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Off-Season at a Glance: Eastern Conference
By SheedsWeed, Rashod. / Bballcentral.com Writing Staff
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Every year, when summer arrives, after the champions are
crowned, and after the parade is over, the off-season starts. It's
always guaranteed to see players switching uniforms this time of
the year. Free agency, trades, and the draft are all things heavily
considered in the off-season. Here is a glance at the off-season
After yet another horrendous year, the Hawks were back in the lottery
with the fifth selection. Most Hawks fans remember when they selected
Marvin Williams over rookie of the year Chris Paul, a player at
the time that played a position the Hawks were thin at. This year,
the point guard crop seemed dim, so they selected center Shelden
Williams. The Hawks also had pick number thirty-three, a pick they
used on South Florida forward Solomon Jones. With Shelden Williams,
the Hawks addressed their center position, a position that ZaZa
Pachuila played mostly last year.
After the draft was settled, the Hawks lured point guard Speedy
Claxton away from New Orleans/Oklahoma City, and he signed a multi-year
deal. But with every upside of an off-season, there is a downside.
It appears that free agent Al Harrington will be traded to the Indiana
Pacers, the team that drafted him with the 25th pick in 1998. But
even with Al Harrington on his way out, second year forward Marvin
Williams appears to be adjusting to the NBA life. Marvin won the
Most Valuable Player award of the Rocky Mountain Revue, after averaging
a Revue best 23.2 points, snatching five boards a game, and shooting
54 percent from the field, and 89 percent from stripe. Things seem
to be looking up for the Atlanta Hawks.
Draft - Shelden Williams (draft pick number five), Solomon Jones
(draft pick number 33.)
Free Agency - Speedy Claxton (from New Orleans Oklahoma City)
Trades - None.
Free Agents - Al Harrington
Players Lost - Al Harrington?
The Boston Celtics started the off-season out in a questionable
way. On draft day, the Boston Celtics traded away their first round
pick, which was pick number seven, Raef LaFrentz, and Dan Dickau
to the Portland Trailblazers, in exchange for third year Brooklyn
point guard Sebastian Telfair, and shot blocking Theo Ratliff, while
also trading for Brian Grant, and Kentucky point guard Rajon Rondo
later during the draft. With the Celtics last selection at pick
number forty-nine, early entry candidate Leon Powe was the pick.
Even after the draft was over, Boston was still picking up players.
The Celtics picked up undrafted guard Allan Ray, from the powerhouse
Meanwhile, guard Orien Greene was waived after having a terrible
season in which he was ranked number seven in turnovers per 48 minutes.
The only free agent currently on the Celtics roster is Michael Olowokandi,
a center who never lived up to expectations when he was drafted
number one by the Los Angeles Clippers during the 1998 NBA Draft.
Still, that Sebastian trade could make or break Boston later on.
The player the Blazers ended up drafting was home state guard/forward
Brandon Roy, a player with a lot of potential. Still, Sebastian
could end up being a good thing. Telfair could be Boston's floor
general and could improve the team. Who knows?
Draft - Rajon Rondo (draft pick number twenty-one), Leon Powe (draft
pick number forty-nine)
Free Agency - Allan Ray
Trades - Traded Raef LaFrentz, Dan Dickau, and rights to draft pick
number seven, for Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, and a second
round pick in 2008 from Portland.
Free Agents - Michael Olowokandi
Players Lost - Raef LaFrentz (trade), Dan Dickau
(trade), Orien Greene (waived)
If any team has made more headlines this off-season, it would have
to be the Chicago Bulls. Fresh off their mini playoff run, the Bulls
acquired ten year veteran Ben Wallace from the Pistons, after a
lucrative offer of $60 million. The Pistons reportedly made an offer
of $52 million, a deal in which Ben wasn't thrilled with, even though
it would have made him the richest Piston. After Ben was on board,
Chicago traded away seven foot one Tyson Chandler to New Orleans/Oklahoma
City Hornets for the rights to high flyer J.R. Smith, and P.J. Brown.
