NBA / Sep 28, 2009 / 2:15 pm

The 5 Teams Who Had The Most Productive Offseasons

Richard Jefferson

For NBA teams, the quest for a title starts right now as training camp opens this week. While the Lakers are the champs and arguably the favorites to win it again this year, the rest of the league did not sit idle during the offseason. A lot of teams – especially the ones in contention for the chip – made some bold moves during the summer that strengthen their roster. I ranked the five teams who I thought made the best offseason upgrades.

1. Spurs: The Spurs are coming off a disappointing season where they found themselves in unfamiliar territory by getting wiped out in the first round. Sure, Manu Ginobili was limited to 44 games due to injury and missed the playoffs entirely but questions about the Spurs age started to surface. After the season, 38-year-old Bruce Bowen retired and the front office shipped the aging Kurt Thomas and Fabricio Oberto to the Bucks for Richard Jefferson. RJ gives them an athletic wing man who can play D and score the ball. By also signing Antonio McDyess and drafting DeJuan Blair, the Spurs are deeper down low. Expect the Spurs to be right on LA’s tail all season long.

2. Lakers: The Lakers made only one major offseason move, but it could be a move that secures them a back-to-back title. Locking up Ron Artest adds another all-star level talent to LA. Trevor Ariza was a good defender, but Ron-Ron has a toughness to him that Kobe and Phil will love. Plus he’s a stronger offensive player than Ariza. But on the flip side, Artest comes with baggage and this move could backfire if he becomes a distraction off the court or doesn’t accept his role.

3. Magic: Let’s face it, the Magic lost a great scorer and clutch player in Hedo Turkoglu – who signed a long-term deal with Toronto. But despite that void, management wasn’t shy about finding Hedo’s replacement. They traded Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee and Tony Battie to the Nets for eight-time all-star Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson. Carter, who is from the Central Florida area, will provide scoring and excitement to the team. The Magic also signed Brandon Bass, a young and athletic power forward from Dallas. Bass along with re-signing Marcin Gortat helps improve the Magic’s frontcourt. Orlando fills the backcourt void left by Alston and Lee by signing veteran guards Jason Williams and Matt Barnes.

4. Celtics: Like the Spurs, the C’s took an early exit in the playoffs last year. They also had to go a lot of the season and the entire playoffs without franchise player Kevin Garnett. This year, KG is back and healthy plus they beefed up their frontcourt by adding veteran Rasheed Wallace, Shelden Williams and resigning Big Baby. Boston also acquired Marquis Daniels, who will make Doc Rivers’ backcourt bigger.

5. Cavs: Over the summer, the OG Superman touched down in Cleveland. Now LeBron has a dominant low-post presence to pass to. A lot of people think trading for the 37-year-old O’Neal will slow down King James, but the Cavs have played with Ilguaskas (possibly the slowest player in the NBA) for years so acquiring Shaq won’t be an issue. The Cavs also were aggressive in the free agent market by acquiring veteran guard/forward Anthony Parker as well as athletic forwards Leon Powe and Jamario Moon.

The next five: 6. Mavs, 7. Raptors, 8. Hornets, 9. Hawks, 10. Blazers

Which team or teams had the best offseason?

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag.

Follow Gerald Narciso on Twitter at @Gerald_Narciso.

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  • WizFan301

    WHAT ABOUT THE WIZARDS THEY MADE SOME BIG MOVES

  • Mr. TKO

    I’m a lakers fan, but I think that the spurs had the best offseason period. They made a lot of good moves that I wasn’t exactly happy with, but it’ll just make it more satisfying when my Nuggets or Lakers take them out in the playoffs,

    As far as the Cavs, I’m not that impressed with them signing Shaq, I think it’s not that big of an improvement, the improvement that nobody is talking about is signing Anthony Parker (Candance parker sightings?) and Jamario moon, I think they will address a lot of weaknesses that Cleveland has.

  • http://myspace.com/40sand9s loc

    RAPTORS!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jmg

    Lakers, no doubt. getting artest keeps Kobe off the opposing teams best wing player, esp against Lebron, Melo and Pierce (and fresh on offense) and adds toughness they were lacking since Shaq and Fox left. Artest has owned Richard Jefferson in the past, so thats why i cant have the Spurs #1 and they still need a C to keep teams honest and Duncan free from injury and fouls all year.

  • dmitry of jersey

    artest does not have the discipline to play the in the triangle… im doubtful. it’s possible he will do well in LAL but they should have kept Ariza

  • D A

    Raptors @ 7? Relax. Cavs getting Shaq does not get Cleveland in the top 5 in this category. RO-BER-RY. Raps as top 3 for sure.

  • Ian

    jmg
    wasnt ariza guarding the best player on the other team.

    laker nation artest isnt the same player defensively and takes bad shots.

