The NBA offseason is in full swing, and a record number of players have changed teams and altered the landscape of the league altogether. The Southwest division saw many major additions and subtractions, with two of the summers biggest blockbusters involving teams within our division.
With that, and the top two picks of the draft coming into our division, rosters are sure to look very different. But through all of the additions and subtractions, who faired the best this summer? Which of the Southwest division teams “won” the offseason, and how did the Mavericks fare?
New Orleans Pelicans
- Trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, 4th pick, and future selections.
2. Flipped 4th pick (Deandre Hunter) for picks 8, 17, and 35 in the draft.
3. Selected Zion Williamson, Jaxson Hayes, & Nickeil Alexander-Walker in the draft.
4. Signed JJ Reddick & Nicolo Melli outright; acquired Derrick Favors in a trade.
PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Jrue Holliday
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Zion Williamson
C: Derrick Favors
Key Reserves: JJ Reddick, Josh Hart, Jaxson Hayes.
It’s hard to ever consider the off-season a success when they had to send out a consensus top 5 player in the world, but all things considered, the Pelicans had a lot to there way this summer. The Anthony Davis situation had been looming for quite some time, and his trade demand had seemed like it was inevitable. And of course, while you never want to send out a transcendent talent such as AD, if you have to you’d like to bring back the type of haul the Pelicans got.
Adding two young high potential players in the deal, as well as a proven role player in Josh Hart, AND draft compensation, the Pelicans made the most of a hard situation. That alone would make this a successful offseason, but making out with the most enticing prospect since Lebron James in Zion Williamson should have fans in New Orleans buzzing. Before Free Agency started, the Pelicans had already put together one of the leagues most enticing young cores and put the finishing touches on their offseason by adding two impact veterans in the free agency period. JJ Redick should solve most of their shooting woes, and Derrick Favors gives them an anchor inside.
New Orleans was able to put together a core that will compete for a long time in this league, while also keeping themselves relevant as soon as this season, and it’s hard to find many flaws in what they did this summer.
San Antonio Spurs
- Drafted Luka Samanic, Keldon Johnson and Quindary Witherspoon.
- Resigned Rudy Gay
- Added Demare Carrol, Trey Lyles Via Free Agency.
PG: Dejounte Murray
SG: Derrick White
SF: DeMar DeRozan
PF: Rudy Gay
C: Lamarcus Aldridge
Key Reserves: Patty Mills, Lonnie Walker IV, Marco Bellinelli, Trey Lyles, Demare Carroll
Probably the quietest offseason among the division, the Spurs sat back and waited at the beginning of Free Agency, and then pursued a couple guys who seemingly fell through the cracks. They also did not make any major splashes on draft day but made typical Spurs selections, safe picks for guys that should be able to step in and contribute. And although they did not make any major noise that would move the needle for them, the additions of Lyles and Carroll provide them with two proven role players at the NBA level and two guys who should fit right into the Spurs system. The spurs should keep plugging away as an above-average NBA team and once again be right in the thick of the playoff hunt. The Spurs did not make a major leap this summer, but knowing Popovich and Co. they will get the very most out of what they got.
- Trade CP3 and two firsts for Russell Westbrook.
- Resign Gerald Green
- Sign veteran center Tyson Chandler
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: James Harden
SF: Eric Gordon
PF: PJ Tucker
C: Clint Capela
Key Reserves: Austin Rivers, Gerald Green, Tyson Chandler
Coming into the offseason, Houston was completely capped out and not expected to be major players this summer, but things changed in a hurry. The rockets capitalized on a superstar being unhappy elsewhere and pounced on their opportunity to scoop him up. The addition of Russell Westbrook, regardless of how I personally feel about him, is an obvious talent upgrade over CP3 and puts the Rockets right back into the championship mix. While the fit of these two superstars is a bit questionable, you have to respect the Rockets for going for it and getting Harden the best help possible. There is some risks involved, as Westbrook and Hardens fit next to one another could have a negative effect on the team, but at the same time, it could work out and make them look like geniuses. At the very least I’ve got to respect the aggressiveness, will give the talent the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. The rockets are also a candidate to remain active going forward, and will likely be in the market for the remaining veterans on the market.
