This past off-season came with a flurry of activity, as free agents chose new teams while numerous trades have altered the landscape of the league for the 2015-2016 season. To recap, below are some of the teams that (on paper) improved, stayed the same, and unfortunately, worsened.
San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs managed to keep their core intact, re-signing Tim Duncan, Manu, Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard. Meanwhile (and perhaps for the first time in franchise history), the Spurs signed a lucrative free agent in Lamarcus Aldridge to a 4 year/$80 million dollar deal. The Spurs also signed David West to bolster their bench and low post game. With all this in mind, the Spurs are looking to be title contenders yet again, impacting the outlook of the Western Conference.
Los Angeles Clippers: In somewhat of an interesting summer for the Clippers, the team was able to re-sign DeAndre Jordan to a 4 year/$87 million dollar contract (sorry, Maverick fans). As well, the Clips strengthened their second unit by signing Paul Pierce, Josh Smith, and Wesley Johnson. Furthermore, the Clippers traded for Lance Stephenson, providing additional scoring for a team that is already tops in the league in that category.
Sacremento Kings: During the offseason, the Kings acquired Willie Cauley-Stein through the draft and Rajon Rondo through free agency. Both of these players seem to fit into the Kings' system quite well. The Kings ranked 14th in the league last year in PPG, running a medium-tempo offense. Rajon Rondo flourishes with the ball in his hands, and the Kings' slow-it-down half court offense should serve to his advantage. As well, the combination of Cauley-Stein and Cousins in the front court opens up much potential for this young Kings squad.
Stayed the same:
Coming off of their 4th championship and first title run since 1975, the Golden State Warriors decided to stay the course and keep their core intact. With the likes of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson running the show, we should see the level of play we've come to expect from the Warriors carry on to next season. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers (who were on the losing side of the Warriors' title run), resigned their core of James, Love, Shumpert and Mozgov, keeping their expectations high for the coming season. Other teams such as the Pelicans, Bulls and Jazz succeeded in keeping their key players on board, while failing to add any noteworthy players to their teams.
Portland Trailblazers: In a rather unfortunate summer for the Blazers, the team lost 4/5 of its starting line-up. Obviously, the Blazers lost LaMarcus to San Antonio, but they also traded Nicholas Batum to the Charlotte Hornets for Noah Vonleh and Gerald Henderson. As well, Portland lost Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez to New York, while giving up Wesley Matthews to Dallas in free agency. All in all, the Blazers certainly don't look like a playoff team anymore, especially in a stacked Western Conference.
Dallas Mavericks: In a similar manner to the Trailblazers, the Mavericks also lost a large portion of their starting unit, with Tyson Chandler (to Suns) , Monta Ellis (to Pacers) and Rajon Rondo (to Kings) all leaving in free agency. As well, the departures of Al-Farouq Aminu and Amar'e Stoudemire are bound to impact the team next season. However, unlike Portland, the Mavericks were able to make somewhat of a recovery by signing Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews.
There you have it, the 2015 NBA off-season in a nutshell. Let us know what you think about this summer's activity in the comment section below.
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