NBA Free Agency Picking Up

After a lackluster start where it was just nothing more than talk, teams are starting to put their money where their mouth is.

In their quest to obtain Dwight Howard, the Brooklyn Nets acquired Hawks guard Joe Johnson in a trade that sent the expiring contracts of Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams, DeShawn Stevenson, and a future first-round pick.

While I’m not a fan of Johnson’s game, the Nets clearly won this trade. Johnson was always a player the Hawks had overrated. They had given him money more than what Michael Jordan made off contracts in his career. He is not a number one option. He’s too passive to be that. But Johnson is certainly a player you want as the number two scoring option. Besides, the Nets gave up a bunch of replaceable role players for an all-star. The Hawks executed this trade in hopes of acquiring Howard and Chris Paul in the future. GM Danny Ferry may be able to entice Paul, but as for Howard, I guess he wasn’t paying attention when Howard said Atlanta and Chicago are the two organizations he won’t sign with.

The aftermath of the trade influenced Deron Williams to remain a Net. With Williams and Johnson, the Nets are now a playoff team. With Howard, they will be a championship contender. Now the organization (and its fans abroad) wait as they hope the whole kit-and-caboodle finally goes into fruition.

Wednesday, the Lakers made a statement to the Thunder by initiating a sign-and-trade deal for two-time MVP Steve Nash. The Suns will receive first-round picks in 2013 and 2015, and second-rounders in 2013 and 2014. The trade will allow the Lakers to sign Nash for three years at around $27 million.

L.A. has been looking for a point guard, and at age 38, they still found a premier one. I’m not one who enjoys seeing the Lakers strike gold in acquisitions, but this one is different. Despite his defensive deficiencies on the perimeter, it is obvious what Nash will do offensively for this team considering they will continue to play solid D under Mike Brown. The bigger picture, what if the Lakers finally trade Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard? I’m liking the spot that the Lakers are in right now.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns have made the most noise as far as acquiring non big-named players. As soon as the Nash trade was finalized, Phoenix immediately signed point guard Goran Dragic to a four-year deal. Remember, when previously with the Suns, he was going to be the heir apparent to Nash. Other transactions include signing Michael Beasley and signing Eric Gordon to an offer sheet, although the Hornets are expected to match.

Earlier in the afternoon, Thursday, the Raptors acquired Kyle Lowry in a trade for a protected first-round pick from Houston. The Raptors need all the help they can get, so a good move for them; I just express my condolences to the player.

The Clippers resigned Chauncey Billups, as expected, and signed guard Jamal Crawford. The Clippers should easily be a top four team in the West next season.

On a side note, the Knicks and Mavs continue to get shut out in free agency, thus far. The NBA Champion Miami Heat have continued to push the button in luring Ray Allen. The Chicago Bulls are just as quiet as all the championship contending teams. There has a been a plethora of talks, just no action. Seeing the other teams strike has caused impatience…even among myself.

Nonetheless, the big fish out there is still Howard. There is no judging how next season will go until he is somewhere other than Orlando. He shouldn’t be so fickle with where he wants to land. I mean, how long will it take for him to realize his selection of Brooklyn over Chicago and Los Angeles is completely dumbfound.

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