- Traded Mike Conley for Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder and the 23rd pick.
- Drafted Ja Morant, and acquired Brandon Clarke on draft day.
- Received Josh Jackson, Iguodala, and Dwight Howard (waived) in separate trades.
- Signed Tyus Jones.
- Moved Delon Wright in a sign and trade for two second-round picks.
PG: Ja Morant
SG: Justin Holiday
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Jaren Jackson Jr.
C: Jonas Valanciunas
Key Reserves: Tyus Jones, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Andre Iguodala, Josh Jackson, Brandon Clarke
Longtime Grizzly Mike Conley saw his tenure end there, but the Grizzlies also landed his replacement immediately selecting Ja Morant with the number two pick in the draft. Morant was the clear cut number two prospect on most boards and provides Memphis with the second pillar of what they are trying to build around Jaren Jackson Jr. Memphis also landed a great value pick landing Brandon Clarke at 21, a player that many had mocked to go as high as the top 10, and he showed flashes during the summer league that Memphis fans should be excited about.
Outside of the draft, Memphis was able to acquire a couple other enticing young pieces. Josh Jackson, who was not great by any means in Phoenix, is still very young and could benefit from a change of scenery, and Tyus Jones has been putting up eye-opening per 36 numbers since coming into the league. Ultimately, the Grizzlies did a good job this offseason of getting the most out of their assets, and while it will probably be a tough year for Memphis in the W:L department, they have added to their long term assets and gotten themselves another big-time building block to kick start their rebuild.
- Drafted Isiah Roby in the second round of the draft.
- Resigned Kristaps Porzingis to 5 year max deal.
- Resigned Maxi Kleber, JJ Barea, Dwight Powell, & Dorian Finney Smith to team friendly deals.
- Signed Seth Curry & Boban Marjonovic
- Acquired Delon Wright in Sign & Trade
PG: Delon Wright
SG: Luka Doncic
SF: Dorian Finney-Smith
PF: Kristaps Porzingis
C: Dwight Powell
Key Reserves: Jalen Brunson, Seth Curry, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber.
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again “Our big fish WAS Porzingis in February” and while I do agree with that to a certain extent, I refuse to completely ignore the missed expectations of this summer. Pre Free Agency, Dallas was expected to be in the mix for the likes of Kemba Walker, Tobias Harris, Patrick Beverly, and Malcolm Brogdon, however, we, unfortunately, missed out on all of them. That partnered with the trade that wasn’t for Goran Dragic, and finishing second in the Danny Green sweepstakes left a sour taste in the mouths of many Mavericks fans this summer.
However, this summer was not as bad as it may seem at first glance. Getting Porzingis locked up long term is a BIG win, as just a few months ago it was reported that Kristaps planned on taking the qualifying offer and hitting restricted free agency the next summer, so getting him locked up was not initially a guarantee. Outside of our big fish, I loved the Seth Curry and Delon Wright additions, as both are versatile guards who can play well without needing the ball in their hands and should fit well alongside Luka. Boban is also a solid pick up, as even though he probably won’t provide more than spot minutes, he’s a big body that has been a fan favorite everywhere he’s gone. Also, getting our guys back on team-friendly contracts can’t go unnoticed, as Kleber, Powell, and DFS have all been quality role players for us and should continue to be.
The Mavs also have the cap space to be a player in any of the trades that are sure to be coming before the season starts. Missing out on a top-flight free agent keeps this summer from being a home run, but locking up Porzingis as well as getting supporting pieces for him and Luka means it was not a failure either. Seeing Kleber, Powell or DFS take a leap next year will raise this grade, but for now, it was a serviceable summer that Mavericks fans should not be complaining about.
The Southwest division had an extremely active summer, where all the five teams got better, and The Mavs will have their work cut out for them to make noise in one of the leagues toughest divisions, but we took some steps in the right direction this offseason.