An interesting off season will unfold this year with big names such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant both willing to test the Free Agency waters, but a number of teams stand no chance of getting these two All-Stars so what do they focus on?
Atlanta Hawks – Hawks are a guaranteed playoff side but need help on both ends of the court with rebounding. They have to keep hold of centre Al Horford and then launch a case for Ryan Anderson who averaged six rebounds per game.
Boston Celtics -With Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller and David Lee all free to leave Boston the Celtics will need to bring some more power to the frontcourt if they are to repeat and build on their success this season. 32 year old Power Forward Zaza Pachulia averaged just under 10 points per game and over 10 rebounds; the unrestricted free agent would be a favourite amongst Boston fans.
Brooklyn Nets – After trading their first round draft pick to the Boston Celtics during some poor trade and planning discussions Brooklyn are truly in a mess. They need anyone who can post some good numbers. But would anyone want to go to a team in demise? No. After scrapping some bad contracts last season (Joe Johnson, Deron Williams) the Nets lack a real leader at either guard position. Mario Chalmers – who came good after a trade to Memphis – may interest the Nets after he posted around 10 points per game.
Charlotte Hornets – The Hornets have sorted their guard positions with the emergence of Jeremy Lin’s scoring and Kemba Walker fine all round game. Now their focus must be on keeping hold of Lin and signing some wing depth. Rookie Frank Kaminsky has put up some decent numbers and will probably start next year. If the Hornets can persuade Josh Smith to join from the Rockets in a bargain deal – after a below par season in Houston – then they could be a real force.
Chicago Bulls – The Bulls need a Point Guard. Derrick Rose is not what he used to be due to an unfortunate string of injuries. Jimmy Butler is their go to man but there is heavy talk of trading him out of Chicago and Pau Gasol also looks set to leave the Bulls, according to his brother Marc. After missing out on the playoffs the Bulls will need to go out and get their roster sorted starting with a Point Guard. Jordan Clarkson has been posting good numbers for the LA Lakers and should really prove that he isn’t an average player posting good numbers on a poor side.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Keep hold of LeBron James. Simple. He may not be as physically able over the next couple of years but he will always be your go to man for those clutch moments.
Dallas Mavericks – Following claims of Dirk Nowitzki’s decline he has pulled it back round with some good scoring, shooting over 45% from the field. But he needs help, he is 37 and can not have much more left in the tank. They need future starters and Jared Sullinger from Boston suits their needs – a skillful young player who can score.
Denver Nuggets – A rebuilding programme is underway in Denver. But there is no glaring need for them. Mario Chalmers would would be a good fit for both parties – more minutes for Mario and more scoring and leadership for the Nuggets.
Detroit Pistons – Keep Andre Dummond and you will make the playoffs again next year. Keep Andre Drummond and sign a good three-point-shooter like Jared Dudley who can space the floor well then you can go even further next year.
Golden State Warriors – They must re-sign Harrison Barnes and must not mess with the structure and solidarity that made the Warriors the best ever NBA team.
Houston Rockets – Houston are declining and it is beautiful. There is talk of Dwight Howard leaving; Jason Terry is 38 and is not as gifted as he once was; Trevor Ariza can not score; Patrick Beverley tried to block a free-throw (?????) and James Harden and Marcus Thornton can not defend. They need back up. Their rookie, Sam Dekker, has undergone back surgery and their current roster is ageing. Dallas centre Dwight Powell is untapped potential with a lot in his locker and at just 24 the Canadian native could learn to fit in at Power Forward.
Indiana Pacers – As Paul George posted good numbers on his way back from injury he doesn’t really have anyone to support him. Pacers will be hoping that rookie Myles Turner becomes a dominate force around the basket next year and if they can bring in Mirza Teletovic who averaged 11 points per game then things are looking good.
LA Clippers – Clippers have everything needed for a championship. A dominate Centre, a clever Point Guard, an all round Power Forward, a quality sixth man and a bench that scores. But they just won’t win a championship. They are missing something. A back up centre may do them good – Dwight Powell will raise eyebrows this year and the Clippers would be a good fit if he is willing to have his minutes cut.