J.R. Smith was later dealt for traveling guard Howard Eisley, and
two second round picks for 2007. But to rewind to draft day in New
York, the Chicago Bulls got a lucky with the New York Knicks losing
59 games, their worst record since 1985. Chicago was awarded the
New York's first round pick, which was pick number two.
After Bargnani was selected number one, the freakishly athletic
Tyrus Thomas from LSU, was drafted number two to the Bulls. The
Bulls also had a lottery pick player in Thabo Sefolosha, a Switzerland
player with a lot of upside. Even with all those players added to
the team, the only players lost this off-season has been Eric Piatowski,
who signed with the Suns, and Darius Songaila, who signed with the
Wizards. Jannero Pargo is Chicago's only remaining free agent. With
all these transactions, there is no doubt that the Chicago Bulls,
who previously were considered a second or third-tier team, are
now championship contenders.
Draft - Tyrus Thomas (draft pick number two), Thabo Sefolosha (draft
pick number thirteen)
Free Agency - Ben Wallace (from Detroit, via free agency)
Trades - Traded Tyson Chandler for P.J. Brown, and J.R. Smith. Traded
J.R. Smith for Howard Eisley, and two second round draft picks for
the 2007 draft.
Free Agents - Jannero Pargo
Players Lost - Eric Piatkowski (to Phoenix, via
free agency), Darius Songalia (to Washington, after he was waived,
via free agency), J.R. Smith (trade), Othella Harrington (waived)
With the Charlotte Bobcats entering only their third season as a
franchise, all signs point to a great future in the NBA. With Michael
Jordan now part owner of the Bobcats, teaming up with Bob Johnson,
the Bobcats may have a guy that can help them out a little bit.
Entering the draft, it seemed that the player that would be drafted
at number three would either be Gonzaga guard Adam Morrison, or
Connecticut's Rudy Gay. Adam Morrison proved to be the right choice
as he was drafted with the Bobcats pick. Morrison, who is a diabetic,
has been known to take shots during basketball games. This however
did not scare away the Bobcats or many experts. None of this should
affect Morrison's game, or demeanor.
After they snatched Morrison, the Bobcats took Ryan Hollins, the
seven foot center from the final four UCLA Bruins. Bob Johnson and
Michael Jordan also made a move during free agency, signing forward-center
Othella Harrington, the former Chicago Bull. The Bobcats have a
few free agents though, one key free agent being Melvin Ely, who
is restricted. The rest includes Bernard Robinson who is restricted,
Lonny Baxter, Jurmaine Jones, and Jake Voskuhl. Although the Charlotte
Bobcats haven't made a name for themselves during free agency so
far, they still have a young core that includes Emeka Okafor, a
former rookie of the year, point guards Raymond Felton and Brevin
Knight, and returning forward-center Sean May. Things are looking
great for the Bobcats even without much done in the off-season.
Draft - Adam Morrison (draft pick number three), Ryan Hollins (draft
pick number fifty)
Free Agency - Othella Harrington (from Chicago Bulls)
Trades - None.
Free Agents - Melvin Ely (restricted), Bernard Robinson (restricted),
Lonny Baxter, Jumaine Jones, Jake Voskuhl
Players Lost - None.
After the Cavaliers near upset of the Detroit Pistons in the second
round of the playoffs, the Cleveland didn't really need any help
via draft, trade or free agency. The only thing concerning the Cavs
this off-season was locking LeBron James up long term. The off-season
began with LeBron's quiet behavior when talks about a contract extension
arose. Cavs fans seemed casual at the time, almost content that
the most valuable player candidate and Akron native would certainly
sign a contract extension to stay with the team he lead to the playoffs
for the first time since 1998. But as time went on, and other '03
draft class studs such as finals MVP Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony
signed their contract extensions with their clubs, Cleveland fans
started to sweat bullets.
Had LeBron read into the Kevin Garnett situation with the Minnesota
Timberwolves, where KG had signed a long contract thinking he was
on a team that would contend every single year, when actually, they
contended for only one? What was LeBron thinking anyway? Cleveland
Cavaliers fans breathed a huge sign of relief when LeBron autographed
a contract that locked him up three more years, while dishing out
$60 million. It was money well spent, because without LeBron, what
kind of team are you? As the draft approached, Cleveland was a little
thin at the shooting position. At pick 25, the Cavaliers drafted
Michigan State stand out Shannon Brown. Then, at pick number 42,
Daniel Gibson, an early entry candidate from Texas, was drafted.
