Rockets News

NBA Off Season Update, Part 6: Southwest Division – August 20th

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Dec 22, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews (2) during the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Off Season Update-South West Division

Dallas Mavericks

ROOKIES: 

FREE AGENTS SIGNED:

Kings offer SG Wesley Matthews 4-year, $64 million deal. pic.twitter.com/9gUBtbpSXC

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 3, 2015

Dallas Mavericks sign 7-2 Tunisian center Salah Mejri http://t.co/OJ98i7L3sT

— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) July 31, 2015

TRADED TO MAVS:

Unsigned:

FREE AGENTS LOST:

Deron Williams sign with Dallas Mavericks by 2 season and 10 M. pic.twitter.com/vsCItg8jhb

— Mundo Sports (@mundosports2015) July 16, 2015

BIG MOVE: Mark Cuban’s Mavericks have been on a bit of a bad role of late. Last season they gave away some young talent to bring Rajon Rondo to the team to play alongside Monta Ellis and that resulted in the enigmatic point guard literally walking out on his team in the post season no less. Then they entered free agency vying for the services of DeAndre Jordan and believed they had secured him based on a verbal deal. Flash forward 5 days and the deal not only fell apart, but played out via social media amid a plethora of emoji’s and in bad taste salt in wound type pictures via Jordan’s teammates.

Dallas was left scrambling having lost those 5 days to secure other talented free agents, many of which had already secured their own deals. Furthermore, both Ellis and Tyson Chandler departed for greener pastures. Suffice to say it was a banner free agent kick-off for the Mavericks.

They did manage to impress Wesley Matthews who is a great pick-up and feels like a prototypical talent for the tutelage of head coach Rich Carlisle, but he’s still on the mend from a torn Achilles tendon suffered last season. GM Donnie Nelson also added two players who’ve been mired with injury their past few season and not met with expectations: DeRon Williams came to terms on a buy-out of his albatross salary to return home to Dallas and big man JaVale McGee will try once more to live up to the expectations many thought he was capable of.

On the plus side their rookie Justin Anderson is someone I think they lucked out getting with the 21st pick and I envision him to have a solid season. Moreover the development of Canadian Dwight Powell has been encouraging.   Of course the Mav’s did their slew of typical one year deals to aging vets who Carlisle always seems to find a way to milk more from than their previous coaches (Rondo being the exception).

Overall, it’s been a decent summer for the Mav’s all things considered, but at season end if they fail to make the post season there will be one name and one name only they’ll hold responsible. It’s likely November 11th will provide the early season highlight for hoop heads as we tune in to watch the wrath of Mav’s fans rain down upon D.J.’s head. Anyone want to bet Carlisle doesn’t foul him in the first minute of the game? If intentional fouling was a stat you could bet on, I’d say that would be your safest bet this season!

Next: Rockets Add Fuel

Houston Rockets

ROOKIES: 

FREE AGENTS SIGNED:

TRADED TO ROCKETS:

Ty Lawson trade: Denver Nuggets PG to Houston Rockets after DUI … http://t.co/SG3GAZFyHM

— Toronto Raptors News (@RaptorsAllNews) August 17, 2015

FREE AGENTS LOST:

TRADED FROM ROCKETS:

Can bonding occur without contact? At #TeamUSA Basketball mini camp it can. Kevin Durant. James Harden. #USABMNT pic.twitter.com/vpjbT7bVYP

— ViDevi (@ViDevi2) August 11, 2015

BIG MOVE:

The Rockets priority for the off season was to upgrade their starting point guard position. In addition, GM Daryl Morey was tasked with retaining key contributors and improving the overall depth of the team. Suffice to say Morey gets top scores for achieving both goals by re-signing Beverley, Brewer and the expected announcement of Terry returning (as of late August 18th, word is Terry will formally sign Wednesday August 19th). In addition, Morey added Thornton and the key move was trading for Lawson.   For a full report on the signings you can find it in the articles:

The departure of Josh Smith was a bit surprising, however it allowed Morey the freedom to re-sign McDaniels which was a priority given his ceiling. The only off season tasks that remain for Morey to work out contracts for rookie Harrell and rookie extensions Motiejunas and Jones. That task may be harder than it sounds given the current cap situation of the Rockets. Harrell can be secured easily, but the term of his contract will be the question and if the Rockets foresee his ceiling being high they’ll want to offer a longer term. I’ll be looking at the contract extension situations in a later post, but suffice to say the looming salary cap of next summer will affect these negotiations and set a new standard for future contracts.

