The top 10 most significant NBA off-season moves - Part One (10-6)

Andrew Bynum, Jrue Holiday and Andrea Bargnani feature...

While this NBA offseason hasn’t quite been the ground shifting few months that the last couple summers have proven to be, we’ve still seen some intriguing and exciting moves that promise to restructure the current NBA hierarchy.

I’ve tried to judge significance based on the strength and relevance of the teams involved. With that said, here’s numbers 10-6 of most important transactions of the summer so far:

10) Three team trade – Tyreke Evans and Jeff Withey are sent to the New Orleans Pelicans, Robin Lopez and Terrel Harris are sent to the Portland Trail Blazers and Greivis Vasquez is sent to the Sacramento Kings:

This trade is an intriguing one given that the three teams involved will all be scrambling for the last play-off berth in what has become a super-competitive Western conference. Whether this trade can help any of them make it to the play-offs is uncertain.

Portland seemed to have taken a step back in the form of Robin Lopez who’s scoring was similar to last year’s starter J.J Hickson but pulled down only 5.6 rebounds per game compared to Hickson’s 10.4.

After drafting Ben McLemore, a finalist for college player of the year, the Kings chose to invest in youth and trade Tyreke Evans for budding point guard Greivis Vasquez. The Kings have been in need of a true past first point guard for some time now and Vasquez’s 9.0 assists per game last season suggests he’s the man for the job. While it’s still doubtful the Kings will make the play-offs, it’s a step in the right direction.

With the acquisition of Tyreke Evans the Pelicans seem to have enough solid pieces that they could make a push for the play-offs. However, they’ll be hoping that Evans can buck the trend that his career numbers are showing. After a fantastic rookie season Evans’ points, rebounds and assists per game have declined for his last three years. However, if guard can rediscover his rookie form the Pelicans seem the most likely out of these three teams to snatch that eighth seed.

9) Jrue Holiday is traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and 2014 first-round pick

The Jrue Holiday trade has made this list mainly for its implications at the bottom of the NBA ladder. The Sixers shocked many on draft day when they traded away their All-Star point guard for Noel, an injured, unproved center with a big risk factor. Noel’s potential is undeniable however there are still question as to whether he has the health, size and offensive skill set to succeed at NBA level.

Essentially, this trade reveals Philadelphia’s plan for the next few years: rebuild. With Noel and other first-round draft pick Michael Carter-Williams in place the Sixers have two young players around which to build and though they have essentially sacrificed the 13/14 season, they’re almost certain to finish with the worst record in the league, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Sixers are pinning their hopes on winning the draft lottery and taking Canadian wonder-kid Andrew Wiggins with the first pick of the 2014 draft. For those who haven’t seen his talents, check him out ASAP and you’ll understand where the Sixers are coming from.

8) Andrea Bargnani is traded from the Toronto Raptors to the New York Knicks for Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson and multiple draft picks:

Andrea Bargnani has struggled over the past few seasons. While battling through injuries the Italian has had trouble with the shooting stroke that allows him to stretch the floor so well. Bargnani only knocked down 29% of his three point attempts in 2012 and 31% in 2013. This will be of concern for the Knicks given that they sent bone fide three point marksmen Steve Novak to the Raptors as part of the deal. They’ll be praying that Bargnani can rediscover the 41% accuracy from downtown that he displayed in the 08/09 season.

If Bargnani is able find his shooting touch then the Knicks will have added a talented player to their roster who fits their 4 out 1 in offense. However, if Bargnani can’t, or is plagued by the same injuries he suffered from last season then the Knicks will have to rely more heavily on Amar’e Stoudemire that they would like and could lose out to the revamped Brooklyn Nets in the battle for New York.

7) Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith end up at the Detroit Pistons:

The acquisition of point guard Brandon Jennings and power forward Josh Smith shows that the Pistons are ready to end their four-year absence from the post-season.

With young big men Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe already in place, the addition of Smith, one of the games premier power forwards, creates an intimidating frontcourt rotation.

While Jennings has often been criticised for the volume and selection of his shots, he hasn’t exactly been surrounded with talent during his time in Milwaukee and Pistons fans will be hoping that while surrounded by quality options Jennings can improve upon his career high of 6.5 assists per game from last season. With these additions Detroit should be challenging for 6th seed in the East.

6) Andrew Bynum signs for the Cleveland Cavaliers:

If Andrew Bynum can be anywhere near the player he was for the Lakers in the 11/12 season the Cavaliers are sure to make the playoffs. While the upper echelon of the Eastern conference has been bolstered by the addition of the Nets and a Chicago team led by a healthy Derrick Rose, there is a sharp drop off to the next best team. The Cavaliers are taking a risk on Andrew Bynum’s knees in order to become that team. Bynum will take his place alongside the array of talented youth that currently resides in Cleveland, all led by budding superstar Kyrie Irving. With Bynum healthy this team should push Detroit for that 6th seed.

While Bynum is undoubtedly talented, armed with a devastating array of post moves, whether or not he can stay healthy, let alone be the player he once was, is a question that will only be answered when the Cavs’ take to the court.

Which will be the most significant of these five trades?

image: © edrost88