With their last pick in the draft, pick number 55, the Cavs looked
for a little more size and drafted Nigerian forward Ejike Ugboaja.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have some key free agents however, and it
may be tough re-signing them after all the money that was shelled
out to LeBron James. Flip Murray was the first player who departed,
after signing with Detroit. Losing Murray was a bad loss for the
Cavs, who signed him earlier in the season to help the team with
their shooting, and a big reason why the Cavs got as far as they
did in the playoffs. Drew Gooden, who was the Cavs starting power
forward last season, is a restricted free agent this off-season,
along with backup Alan Henderson. What the Cavs need to do this
off-season is make sure they get some shooters and a power forward
if Drew Gooden is not re-signed. Expect Cleveland to stay on top
and make a run in the playoffs.
Draft - Shannon Brown (draft pick number twenty-five), Daniel Gibson
(draft pick number forty-two), Ejike Ugboaja (draft pick number
Free Agency - None.
Trades - None.
Free Agents - Drew Gooden (restricted), Alan Henderson
Players Lost - Flip Murray (to Detroit, via free
After the Pistons loss in the Eastern Conference Championship, after
all the hard work and games they won during the regular season,
the feeling seemed a bit mixed with sadness and disbelief when the
Pistons knew there playoff run was over. Once the off-season started,
Joe Dumars made it clear that the number one priority for the Pistons
was to re-sign Ben Wallace. Joe Dumars was preparing for the re-signing
of Wallace when Dumars traded away Carlos Arroyo, and Darko Milicic
after coaches Larry Brown, and Flip Saunders couldn't find any time
to play him. It seemed like Joe Dumars had Ben Wallace signed, but
after a reported contract of $52 million was turned down by Wallace,
Wallace bolted to Chicago, where he got a deal worth $60 million.
Not only did that signing backfire, the earlier trade in which Darko
was traded backfired. Now the Pistons can't develop the young prospect
the drafted years ago in the draft class that included LeBron, Melo
Things weren't totally awry. Shortly after Wallace was gone, the
Pistons signed Nazr Mohammed, the former San Antonio Spur. Then,
after Mohammed was signed, the Pistons reached a contract with shooting
guard Flip Murray. But does two good signings make up for one great
player leaving? Only time will tell. After that, a somewhat bizarre
trade went down with Los Angeles, with Pistons sending Mo Evans,
who actually signed with the Pistons last year, for the draft rights
to Cheick Sambs. And this off-season, the Pistons only have three
free agents. Kelvin Kato, Tony Delk, and restricted free agent Alex
Acker. So, with the loss of Ben Wallace, are the Pistons still the
championship contenders they were the past few years? Or are they
just playoff contenders now?
Draft - Chieck Samb (draft pick number fifty-one), Will Blalock
(draft pick number sixty)
Free Agency - Flip Murray (from Cleveland, via free agency), Nazr
Mohammed (from San Antonio, via free agency)
Trades - Traded Maurice Evans for draft rights to Chieck Samb.
Free Agents - Alex Acker (restricted), Kelvin Kato, Tony Delk
Players Lost - Ben Wallace (to Chicago, via free
agency), Maurice Evans (to Los Angeles via trade)
Ever since Ron Artest's brawl in Detroit, it seems like the Indiana
Pacers have been declining season after season. After Ron Artest
was traded for Peja Stojakovic, it seemed like all the Pacers had
to worry about was re-signing Peja in the off-season and not Artest's
anger management issue. Peja seemed like a lock to return to the
team that traded for him, but declined to after being offered a
five year, $64 million deal to play basketball in New Orleans/Oklahoma
City, in which Peja signed. It wasn't a total loss though, Indiana
managed to get a trade exemption worth roughly eight million, and
that will likely play a role in the current talks about Al Harrington
to Indiana, a deal which seems certain to happen.