LA Lakers – Go all out. Kobe has gone now Lakers fans, get over it. Go and get Kevin Durant. The Lakers will have the salary space to get him, the super star will be worth it after averaging 28 points and over eight rebounds per game. Their main rookie D’Angelo Russell should come good next year and their draft pick this year is likely to be top four which will set the way for an exciting 2016-17 campaign.
Memphis Grizzlies – Steph Curry banked 51 more three pointers than the whole Grizzlies team in four less games. They need scorers. Evan Fournier is the obvious choice after shooting 40% from three point range last year. However the guard/forward would be reluctant to leave a rising Orlando Magic side.
Miami Heat – The Heat have one of the best starting fives in the league and their rookie – Justise Winslow – will be even more of a force next year. But all of their bench are very similar players – they need someone different to come off the bench. Terrance Jones is a player whose career wasn’t brilliant in Houston but at just 24 the Power Forward could post better numbers in a better side.
Milwaukee Bucks – Many, including myself, thought that the Bucks would make the playoffs and be a real surprise this year. But they failed. They need an efficient Point Guard who can use the ball well, someone like Rajon Rondo who averaged 12 assists a game.
Minnesota Timberwolves – The T’Wolves have their roster rebuild pretty much sorted apart from their ageing Power Forward position. They will use their draft pick to inject some scoring in the shooting guard position and use free agency to bring in a scoring forward such as Ryan Anderson from New Orleans, who would add more threes to the T’Wolves game.
New Orleans Pelicans – The Pelicans’ go to man Anthony Davis needs a helping hand. He is signed for six years but it will be six wasted years if the Pelicans continue where they left off in the previous campaign. JR Smith is a guy who can shoot the ball so well you’d think he was an All-Star and will be sort after in the off season, Davis and Smith along with a solid draft pick would be the start of something solid.
New York Knicks – Well. Well. Well. Here we are again stating the same old need – a Point Guard. Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony are the first two points to the triangle offence that Anthony has demanded. The final piece should be Mike Conley, the Point Guard guarantees solid scoring game after game.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Keep hold of Kevin Durant, draft who he wants, sign who he wants and change what he wants.
Orlando Magic – With no pressing needs all the Magic need to do is work hard this summer and draft well. Maybe the Magic could up a back up centre such as Timofey Mozgov who is guaranteed to give you good rebound numbers.
Philadelphia 76ers – Anyone. Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor will be joined by the much anticipated Dario Saric and to complete the jigsaw the 76ers need to off Ish Smith a contract he can’t refuse because they will not get anyone else.
Phoenix Suns – Tyson Chandler has not really fit in well in Phoenix and the Suns need a strong force around both ends of the basket. A player who would light up the court for the Suns would be Joakim Noah who’s Chicago career looks well and truly over, despite a poor campaign this year Noah is still a strong defensive player who rebounds well.
Portland Trail Blazers – With C.J. McCollum winning the Most Improved Player award and Allen Crabbe emerging as a go to scorer and Damien Lillard’s ever-perfect performances, the future of Portland looks very bright. They do however need to add some strength in depth in their wing position – Chandler Parsons would fit the bill as his gifted skill set still has many years left.
Sacramento Kings – The Kings have a roster full of untapped potential and they must find a head coach who can utilise this and be able to deal with DeMarcus Cousins’ maverick behaviour. They must keep Rajon Rondo who has reignited his career in Sacramento.
San Antonio Spurs – What ever they do it will turn to gold anyway. Gregg Popovich is a genius.
Toronto Raptors – Another team who would be likely to take a look at Ryan Anderson is the Raptors. If they bring in the high scoring Forward who knows what Views (sorry for the Drake pun) they will have over the Eastern Conference next year.
Utah Jazz – The Jazz are a solid defensive team and just lack that cutting edge going forward. Gordon Hayward is a go to scorer from anywhere and just needs help. Some cutting edge in the Guard positions is much needed and Jordan Clarkson’s numbers show that he could bring this – the 23 year old could be in stall for the busy offseason.
Washington Wizards – If the Wizards can keep Bradley Beal in DC and add a player who can offer back up in the backcourt then it will be job well done for the backroom staff. Jeremy Lin and the Wizards would be a perfect match, he had a good chance for a Sixth Man of the Year Award this season and could add his fast paced game to match the Wizards fast paced game.