NBA Transaction Analysis: Eastern Conference (Exculding the Raptors) Part 1

I am sort of copying the format from Baseball prospectus and putting it here. Basically, I am just going to add my 2 cents in the off-season moves so far. I am not going to comment on most 2nd round picks since I don’t know or haven’t seen most of them. So let’s start with the Eastern Conference Part 1 (Part 2 tomorrow).

Atlanta Hawks: Draft Jeff Teague, Re-signed Mike Bibby, Zaza Pachulia, Trade Speedy Claxton and Acie Law to Golden State Warriors for Jamal Crawford.
Analysis: Like most players in this draft, Teague could use another year in college, he is extremely quick and can shoot, but a lot of times he seems like he wants to go one on five. Re-Signing Bibby for 3 years is not a bad move, though I have a feeling that Bibby may not be able to start in his second year on the contract. Zaza Pachulia is not a starter in this league, but he is a capable backup getting garbage buckets and offensive boards. He is actually the only effective front court player off the bench for the Hawks. I like the Crawford trade, the Hawks didn’t give up much and Crawford will probably reduce Joe Johnson’s minutes (which is a huge plus) and load. Crawford can score and he is good enough to play PG if needed. He is an upgrade over Flip Murray even with Crawford’s deficiencies on defense. If you are a Hawks fan however, take a note on this: Jamal Crawford has never played in the playoffs, and each team that traded him ends up becoming a better team than the one that trade for him (Not saying it will happen in Atlanta). The only thing left for the Hawks to do is to take care of the Marvin Williams situation, I think he will take the qualifying offer and play for one year then leave as an unrestricted free agent.

Boston Celtics: Sign Marquis Daniels, and Rasheed Wallace.
Analysis: Watching Sheed’s tired act in Detroit was a pain last year. The Celtics are obviously hoping that Sheed will be rejuvenatedwhen he played with his friend Kevin Garnett and maybe a new team can get his energy going. It’s a two year deal, so it’s not a lot of risk involved, but I do wonder why the Celtics felt like they need to sign him though. Leon Powe and Glenn Davis filled in very well when Garnett is out, while Sheed’s defense is better than those two, I am not sure if he is as good on offense. Wouldn’t it be better to re-sign Davis and Powe instead, and look for a backup PG to play behind Rondo (assuming he isn’t traded). Maybe Daniels can address this need for them, he is a capable ball-handler, but can’t shoot nor play defense.

Charlotte Bobcats: Draft Gerald Henderson
Henderson is perfect for Larry Brown’s system. He can play D, and won’t hog the ball. A total team player. If he can learn to hit a 3 point shot, he could be the Raja Bell of the next century. The Ray Felton situation is tricky, how much do you pay a player who has shown flashes of brilliance at times, but inconsistent overall? Not to mention, they have DJ Augustine on the team already so having Felton there is not a necessity. The Bobcats would be happy if some other team offer Felton to a crazy contract so they don’t have to match. More likely though I see Felton signing the QO and become unrestricted free agent next year.

Chicago Bulls: Draft James Johnson, Taj Gibson. Re-signed Lindsay Hunter and signed Jannero Pargo.
Analysis: Johnson is a tweener who should get a lot of playing time because Deng is not exactly the most healthy person around. Johnson can play in the league right now, while he isn’t a star or even a starter in this league, he should be a capable rotation player, which isn’t a bad thing considering this is a very weak draft. Gibson is already 24 so there isn’t a lot of upside here. He is a very good shot blocker but he is very skinny and weak.
Signing Pargo for a one year deal is a great move. While losing a 20 point scorer like Gordon hurts, the Bulls do have John Salmons at SG and Pargo will come off the bench along with Hinrich (assuming he isn’t traded). Pargo can score so that’s not an issue. Plus it didn’t hurt their cap room for 2010.

