Western Conference off-season report card

The Western Conference played host to the biggest off-season move with Dwight Howard signing with Houston, however, the Rockets didn't walk away top of the class in our summer report card. (AP)
July 25, 2013, 11:38 AM

Dallas Mavericks


Grade: D
Re-signed: Brandan Wright
Major ins: Jose Calderon (Detroit), Samuel Dalembert (Milwaukee), Wayne Ellington (Cleveland), Monta Ellis (Milwaukee), Devin Harris (Atlanta), Shane Larkin (Draft), Gal Mekel (Israel)
Major outs: Elton Brand (Atlanta), Darren Collison (L.A. Clippers), Jared Cunningham (Atlanta), Chris Kaman (Los Angeles Lakers), O.J. Mayo (Milwaukee), Anthony Morrow (New Orleans)
Still on the market: Rodrigue Beaubois, Mike James, Dominique Jones

The Mavericks sacrificed two seasons in a row to attract a big fish to Dallas and looking over the motley crew they have pieced together, that plan was a failure.

A starting backcourt of Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis will provide some scoring help but both have deficiencies at their own end to say the least. They also brought in four new point guards including two rookies in Shane Larkin and Gal Mekel.

Big Canadian Samuel Dalembert will provide some shotblocking but is the posterboy for a movie called “Journeyman.”

Denver Nuggets


Grade: F
Major ins: Darrell Arthur (Memphis), Randy Foye (Utah), Rudy Gobert (Draft), J.J. Hickson (Portland)
Major outs: Corey Brewer (Minnesota), Andre Iguodala (Golden State), Kosta Koufos (Memphis)
Still on the market: Timofey Mozgov, Julyan Stone

A dismal offseason in Denver saw their general manager (Masai Ujiri) leave for Toronto, his top assistant (Pete D’Alessandro) head to Sacramento, the team fired the reigning coach of the year (George Karl) and if that wasn’t enough, their best player (Andre Iguodala) fled to Golden State.

As if to prove a point to Karl, they also shipped starting centre Kostas Koufas to Memphis for Darrell Arthur.

The Nuggets still have plenty of talent on the roster but this offseason was a disaster.

Golden State Warriors


Grade: A
Major ins: Toney Douglas (Sacramento), Andre Iguodala (Denver), Kevin Murphy (Utah), Jermaine O’Neal (Phoenix), Marreese Speights (Cleveland)
Major outs: Andris Biedrins (Utah), Jarrett Jack (Cleveland), Richard Jefferson (Utah), Carl Landry (Sacramento), Nemanja Nedovic (Draft), Brandon Rush (Utah)

Amazing. The Warriors somehow convinced the Jazz to take on all of their bad contracts to allow the team to pick up Andre Iguodala. In addition, they also added Marreese Speight, to back up Andrew Bogut, and Toney Douglas for depth in the backcourt. This team will be ultra-athletic next year.

The loss of Jarrett Jack could trouble the Warriors going forward but they should be able to find a capable veteran to fill the void.

Houston Rockets


Grade: A-
Re-signed: Francisco Garcia
Major ins: Omri Casspi (Cleveland), Dwight Howard (L.A. Lakers), Reggie Williams (Charlotte)
Major outs: Carlos Delfino (Milwaukee)
Still on the market: Aaron Brooks

The Rockets managed to convince Dwight Howard to play in Houston thanks to a strong recruiting effort from Chase Budinger. The question is, will Howard return to the form he showed in 2011 or is he already past his prime?

It will also be interesting to see if he will be the focal point of the offence going forward or will he be happy being the second banana behind James Harden? Either way, they bagged the biggest fish of free agency this summer and still have options to improve going forward with Omer Asik wanting out.

Casspi and Williams are uninspired signings but will only be asked to play roles around the stars in Houston.

Los Angeles Clippers


Grade: A+
Re-signed: Matt Barnes, Ryan Hollins, Chris Paul
Major ins: Reggie Bullock (Draft), Darren Collison (Dallas), Jared Dudley (Phoenix), Byron Mullins (Charlotte), J.J. Redick (Milwaukee)
Major outs: Chauncey Billups (Detroit), Eric Bledsoe (Phoenix), Caron Butler (Phoenix), Grant Hill (retired), Ronny Turiaf (Minnesota)
Still on the market: Lamar Odom

While the Warriors had a solid summer, the Clippers upgraded their biggest weakness by getting Doc Rivers from the Celtics to replace Vinny Del Negro.

They were also able to leverage Eric Bledsoe into some nice players to surround Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick. Both will provide outside shooting and Dudley will also be an upgrade defensively from Caron Butler.

They may still have too many options on the wings but they have trimmed that area down effectively.

Los Angeles Lakers


Grade: D-
Re-signed: Robert Sacre
Major ins: Jordan Farmar (Turkey), Wesley Johnson (Phoenix), Chris Kaman (Dallas), Nick Young (Philadelphia)
Major outs: Earl Clark (Cleveland), Dwight Howard (Houston), Metta World Peace (Amnestied)
Still on the market: Chris Duhon, Devin Ebanks, Antawn Jamison, Darius Morris

Much of the same roster will return next season for Los Angeles that finished an uninspiring eighth last season although Dwight Howard has taken his act to Houston and Kobe Bryant may be out for a good portion of the season as he recovers from injury.

The Howard/Pau Gasol combo never really worked so this may not hurt in the short-term but they need to find a young star or they willl be stuck in the tank for some time.

