptors realistic or not? Let us know:
What’s Next for the Lakers?
The Los Angeles Lakers were supposed to be a super-team that dominated the rest of the NBA.
Instead, they find themselves in a do-or-die situation tonight against the Houston Rockets. If they win, they’re in the playoffs. If they lose and the Utah Jazz win, they’re watching the postseason from home.
Where do the Lakers go from here as they look to put this horrible season behind them and reclaim their spot among the NBA’s contenders?
HOOPSWORLD’s Yannis Koutroupis broke down three options for the Lakers in his latest article: Rebuild immediately, bank on 2014 free agency or a full rebuild. The article is definitely worth a read.
The Lakers will have some tough decisions to make going forward.
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