In his latest lengthy piece for Grantland.com, Zach Lowe evaluates the offseason so far for all 30 NBA teams, writing that the Rockets stand alone as the only club to significantly improve without sacrificing future assets or flexibility. It's worth reading Lowe's entire piece, especially if you're curious to find out what he had to say about your favorite team. But here are a few notable tidbits from the story:
- The Clippers recognize that even after adding free agents Ryan Hollins and Byron Mullens, the team needs another big man, and will likely sign one soon.
- Lowe notes that the Raptors could be in position to clear a chunk of cap space next summer, when Rudy Gay's and Kyle Lowry's contracts could expire. According to Lowe, the Raps privately expressed a belief when they traded for Gay last season that he'd likely opt out next summer in search of a longer-term deal, rather than exercising his 2014/15 player option.
- While the Jazz have taken some criticism for letting Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap walk rather than trying to flip them at the trade deadline for something of value, Lowe says Utah would have been willing to move either player last February if the club could have landed a first-round pick and avoided taking on long-term money.
- There's some confusion among rival executives about why the Lakers are bothering with players like Chris Kaman and Nick Young, rather than going into full-blown tank mode, says Lowe.
- Among the executives Lowe spoke to in Las Vegas, a couple of the most common questions involved what the Mavericks' and Bucks' plans are, since neither team seems to have a clear-cut direction.
- The Timberwolves are a "99.9999% bet" to re-sign Nikola Pekovic at a fair number, according to Lowe.
- Don't expect the Heat to be passive about LeBron James' potential 2014 free agency, says Lowe, adding that Pat Riley and the front office "won't promise him the same aging and top-heavy roster."
- The Spurs are likely one of the teams unhappy about Andrei Kirilenko's new deal with the Nets, since San Antonio tried to acquire the Russian via sign-and-trade after being told he wouldn't sign for mid-level money.