In the days and weeks leading up to free agency, Chris Paul was frequently linked to the Spurs, who were viewed as the most likely landing spot for the star point guard if he left the Clippers. However, the Rockets were the team that swooped in before the free agent period even began to acquire Paul, sending seven players and a draft pick to L.A. in the deal that landed CP3 in Houston.
The Rockets‘ trade for Paul – along with the signing of P.J. Tucker – makes them an obvious pick for the Southwest team that had the best offseason, but the price for CP3 was steep, considering he was about to become an unrestricted free agent. Sixth Man of the Year finalist Lou Williams and All-Defensive First-Teamer Patrick Beverley were among the outgoing pieces in that deal, along with young big men Montrezl Harrell and Sam Dekker. Still, while the Rockets’ depth – particularly in the backcourt – may have taken a hit, pairing Paul with James Harden should make it worthwhile.
As for the Spurs, they ended up not clearing out cap room for a marquee outside free agent, opting instead to re-sign several of their own FAs, including Patty Mills, Pau Gasol, and Manu Ginobili. The club also made use of its exceptions to add Rudy Gay and Joffrey Lauvergne, though Jonathon Simmons and Dewayne Dedmon left for new teams.
Elsewhere in the division, the Pelicans entered the offseason virtually capped out, but made several interesting moves, including re-signing Jrue Holiday and adding Rajon Rondo, Ian Clark, and Frank Jackson to their backcourt.
While the Grizzlies didn’t make major changes to their core, several veterans moved on, with Zach Randolph and Vince Carter heading to Sacramento. Tony Allen – who is still on the open market – also appears unlikely to remain in Memphis. Restricted free agent JaMychal Green is a better bet to re-sign, and if he does, he’ll join new additions like Ben McLemore, Tyreke Evans, and Rade Zagorac.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks sat out of free agency for the first time in several years. However, despite the lack of big splashes, Dallas’ offseason looks like a successful one — the team managed to re-sign Dirk Nowitzki to a very modest contract, landed a very promising rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr., and don’t appear to have major competition for RFA Nerlens Noel, which should make him a little more affordable than anticipated.
What do you think? Which Southwest team had the best offseason? Does the Rockets’ acquisition of Paul instantly give them the edge, or did another team’s summer moves impress you more?
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