But to look back on the Pacers' draft, it was fairly well. Having
the number seventeen pick in the first round, the Pacers selected
Memphis forward Shawne Williams, a versatile player that can play
multiple positions. Then at pick number thirty-one, the Pacers made
James White, an exceptional athlete with outstanding speed, and
extreme leaping ability. Then, after the draft, the Pacers made
their first trade with the Dallas Mavericks. It was ten year player
Austin Croshere leaving, and Marquis Daniels, only a third year
player, arrived in Indiana. But the dealing between Indiana and
Dallas wasn't over. Later, both teams pulled the trigger on a trade
involving Darrell Armstrong, Rawle Marshall, and Josh Powell going
to Indy, and Anthony Johnson going to Mark Cuban's Mavs. It definitely
was a questionable trade, seeing as Jamal Tinsley was often injured
the past year. It would also make the Pacers thin at the point guard
position. This off-season finally was when the Pacers waived Jonathan
Bender, a player who made millions while on the injured reserve.
And just recently, the Pacers lost out on guard Fred Jones, after
he signed out in Toronto.
Indiana's other free agents include Scott Pollard, and Eddie Gill.
So far it's been a questionable off-season for the Indiana Pacers,
however, the off-season is not over, and maybe adding Al Harrington
will make them forget about Peja, and Fred Jones. We'll have to
Draft - Shawne Williams (draft pick number nineteen), James White
(draft pick number thirty-one)
Free Agency - Al Harrington?
Trades - Al Harrington? Traded Anthony Johnson for Darrell Armstrong,
Rawle Marshall, and Josh Powell. Traded Austin Croshere for Marquis
Free Agents - Eddie Gill, Scott Pollard
Players Lost - Fred Jones (to Toronto via free
agency), Anthony Johnson (trade), Austin Croshere (trade)
Everything fell into place for the Miami Heat. At the beginning
of the season, many thought that trading for Antoine Walker, Jason
Williams, James Posey, Jason Kapono and signing Gary Payton would
affect the team's play, and their would be to many egos to deal
with to win a championship. But as the season went on, the team
improved each and every day. Pat Riley coached a hell of a team
this year, and the Miami Heat proved it when they won the National
Basketball Association Championship.
What makes this off-season even better is that they are practically
bringing back every single person on the championship team. Gary
Payton and Alonzo Mourning are free agents, but it's most likely
they will re-sign with the Heat or retire. Shandon Anderson is also
a free agent, but so few minutes, and wouldn't be a total loss for
Miami if he were to leave. Miami had no draft picks for this year's
draft; however, undrafted dead-eye shooter Mike Gansey was not selected
at all during the draft. Miami quickly signed him, and undrafted
Chris Quinn. Otherwise, the Heat's off-season has been pretty quiet.
No players lost, no trades, and no draft picks. Miami did make headlines
when they signed NBA finals Most Valuable Player Dwyane Wade to
a lengthy extension. Not a bad off-season for the world champions.
Draft - None.
Free Agency - Mike Gansey, Chris Quinn
Trades - None.
Free Agents - Shandon Anderson, Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning.
Players Lost - None.
After the Milwaukee Bucks had a good start to the season, as the
season progressed, things seemed to fall apart. A team that was
in the four seed to 6 seed range ended up losing a majority of their
games and fell to the number eight seed, when they could have been
the number five seed with just a win over the Washington Wizards,
their last game of the season. So, instead of facing the Cleveland
Cavaliers, they faced the Pistons and were swept in a series that
wasn't even close.
Once the off-season started, general manager Larry Harris knew he
had to make at least a few changes to the roster. Famous for his
trade last year that sent Desmond Mason for Jamal Magloire, Larry
made another surprising trade during the off-season. This time,
point guard TJ Ford, the former member of the Texas final four team,
and member of the star studded 2003 draft class, was traded away
for Toronto's forward Charlie Villanueva, a forward who finished
second to Chris Paul for rookie of the year. It seemed like Milwaukee
got the better of the deal, even though both teams got what they
wanted. Milwaukee needed help at the three, four, and some five,
while the Raptors needed a point guard because, let's face it, Jose
Caulderon was not going to cut it. Not to mention the recent drafting
of Bargnani stacked Toronto's front line. That was probably Milwaukee's
biggest acquisition this off-season. When the draft approached,
all they could do is watch pick after pick pass by.