  • sh!tfaced

    Artest is already infecting the Lakers with his crazy shit. Look at what happened to Lamar Odom.

    Gotta go with WizFan here, Washington made some good moves this summer, adding Oberto and trading for Foye and Mike Miller, taking themselves out of a possible mess in getting involved with a headache like Rubio.

  • aL

    How did the Cavs improve?..I guess DIME just couldn’t write an article without bringing up LeHYPE…

    Anyways…
    1. Spurs
    2. Raptors
    3. Wizards
    4. Grizzlies
    5. Lakers

  • That’s whats up

    One of the best off-season moves for the Spurs was Artest signing with the Lakers. That fool cannot be trusted and he will surely jack ill-advised shots at horrible times unless PJ keeps him on the bench (but Phil might get shanked for doing that)

  • Jake

    For this part of the list here’s what I think. -

    I think the Spurs made some fantastic moves, but this teams success hinges entirely on the health of Timmy D and Manu. If they go down with injury, the season goes down the tubes. The Magic swapped a ton of players, probably for the better. I think Hedo is overrated, and they added young and old talent to the mix to suppport a very good starting cast. The Lakers and Celtics didnt overhaul their teams but both made solid moves. I think the Cavs get a little to much praise because of Shaq, but adding Anthony Parker, Leon Powe, and Jamario are underrated moves that will definitely help the team.

  • That’s whats up

    and lmao at MANO Ginobili.

    Hand Ginobili – haha

    …and this Dime gem… “the Spurs are deeper down low. Expect the Spurs to be right on LA’s tail all season long.”

    Holy shit that’s funny!!

  • the cynic

    Ariza was already guarding the other teams best perimeter defender.

  • Bron42 aka Had Springs before Slamball

    @Dime, No love for the moves the heat made? o wait…..

  • Diego

    I want list of most likely acquistion disruptions of contenders next season. Here is mine (in order):

    1. Rasheed Wallace: Things are going to get ugly when Celtics realize Big Baby adds more than old and crazy Rasheed, who really is just good for 2-3 3-pointers a game and nothing else (except an occastional meltdown).

    2. Shaq: Tensions will rise when Cavs cannot nearly match last season’s record, and Shaq clogs up the driving lanes.

    3. Khloe Kardashian: Because clearly L.O. has lost his marbles.

    4. Bass/Gortat: There is going to be some friction and flare ups at practice/in locker room when there are not enough minutes for Bass and Gortat (and Andersen), reminiscent of last year’s point guard jealousies.

    5.

  • Diego

    Whoops: No. 5 is Ron Artest: Actually, I do not see any problems with Ron, Ron. I think he will be fine and a great addition–unless he decides to literally slap some sense into L.O.’s head.

  • jzsmoove

    Article is right on. Like I posted in a previous Smack, these top 5 will vie for the Chip.

    BTW, Go Raptors Go!

  • Yoooo

    Z spaces the court, Shaq does not. So his slew-footedness is not nearly as much of a problem as Shaq who has to be with 2 feet of the basket to be effective. Z hits 3′s.

  • ProphetGK

    Definitely the Magic had the best off-season. They lost two vital players, but gained so much more. With Vinsanity they have another all-star who is arguably going to give it his all for a chance at a chip, and with a revamped backcourt and fully loaded bazooka in the frontcourt, look forward to another finals appearance. Too bad they’re going to lose to the Lakers anyways…

  • Derrty

    So, according to Gerald, 17ppg is what makes a great scorer and clutch player? Seriously Dime, where in the hell do you get these guys? If that’s the case, then Orlando has got the best offseason hands down. They traded 17ppg and clutchness(Turk)for 23ppg and even more clutchness(Carter)! Turkoglu is in no way a great scorer. Not even close. Courtney Lee is not a great scorer, nor will he become one. Rafer is a nice backup and Tony Battie is replaceable with anyone who’s big and can hit a jumper. Orlando had the most productive offseason for the contenders. Washington had the most productive offseason out of the rest. This article was was about the most productive offseason, not the best teams.

    Cleveland’s move to get Shaq was a desperate attempt before they fade into nothing once more. You can look at it as brilliant, but you have to look at what happens beyond this year. They just basically negated thier relevancy after 2010 because they signed Anderson Varajao and he’s on the books for 5 more years and $50+ mil. Good luck Cavs. And Jamario Moon? He’s like the guy at the rec center who’s athletic as hell, but can’t really do anything else. He’s only relevant because he can dunk. Delonte West will choke on his Ritalin during the season at some point. LeBron, meet Brooklyn. Brooklyn, meet LeBron.