Cleveland Cavs: Draft Christian Eyegan and Danny Green. Sign Anthony Parker, re-sign Anderson Varejao. Traded Sasha Pavlovic and Ben Wallace for Shaq.
Analysis: The Shaq trade is basically Danny Ferry’s last ditch attempt to keep LeBron staying in Cleveland. If he leaves Cleveland, I doubt you will see Ferry coming back as a GM for the team. It’s a good gamble though; the Cavs didn’t give up much and Shaq can still play. Z can come off the bench and play about 24-25 minutes per game similar to Shaq (I just don’t think you can play the two together). Obviously the Cavs want to add some help when they face the Magic and hope that by having Shaq, Dwight Howard can’t go crazy like he did in the conference finals. With Shaq off the books after this year, the Cavs is hoping they can add someone to play along side LeBron (if he commits to staying in Cleveland). Hopefully someone younger. I think Ferry’s plan of building a team around LeBron is flawed; he seems to have a weakness for guys who used to be good (Ben Wallace, Shaq, to a lesser extent Donyell Marshall). LeBron needs a Scotty Pippen, someone around his age who can be a #2 option. Instead we get a bunch of over the hill guys in Cleveland.
Really don’t know much about Eyenga, but most mock drafts don’t have him in the first round. I really like Danny Green though. A role player who has size, plays D and can hit open shots, which is what Anthony Parker will do in Cleveland. Parker shouldn’t be a starter in this league anymore, but he will help the Cavs in terms of spacing the floor and such. What would happen if LeBron bolts and they have Sideshow Bob’s contract for 50 mil in the next 6 years?

Detroit Pistons: Draft Austin Daye. Signed Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. Trade away Amir Johnson, Walter Sharpe, Arron Affalo for cap room. Hire John Kuester as the new head coach.
Analysis: The Pistons are long known for their defense for the last seven years. Led by the Wallaces (Ben and Sheed), the Pistons always shut the opponent down to win games, it might not be pretty but it was surely effective. Winning 50 games or more for 7 seasons is quite an accomplishment. Now Joe Dumars is hoping he can create another 50 game winner by having an offensive jugglenut. Ben Gordon, Charlie V and to a lesser extent Austin Daye are not known for their defense, but they can certainly score. And hiring John Kuester instead of Avery Johnson can only be interpret that Joe Dumar’s philosophy has changed. Neither Gordon and Villanueva are all-stars, while they are solid players, I am not sure if they can replace guys like Sheed, Dice and Billups. If the Billups trade is about building the next dynasty, I can’t help but feel a little underwelmed by these moves. They still have some room under the cap to sign another player, but as of right now this looks like a 45 win team, which isn’t what Joe Dumar had in mind when he traded Billups.

Indiana Pacers: Draft Tyler Hansbrough, Signed Dahtay Jones.
Analysis: Talk about a team in treadmill. The Pacers is not a terrible team, but it isn’t very good either. The Pacers have been hovering around the 35 win mark for the last 3 years. Mediocrity is the worst place for any Sports team. Larry Bird’s team seems to be happy to be stuck in mediocrity, and I am not sure why they are not trying to rebuild. Hansbrough will play hard and I always think he gets a bad rep from scouts, but he isn’t really a player you want if you are looking to rebuild; he will be a fan favorite but not a starter in this league. And why sign Dahtay Jones for 3 years? A good defender, but can’t shoot the ball, nor create on offense. Because of this, they may end up losing Jarrett Jack who is a better player and can defend+score on offense. If you are a Pacer fan, can you please explain to me what Larry Bird is doing?

Miami Heat: Nadda.
Analysis: Pat Riley wants to sign Wade to an extension, but Wade isn’t biting yet. There really is no hurry for him the money will always be there. So he wants to see what Riley is going to do in THIS offseason, not next year to improve the team. I don’t think Riley was going to do much since they are so close to the Luxary Tax line. Now, Riley is looking to add Lamar Odom to the mix, he doesn’t come cheap, and probably will cost him 30-35 mil over 5 years. It will be interesting to see if the Heat is willing to pay the tax man this year just to appease Wade.

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