Milwaukee's pick was traded in the Magloire trade the year before.
However, they had a second round pick at thirty-nine, and used it
on the explosive David Noel of North Carolina. Noel, who was the
only remaining Tar Heel that scored in the championship game the
year before, returned to team. Noel's athleticism should make fan's
forget about Desmond Mason, at least for now. Then Milwaukee made
a trade with the San Antonio Spurs, and got the second last pick
in the draft at fifty-nine. With the pick, they selected Croatian
forward Damir Markota, who will likely be sent to the d league to
work on his game. Meanwhile, the Bucks signed Lynn Greer, who had
a job play ball in Italy. Greer is known to be a good shooter, and
is a fairly well scorer. Now, aside from Toni Kukoc, Milwaukee has
a handful of scrub free agents that include Reece Gaines, Jermaine
Jackson, Ervin Johnson, and restricted free agent Jiri Welsch. They
seem to be slightly improved from last season, but that's not saying
much. They are still trying to move center Jamal Magloire who has
one year left on his contract. Watch for Larry Harris to make some
trades this off-season.
Draft - David Noel (draft pick number thirty-nine), Damir Markota
(draft pick number fifty-nine)
Free Agency - Lynn Greer (Italy)
Trades - Got Charlie Villanueva after trading TJ Ford.
Free Agents - Jiri Welsch (restricted), Reece Gaines, Jermaine Jackson,
Toni Kukoc, Ervin Johnson
Players Lost - TJ Ford (trade)
Not much you can do when you lose to the world champions, as the
Nets did in the second round of the playoffs. The Nets entered the
off-season with a solid team. All-stars Vince Carter and Jason Kidd
were still on the team, while Richard Jefferson was the same old
Richard Jefferson, and Nenad Krstic evolving into his own player.
So, when the draft arrived, the Net's thought about the future.
They thought about Jason Kidd, and who would eventually be his successor.
That's why New Jersey couldn't believe when arguably the best point
guard in the draft, Marcus Williams from the university or Connecticut,
fell to them at pick number twenty-two. So for now, the rookie can
at least backup all-star Jason Kidd, if not being his eventual successor.
And the reason Marcus Williams will be his backup is not just because
of his skill, but because Jacque Vaughn, the defensive minded point
guard, was lost to the San Antonio Spurs. Back to the draft though,
the Nets had the next pick at twenty-three, and drafted Josh Boone,
also from the University of Connecticut. Then, with their last pick
at number fifty-four, they decided to take Hassan Adams to help
out their shooting. Otherwise, not much is going on for the Nets.
They waived Scott Padgett, after he played just 62 games, his first
season with the Nets. Their only free agent worries would be the
old Cliff Robinson, and Lamond Murray. And according to the New
York Post, Lorenzen Wright, Eddie House, and Melvin Ely appear to
be on New Jersey's radar. Even so, with Vince and J-Kidd returning,
the Nets should still be contenders next year.
Draft - Marcus Williams (draft pick number twenty-two), Josh Boone
(draft pick number twenty-three), Hassan Adams (draft pick number
Free Agency - None.
Trades - None.
Free Agents - Lamond Murray, Cliff Robinson
Players Lost - Jacque Jones (to San Antonio via
The Knicks definitely have been creating some buzz the past few
years. This season ended with a dismal 23-59 record for the Knicks,
who have the highest payroll in the NBA. I guess the famous expression
"more money, more problems" is somewhat true in the Knicks
case. It's still hard to fathom. How could a team with the highest
payroll, and a hall of fame coach lose so many games? To make matters
worse, the Knicks lottery pick, which landed at number two, was
given away to the Chicago Bulls in the Eddy Curry trade. So with
a franchise that seems crazier than Gnarls Barkley at this point,
the Knicks fired Larry Brown after just one season coaching the
team. Isaiah Thomas took the reigns as head coach just as many predicted.