    The Celtics have one more shot at relevancy before they become, well, pre-KD and Jesus Shuttlesworth Paul Pierce’s team again. Good pickup in Sheed and Marquis Daniels. But, the best free agent signing for them will be KG’s knee. Let’s see if that one will last the grind. Mark it down, Rondo will be traded. Bold, I know. But Rondo is gone by the deadline.

    The Spurs are the Spurs. They have the smartest front office in the league. They make moves that fly under the radar and have the best talent evaluators in the L. Funny, I’m not even a Spurs fan, either. If they can keep Timmy, Manu and Parker healthy, they will make a run. Of course, the road to the Finals still goes through LA. And, if those guys are healthy, you know what RJ’s gonna do. You saw what he did in NJ with Kidd. Dude’s gonna erupt this year. Watch.

    Now, what the Magic have done this offseason is simply brilliant. You lose Turk, Alston, Lee, Battie. You replace them with Vince Carter, Brandon Bass, Matt Barnes and White Chocolate, Jason Williams, as your 3rd string pg. And, you re-sign Gortat, who would be starting for Dallas, for the MLE. You get a healthy Jameer Nelson, and a greatly improving DHoward, Rashard Lewis and Pietrus; that’s a solid core. The Magic can play virtually any game now. Conventional, unconventional. Big, small, fast or half court. They have a deeper, more versatile team with a stronger core. They are much better than last year…

    It doesn’t matter what way or how you want to spin it, the fact of the matter is still this: The road to the Finals still goes through the Eastern Conference Champs: Orlando.

  • Derrty

    And, I’ll add this: to everyone saying that Vince doesn’t have anything left or whatever, what were you saying about KG, Ray-Ray and Truth? Those guys were as old, if not older, than VC when they won the chip.

    Vince Carter, motivated in his home town and on a supremely talanted team? I’ll take that any day.

  • ejay

    Washington anyone?

  • Rich

    Hedo Turkoglu is a great scorer? I want whatever this guy is smoking ASAP.

  • dmitry of jersey

    orlando fans … meet the A-Rod of the n.b.a. let’s see you love in May when VC is going 6-22 in playoff games and takin non stop fadeaway 20footers

  • dmitry of jersey

    as a side note, where are the Nets on that list??

  • dmitry of jersey

    as a side note, where are the Nets on that list??

  • Ian

    demitry
    arod?? please arod is the second best player in the majors (pujols 1) vince carter isnt a top 10 player.

  • dave

    ur retarded for not puttin the raps in the top5.

  • deeds

    No way the Lakers should be that high. I personally would have signed Ariza over Artest.

    Also, Raps should be in the top 5 without a doubt

  • Bobby Money

    what about the t-wolves? Chucky Atkins, Mark Blount, Antonio Daniels, That spanish kid that’s not even really that good. When they show highlights of him, they show the same 6 every time. Plus they got Chalmers at the point, Mayo at the 2 and Roy at the 3. Oh wait…

  • Bobby Money

    washington got foye and miller…get the fuck outta here…those 2 guys aren’t winners…trust me.

  • doc

    Good list.

  • Bilal

    Not too sure with this list…

    its 100% true that the spurs have had the best off-season, but the rest of the top 5 is, well looking very mainstream.

    The Lakers have added an all-star talent, BUT have another all-star ego, and what an ego.

    The Magic havent improved as much as the other teams, ok so they added VC, but even you guys should know that adding VC doesnt mean the team gets better, it just sells more jerseys. does it warrent a top 5 improvement, nope sorry dime.

    The celtics shouldnt even be on this list…the only thing that has improved them is a healthy garnett

    And now the Cavs…Team LeBron, please adding shaq doesnt mean anything now. Theres a reason that hes been traded twice since his last championship.

    now what should be the top 5
    Spurs – everything went right this offseason
    Blazers – Signing Miller fills a void that improves them a lot
    Raptors – The focus is on Hedo, but Jarret Jack is the best signing
    Hornets – Okafor provides more than Chandler and will play a major role this season
    Grizzlies – AI move is dubious, but they look better (on paper)

  • Chise

    Good list but the Raptors and Wizards should of been ahead of the Cavs in my opinion.

  • iknowthis

    lol @ bilal on Toronto: “Jarret Jack is the best signing”…
    So a lottery team signing Jarret Jack makes for the third best offseason in the NBA?? Too funny!!
    This season will be hell for Raptors fans. Constant talk of Bosh leaving, Turkoglu not living up to the hype, and to top it all off, Vince Carter playing for an NBA title.

  • C. Ray

    If you are atrue Laker fan the Artest deal is a quailty transaction only because he is defense minded and knows that to win a ring with the lakers he has to except the fact that this is Kobe’s team and he has to fit in, the lakers have had there problem children before (Rodman)and some others. So to take Artest great move, now kobe dosen’t have to fight him all season.