Memphis Grizzlies


Grade: C
Re-signed: Tony Allen, Jon Leuer
Major ins: Kosta Koufos (Denver)
Major outs: Darrell Arthur (Denver)
Still on the market: Austin Daye, Keyon Dooling, Dexter Pittman

The Grizzlies made a bunch of adjustments midseason but they are essentially capped out until next summer.

Keeping Tony Allen was a wise decision but they are still a few pieces from contending for a title and really need a gunner on the wing to space the floor.

Minnesota Timberwolves


Grade: B+
Re-signed: Chase Budinger
Major ins: Corey Brewer (Denver), Gorgui Dieng (Draft), Kevin Martin (Oklahoma City), Shabazz Muhammad (Draft), Ronny Turiaf (Minnesota)
Major outs: Andrei Kirilenko (Brooklyn), Luke Ridnour (MIlwaukee), Greg Stiemsma (New Orleans)
Still on the market: Nikola Pekovic, Brandon Roy

As much stick as David Kahn took, the roster is far from threadbare and needs some luck in the health department and a couple of minor tweaks to make a playoff run.

The loss of Andrei Kirilenko will hurt but they were able to shed Luke Ridnour’s contract (finally) and add Kevin Martin as well.

New Orleans Pelicans


Grade: B
Re-signed: Al-Farouq Aminu
Major ins: Tyreke Evans (Sacramento), Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia), Anthony Morrow (Dallas), Greg Stiemsma (Minnesota), Jeff Withey (Sacramento)
Major outs: Robin Lopez (Portland), Greivis Vasquez (Sacramento)
Still on the market: Louis Amundson, Xavier Henry, Roger Mason

Adding Jrue Holiday from Philadelphia was a masterstroke but you have to wonder how Tyreke Evans fits into the picture. He is a solid scorer but they definitely overpaid for him. Clearly Austin Rivers can be had on the cheap at this point.

Greg Stiemsma and Jeff Withey should be able to replace Robin Lopez on the inside and Anthony Davis should only get better this season.

Clearly New Orleans has decided to go all in after a playoff spot.

Oklahoma City Thunder


Grade: D
Major ins: Steven Adams (Draft), Andre Roberson (Draft)
Major outs: Kevin Martin (Minnesota)
Still on the market: Ronnie Brewer, Derek Fisher

Losing Kevin Martin isnt huge but the decision not to use the amnesty clause on Kendrick Perkins, who is terrible, left the team in a precarious postion as tehy were unable to add any decent pieces to a roster that is still msising James Harden.

Phoenix Suns


Grade: C+
Major ins: Eric Bledsoe (Los Angeles Clippers), Caron Butler (Los Angeles Clippers), Alex Len (Draft), Archie Goodwin (Draft)
Major outs: Jared Dudley (Los Angeles Clippers), Wesley Johnson (L.A. Lakers), Jermaine O’Neal (Golden State)
Still on the market: Diante Garrett, Hamed Haddadi, Luke Zeller

Adding Eric Bledsoe was a decent move although it remains to be seen how good he actually is. It wasn’t an overly expensive decision though.

Other than that, the Suns will continue to rebuild from the Steve Nash era.

Portland Trail Blazers


Grade: B
Major ins: Terrel Harris (New Orleans), Robin Lopez (New Orleans), CJ McCollum (Draft), Thomas Robinson (Houston), Earl Watson (Utah), Dorell Wright (Philadelphia)
Major outs: J.J. Hickson (Denver), Eric Maynor (Washington), Ronnie Price (Orlando)
Still on the market: Luke Babbitt, Jared Jeffries, Nolan Smith, Elliot Williams

Star player LaMarcus Aldridge is making noise about leaving but they have a built a pretty decent team around him.

Lopez, Wright and McCollum will all add depth to a team that was seriously lacking it last season.

All in all, a nice summer for Portland.

Sacramento Kings


Grade: C+
Major ins: Carl Landry (Golden State), Ben McLemore (Draft), Greivis Vasquez (New Orleans)
Major outs: Toney Douglas (Golden State), Tyreke Evans (New Orleans)
Still on the market: Cole Aldrich, James Johnson

The Kings have a new ownership group in place but they are still a few pieces away from really making any noise.

The deletion of Tyreke Evans is not the worst thing in the world and Carl Landry is a sneaky-nice pickup as was Greivis Vasquez.

They should be better this season with a new coach in place as well but are still a bottomfeeder. Rome wasn;t built in a day and recovering from the Maloofs will take time.

San Antonio Spurs


Grade:
Re-signed: Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter
Major ins: Marco Belinelli (Chicago), Livio Jean-Charles (Draft), Jeff Pendergraph (Indiana)
Major outs: None
Still on the market: Stephen Jackson, Tracy McGrady, Gary Neal

They overpaid to keep Ginobili and Splitter but what needs to be remembered is that this is a team that was one rebound away from winning an NBA title last year.

Belinelli proved he could play defence in Chicago and should provide a reliable shooting option if Ginobili’s game continues to go south.

The window is slowly closing but they were wise to try and keep it open for another year or two.

Utah Jazz


Grade: C
Major ins: Andris Biedrins (Utah), Trey Burke (Draft), Richard Jefferson (Utah), John Lucas (Utah), Brandon Rush (Utah)
Major outs: Randy Foye (Denver), Kevin Murphy (Golden State)
Still on the market: Raja Bell, Jamaal Tinsley, Mo Williams

Are the Jazz really tanking or are the teams youngsters ready for prime time?

They took on a huge chunk of salary from Golden State but received some draft picks to do so. They can use those players to continue to build around Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke.

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