The East, Rising Like Yeast
Yes, I know that the title is extremely cheesy but I couldn’t think of anything better to sum up what has been going on so far in the offseason for the Eastern Conference. The Nets moving homes and totally rebuilding, Miami got better and Boston is becoming young, by staying old.
The New Jersey Nets have officially moved into their new home and are now the Brooklyn Nets, and as their first order of business, they started to upgrade their starting line-up. First, with the re-signing of their franchise player Deron Williams. Next, they re-signed Gerald Wallace and traded for Joe Johnson creating a solid back court. The other plan of the summer, was to go out and get Dwight Howard, but after weeks of trying to work out a deal, the Orlando Magic would not budge and at one point even a 4 team deal was being discussed. However, it was all for not as the Nets re-signed Center Brook Lopez which ultimately eliminated their attempts at signing Howard. They also re-signed Forward Kris Humphries who had an excellent season with the team last season and is looking to make another big splash next season. They will definitely be a team to keep and eye on for the next couple of seasons.
The Miami Heat have also been making some changes to better their mini “Dream Team”. Fresh from a championship, it is common to see teams drop as players leave to pursue other options, or become free agents and ask for too much to be re-signed. However, this has not been the case for the Heat. They have signed two excellent veteran wing players who can come off the bench and provide instant offense behind LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. They signed veterans Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Now, anyone who knows this blog well will realize that Allen signing with the Heat does not sit well in my stomach. But, never the less, it is what it is, and what it is, is making the Miami Heat the favorites to win it all again. With the all time leading three-point shooter in NBA history (and my favorite player) coming off of your bench, you know you have a good team. As for Lewis, he has had a very “up and down” NBA career. He has been an all-star multiple times and has been noted as one of the top three-point shooters to ever play the game because of his size. Back in his prime, you could say he was much like a Kevin Durant sort of player. Unfortunately for Lewis, he has come off a couple disappointing seasons in Washington. Never the less, should fit right in coming of the bench for the Heat in a role similar to Mike Miller‘s or James Jones‘, which is go in, and knock down 3’s. Allen and Lewis will provide an excellent back up for James and Wade, both players are starters on most other teams, also, they will have instant chemistry because they played together back in seattle. The biggest issue for the Heat last season was their bench production, I don’t think that’s an issue anymore.
As for the Boston Celtics, well they have managed to some how get even better without really doing much. The Celtics signed Guard Jason Terry and Forward Jeff Green and have traded to get Rockets Guard Courtney Lee. Three excellent players who can all shoot the ball and, with the exception of Terry, play great D. The C’s also re-signed Forward Kevin Garnett who came off and excellent playoff’s with the club, and they also signed forward Chris Wilcox, who when healthy was playing great energy minutes for the C’s off of the bench. The Celtics biggest issue last year was their inability to score the ball, especially from their bench and other role players. With Avery Bradley expected to be back for most of next season, and with their new acquisitions, I see a team forming around Rajon Rondo that is ready to run and gun. With Green and Lee coming off of the bench they have lots of options on the wings come next season. Terry, should hopefully be able to fill the large hole left by Allen at the two guard. Furthermore, last season another one of their weaknesses was their front court. Well, as a result of the draft, they have 3 more forwards to add to the roster. One of those players is Jared Sullinger who is having an excellent Summer League so far. So yes, the Celtics have gotten younger, but not by much, and they have also gotten older, but the bottom line is, they are much better than they were last year.
So, as the “Free agent friendzy” rolls on, I will continue to watch, learn, and hopefully update you more frequently. I know it’s been slow for the last bit, but hockey is almost over and I just got back from Mexico so now all I have to do is play basketball and work, which is reffing basketball 😛