Overall it’s been a highly successful off season for the Rockets where they improved their overall depth, retained players they coveted and added quality rookies who naturally fit the Rockets needs.

Next: Waiting For Gasol

Jan 3, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 114-85. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis Grizzlies

ROOKIES: 

FREE AGENTS SIGNED:

Yahoo Sources: Free agent forward Brandan Wright agrees to deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. http://t.co/Wp8U66hsPL

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2015

TRADED TO :

Unsigned:

FREE AGENTS LOST:

TRADED FROM

Marc Gasol Re-Signs with Grizzlies: Latest Contract Details … http://t.co/QRTxQOZJa2

— Marc Gasol News (@MGasolNews) July 15, 2015

BIG MOVE:

Pretty obvious the main goal of the Grizzlies this off season was to re-sign their franchise star Marc Gasol which they successfully accomplished. Memphis also retained Jeff Green and added depth to the front court in a bit of coup by picking up Brandan Wright to replace the exiting Kosta Koufos.  Of the power teams in the West the Grizzlies are the lone squad who continue to use their front court as the core of their offense. Granted they’ve got arguably the best front court in the NBA especially when you factor in the tandem of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol who function like no other comparable duo at their positions.

Moving forward Memphis is keen to add scoring and three point specialists which they somewhat accomplished via a trade to secure Matt Barnes who also fits their defense first mentality. Still, it feels like the Grizz need to continue to add depth and find additional scorers, so I won’t be surprised if we find them trying to pull another trade prior to season start.

Next: Are Davis and Co. Next Ones In Line?

Jan 2, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) is defended by New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the second quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Pelicans

FREE AGENTS SIGNED:

Rookie Extention:

Unsigned:

TRADED TO PELICANS :

FREE AGENTS LOST:

TRADED FROM PELICANS:

  • Branden Dawson selected 56th in second round traded to L.A. Clippers

WAIVED:

BIG MOVE:

While Anthony Davis wasn’t a free agent the priority of the Pelican’s off season was locking down their franchise cornerstone in a $145 million dollar 5-year rookie contract extension. The other main focus appears to have been the Pelican’s efforts to add veteran experience to the squad. That goal was somewhat accomplished with the signing of Kendrick Perkins and while the Pelicans were aggressively trying to pick up Jason Terry it appears the Rockets will win their battle to retain the wily vet.

With new coach Alvin Gentry we can expect to see the Pelicans running and pushing the ball this season and expanding their offensive variety and it’s also safe to assume New Orleans will look to improve their defensive efforts.

While the Pelicans cleared the hurdle of making it into the post season their new goal now becomes repeating that feat and getting deeper. This season the West is arguably even stronger than last season and now there are other up and coming teams such as Utah and Minnesota who’ll also vie for the lower playoff seeds. Looking at the Timberwolves specifically they’ve done a great job of bringing in solid veteran leadership and experience who’ll no doubt help expedite the young core’s growth. Despite losing out on Terry I anticipate New Orleans will continue to pursue veterans who’ll help Davis become a perennial playoff squad and teach him what’s required to push this young group up the ladder.

Next: Fundamental Mastery

Jun 18, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich waves to the fans during the NBA championship parade at San Antonio River Walk. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs

ROOKIES: 

FREE AGENTS SIGNED:

Danny Green at $44M is a highway robbery in this market.

— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) July 1, 2015

Spurs officially sign Jonathan Simmons and sharp shooter Jimmer Fredette

— Spurs Central (@spurscentral21) July 22, 2015

 

TRADED TO SPURS :

Jonathan Simmons lifts off (again!!) at #NBA #SPURS #BballCrazy https://t.co/3uH1qy0Ga2

— BballCrazy® (@BballCrazy) August 17, 2015

FREE AGENTS LOST:

TRADED FROM SPURS:

BIG MOVE:

Right out of the gate the Spurs locked down a core piece in Kawhi Leonard with a 5 year $90 million deal and then got to the business at hand… recruiting a player Tim Duncan could pass the torch to as the Spurs future power forward: LaMarcus Aldridge.

Though Portland is the team most adversely affected by losing Aldridge, initially it appeared even the Spurs had lost some depth in their L.A. recruitment as they lost front court players Aron Baynes  (Detroit) and traded Tiago Splitter  (Atlanta) as well as guards Cory Joseph (Toronto) and Marco Belinelli (Sacramento).

If there is a team who is best poised to deal with losing depth it’s also the Spurs. In fact once Aldridge selected San Antonio it opened the flood gate for other players who also wanted to join them. This domino effect might never have occurred had it not been for the players who readily signed back like  Danny Green  who elected to sign for a steal of 4 years at $45 million, Duncan and Manu Ginobili. All three players accepted deals well below what they could ask for on the open market. But the deal which punctuated the draw of the Spurs was best exemplified via David West who left over$11 million on the table to sign a veteran’s minimum contract. .

And just when we started thinking okay well maybe coach Gregg Popovich would have to abandon his tendency to limit all his players to under 30 minutes a game due to the roster depth we found out why San Antonio is considered the bench mark for all franchises. Kyle Anderson showcased massive growth in the Summer League and bears a striking game resemblance to Boris Diaw in his talent. Further the MVP of the Vegas Championship game Jonathan Simmons who spent time in the D-League had many of us wondering if this year’s version of the Spurs might actually be their deepest team in franchise history.  They’ve even brought in Jimmer Fredette for an audition and knowing the Spurs they’ll turn him into a player who excels in their ball movement heavy focus.

With apologies to the Grizzlies, the Spurs more than any other club in the Association have a cemented identity and a style that wins. While many teams in the Association search for that intangible called chemistry it’s obvious this team from management right down to their water boys has mutual respect for one another. Case in point was Green’s comments about remaining with the Spurs as they are “his family”.

Furthermore the man who never ages Timmy D, and is quite simply the best power forward of his generation, will take on the role taught to him some 18 seasons ago by David Robinson as he passes the torch to Aldridge. Scanning the 18 seasons of Duncan’s tenure you’ll note only one has less than 50 wins: 1998-99 when they had 37 wins. But look a little closer and you’ll notice that was the strike season when just 50 games were played. When you consider the Toronto Raptors enter their 21st season still attempting to reach the elusive 50 -win mark it highlights why the Spurs are the Associations’ benchmark and debatably the best franchise template of the 4 major sports.

The NBA is a league of trends with teams often trying to replicate winning franchise systems, the one team who you won’t find trying to duplicate others successes is San Antonio because as the adage goes: if it ain’t broke … don’t fix it.

That brings you up to speed on all the Southwest Division trades, signings and status for each team and the overtly busy day in this division specifically. Stay with Space City Scoop as we keep you posted on all free agent happenings.

This is Part 6 of the comprehensive 6 part series on all off season moves by team, here are the links to the other 5 Divisions:

Part 1  Atlantic Division:

Next: Atlantic Division Off Season Update - Aug 20

Part 2  Central Division:

Next: Central Division Off Season Update - Aug 20

Part 3: Southeast Division:

Next: Southeast Division Off Season Update, Aug 20

Part 4: Pacific Division:

Next: Pacific Division Off Season Update, Aug 20

Part 5: Northwest Division:

Next: Northwest Division Off Season Update, Aug 20

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