After a flurry of moves already this off-season, we count down the Top 10 trades or free agent signings so far:
10. Antawn Jamison to Los Angeles Lakers
Jamison, 36, is a great team player, a veteran, and a good locker room guy. He is intelligent and unselfish. His scoring (17.2 ppg) is nice, but he shot the lowest field goal percentage in his career last season, 40.3%. As a backup to Pau Gasol, Jamison should strengthen the Lakers’ bench.
9. O.J. Mayo to Dallas Mavericks
Mayo, 12.6 ppg and 1.1 spg last season, is a solid acquisition for the Mavs. His minutes were shrinking in Memphis, and maybe the Mavs will give him an opportunity to flourish. They certainly need someone to fill the spot left by Jason Terry. Mayo, a 36% three-point shooter, is almost Terry’s equal in that regard. With more minutes, Mayo, 24 years old, is capable of more like the 18.5 ppg he put up as a rookie.
8. Louis Williams to Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks brought in the offensive engine that made the Philadelphia 76ers go last season, as he scored a career-high 14.9 ppg. Williams, 25, can penetrate defenses off the dribble as well as score efficiently from the outside (36.2% from three-point land). Off the bench, he led the Sixers in scoring, and Williams made his share of clutch buckets in the playoffs.
7. Jeremy Lin to Houston Rockets
For his immense market value alone, Lin is a valuable pickup. Lin is an intelligent playmaker and a great team player, but his overall game needs polishing. Last season, Lin was the story of the season and captivated New York City. His 14.6 ppg, 6.2 apg, and 1.6 spg gave new life to the Knicks, who made the playoffs for a second straight season. As his career continues in Houston, Lin will have more opportunity to grow.
6. Gerald Wallace to Brooklyn Nets
“Crash” is a physical player in all aspects. He crashes the boards (6.8 rpg). He drives to the hoop (15.2 ppg) and sometimes crashes into the floor or the cameras. He gets all over people defensively (1.4 spg). To retain the defensive-minded forward, the Nets re-signed him to a 4-year deal worth $40 million.
5. Jamal Crawford to Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers have made some smart moves the last two seasons, getting Kenyon Martin, Chris Paul, and Chauncey Billups, among others, before last season. This off-season, the Clippers added former 6th Man of the Year Crawford, a good shooter, who can deliver clutch buckets. Crawford, 14.0 and 92.7% free throws, bolsters an already strong Clippers’ bench.
4. Jason Terry to Boston Celtics
The Celtics have tried to replace the great Ray Allen with Jason Terry. While it is almost impossible to replace a future Hall of Fame shooting guard, Terry is not a huge step down for Boston. Terry shoots almost as well from the free throw line (88.3%) and from outside (37.8%) while scoring at about the same rate (15.1 ppg).
3. Ray Allen to Miami Heat
In one of the coup’s of the summer, the Heat signed an All-Star guard from the team they just beat in a physical 7 game series, the Celtics. Allen is a lights-out shooter (91.5% free throws), a good locker room guy, and an NBA champion. Undoubtedly, Allen, Dwayne Wade, and LeBron James—all great competitors and champions—will have great chemistry on and off the floor. Allen will spread the floor (45.3% three-point range) and strengthen the Heat offensively (14.2 ppg).
2. Steve Nash to Los Angeles Lakers
Nash, 38, was second in assists per game last season (10.7 apg) to the Celtics’ Rondo, but Nash has led the league in total assists six times, including last season. Since the Lakers were in need of a solid point guard, Nash is a breath of fresh air. Nash is a marksman from the outside, shooting over 40% from three-point range and over 90% from the free throw line for his career. A backcourt of Nash and Kobe Bryant may be the best in the Western Conference, albeit the oldest. After the 2-time MVP and 8-time All-Star spent so long trying to beat the Lakers, Nash will try to win his first championship in L.A.
1. Joe Johnson to Brooklyn Nets
At 26, Johnson is a good pickup for the Nets, who were in jeopardy of losing Deron Williams in free agency. For that reason—not Johnson’s bloated contract—this trade has been the best this off-season, so far. With a backcourt of Williams and Johnson, the Nets should have one of the best backcourts in the Eastern Conference. Johnson, 18.8 ppg, is a leader in crunch time, and he spreads the floor with his 38.8% three-point shooting.
So far, the new-look Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, and the Boston Celtics have made the biggest splashes in the Eastern Conference. Out west, the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, and Phoenix Suns have added some new pieces. Of course, if Dwight Howard is traded, this Top 10 may have to be revisited.
Honorable Mention: Rashard Lewis (Heat), Michael Beasley (Suns), Jason Kidd (Knicks), Courtney Lee (Celtics), Grant Hill (Clippers), Luis Scola (Suns), and Anthony Morrow (Hawks)
*Unless otherwise noted, statistics are from the 2011-2012 season
Rob S. De France is a College and University Instructor of English Composition living in Los Angeles. He has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition. De France has played, coached, and officiated competitive high school basketball in California for many years. Recently, De France, his wife, and another colleague started an internationally read magazine at Shwibly.com.