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The 10 Off-Season Transactions That Will Make the Most Impact This Season

By Lleyton S. Duotang III

It has been a busy off-season with so many marquee players moving localities, rearranging the potential hopes of many a-NBA teams. The following is a review and analysis of the past off-season transactions. Of course, the 2 five moves were no-brainers.

1. Shaq to Miami Heat for Lamar Caroline Odom, Caron Butler, and Brian Grant

This blockbuster of a trade can be seen as a win-win for both clubs. The Lakers can breath easier knowing that they arguably received an equal value for their disgruntled center. Shaq-daddy is by far the most dominating player in the league and instantaneously makes Miami into a strong candidate to make the NBA finals. Shaq will have plenty of opportunity to feast voraciously against his Eastern opponents. The West can only hope that he will become stagnant by playoff times from the inferior competition. The Lakers have gotten a lot more athletic with this deal. The young legs of Odom and Butler should compliment Rudy-T’s running offense. However, opponents are pleased that the Laker’s interior is not as imposing as that in the past, particularly if Grant is their only interior presence.

2. Orlando trades Tracy McGrady, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines to Houston for Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato

The other blockbuster deal of the summer featured 2 franchise players, well, trading franchises. The abnormally talented, yet disgruntled Tracy McGrady going to the Houston Rockets, while Stevie Franchise (with underrated Cutino Mobley) going to the East’s Orlando Magic. Yao and McGrady should be the league’s most formidable 1-2 punch, but they will be the sole targets of their opponents. This makes Juwan Howard the dark house, whose play will unequivocally determine whether Houston is an elite team in company with San Antonio and Minnesota. Orlando’s success this season will largely depend on whether Francis can run the team effectively and get everybody involved. Many don’t see this happening, but with the Eastern conference, even a sub-par year will put you in the playoff race.

3. Kenyon Martin traded from New Jersey to Denver for 3 first round draft picks

This pick-up is HUGE for Denver, whom becomes legitimate conference contenders with this acquisition, and also with the resigning of center Marcus Camby. Denver easily has the most athletic, and arguably the most imposing frontcourt with Martin, Camby, and Carmelo, and not to mention still-developing big man, Nene. Add to the equation the playmaking of Andre Miller and outside shooting of Voshon Leonard, in which both players should vastly improve this coming season, and the Nuggets are truly a power to contend with. The Nets will probably make the playoffs, albeit quietly, but don’t expect too much from them. The future picks should help in their rebuilding process.

4. Kobe Bryant re-signs with Los Angeles Lakers

The Kobe sweepstakes ended anticlimactically with his re-signing with the Lakers. Although Kobe is unarguably a superstar in the league, his resigning won’t really affect his team. With the departure of Shaq, the Lakers will have more difficulty winning games, and Kobe won’t be scoring points as easily as when he had the distracting presence of the Big Man. At least the Lakers have the security of knowing that he’ll be the centerpiece of the organization for a while, and can build around him for future seasons.

5. Steve Nash signs with Phoenix

In a surprising move, Steve Nash opted for more coin in Phoenix, turning his back on the franchise that made him into a star, and leaving a potent offense in which he was the engine. In his second stint with Phoenix (his first one was forgettable), Nash could be the missing ingredient that could raise the level of this underachieving team to make the playoffs. He should make the offense easier for Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudamire, and Quentin Richardson, should he perform in the same manner as with Dallas. However, that will depend on whether Phoenix will have the same team chemistry as Dallas did. Even if they did, the lack of a defensive presence in the paint will be Phoenix’s downfall, just like Dallas.

 6. Rasheed Wallace re-signs with Detroit

Sheed finally got his props last season, as he was the acquisition that put Detroit as the favorite to take the East, and then was instrumental in Detroit’s upset victory over the Lakers in the NBA Finals. Re-signing Sheed was HUGE for the Pistons, who very quickly became a fan-favorite. He complimented the team perfectly, providing strong (under-rated) interior defense to alleviate Ben Wallace’s heavy workload, as well as being another legitimate scoring threat behind Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups. Should Sheed continue to play the way he did with the Pistons last season, within the confines of Larry Brown’s system, while controlling his emotions (he seems to be mellowing out with age anyways), Detroit are in great position to successfully defend their title.

7. Dallas’s Antawn Jamison traded for Washington’s Jerry Stackhouse, Christian Laettner and Devin Harris

Antawn Jamison, one of the most under-rated players in the league, should be able to thrive in the Eastern Conference, and his arrival should allow Washington to contend for a playoff spot. He rejoins former teammate Gilbert Arenas, and the potential of the young trio of Jamison, Arenas, and Larry Hughes can be huge, provided they can mesh together. That shouldn’t be a problem for Jamison who is able to excel with the most of his opportunities. I really think that this was a bargain for Washington who dealt injury-plagued Stackhouse to Dallas. Stackhouse will likely be forced into a sixth-man role for Dallas, like Jamison, and should excel if he chooses to accept his diminished, albeit important, role. Dallas is banking on Devin Harris, the 5th pick of this past draft, to develop quickly into the player that made him so highly touted in college. He will most likely have a limited role this year backing up Jason Terry.

8. Dallas’s Antoine Walker and Tony Delk traded for Atlanta’s Jason Terry, Alan Henderson and a future first-round pick

I’ve always thought that Antoine Walker was over-rated. Sure, there is no questioning his abilities, but he always seemed like he had his own objectives when playing - which were, in my mind, selfishly motivated. But there is no denying his ability, he has the finesse and power game that most players would kill for, but yet his selfish play over the past few seasons have lowered his stock dramatically. His recent trade to the outpost of Atlanta serves as evidence. Now ’Toine is at the crossroads of his career. If he is motivated enough, and willing to work to make his teammates better, Atlanta could be the surprise team of the year, and could compete for a playoff position in the weak Eastern Conference. Al Harrington is poised for a breakout year, and should be able to provide ’Toine with a lot of help (in the style of a rookie Paul Peirce). Jason Terry is a good player, he’s no Steve Nash, but he’ll be good enough as a replacement. There’s no doubt that he can score, but the Mavericks need a passer, so it should be interesting to see if Terry can adjust to that role.

9. Brent Barry signs with San Antonio

The addition of Brent Barry, one of the most unheralded team players in the league, was one of the best signings this past off-season, and will ensure that the Spurs remain as one of the elite teams of the league. Barry gives the Spurs depth and versatility in the backcourt along with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobilli. He is athletic (former NBA slam dunk champion), an excellent passer, plays great defense, and is deadly from beyond the 3-point arch.

10-Tied. Mehmet Okur’s and Carlos Boozer’s signing with Utah

These two big man signed lucrative long-term contract with the Jazz this summer that instantly transforms Utah’s front court into one of the best in the league, that is, if Okur can live up to the Utah’s expectations of him. Over the last two seasons with Detroit, Okur has performed extremely well in his limited bench role, providing rebounding and stretching out defenses with his 3-point range. There should be no reason why he can’t continue to improve as a key cog in Utah’s offence. Boozer had a breakout season last year with Cleveland averaging a double-double in points and rebounds. He is a fearless defender and rebounder, and will be able to give the Jazz a low-post threat. Most importantly, the presences of Boozer and Okur should free up talented forward, Andrei Kirilenko, to play extremely effective help defense, with his shot-blocking abilities. The odd man out appears to be overachiever, Matt Harpring. If Jerry Sloan can figure out a way to use these 4 big-men in an efficient manner, the Jazz will be poised to make the playoffs.