There are surely a few dissenters who believe otherwise, but by and large the winners of the NBA offseason so far have been the Cavaliers, who vaulted to the top of the list the moment LeBron James chose to return to Cleveland. Just about all doubt about the success of the team’s summer would be erased if the Cavs complete a trade for Kevin Love, a swap they seemingly move ever closer to making.
It’s not as easy to identify the team that’s endured the worst summer. The Heat might be a logical candidate, having lost the league’s best player, but they nonetheless pulled Chris Bosh away from the Rockets and other suitors and convinced Luol Deng to sign a deal for less than market value. Those kinds of signings would be the envy of many other franchises.
The Timberwolves were at the bottom of the list that TNT’s David Aldridge compiled for this week’s Morning Tip column on NBA.com. The specter of a Love trade hangs over the organization, and agent Dan Fegan appears ready to make the Wolves pay a premium rate if they want to sign Ricky Rubio to an extension. Still, it seems there’s a strong chance Minnesota will walk away from a Love trade with Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 overall pick from this year’s draft, so it could be worse in Minnesota.
The Blazers are just one step above the Wolves on Aldridge’s list, their presence a product of inactivity outside of the signings of Chris Kaman and Steve Blake to man their bench. But Portland improved mightily after last summer, when Robin Lopez and Mo Williams were the marquee additions.
The Rockets have had the fourth-worst offseason so far, according to Aldridge, sitting one spot in front of the Heat, the very team that snatched Bosh from their clutches. They declined a team option that would have let them have Chandler Parsons for less than $1MM, then watched as the Mavericks gave Parsons a near-max offer sheet that they judged too lucrative to match. Houston missed out on targets James, Bosh and Carmelo Anthony, landing Trevor Ariza in a sign-and-trade as their most prominent addition. Still, Houston retains most of its mid-level exception, and with a trade exception for nearly $8.4MM from the Jeremy Lin deal, the Rockets might not be done yet.
Paul George‘s gruesome injury on August 1st was an unfortunate coda to what had been a disappointing month of July for the Pacers, who lost Lance Stephenson to the Hornets. Signees C.J. Miles and Rodney Stuckey stand so far as the team’s primary replacements for their premiere wing players. More than two-thirds of Hoops Rumors readers think that’s enough for Indiana to go from two straight conference finals appearances to missing the playoffs altogether this year. Aldridge ranks Indiana’s offseason as the fifth-worst, even though George, who’s under contract through 2019, is expected to return to the Pacers eventually, if not this season.
Let us know which team has had the NBA’s worst offseason so far in your eyes. Check out our Free Agent Tracker, this year’s draft results, and this year’s draft-and-stash signees for reference. You can choose from one of Aldridge’s bottom five, or select the “Another team” option and tell us who you have in mind in the comments.