The Knicks however did have two first rounders, and used pick number
twenty on Renaldo Balkman, the Staten Island native. Famous movie
director Spike Lee called the pick a sleeper, but it was obviously
a blatant bad pick. Draft expert Jay Bilas remarked that Balkman
probably wouldn't have been drafted at all. The Knicks used a first
rounder on a player that wasn't regarded as a first round player,
let alone a second round player. The problems just began. At pick
number twenty-nine, the Knicks took Mardy Collins, the point guard
from Temple University. Yet another questionable pick that had Knicks
fans scratching their heads. The only upside of this off-season
is they have no free agents except Qyntel Woods. The New York Knicks
are basically the same team, besides draft picks of Renaldo Balkman,
and Mardy Collins, and Isaiah Thomas replacing Larry Brown. The
Knicks will have to make some off-season moves if they want to be
Draft - Renaldo Balkman (draft pick number twenty), Marty Collins
(draft pick number twenty-nine)
Free Agency - None.
Trades - None.
Free Agents - Qyntel Woods.
Players Lost - None.
The Orlando Magic appears to be on their way to the top this year.
The Magic, who haven't made the playoffs since 2003 when they had
Tracy McGrady, will definitely be competing for a playoff spot this
year. With Dwight Howard quickly becoming one of the NBA's elite
players, Darko Milicic developing into the prospect many thought
he would turn out to be when he was drafted by the Pistons in 2003,
and draft picks of J.J. Redick, and James Augustine, the Orlando
Magic's young core and depth will be forced to be reckoned with.
The off-season began with Steve Francis absent from the roster,
his attitude and contract no longer to be worried about. And like
I said earlier, the Magic drafted player of the year award winner
J.J. Redick with the eleventh pick, while getting some size for
the front line with the drafting of Illinois' James Augustine. Not
too much talk about free agents, just a bringing back Keith Bogans
to the team that traded for him. Meanwhile, the Magic have some
free agents of their own. Here's the rundown...Restricted free agent
Trevor Ariza, Stacey Augmon, Tony Battie, restricted free agent
Mario Kasun, and Bo Outlaw. After missing the playoffs for three
straight years, year four seems like something magic for Orlando.
Draft - J.J. Redick (draft pick number eleven), James Augustine
(draft pick number forty-one)
Free Agency - Keith Bogans (from Houston)
Trades - None.
Free Agents - Trevor Ariza (restricted), Stacy Augmon, Tony Battie,
Mario Kasun (restricted), Bo Outlaw.
Players Lost - None.
Despite Iverson's crossovers, Iguodala's dunks, and Mo Cheeks' scribbled
plays, the Sixers missed this season's playoffs. Luckily they have
the off-season to improve. The real question this off-season would
have fans watching ESPNEWS wondering if a deal went down. That's
right; I'm talking about Allen Iverson, the first real exciting
Sixer to watch since Docter J. Last year was when the rumors swirled
about Iverson's status as a Sixer. There were talks with the Denver
Nuggets and Sixers general manager Billy King just before the trade
deadline, when an apparent deal was offered by the Denver Nuggets,
but was declined by the Sixers. Some fans have mixed reactions about
a possible AI trade. While it would make sense to trade him away
for some young guns to rebuild, some want The Answer to stay in
the city that drafted him number one.
Recently, Billy King said Iverson was off the table and that he
was not interested in trading him at all. To flashback to the draft,
the Sixers drafted Rodney Carney, a six-foot-seven forward that
has speed, and great job shot, and incredible hops. This pickup
was great for Philadelphia. In the second round, at pick number
thirty-seven, Philadelphia took Bobby Jones, a lengthy forward from
the University of Washington, and then foreign player Edin Bavcic,
who was drafted at fifty-six. After the draft, the Philadelphia
was busy re-signing guard Willie Green, and forward Shavlik Randolph.
The Sixers, however, did not re-sign John Salmons, the former Miami
player who was drafted in the first round during the 2002 draft,
who averaged about 8 points. Philadelphia's only free agents this
off-season is Matt Barnes, and Michael Bradley. It appears that
Philadelphia will have a tough time struggling in the East yet again,
after having a quiet off-season thus far.
