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Old Faces in New Places
Posted By Warren Shaw On Dec 6 2011 @ 9:00 am In NBA | No Comments
The 2011-2012 NBA “free agent frenzy” is days away from advancing past Twitter rumors and Facebook updates. While we await the potential bombshell trades of Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, players that are actually free agents will soon be signing with new teams and reporting for training camp.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of moves that were made pre-lockout that fans might have forgotten. Here is quick refresher that includes coaches in new situations as well.
Charlotte Bobcats: Corey Maggette was added via trade on draft night and was brought in to do what he does best. Score. Well maybe it’ shoot..either way Maggette is the first option in Charlotte and he should become a Paul Silas favorite in no time.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Omri Casspi should finally get a chance to get consistent playing time as a result of trade that brought him to Cleveland on draft night. Casspi was a victim of inconsistent playing time in Sacramento and as long as he attempts to play defense Byron Scott should give him all the minutes he can handle.
Dallas Mavericks: Rudy Fernandez was one step away from returning home and leaving the NBA last season. Fernandez was under-used in Portland while Brandon Roy struggled to stay in the lineup. He has to be happy with his new situation and a chance to help the Mavericks repeat as NBA champions.
Denver Nuggets: Andre Miller is entering his second tour of duty in Denver and is a George Karl favorite. It is not likely that he will start over Ty Lawson but he will provide leadership and stability off the Denver bench.
Detroit Pistons: The addition of a Coach Lawrence Frank in Motown should not go unnoticed. The Pistons were a circus of rebelling players and unhappy souls under Coach John Kuester. With Frank now in the fold the Pistons get a tough defensive minded coach who is well respected despite never playing a day in the league.
Houston Rockets: The biggest news out of Houston this summer actually involved the retirement of Yao Ming. In some ways it frees the Rockets as they no longer have to wonder when or if Yao will return. Coach and teacher Kevin McHale was hired to replace Rick Adelman and should help the youthful Rockets gain an identity. Jonny Flynn was also added and will be a back-up to Kyle Lowry barring injury.
Indiana Pacers: Frank Vogel had the interim removed from his title and will now attempt to lead the Pacers back to the playoffs. George Hill was acquired from the San Antonio Spurs on draft day and he could very well replace Darren Collison as the starting point guard.
Milwaukee Bucks: To say the Bucks regressed last season would be an understatement of vast proportions. They were one of the worst offensive teams in the league and felt the need to do something about it in a draft night trade. Enter volume shooter Stephen Jackson along with Shaun Livingston and Beno Udrih. How Jackson will mesh with the disciplinary style of Scott Skiles might just qualify as must see TV this season. Stay tuned.
Minnesota Timberwolves: If you can’t be good in the NBA you have to at least be entertaining. With that thinking in mind Timberwolves President and GM David Kahn hired Rick Adelman as the replacement for Kurt Rambis in the twin cities this season. Ahh if Rambis had only waited his turn in Los Angeles. Adelman is known for his uptempo style and with Ricky Rubio finally on US soild the T-Wolves look to exude a faster brand of basketball. Oh, Brad Miller was acquired and is being coached by Adelman on a third different team (that might be a record of some sort). Miller is familiar with Adelman’s offensive schemes and might play a big brother role to All-star Kevin Love.
Portland Trailblazers: It is amazing how stability changes to chaos so quickly. Raymond Felton once a steady but non spectacular guard in Charlotte is now a member of the Blazers. His third team in the last two years. After being part of the Carmelo trade that landed him Denver it was clear that he was not a George Karl favorite and Denver mercifully moved Felton to Portland on draft night. He will have the opportunity to start and play alongside the quickly emerging LaMarcus Aldridge not to mention his old Bobcat buddy Gerald Wallace.
Sacramento Kings: J.J. Hickson will join a crowded but talented front court in Sacramento for the 2011-2012 season. Hickson endured a tumultuous season under Byron Scott and probably would not have survived another. Once Cleveland was awarded the first and fourth picks in the draft, Hickson immediately became expendable despite his upside. The Kings also reacquired John Salmons on draft night. Sacramento needs some veteran leadership on the team and Salmons should be able to provide that along with a solid overall game to compliment the Kings young stars.
Toronto Raptors: Unfortunately for the Raptors their best player is Andrea Bargnani with DeMar DeRozen close behind. That is part of the reason they had a hard time filling their head coaching vacancy. Dwane Casey has stepped up to the plate to coach an organization that right now lacks personality and star power. Good luck coach!
More happened this summer then one may realize but it is easy for a five month long lockout to eradicate the memory of even the most savvy of fans. The next wave of changes is sure to come fast and furious over the next few weeks and I am sure fans are ready for the news.
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