1) Miami Heat – This was a given. They landed 4 of the top free agents all while adding solid role players. I’m still curious how they have the cap room, but they got LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. All 3 are all stars while Wade and James are top 5 in the league. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh is an otherworldly offseason in itself, but they also landed top shooter Mike Miller all while still being able to re-sign Udonis Haslem and sign other role players like Juwan Howard and Ilgauskas. Carlos Arroyo is also soon to sign. Most people were afraid that they wouldn’t have any depth but that’s looking like a moot point. It’s unseen if they ever win any NBA title or how many, but the magnitude of their moves will forever shake the paradigm of the NBA. Their free agency is one for the ages.
2) Chicago Bulls – They may not have landed LeBron, but they made some significant moves and improved their roster all over which is huge. They were able to sign all star Carlos Boozer and steal one of the best shooters in Kyle Korver and young talent Ronnie Brewer. Boozer will immediately give them a presence at PF that they’ve lacked and Korver gives them a shooter to stretch the court. They also recently traded for a great role player in CJ Watson as well. He’ll replace Hinrich at PG and will be a spark off the bench.They did lose a few key players like Kirk Hinrich and Hakim Warrick, but they still found a way to make massive improvements and get better. Major props for that, but they’re reward for a successful offseason is a deep playoff run.
3) San Antonio Spurs – I seriously don’t understand how RC Buford and Gregg Popovich do it every year. They drafted James Anderson who’s a top scorer and should have gone at least 5 picks earlier. Next, they signed Tiago Splitter, the Spanish league MVP and finals MVP. He was considered the top Euro big man and he signed for next to nothing. He got as much money as 12th man Johan Petro. They also re-signed the Red Rocket Matt Bonner for reasonable money as well. Lastly, they got Richard Jefferson to opt out of his $15 million final year and sign for much less per year. The only player they lost was Ian Mahinmi who was a scrub at best. Someone sign them up to solve the economic crisis because they are phenomenal at getting the most out of their cap space.
4) Milwaukee Bucks – Milwaukee is starting to put together a legit team that will make some noise this season. The first key moves they made were signing key starters John Salmons and Drew Gooden. Salmons shined in Milwaukee’s system averaging a career high in points per game. Gooden has bounced around, but looked good in LA averaging 14 and 10. Next, they drafted PF Larry Sanders who excelled in the summer league and is looking like a steal so far. Lastly, they traded for Corey Maggette who should provide fire power and scoring. The only notable player they lost was Luke Ridnour, but this is now Jennings’ team so it’s not a move that should be too detrimental to the team. Their roster looks deep and they should start making noise in the East.
5) Houston Rockets – The Rockets made very little noise this offseason in the media but had a great offseason. They re-signed key players Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola to reasonable contracts, drafted a consistent player in Patrick Patterson, and signed Brad Miller who understands Adelman’s system from their time in Sacramento. Scola hasn’t missed a game in 3 seasons with Houston and has increased his role every single year. Lowry has provided energy off the bench and is tough. Patterson may not have the notoriety like teammates John Wall or DeMarcus Cousins, but was one of the most consistent players for them. Not only that, they lost zero players in free agency. Oh yea, some guy named Yao Ming should be back this season. Houston quietly had a good offseason and should be ready to make a run this season.