Draft - Rodney Carney (draft pick number sixteen), Bobby Jones (draft
pick number thirty-seven), Edin Bavcic (draft pick number fifty-six)
Free Agency - None.
Trades - None.
Free Agents - Matt Barnes, Michael Bradley
Players Lost - John Salmons (to Sacramento, via
After missing the playoffs for consecutive years since the 2001-02
season, the Raptors look to be turning things around in the NBA.
As of this point, the Raptors have had one of the biggest off-seasons
yet, signing multiple players to contracts, signing key free agents,
drafting players, and even making a somewhat surprising draft. The
off-season began as the Raptors won the draft lottery, officially
making them the holders of the number one draft pick. After about
a month preparations, watching workouts of players, traveling to
Italy to scout, and just reading over stats, the Raptors went with
the seven foot Italian Andrea Bargnani, making him the leagues first
"Andrea," and the first euro to be selected number one.
The Raptors then selected Texas' P.J. Tucker with the thirty-fifth
pick in the draft. Tucker is a good ball handler, and has a long
wingspan so he can play bigger than his listed size. But with the
drafting of Bargnani, Toronto's front court seemed stacked. Maybe
That's when Toronto pulled the trigger on the TJ Ford deal. Bringing
in TJ was a smart move on the Raptors part because if TJ wasn't
traded for, Jose Cauldron would have been the starter as Mike James
went to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The deal seemed to make sense
for both teams. The trades didn't stop with TJ. Soon after, they
Raptors wheeled and dealed first round bust Rafael Araujo to the
Utah Jazz for Chris Humphries, and Robert Whaley. Toronto then traded
Eric Williams, and Matt Bonner for Rasho Nesterovic of the San Antonio
Spurs. As for free agency, the Raptors signed Anthony Parker. Not
only that, but later on, Fred Jones, the former dunk contest winner,
and Indiana Pacer, signed a three deal after the John Salmons trade
didn't work. Toronto has only one free agent, Loren Woods, and even
if they lose him to free agency, they will still have one of the
best stacked front court in the league. The Toronto Raptors will
most likely be the sleeper team of east.
Draft - Andrea Bargnani (draft pick number one), P.J. Tucker (draft
pick number thirty-five)
Free Agency - Anthony Parker, Fred Jones.
Trades - Traded Charlie Villanueva and cash considerations to Milwaukee
for TJ Ford. Traded Rafael Araujo for Kris Humpries, and Robert
Whaley. Traded Eric Williams, Matt Bonner, and a 2009 second round
draft pick for Rasho Nesterovic.
Free Agents - None.
Players Lost - Charlie Villanueva (trade), Rafael
Araujo (trade), Eric Williams (trade), Matt Bonner (trade), Andre
Barrett (waived), Mike James (to Minnesota, via free agency)
Finally, this off-season glance looks at the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards lost a close series to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the
playoffs, despite Gilbert Arenas high scoring offensive attack.
The Wizards, however, made the playoffs for the second straight
season, and seem to be working on their third playoff appearance.
Nothing much has happened this off-season for the Wizards. They
started the off-season off drafting Euro center Oleksiy Pecherov,
a seven foot center that has outstanding outside shooting, at pick
number eighteen. Then, at pick number forty-eight, the Wizards selected
yet another foreign player, Vladimir Veremeenko. After the draft,
the Wizards quickly signed forward Darius Songaila, taking him away
from Chicago. And with only restricted free agents Jared Jeffries,
and Awvee Storey to worry about, things are ok. Rumors began that
the Wizards were one of the few teams that were looking to trade
for Milwaukee center Jamaal Magloire. They have yet to trade for
him yet, but so has every other team. According to rumors, it would
send either Jared Jeffries or Etan Thomas for Magloire. Keep an
eye out for that. Even with minor additions in the off-season, the
Wizards will once again make the playoffs.
Draft - Oleksiy Pecherov (draft pick number eighteen), Vladimir
Veremeekno (draft pick number forty-eight)
Free Agency - Darius Songaila (from Chicago)
Trades - None.
Free Agents - Jared Jeffries (restricted), Awvee Storey (restricted)
Players Lost - None.
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